PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- More than 250 participants attended the Presidio of Monterey Garrison and American Dream U free two-day entrepreneurial and career-motivational event in Monterey Feb. 20 and 21.

American Dream University, better known as American Dream U, regularly holds events at military bases across the United States to educate military personnel transitioning to civilian life by connecting transitioning service members, veterans and spouses with some of the top business and entrepreneurial minds in this country, according to its website.

American Dream U is a non-profit organization helping service members with insight, information and access to the resources needed to successfully transition from military to civilian life whose goal is to start their own businesses.

The first part of the event was held in Glasgow Hall at the Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Support Activity Monterey. The second part was held the following day in the Cook Hall auditorium on the Presidio of Monterey.

This event featured successful authors and motivational speakers from the world of business and career guidance, notably Charlie Hoehn, author of "Play it Away," Greg McKeown, author of "Essentialism," Chad Grille, Army veteran and author of "Veterans: Rebuild America."

Keynote speaker of the event was Tim Ferriss, motivational speaker and author of "The 4-Hour Body," "The 4-Hour Workweek" and "The 4-Hour Chef." American Dream U brought in 14 and subject matter experts in total.

A sampling of the topics covered included finding niche markets for business, creating a business model, setting up a company, legal aspects of creating a start-up, staying motivated and managing expectations, patent and product protection, and remaining focused throughout the process of creating a company.

"I think the organizers hit the right balance between the concepts of starting your own business and explaining the nuts and bolts of how to get a company started," said Lt. Col. Gregory Arenas, deputy base operations manager at Camp Roberts, a California National Guard Post located two hours south of the Presidio of Monterey. Arenas drove to the event with his wife, Iskra. He said that the two are studying the possibilities of creating a business that realizes landscapes for 3-D gaming, a passion Arenas has had since boyhood.

"First, I'm finding that there is much I can take back from the event to apply directly to my job performance and improving operations at Camp Roberts," said Arenas. "I work in an environment of fiscal constraints and concerns how to get the most out of budgets; and most of these speakers are subject matter experts on finance and innovation. I've learned a lot and profited immensely from attending these last two days."

Arenas said, "Second, I feel much more confident about my own business plans for a start-up when I leave the service. For instance, there are so many resources available to me that I had no idea about and would have missed, if I had not driven up for the event. And the one-on-one access to all these talented people over a two-day period was truly invaluable."

Phil Randazzo who conceived American Dream U and brought the event to Monterey said that
his organization focuses on helping the military community because he believes that the kind of people associated with serving, particularly service members in uniform who might be transitioning out of the service, already have the essential qualities to build a business, which makes for success as an entrepreneur.

"Service members have a proven commitment towards what they do; it's not about talk, it's about doing a job and seeing it through," said Randazzo. "They are committed to a goal -- serving their country -- despite hardships, setbacks and adversity."

He added that "the Fortune 500 list is filled with all kinds of personalities, but one thing everyone who makes that list shares is an unwavering commitment to success."