Gabe Hensley

Student Spotlight: Gabriel Hensley

Air Force Combat Rescue Officer Gabriel Hensley lives in Cocoa Beach with his wife and four children. As an active officer of the Air Force, Gabriel balances his military duties and his entrepreneurial dreams. He completed UF’s Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, which inspired him to enroll in the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (MSE) Program. He graduates Saturday, August 5.

We asked Gabriel about his experiences…

Q: What are your career goals and aspirations?

A: “Right now, I’m an Air Force Combat Rescue Officer looking at the sunset of my career. Looking to the future, I’ve got my eyes on starting and managing a business. I’ve always enjoyed challenging adventures and exploring new aspects of life.”

Q: What was the most rewarding aspect of the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP)?

A: “Wow! What a professional program the VEP was.  I cannot speak highly enough about the staff.  For me, the most rewarding aspect of the VEP was being connected to all the great people and having the ability to consider myself part of the business program at UF.”

Q: Why did you decide to enroll in the MSE program?

A: “I wanted to create a successful enterprise and have access to the UF interdisciplinary network. Out of all the schools at UF, MSE best positioned me to make contact with other schools. By leveraging the Big Idea Business Plan campus wide competition, I made contacts with professors and students in agriculture, architecture, engineering, and real estate.”

Q: How has the MSE program impacted your career and your life?

A: “If it were not for this MSE program, I wouldn’t have spent the time pursuing a Master’s degree. Most founders will tell you that advanced academics are second to the actual experience of starting a business.  For me, coming from a profession, the MSE provided vector and a little thrust; so much so that I feel confident in my ability to start a business, not just manage one.”

Q: What is it like balancing active duty in the Air Force and your entrepreneurial projects?

A: “Impossible. No not really, but it takes dedication.  The day is short, so instead of spending time relaxing, I am always working on my project. I’ve aligned my business pursuits with my leisure opportunities.”

Q: Can you tell us about your current project in Inverness, FL?

A: “I can tell you that the Lake House Initiative is a big project. Thanks to the MSE program, I have a master plan in hand. Currently, I am seeking financial backing for the project. In short, Mills Grove Preserve is a 25-acre waterfront estate located on Lake Henderson in historic downtown Inverness, Florida. Rendered after an early 20th century citrus plantation, the resort gives guests an authentic old Florida feeling with modern appeal.”

Q: What advice would you have for incoming and current MSE students?

A: “It is such a wonderful opportunity to be in an academic environment that is relevant in the real world today.  If I wasn’t already passionately trying to start a business when I got into the program, I’d start a very simple business with my cohort. Students can apply the lessons from class to the business as they go.”