Lou Bremer of Greenwich knows a thing or four about making the cut. In his career, he has applied to four of the most selective organizations in the country the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Navy SEALS, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the White House Fellows Program and has been accepted each time. Each brought him huge challenges but an equal sense of accomplishment when he finished that chapter of his young life.
"I was in my second year at the academy when I decided I wanted to go into special ops," Bremer said. "Looking at all the options, the SEALs were clearly the best of the best." Applying for a Navy commission meant giving up a guaranteed pilot's slot, the Holy Grail for Air Force grads. "If I hadn't been accepted, I likely would have spent my time in a missile silo somewhere, and if I washed out of SEAL training I would have been assigned to the surface Navy," he said.
But Bremer was accepted and made it through the grueling SEAL training, which has an average attrition rate of 80 percent, and served on Teams in San Diego and Virginia Beach, where he was given command of a SEAL platoon. While stationed there, he led SEAL Team Eight's winter warfare effort in Bosnia-Herzegovina, planning and leading 18 classified operations there. Following that experience, he left to pursue his MBA in 2000, figuring "I had reached the pinnacle of SEAL operations at the time," Bremer said.
But it wasn't long afterward that 9-11 ratcheted up the need for U.S. involvement overseas. Bremer, while working as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, decided to apply to the prestigious White House Fellows program. In it, a select group of 15 young leaders are handpicked by the President and given one-year appointments. Bremer was chosen and joined the White House Homeland Security Council staff as a Director, where he worked on a team advising President Bush on strategic-level projects.
Now a Vice President with Veritas Capital Management in New York, Bremer says his next big project is raising his newborn son, Will, with his wife, Brooke. Less dangerous than SEAL ops, but a challenge nonetheless, something for which Bremer is eminently prepared.
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