The J. Hawkwood Team Story
While the stories of Sir John Hawkwood might not be that familiar to most people, the founders of J. Hawkwood Co. are well versed in the history (and sometimes the myth) of this exceptional 14th century military leader.
Sir John was a professional soldier in the 14th century. Born in England, he first served under Edward III, fighting in France at the beginning of the 100 Years War. After release from military service to his king, he joined a military company for hire rather than returning home. Rising to command of ‘The White Company’, he led his troops over the Alps and into the warring city-states of Italy and into legend.
Soldiers for hire were known at the time for their high desertion rate, but Sir John’s Company was instead held in exceptionally high regard because of both his loyalty and the loyalty of his men. He took care of his troops and fulfilled his commitments to his contracted employers.
Known as an honest man, always forthright with his contracts and what he was able to deliver to his clients and to his men, Sir John was equally regarding for his leadership, negotiation prowess and integrity. Also revered for his professionalism and mastery of military skills, his actions were consistent with his word.
Famed Essex historian Morant would pen these words about Hawkwood, “…continued to the last, General of the Florentines, whom he served with such happy success, that he may well be stiled [sic] the founder or establisher of their Republic. At length, this valiant knight, loaden with honor and riches, died, in a very advanced age, at Florence, in 1394.”
The J. Hawkwood Company principals, Anthony Craft, David Denomme, and Keith Larson met as students at Michigan State University. They bonded over their common interest in medieval history and historical research/re-creation. After graduation however, they went their separate ways in the world. Craft entered the military, Larson entered the medical profession and Denomme entered the corporate world.
Several years after graduation, they had come together again and found themselves working to help solve a variety of leadership challenges found in their career fields, hobbies as well as personal lives. They determined the groups and organizations having difficulties were generally governed through coercion and the groups and organizations which were thriving, were governed through coordinated cooperation.
In discussing solutions, the three realized that even though they had each been on very different career paths, there were universal truths about leadership that transcend specific disciplines and industries. Together they created a series of quantifiable ‘hands–on’ leadership methods that could be implemented via structured training process.
Their efforts were so successful, that by word of mouth alone, they began to get requests to help other businesses and organizations. This lead the team to open their own company in 2012, naming it most appropriately, after Sir John Hawkwood, a man they admired for his historical honesty, professionalism, integrity and loyalty.