Nate Kouhana and Pat Lynch: Unconventional Thinking Leads to Uncommon Success


Wednesday September 06, 2023

Nate Kouhana, Founder and CEO at Anthem Snacks, states, “In transition, the hardest thing is going from a field where you had credibility, cachet, and status to another where you have to get humbled, drink from a fire hose, and rely on yourself and the things you did as a Green Beret: experience adversity, start from nothing, believe in your process, and put your ego aside to succeed.”

What happens when two former Green Berets and teammates partner up for a post-transition business venture? Lessons in teamwork, trust, and unconventional thinking honed in the Special Forces Regiment become the keys to success for Nate Kouhana and Pat Lynch, who today are at the helm of Anthem Snacks–a lifestyle brand spotlighting handcrafted, wood-smoked, MSG-free and 100% American beef jerky, as well as stylish apparel with outdoor appeal, that gives back to nonprofit organizations supporting our nation’s military and first responders.

A Houston native, Nate was an 18X recruit, joining in the aftermath of 9/11. Pat, hailing from Chicago, had served for 8 years in the Marine Corps, separating in early 2001. When the towers fell, both men answered the call to serve, eventually joining 3rd Special Forces Group after graduating the Q-course. At 3rd Group–on “a phenomenal team of experienced mentors and warriors,” as Pat describes them–Nate and Pat met and served together, experiencing a great deal of combat in a short period of time. There was no better crucible through which their personal and professional bond could have been forged.

Post-transition, Nate and Pat went their separate ways, but continued to share the mission of living lives worthy of all those close to them who did not make it home. It was this shared mindset that led Nate to tap Pat as the ideal teammate to help him found Anthem Snacks. Striving to create a brand based on what Nate pinpoints as “genuine authenticity,” they put that value–having and living an authentic story–at the forefront of every move that they’ve made since then.

In a saturated and mature jerky and meat-snack market, with most jerky being sold in grocery and convenience stores, Anthem’s objective from the outset was to target consumers in diverse markets such as airlines and the home improvement space–areas where consumers want convenience and are willing to pay a bit more for a premium product. Understanding what their consumer wants and what the market still needs became key to the innovation that fueled the brand’s growth: the introduction of zero sugar jerky (still MSG-free and sourced from 100% American beef), as well as Montana-made K9 jerky for every warrior and adventurer’s best friend were just two of these key moves that have made Anthem jerky a standout in the market and truly the premium jerky available to nutrition-conscious and outdoor-oriented consumers today.

The manner in which Anthem transparently offers snacks in line with this value set has resonated with larger entities, who have sought out Anthem for their authentic, handcrafted, top-notch product. The first such relationship was established in 2021 with United Airlines, where Anthem provided over 1.5 million bags to customers on flights in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean, over 18 months–longer than most snacks are kept in an airline’s rotation. 

It was a profile on Anthem, published in the United in-flight magazine, that captured the attention of a traveling executive on the UFC’s Global Partnership Team. This has led to the brand’s largest partnership to date, as they have now been named the Official Jerky and Meat Snack of the UFC–the premier mixed martial arts organization on the planet. 

Both men credit their Green Beret training and experience as the key to Anthem’s success.  “The skillsets we learned as Green Berets have been a significant factor in succeeding in business,” emphasizes Nate. “Thinking unconventionally, maximizing force multipliers, and navigating the landscape with limited assets – all critical elements while operating on an ODA – is a great part of Anthem’s strategy.”

Today, Anthem snacks has a new 5,000 square foot space in Bozeman, MT, where they run fulfillment for all online orders, maintain offices, with a retail shop on the premises opening soon. They have a core group of employees that have made Anthem into what it is today, and as Nate emphasizes, built a streamlined and successful company by the principle of “doing more with less – a Green Beret way of life.”

To Top of Webpage