Nick Starling is a 9th generation Virginian. Tracing his roots all the way back to Col. Richard Lee I "The Immigrant" in 1639. His family lineage also traces back to Prince Madoc, the Welsh Explorer who landed on the shores of Mobile Bay in Gulf Shores, Alabama in 1170, a full 322 years before Columbus. Nick’s father was one of the first Green Berets, later receiving a field commission as an officer in F-Co. LRRPs as a Ranger in Vietnam. Nick currently lives near Ranger Colonel John S. Mosby’s heritage area, known as the center of Virginia’s wine country.
To learn more about the life that his late father led, Nick left his home in Virginia and enlisted after high school. The first three years being stationed in Alaska were brutal. His second month at his first unit, 1-17 Infantry, his company was given the Army cold weather training record during their two weeks of training outside at -86 Fahrenheit. Nick's exemplary performance while lower enlisted earned him one of four slots for US Army Ranger School, which he was one of the two to pass from the Brigade. Upon returning, Nick was promptly thrust into leadership due to his technical and tactical proficiency, and sent to the US Army Primary Leadership Development course, where he graduated at the top of his class, with a report date of September 11, 2001. Nick was then promoted to NCO and transferred to 3rd Ranger Battalion to fulfill Abrams Charter of training Rangers to lead the rest of the Army. While in the Rangers, Nick was trained as a team leader and squad leader. He was then selected to train the 3rd Infantry Division how to enter and clear buildings like Rangers. While in the 3rd Infantry Division during the buildup in 2002, Nick excelled at his task of training his mechanized Infantry troops and was selected to be the lead team leader for Task Force 1/15, Audie Murphy’s unit, which led the invasion of Iraq in 2003. During the invasion, Nick’s fire team captured the first 3 star General of the war. Later during the invasion, Nick and his team rescued a burning tank crew while over 5,000 enemy soldiers of Saddam’s second most ferocious unit, the Nebuchadnezzar Brigade, attempted to finish the job, and Starling’s men. Nick attributes his success in combat to God and Nick’s praying the Lord’s prayer every time before the ramp came down on his Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
In 2005 and 2006, he protected Diplomats in Iraq as a contracted Counter-Assassination Specialist for the U.S. Department of State.
During his military service, Nick discovered he had Soldier's Heart, known as Post Traumatic Stress. His father also had this condition, which inspired Nick to lead a life in service to combating the stigma associated with returning warriors. Nick has helped introduce or expand legislation on the federal, and state levels for the advancement of Veterans rights to include Veteran treatment courts, education, and Vetrepreneurship. He has also worked with the Angel Capital Association to organize events where Veteran entrepreneurs and present to Angel investors. All this before he attended college.
Nick began his undergraduate degree at Hawaii Pacific University where he excelled. Nick created his concept for vertical farming while in HPU's "Intro to Human Geography". Nick transferred to Harvard's Extension School where he founded the Harvard Extension School Veterans Club with now Congressman Brian Mast. Nick then went on to create the Ivy League Veterans Council, and co-found the Harvard Military Scholarship Fund in order to help Veterans transfer, or apply to Ivy League Schools. When asked about the topic of Veterans in the Ivies, Nick refers to Thucydides "The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools." To this point, Nick took lead in influencing Harvard to make a permanent, official Harvard Military tour, celebrating the long, prestigious history of Harvard's "Thin Crimson line" to include the University's 18 Medal of Honor recipients.
The economics of Controlled Environment Agriculture has since become Nick's field of expertise. He has been labelled by other economists as the world's leading expert in the economics of Controlled Environment Agriculture, and is preparing a series of peer-reviewed Journal articles that will later be combined to create his Ph.D. in Economics Dissertation "Positive Supply Shock Effects of Vertical Farming" at which point, Nick will apply to a Ph.D. program.
Nick's work in agriculture dates back to his childhood when he would help one of his Grandfather's harvest oranges every winter in Central Florida. His other Grandfather was a butcher in Virginia where Nick grew up. Both Grandfathers taught Nick the value of the nation's food supply chain. Both Grandfathers served in World War II.