Growing up in New York City, Murphy Bright ’10 was fascinated by the city’s Fleet Week, an annual tradition when the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard dock military ships recently deployed in overseas operations. Seeing all the service members in uniform inspired Bright. He wanted to emulate them and eventually join the military himself—there’s still a photo of Bright in a Marine Corps uniform at the age of 4 on his parents’ refrigerator.
While Bright’s parents didn’t believe the wide-eyed 4-year-old at the time, their son would, in fact, go on to join the Marines after graduating from Gettysburg College, and that experience would inform his decision to take a risk and co-found a new private equity consulting firm, A2E Advisors.
A2E Advisers was founded on the belief that the discipline, expertise, planning, and strategy developed in the military is well-suited to help businesses and the government. The firm provides military and corporate leadership expertise in project management, data analytics, cybersecurity, enterprise resource planning (ERP), integration, and technology.
There is a lot of potential work on the horizon. Currently, President Biden is preparing to pass a massive infrastructure bill, and the Department of Energy is concerned about the electrical grid. Private companies are looking to update their cybersecurity as hackers gain more and more expertise. The increasing cyber security threat is forcing companies in both the private and public sectors to reevaluate their exposure and mitigate risk by implementing more robust cyber security measures.
These are all business opportunities, according to Bright.
“A really big opportunity for us is the upcoming infrastructure bill,” Bright said. “Oftentimes, people think about infrastructure as bridges, tunnels, and roads, which is all true, but there are also billions of dollars for things like cybersecurity. Additionally, all those bridges and tunnels will need project management tools. Those are the types of areas where we can come in and help.”
He spent almost five years on active duty as an infantry officer and was deployed multiple times, including to Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. He met his current business partner, Nicholas Trapasso, at A2E Advisors when they roomed together on deployment. After exiting active duty, Bright joined the Marine Corps Reserves and is still an acting major. In between his years of service, he also earned his MBA from Syracuse University.
Over the years, Bright has applied his Gettysburg education and military experience to consulting, and now, to his entrepreneurial endeavor with A2E Advisors. He particularly credits Gettysburg with teaching him how to take risks.
“I think a liberal arts education creates a more open culture of sharing ideas and taking risks,” Bright said. “Gettysburg is really supportive of students trying a lot of different things and making it OK to fail and learn from mistakes.”
At Gettysburg, Bright played hockey and was in a fraternity. He and his brothers still talk weekly on a group text chat. That tightknit community, with his brothers and beyond, is something Bright still cherishes.
“The community at Gettysburg really influenced me,” he said. “The faculty and lifelong friends I made there have been so supportive of me and are a network I continue to access and bounce ideas off of today.”
For Gettysburg students considering entrepreneurship, Bright offers this piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to take risks.
“A lot of people who graduate from college think that there’s a mold that they have to fit into, that they have to basically do steps 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the right way in order to be able to fulfill their dreams 20 to 30 years down the road,” Bright said. “If you have an idea and the drive, just do it. Don’t wait. You may fail, but that will only make you stronger. You will learn from your mistakes and grow. At the end of the day, just don’t be afraid to take that risk.”
As A2E Advisors grows, Bright hopes to partner with Gettysburg’s Center for Career Engagement to offer internships and mentorships to Gettysburg students.
Said Bright: “I’ve had a lot of mentors in my life, and I look forward to being able to provide that for others.”
Learn about Gettysburg College’s Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative.
By Katelyn Silva
Photos by Miranda Harple and courtesy of Murphy Bright ’10