Dave Smestuen

Honor. Courage. Commitment. These are the Core Values of the United States Marine Corps, the warfighting organization of which I was a part for nine years. A former commander of mine explained these values to me very simply: Honor is knowing what’s right, Courage is doing what’s right, and Commitment is continuing to do what’s right even when the chips are down and the odds are stacked against you. 

I came to Coyle Financial Counsel in 2021, 13 years after taking the Oath of Office as a United States Marine, and those values are no less meaningful or uncompromising to me now as they were then. Coyle’s culture and values called to me because they resonate with my own. As a leader in this firm, I remain committed to providing the same exceptional level of service to our clients now and in the future, as we have in the past.  

I graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2008, accepted a commission as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, and served for nine years as an infantryman. For nine years, on friendly shores and abroad, my commitment to my Corps and to my people was total and all-encompassing: it was the mission, the Marines, and me—and in that order. “Servant Leadership” has become a catchphrase in military and business circles alike, but for the Marines, it’s just “Leadership,” no modifiers necessary. To lead is to serve. It’s as simple as that. In the Corps, we have a saying: “Officers eat last,” and that’s really all you need to know.  

My career path out of the Marine Corps has been anything but conventional, but whether I’ve been running my own Texas barbecue business or developing a quality assurance program for a security robotics company, my core values and leadership style have remained consistent. With every new direction I take in life, I think of myself as the impressionable, idealistic 18-year-old kid standing in line at the gates to Annapolis – what would he think of me now?

When I’m not at the office, you can find me reading, writing, traveling, fishing, or hunting. I also support and participate in the Arts, and I commit my off time to expanding their influence within the veteran and active-duty community.