About RapidStart Leadership

Hi, I’m Ken Downer, proud husband and father, U.S. Army Infantry Colonel, and former Scoutmaster.  I have had the privilege of leading, and being led by, some of the very finest, and I’ve had a chance to be a leader in a very wide variety of conditions for well over 30 years. 

Three things I’ve found to be consistently true in all that time is that leadership is an action word, the best leaders are those who find ways to help their teammates succeed, and the leadership learning curve can be pretty steep, especially for first-timers.

My passion is sharing what I’ve learned to help make your climb up that learning curve a little less steep. 

Here’s my story. 

RapidStart Leadership Founder Ken Downer

Learning the Ropes

Ken Downer - Founder, RapidStart LeadershipStraight out of College and Army ROTC, my first real job was leading a 45-Soldier infantry platoon in the Demilitarized Zone on the Korean peninsula.  Later I led a 120-man Parachute Assault Company in the jungles of Panama.

Near the end of my career I led a composite Task Force of hundreds of people from several nations at a remote Combat Outpost in Iraq. 

In between, I had lots of other leadership experiences including training, recruiting, college level instruction, counter drug operations, and of course the inevitable time working and leading in a staff and office environment at the tactical and operational levels. 

In all those experiences, working with thousands of servicemen and women, I was continually impressed by their sense of duty and integrity, their dedication to something greater than self, and their focus on accomplishing the mission even while taking care of the people they were responsible for.  That attitude permeates every aspect of the profession, and it was an honor and privilege to count myself a leader among them.   

After 26 years of active duty, 13 changes of station, and at least 20 different leadership positions, it was time to move on.

Giving Back

I am an Eagle Scout from “back in the day,” so after retiring, I volunteered to be the Scoutmaster of a local Boy Scout Troop.  Teaching the Scouts what I could about leadership and helping them learn and grow into confident, capable leaders in their own right was immensely satisfying and a great way to give back to the community.

Ken Downer's Scout Troop 2017

RapidStart Leadership

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Ultimately I realized that I could magnify that impact and leave a longer-lasting impression if I recorded what I was teaching so it could be shared.  That led to a few experimental YouTube videos and then a channel.  The idea grew from there to become a full web site, which I launched as RapidStart Leadership in September of 2015.

I hope you take a moment to browse the site; I’m constantly adding new posts and features, including an inspirational quotes gallery, and collections of recommended books.  Recently I’ve begun adding on-line leadership courses (some are free, and some help to pay the bills) and also a podcast.

Other Interests

Ken Downer at the Ironman World ChampionshipsRight now, producing content for the site fills my days and challenges me to learn and be creative, which I love.  But it’s good to stay balanced.  Of course family is a top priority.  We recently became empty-nesters and it’s been fun to watch our kids develop, test their wings, and begin to make a dent in the world.

In any remaining spare time, I play a little guitar, love to read, and I like the swim/bike/run challenge of triathlon, so I manage to work in a few races each year; so far I’ve done thirteen full Ironman  Triathlons, including racing in the World Championships in 2019 and 2022.

To me, fitness is a natural tie-in with leadership:  leaders who are fit tend to have greater endurance, personal discipline, mental toughness, clarity of thought, and the ability to handle high stress loads.  Don’t be surprised if my thoughts on this crop up in posts from time to time!

Let's Connect

RapidStart Leadership Newsletter UpdatesEvery couple weeks I send out an email to my subscribers that offers additional resources and tips you won’t find on the web site.  Click the sign up form below and I’ll get you on the list too!

Wherever you are on your leadership journey, I’d love to hear what you think.  Please comment, ask questions, and share ideas on the blog posts, on social media, or send me a direct note via the contact form.  For instance, I’d love to hear from you what leadership topics you’d like to know more about.

Lead On!

Ken at RapidStartleadership.com

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