Scholarship Helps Army Dive Engineer Officer Keep His New Business Above Water

Much of Charles Masters Rodriguez’s Army career was spent at the bottom.


As a dive engineer officer stationed in Pearl Harbor, Charles did everything from underwater repairs, dredging, checking ports for mines, anchor recovery and, occasionally, searching for items that Navy midshipmen had dropped overboard.

His most rewarding mission was the successful recovery of the remains of two Navy pilots who had gone missing over the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War.

“Best job of my life,” he said. “Anything that engineers on top of land can do, we can do it underwater.”

After four years at West Point and five years active duty, the Puerto Rican native started what is now MK3 Industries to help small businesses and customers acquire military grade products via e-commerce. 

He expects to expand his work to include not just “business to business” clients but those seeking military contracts as well. 

A Veterans Florida scholarship is helping Charles and ten other veterans secure valuable coworking space to help grow their businesses. 

For Charles’ unique needs, he is also using the scholarship to help pay for warehouse space, a critical need for his business.

“It’s a life saver,” he said of the scholarship. “This is giving me a foot in the door and lowers my overhead. With Miami real estate, it’s hard to find affordable warehouse space with a docking bay.”

Charles said his military experience is helping him keep his business afloat.

“The entrepreneur game is risky,” he said. “Grit and perseverance, that’s something the military ingrains in you. That the mission doesn’t fail. You keep going until you find a way to make it.”

For more on how the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is helping veterans start and grow their own businesses in the Sunshine State, visit our website