Comet Started. Veteran Owned.

Every day we get to work with brilliant minds building, molding, and shaping a better tomorrow. We love to celebrate our Comet entrepreneurs. But it’s not often we get to bring attention to those who put country first. In observance of Veterans Day, we wanted to celebrate a few of our Comet entrepreneurs who returned to civilian life and built businesses.

Emily Elizabeth Chrastka BS’16 // U.S. Army

Founder & CEO, The Enchanted Rose Floral Company

The Enchanted Rose Floral Company’s creates forever wood flowers beautifully crafted from sustainable and environmentally friendly soft woods such as bamboo and tapioca. In 2020, Enchanted Rose officially became certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the US.

Denyse Carpio, MA’21 // U.S. Navy

Founder, Cameron County Mercantile

After recently returning to her hometown of Emporium, PA., Denyse observed a town that had been economically hit hard by the pandemic. Not one to sit around, she and her husband started Cameron County Mercantile to provide local artists, makers, growers and producers a place to sell their products with no overhead. She works with other local small businesses to create a main street atmosphere in the hopes of enticing tourists driving through the town on their way to the local state parks, dams, and elk viewing stations, to stop and visit. While employed at the university (Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), Denyse participated in the GalXc accelerator where she received valuable feedback on her idea and learned how to articulate what she wanted to do.

Brandon Friedman, MPA’06 // U.S. Army

Founder & CEO, Rakkasan Tea Company

While serving tours with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division in the Middle East, Brandon was often served tea by locals. In 2017 he launched his premium loose leaf tea company that imports solely from carefully selected estates in post-conflict countries as a way to promote peace and economic growth. RTC’s superior tea is delivered the way it was meant to be consumed: Pure and organic, with no added flavors. Since their launch, Rakkasan has been named “Startup Impact Importer of the Year” by the Global Chamber Dallas, received the “Biggest Social Impact” award at the 2019 UTD Big Ideas Competition as well as profiles by The Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, The Dallas Observer, The Dallas Business Journal, Inc. Magazine, and Fresh Cup Magazine.

Jason Hendricks, MS’22 // U.S. Army

Founder, Forgot or Knot

Forgot or Knot’s mission is to create memorable gift experiences by utilizing their team of shopping experts to hand-deliver gifts for any occasion topped with a personalized video message from the gift sender. Since launching his company in 2019, Jason has represented UT Dallas in the Blackstone LaunchPad Fellowship, an 8-week virtual program for student founders where they receive $5,000 to support their working on advancing their startups. Most recently, he competed as a finalist in the student track of the UT Dallas Big Idea Competition.  

Timothy Reazor, MBA’18 & MS’19 // U.S. Marine Corps

Co-founder, Fifth & Cherry

Tim comes from a long line of fine cabinet makers, but it’s what he did with the wood scraps that made him a business owner. Fifth & Cherry crafts long-lasting cutting boards made in the USA from 100% responsibly sourced cherry wood. Each board comes with a lifetime warranty including complimentary refinishing for life to maintain its superior craftsmanship. While earning his dual degrees at UTD, Tim was accepted into the Blackstone LaunchPad Propel program (to represent UTD), a two-day entrepreneurial event held in New York City that included a mentor madness session, where student teams met more than 50 business and industry experts from the Blackstone and Techstars networks. Fifth & Cherry has also partnered with several companies and saw a 500% increase in sales in 2020. One of its new partnerships is with Big Green Egg, a leading producer and international distributor in the barbecue industry.