Utah Businessman & Co-Founder B3 Development Talks About How To Start, Scale, & Sell Successful Companies
Guest Bio: (From an Article Featured on Ryortho)
Members of the broader orthopedic community are famous for leaping into action when disaster strikes. When earthquakes decimated Haiti, dozens of orthopedists, nurses, and even sales reps and executives volunteered to help. And, without fanfare, hundreds of people in the broader orthopedic community volunteer their time, instruments, implants, machines and other resources to go to remote corners of the world to provide free care to those who need it the most.
But the story of Radd Berrett, a 51-year-old retired orthopedic industry executive, is truly one of a kind.
Berrett, a single father, had just sold his neuromonitoring company, his orthopedic distributorship and his MRI facility in 2014 and was ready to retire—or at least shift into low gear.
But fate had other plans.
As Berrett told OTW, “I attended a political event with my friend Sean Reyes, who is now the Attorney General of Utah. They had set aside time for a man named Tim Ballard, a former CIA and Homeland Security Agent who had started an international child sex slavery rescue organization—Operation Underground Railroad. (O.U.R. Rescue). After listening to Tim’s compelling stories of children in horrible situations who could indeed be saved, I was hooked.”
A few weeks later Radd Berrett saw a private screening of a film called The Abolitionists. Made by Gerald Molen, the producer of Shindler’s List, the film tells the story of Tim Ballard and his operatives on their first mission. “It ripped my heart out, ” says Berrett. “Over the next few months, I got to know Tim and asked how I could help. ‘Join the jump team, ’ he said.”
A jump team is a rugged group of individuals—many of whom are former SEALS, CIA, and FBI agents—who head into situations where children are being trafficked for sex. Radd Berrett: “Seven months later and countless hours of training I am now a member of the ‘jump team.’ I also serve as the Director of Corporate Affairs.”
Part rescuer, part actor, Berrett works with the team to set up sting operations to apprehend the traffickers. “We pose as wealthy businessmen who fly in for sex parties. And our people never go into any country without involving the local and/or federal police. This all has to be ‘by the book’ because these people have to be prosecuted. Everything is filmed and our team is all mixed up.”
“The trainers always say that they can train us on tactics, but that we have to be in a specific mental ‘space’ in order to go undercover and act like a pedophile. Most of the ex-military guys just want to reach over and rip the trafficker’s head off, so obviously, they have to work through that in order to do follow the script.”
“We have decades of combined undercover sting experience. When doing the setups we make it clear to the traffickers that our guys are wealthy, high profile people, and that safety and anonymity are critical. We make sure they know that if any of their people show up with weapons, drugs, or recording devices then the deal is off. Our people pat everyone down, so no one has ever pulled a weapon on us. We have established ‘safe’ words and a ‘panic’ word. And in the end, to preserve our cover, we are handcuffed and thrown to the ground with everyone else. The local and/or federal police then get to take credit for the bust.”
According to the organization’s founder, Tim Ballard, “In order to dismantle these trafficking rings, we do our research, coordinate with local authorities, rescue the children, make sure the perpetrators are arrested, and then ensure long-term care for the children. We monitor the prosecutions and engage in the training of local forces so that they are ready for future missions. And because we are a private agency, we are free from the burdens of bureaucracy.”
Saved Over 300 Children
To date, Operation Underground Railroad has saved well over 300 children and apprehended 48 sex traffickers; missions have been carried out in 12 countries, including the U.S.
Berrett says, “Our most resounding successes have been in Columbia, where the authorities are very receptive, motivated, and glad to have help in fighting the child sex trafficking problem. We have worked with the federal government there on the several occasions; at one point three of their top undercover agents and two psychotherapists came to the U.S. and spent a week undergoing forensic and other kinds of training.”
“The most astounding things are the statistics. The fact that the majority of demand for child sex emanates from the U.S. and Canada is disconcerting. There is a huge volume of child porn that drives child sex slavery. However, we are building software to help law enforcement identify and catch pedophiles.”
Asked if they were ever unable to take a mission to the point of prosecution, Berrett says, “The very first undercover operation I did was in Haiti. A few weeks prior, a Christian aid group was bringing in supplies and someone in their group brought a drone to film them helping the children. Well, during this time, someone on their team set the drone down to make some adjustments…and all the while it was filming. By chance, it caught images of a man raping a 4-year-old boy (and there were accomplices). The aid group sent us these images and we presented the video to a judge. He gave us the green light to go undercover and get the guy, which we did. In the end, however, once we were all in the courtroom the child’s mother would not press charges. The judge let him go right in front of us.”
One extremely successful mission took an unexpectedly positive turn, says Berrett. “There were 53 kids in a horrific facility fronting as an orphanage; they were all for sale. We set up a sting to pay $7, 500 each for two children…a brother and sister who were 4 and 5 years old. That little boy leaped into one of my colleague’s arms…it was like he knew he was there to save him. We were able to rescue all of the children…and my jump team partner and his wife are adopting that little boy, as well as his sister.”
True Heroes, Massive Hearts
Radd Berrett wasn’t prepared for the effect that O.U.R. would have on him. “After one mission we had gotten the kids settled in with people running a safe, loving orphanage. My teammates and I spent three hours there playing with the kids…running and jumping and having so much fun laughing with them. Then it came time to leave. The kids were all smiles, but my heart was tearing. I forgot that there was a GoPro camera in the car and it caught me crying like I haven’t cried in 30 years. They were fundamentally tears of joy for these children. Overall, I have never done more emotionally satisfying work.”
Sean Reyes, Attorney General of Utah, has nothing but praise for his friend who jumped into the fray to help little ones. “Radd Berrett has taken the same drive, dedication and work ethic that made him a success in the business community to become an effective force in fighting human trafficking. He has given selflessly of his time and money to disrupt this evil practice not only in the U.S. but around the world. He has become an integral player in the liberation of thousands of little boys and girls from the clutches of child sex trafficking rings. And he has shown an incredible gift for helping survivors of these atrocities on their long road to recovery and healing. We need more men and women with the character and compassion of Radd Berrett to be effective in our global battle against the evil scourge of sex trafficking.
How Radd got involved in business and Olympic athletes (2:30)
Working with athletes with concussions during hard times (5:12)
How Radd started working in healthcare (9:10)
Finding the bright side versus "missing the boat" with Overstock (13:40)
How Radd found the motivation to keep moving success after success (16:53)