With his grant-winning startup, Idaho veteran tells inspiring stories via video, nature

From left, Kyle Smith, Mike Bond and Sam Wells celebrate arriving at the confluence of the Salmon and Snake rivers.
From left, Kyle Smith, Mike Bond and Sam Wells celebrate arriving at the confluence of the Salmon and Snake rivers. Big Cedar Media

A common misconception about Trailhead is that we’re an incubator for tech startups. While we have some of those, our 350 members come from all sides of entrepreneurialism. Forty-five percent work in some form of consulting. Another 11 percent work in advertising and marketing. Many or our members are sole proprietors, including Seth Dahl, who recently gave the Trailhead community reason to celebrate.

Seth, 35, is a longtime guide on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and a veteran of the Iraq War. Since moving from Montana to Boise a little more than two years ago, Seth channeled his love of the outdoors into Big Cedar Media, a one-man video production company. He’s tackled all kinds of products, but most, in some way or another, center on telling stories that combine inspiring people doing interesting things in nature’s splendor.

He cuts a mean video, and his subjects are amazing. His current video project will feature a kayaking trio that includes a vet who lost both legs fighting in Afghanistan, an Iraq War vet who’s coping with combat stress and their blind friend. Together, they navigate rivers. They bond. They heal.

Seth’s job will be easier after receiving a $5,000 Veteran Small Business Award from the StreetShare Foundation. More than 150 veteran-owned companies applied for the grant. The foundation whittled the list down to 12 finalists, who then submitted videos to a public vote. Seth’s video won, resulting in a check that purchased the brand-new iMac Pro capable of chewing through the gigabytes of video footage that Seth uses each day at Trailhead.

Seth served in the National Guard’s 163rd Infantry Regiment based in Missoula, Montana, for seven years, including a yearlong stint in Iraq. Like many veterans, he downplays his combat experience, saying it wasn’t as intense as what many others saw, including his veteran kayakers. Regardless, Seth is certainly deserving of the grant, both as a former soldier and as a promising young video pro already producing terrific work. We’re proud to have him at Trailhead and look forward to sharing more of Trailhead members’ success stories here.

You can check out Seth’s work at

Dan Faricy is general manager of Trailhead, a Boise-based startup incubator and networking organization.