Community//

Mike Werner, Caleb McGuire, & Trey Washington of NewBreath: “A true leader doesn’t change when nobody looking”

Mike Werner: Great leaders lead by example. They always do the right thing even if it’s not good for them. A leader doesn’t take shortcuts. He or she does it right the first time. A true leader doesn’t change when nobody looking. Trey Washington: I believe we are making a major social impact on many levels. […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Mike Werner: Great leaders lead by example. They always do the right thing even if it’s not good for them. A leader doesn’t take shortcuts. He or she does it right the first time. A true leader doesn’t change when nobody looking.

Trey Washington: I believe we are making a major social impact on many levels. We’re helping the public with a line that has a safety face mask built into a top not just for convenience but for their safety and the safety of the public. It’s comfortable, breathable and durable to it eliminates the use of disposable masks that only contribute waste pollution.

Caleb McGuire: At the moment, the goal is to help children, families, and the working community. We want to give them a real option for their everyday life — everything from going to work, their daily activities like errands, going to the gym, the kids playing outdoors or at school, and hopefully for travel.


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing MIKE WERNER, CALEB McGUIRE and TREY WASHINGTON, founders of NewBreath.

Mike Werner,a highly successful businessman with interests in trucking and residential real estate, contacted friends Trey Washington and Caleb McGuire about an idea he had for an alternative to disposable face masks. The three discussed Mike’s idea for a shirt that already had a built-in, comfortable and breathable face mask to eliminate the inconveniences of forgetting to bring one, losing them, and even the now growing problem of the accumulating litter of disposable masks which end up as non bio-degradable waste. They then enlisted Courtney Dickins as creative director that led to their conceiving NewBreath. With Trey’s experience in running his own businesses (mostly in restaurants and bars) and Caleb’s marketing and IT know-how in the tech industry, they formed the brand out of their shared entrepreneurial drive and the determination to make a difference for people in the frontlines as well as everyone else who are gradually emerging into the new normal.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Mike Werner: Work is a vital cornerstone of my life. When I was 8 years-old, I saved money to purchase baby chicks to raise until they could lay eggs for me to sell. From there I just kept working — from making and selling Christmas wreaths and paper routes to working on a charter boat and at a grocery store. I eventually landed a job loading trucks where I learned the business from the ground up. I bought my first truck at 23 years-old and grew a trucking company with 35 trucks and 50 tanker trailers, which safely hauled dangerous chemicals for major companies like Boise Cascade, Shell and others. Together with my wife, I also started investing in commercial real estate and we’ve been buying and selling homes and units since the early 1980s.

NewBreath began as an idea that I had because of the pandemic. I have so many friends who are good, hardworking people who were struggling to find a way to safely go out to work. And together with Trey and Caleb we began this conversation of how to safely bring people out of isolation and bring everyone together.

Trey Washington: I have always been open to new challenges. Mike has always been an inspiration for his visionary ideas. So when we sat down and talked about creating this new product that could potentially make a difference, it was a no brainer. The chance to help others and launch a clothing line like this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I couldn’t pass up. And working on the project was a great way to channel positive effort and get away from all the craziness in the world. It’s allowed me to be creative and productive and work with an amazing team.

Caleb McGuire: My father was an entrepreneur and I grew up watching him and appreciating that spirit of building something and growing it into a successful venture. I’ve also had a love for clothing and fashion and was truly excited when this opportunity came to draw from that and contribute something to that could be a positive change to the world.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

Caleb McGuire: The most interesting story is how we began. When we were first getting together during the start of the pandemic, we were talk about starting a podcast around trucking because that was Mike’s field and Trey and I could contribute our own specific expertise. But the more we discussed NewBreath, the more sense it made, and we ended up with a high end, clothing company instead!

Trey Washington: For me, it was how quick we got going. Everyone really pulled together with an early sample and how we turned a vision to a realty. It was so fast and quick it felt like I was outside my body watching from the outside and witnessing our dream become a reality.

Mike Werner: The most interesting for me is watching how Caleb and Trey grow into this. I wanted to act as a business mentor to them and simply push them to appreciate how hard work can pay off, that you don’t take short cuts to be successful.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Caleb McGuire: So far, any mistakes have been minimal. None of us have been in the production side of the garment business so we knew well enough to appoint someone like Courtney who not only is a gifted designer but has been in this business for a while and knows how to guide us in how execute our idea. It’s definitely been a learning process and we’ve grown to really adjust fast to everyday challenges from production to building the business infrastructure.

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

Trey Washington: I believe we are making a major social impact on many levels. We’re helping the public with a line that has a safety face mask built into a top not just for convenience but for their safety and the safety of the public. It’s comfortable, breathable and durable to it eliminates the use of disposable masks that only contribute waste pollution. And moving forward, we hope people will cab safely gather together. We all need to be around each other and we want to help make that happen.

Caleb McGuire: The initial idea was never about just starting a profit driven business rather it was born out of really finding a way for people to engage with each other safely. So we genuinely hope as our communities open back up and we will have had a small part in that.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Caleb McGuire: At the moment, the goal is to help children, families, and the working community. We want to give them a real option for their everyday life — everything from going to work, their daily activities like errands, going to the gym, the kids playing outdoors or at school, and hopefully for travel.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Trey Washington: Yes, we hope this can start a conversation among everyone on the positive ways of bringing people together. Ultimately, it’s not just a matter of going back to normal but adjusting to a new one. So maybe schools, business communities, and politicians can address the issues of how to safely reopen. Sometimes the quick solution like the disposable mask can bring more harm like a negative impact those can do to the environment. And along the way, they should also be addressing the other issues the pandemic has brought up like mental health and creating a safe environment at public events, help kids and adults with events that helps them grow in the way Covid hasn’t allowed them.

Caleb McGuire: Yes, absolutely we hope everyone can get onboard to help us spread the word about this safe, functional and superior alternative option to a face mask, and let us help to re-open the schools and small businesses.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Mike Werner: Great leaders lead by example. They always do the right thing even if it’s not good for them. A leader doesn’t take shortcuts. He or she does it right the first time. A true leader doesn’t change when nobody looking. Leadership is showing how to be successful by hard work. A leader is constantly proving his or her ethics. True leadership teaches us to not blame others for our lack of success. Winning is not based on record, it’s based on improving. If you are not working harder than the next guy you are going to be left behind. Consistency is the key and keep trying your best. Constantly do the right thing for everyone.

Trey Washington: Leadership to me is someone who is not only willing to do the task but help and guide in the ways to do so with the same standards or higher. It’s not to be afraid of others’ greatness but rather help foster them as well. We are all good at something even we don’t see it, others do. True leadership is helping others grow.

Caleb McGuire: A leader leads by doing. When you are just cracking the whip and giving call orders, that’s not being a leader. A true leader is in the trenches with everyone else, doing the hard work, and showing the way through their actions.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each?

Trey Washington:

*Even when it’s easy at first, it’s still hard work and there’s always more to do to maintain greatness

*Never give up because so many tend to quit just when they’re about to enjoy the fruits of their labor

*Always ask questions. There’s always room to improve and learn.

*Don’t let your lack of knowledge be a crutch but accept them and try harder.

*Do what you hate the most like you it’s your favorite. It forces you to grow.

Caleb McGuire:

*Short cuts often lead nowhere.

*With enough time and resources, you can accomplish anything

*Keep your business clean from the very beginning

*Starting a business in the middle of a pandemic will affect your timing

*Find the experts to fill in your weakness

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 😊

Mike Werner: It would be the NewBreath movement of getting people out of the box society put us in. There are times society works hard to hold you back. If we could unite to help people, show them that they really can accomplish something no matter what they hear on TV or what the neighbors say. I truly want to elevate others I want to show them what it takes to win to beat the odds that are so stacked against us.

Trey Washington: That no matter who you are we all need support. We all are going through this crazy world alone most of the time and we can us kindness to make it easier for everyone and give of all more hope. Happiness is on you but why bring other down on your way to get there?

Caleb McGuire: Teach entrepreneurship to our children. They will be the leaders of the next generation. Foster them through learning and example.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Trey Washington: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”

Caleb McGuire: “No crumbs on the table.” It was a saying my mom would say when she wanted her house completely clean before she came home from work and to me, it means to finish what you started to completion.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Trey Washington: We’re on Instagram @newbreathclothing and Facebook New Breath Clothing

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“5 Things You Should Do To Become a Thought Leader In Your Industry” With Nicole Sodoma of Sodoma Law

by Yitzi Weiner
Community//

Leadership Lessons for 2021

by Vanessa Hope
Community//

Alison Bennett Richardson: “Self-care is important to being a good leader”

by Karina Michel Feld
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.