May 31, 2023 | Rebecca Scott for Travel Phoenix Oregon

A strong, ethical leader is in tune with their team, encourages innovation and leads an organization toward a prosperous future. 

Located in Phoenix, The ETHOS Academy creates transformational change from the inside out. Through valuable training programs and workshops, people learn and embrace the skills to become stronger leaders and better serve their employees and community. 

But at the heart of The ETHOS Academy and its evolution into a successful business, is the story of two friends who made their dream a reality.

Building a foundation for success

Founded by Greg Costanzo and Jeff Crapo, The ETHOS Academy provides training and workshops which foster a culture of integrity within organizations and help build better leaders.

Greg and Jeff grew up in Southern Oregon and became friends while attending North Medford High School. They remained friends throughout their college years and into adulthood, and both men served in the military. 

After leaving the military, Greg worked as a police officer and bomb technician with the Oregon State Police. Jeff had a successful military career where he led and commanded over 4,800 soldiers during his 24 years in the army. He is now a decorated colonel.

Both men have deep roots in Southern Oregon, and their idea to start a training academy started about eight years ago.

“Our intent was to offer training which focused on character development,” said Greg. 

Their initial goal was to take their programs and workshops on the road. When they decided to open a training academy, they wanted to put their homebase in Phoenix as part of the city’s rebuilding effort after the Almeda Fire.

“Greg’s wife found this spot,” said Jeff, “and it took us in a new direction of what we could do for our business, the community and the people here.”

Decades of experience

Greg and Jeff were fortunate to have insightful mentors and thousands of hours of training throughout their careers. This gave them an abundance of work and life experience to help them craft their own program. 

“Currently, there’s a lack of people who teach mentorship and leadership that’s digestible for adults and young people,” said Greg.

That’s when Jeff and Greg stepped in to fill the void. They pooled together 60 years of leadership experience to help people grow and companies improve their culture. Just like a person, they believe an organization has to focus on its wellbeing. Doing so creates a healthier work environment and more productive and responsible employees.

“I spent almost 25 years as an army officer. Whatever I achieved in my career, was because I had great people around me,” Jeff explained. “It was an investment in people and teamwork that led to success, not an individual effort.”

Currently, The ETHOS Academy teaches almost every law enforcement agency in Southern Oregon, in addition to local and regional businesses.

Both men are proud of what they have accomplished and look forward to developing strong character and leadership skills in the next generation.

“We’re out there, doing the work, and it feels good,” said Greg.

In addition to their leadership programs, the campus that houses The ETHOS Academy also supports other businesses. There is a local food truck on site, as well as an esthetician, massage therapist, marketing company and pool company who operate their businesses out of the front office building. 

While Greg and Jeff enjoy helping organizations thrive so they could better serve their customers and the community, it hasn’t always been an easy road.

They soon discovered there were many inaccurate descriptions of leaders and mentors.

During a learning session with local 8th graders, the students wrote down their mentors. They named famous athletes, social media influencers and celebrities. After a 30-minute course on leadership and thinking about people who inspired them, the students revisited their answers.

“They changed their answers because they were never told what a mentor was,” said Greg. Once they had the proper definition, the students discovered the real mentors in their lives.

Creating a lasting impact

Like learning any new skill, sometimes there’s a fear of the unknown. Character development classes challenge people to reflect on their views, their processes, and their strengths and weaknesses. 

But what waits on the other side are valuable leadership skills, healthier teams and more productive companies.

“We’ve trained thousands of people and most of those were executives,” said Greg. “We are motivated to keep going because we believe in what we’re teaching.” 

Both men know that leadership development takes time because people have to sit with the lessons and let the knowledge marinate. But the organizations that have consistently worked with The ETHOS Academy have experienced positive results.

“People have put their trust in us and it’s appreciated. We want our programs to help as many people as possible,” said Greg.

Photo Credit: The ETHOS Academy Facebook page