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The Team

Who We Are

Klay South

Owner & CEO

Klay South grew up in a family that was in the construction industry in Indiana, but one day he decided he wanted to serve his country. Klay promptly joined the U.S. Marines and suddenly found himself fighting in Iraq. One day in Fallujah, Klay and his team raided a building. He was tasked with searching room to room and upon opening a door he was shot, point-blank, in the face with an AK-47 during operation Phantom Fury. He returned home to Indiana a two-time Purple Heart recipient. He started USA Up Star with just one employee — himself — and now he has an ever-expanding force of military veteran professionals.

Kenny Fruits

Director of Staffing & Field Operations

Kenny was born and raised in the GREAT STATE OF INDIANA! For the past 18 years, Kenny worked in the corporate restaurant world. During that time, he held multiple upper management positions while working with a single company for those 18 years. Looking for something new he found USA UP STAR and is proud to call it his new home!  As the Director of Staffing & Field operations, he is responsible for all recruiting and staffing needs the company may have, while also being responsible for managing the daily activities of contract sites and ensuring performance / operational efficiency for multiple departments.


Keith Gates

Director of Operations and Logistics

Keith was born and raised in Clinton County, Ohio. At 18, he joined the United States Army, where he spent over 20 years, and retired as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer. During his time as a Military Policeman, he completed multiple CONUS, OCONUS, and Combat tours with distinction. Upon retirement, he instructed leadership to ROTC Cadets at the University of Dayton. Upon completion of his contract as an instructor, he ran a trucking company that specialized in delivering materials in austere environments in addition to warehousing operations. As the Director of Operations and Logistics, he oversees the operational and warehouse staff and directs logistical support for USA Up Star National and International Contracts.

Andrew Bond

Senior Operations Manager

Andrew is a lifelong resident of the Indianapolis area who served as a 63B light wheel vehicle mechanic in the 249th Signal Battalion in Waeguan, Korea.  He returned stateside to the 82nd Airborne unit out of Ft. Bragg, NC.  After his honorable discharge as E-4 SPC, Andrew served in a number of managerial roles such as Special Projects Manager at Arrow Container LLC, and more recently as Corporate Inventory Auditor and Purchase Agent for Koorsen Fire & Security.   He now serves as Senior Operations Manager at USA Up Star LLC where he is responsible for coordinating warehouse operations for large-scale and small-scale global disaster relief.

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