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“Successful reentry is an inside job – beginning not only inside prison but inside a
person’s heart.”

Gatekeepers was created entirely for inmates and returning citizens by someone who knows what it is like to re-enter society after incarceration. The Business of Living model began as a spark of inspiration when Bill Gaertner was incarcerated in a Maryland facility serving an eight-year sentence for domestic violence. Bill quickly learned that getting through the prison experience required him to take a hard look at himself and that he could no longer continue to do things as he had in the past. From this place of self-examination and contemplation, Bill determined that he was quite possibly approaching his last chance to make a real difference in the lives of others. He realized that there were few, if any, organized programs to help people to successfully reenter society after incarceration and this was his opportunity to make good and give back. Bill spent several years planning the Business of Living program, bouncing ideas off trusted friends he met in prison creating an  innovative, simple, and practical life planning tool to help others as they transition from prison and into a productive life.

Upon his release in 2013, Bill set to the task of getting to know the Hagerstown community and putting his dream into action. Bill knocked on many doors trying to pitch his idea to local organizations. Only one organization, Valor Ministries, saw the potential and invited Bill to work out of their office to help him launch the program in Washington County. Since then, Gatekeepers has helped hundreds of local men and women prepare their personal re-entry plan using the Business of Living Workbook. Currently, Gatekeepers presents its program in the County Detention Center and all State facilities within Washington County, Maryland, going inside the walls so that incarcerated individuals can begin planning for release ahead of time. Gatekeepers has been recognized by the State of Maryland as a leader in reentry services.

Gatekeepers began expanding into the national arena in 2022 by digitizing the Business of Living Workbook. The program is currently available on tablets in prisons nationwide helping over 4,000 inmates map out their reentry plan thus far. In 2021, Bill received the National Prison Ministry Award presented by the St. Dismas Society for the work he has done with returning inmates within the state of Maryland.

By attending to his own Business of Living, the dream and vision of one incarcerated man has helped thousands re-enter life.


Each individual has the opportunity to jump-start his or her own life business. As we examine our lives, we know we have to get smarter, better at our jobs, and be better people. The Business of Living Workbook is designed to help participants identify and overcome any challenges they may face by focusing on four aspects of living their life – occupational, educational, personal, and spiritual. Gatekeepers strives to empower individuals to overcome impediments to be who they want to be. Under the supervision of our Director of Operations Keith Roys, Gatekeepers has created the Business of Living Workbook and uses it to help current and former inmates chart their re-entry path to success. Gatekeepers works with men and women currently incarcerated to get them started on their re-entry planning. Gatekeepers will then meet them at the gate on their day of release (if needed) and get them immediately started on implementing their re-entry plan. Bill and others from Gatekeepers have presented the Business of Living Program to hundreds of men and women at local detention centers, state prisons, and federal penitentiaries.

The Business of Living Workbook

Available on Amazon

Business of Living

Coach's Edition

Available on Amazon


Business of Living on Tablets!

The Gatekeepers Business of Living Workbook is on tablets in correctional facilities all around the nation!

Since it began in March of 2022 it's now in over 300 correctional facilities with over 4,000 completions.

​Every state in orange has at least one correctional facility that has the Business of Living on tablets. We hope that soon there will be orange in all fifty!

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