Sailor Spotlight! Angela T. Careccia, from Orange County, California

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August-sailor Spotlight

Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Angela T. Careccia, from Orange County, Calif., with USS Constitution, conducts a knot tying demonstration during a Navy Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fair at Camp William Hinds, of the Pine Tree Council Cub and Scouts, as part of Portland, Maine’s Navy Week.

Navy Weeks, coordinated by the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO), are designed to give Americans the opportunity to learn about the Navy, its people, and its importance to national security and prosperity. Since 2005, the Navy Week program has served as the Navy’s flagship outreach effort into areas of the country without a significant Navy presence, with 195 Navy Weeks held in 71 different U.S. markets.

“Navy Weeks are designed to show Americans the tremendous investment and unmatched capability they have in their Navy,” said Cmdr. John Gay, NAVCO’s director. “Because the Navy is concentrated primarily on both coasts, we’re challenged to communicate our mission away from fleet concentration areas. The Navy Week program helps us do that.”

Navy Weeks are scheduled for the upcoming following cities in 2017:
– Portland, Maine, Aug. 21-27
– Detroit, Aug. 28-Sept. 4
– Salt Lake City, Sept. 11-17
– Little Rock, Arkansas, Oct. 16-22
– Fort Worth, Texas, Oct. 23-29

Navy Weeks bring a variety of events, equipment, and personnel to a single city for a weeklong series of engagements with the public, key influencers, and organizations representing all sectors of the community.

“During a Navy Week, 75-100 outreach events are coordinated with corporate, civic, government, education, media, veterans, community service, and diversity organizations in the city,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brett Dawson, NAVCO’s event planning department head. “We bring in as much of the Navy as we can to raise awareness of the Navy, its mission, and its importance to the public.”

The Blue Angels; the Navy Parachute Team; bands; divers; Seabees; explosive ordnance disposal teams; naval aviation aircraft and aircrew; Sailors from ships and submarines with namesake ties; hometown Sailors; Navy Medicine personnel; USS Constitution Sailors and equipment; Naval History and Heritage Command; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and environmental assets; the Navy Ceremonial Guard; and Navy recruiting assets all have participated in the Navy Week program in various capacities over the life of the program.

Navy Week cities are chosen based on a variety of factors, including Gallup data on Navy knowledge and awareness, Navy recruiting data, demographic information, namesake ties of ships and submarines, past outreach history in the market, and geography to ensure events are dispersed across the country.

Last year’s Navy Week program, through the execution of more than 900 individual outreach events, showcased the Navy, its mission, and its people to a combined audience of approximately 70 million Americans.

For more information, visit navy.mil, facebook.com/usnavy, or twitter.com/usnavy.

For more news from Navy Office of Community Outreach, visit navy.mil/navco/ or youtube.com/NavyWeek.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Van’tLeven/Released

The men and women in U.S. Navy are deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world’s oceans.

Military Background the Foundation for Success

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Soldire stands in uniform next to rock called The Rock

It is no secret that companies benefit from a diverse mix of employees, including those who have served our country. We at ON Semiconductor are fortunate to employ many of our active and retired service men and women across the country.

One of these amazing individuals is retired Lieutenant Colonel Darren P. Hooks, based at our corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. Our diversity and inclusion initiative wanted to take some time to ask Lt. Col. Hooks about his time in the military and how it helped him transition to civilian life.

 

Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (D&I):

What branch of the military did you serve in and for how long?

Darren Hooks (DH): I was in the United States Air Force for over 24 years and retired as Lt. Col.

D&I: Why did you join?

DH: My love for structure, discipline and service motivated me to join. This originated from my passion and progression within the Boy Scouts of America.

D&I: Why did you choose the U.S. Air Force?

DH: The U.S. Air Force chose me. Starting with the Boy Scouts, I transitioned to Army Junior ROTC in high school where I eventually progressed to the highest rank of Battalion Commander. During enrollment in college, I also intended to continue participation in the Army ROTC. During freshman registration, outside on a hot and humid Alabama summer day, both Army and Air Force ROTC recruiters were set up side by side. Strategically, only the Air Force ROTC recruiters offered free hot dogs, sodas and chips. That is how the Air Force chose me.

D&I: Do you come from a military family?

DH: I am the first and only (within a family of 10) to join the U.S. military.

D&I: What was your job/assignment?

DH: Throughout my extensive military service, I served in multiple career fields that include civil engineering, communications, and command and control squadrons.

D&I: Where are some of the places you were deployed?

DH: Military deployments to Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Lt. Colonel Hooks poses in uniform in front of Helicopter

D&I: Once your service ended, what were your next steps? Did you work or go back to school?

DH: Following military retirement, I focused solely on my career with ON Semiconductor.

D&I: What led you to ON Semiconductor and what do you do now?

DH: Motorola recruited me right out of Tuskegee University. I started at Motorola Government Electronics Group before going to Intel Corporation for a period, before returning to ON Semiconductor (formerly Motorola) for a 16-year tenure as a project/program manager.

D&I: How did your military experience influence your career? Do you see connections between your time in the military and your time with ON Semiconductor?

DH: The military instilled within me structure, discipline and teamwork. I credit the military as the foundation of my success at ON Semiconductor. Our company and coworkers supported me tremendously during my multiple military deployments and made coming back to civilian life easier than it might have been otherwise.

D&I: Looking back on your military service, do you consider it to have had a positive impact on your life?

DH: Yes. The military has taught me immeasurable life lessons, and I would not change it for the world.

12 Tips for Effectively Managing Veterans in the Workplace

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manager sitting at a desk talking with an employee

By Preston Ingalls

As both a veteran and an employer of veterans for more than four decades, I have learned a great deal about managing those who served our nation.

For example, there are some techniques that employers should consider to aid success in hiring and sustaining this group. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 21 million men and women, or 9 percent of the civilian population age 18 and over, are veterans. That is roughly 1 in 10. Of course, this includes those who served in WWII, Korea and in nonconflict times.

As a veteran, finding decent employment is not a given just because he/she served his/her country. Among men age 25 to 34, Gulf War-era II veterans had a higher unemployment rate (7.5%) than did nonveterans (6.3%). In 2014, BLS reported that among women, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans (8.5%) was much higher than the rate for nonveterans (5.9%). Additionally, 35- to 44-year-old female veterans had a rate of 9 percent, which is almost double the rate of 4.8 percent for their nonveteran counterparts. According to Stars and Stripes newspaper, nearly two-thirds of new veterans say they faced a difficult transition to civilian life. The simple fact is that hiring veterans makes sense because of the qualities they bring to the table that can be hard to find in other candidates.

Why Veterans Struggle to Find Jobs

One reason that veterans continue to struggle to find jobs is that those without military experience have no reference point as to how military experience translates to a potential job need. Unfortunately, many veterans haven’t learned how to translate their experiences into comparable civilian applications. When employers are unclear about the conversion of skills and experiences, they may revert back to a more comfortable position of passing over a veteran prospect. Employers should keep an open mind and make it clear on job postings and websites what they are looking for. It may simply be an issue of skills translation. Another issue is that veterans are often stereotyped by many civilian employers. Several years ago, 46 percent of human resource professionals surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cited posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health issues as major challenges and barriers in considering employees with military experience.

The reality is that PTSD is shared by about one-fifth of current veterans, and the highest rate for veterans of any era was Vietnam-era veterans, at 30 percent. Regardless of these low percentages, the most important fact is that PTSD is often treatable with medication. The SRHM study found that many HR employees believe that veterans, who are used to following orders, cannot take initiative and are too rigid. This is absolutely false. While it’s true that veterans are conditioned to take orders, they are also trained to think on their feet when orders are not always there. Considerable training is focused on this ability to make quick decisions after gathering as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

Another concern, especially for reservists and National Guardsmen, is redeployment or activation. Employers are concerned that redeployments will result in the loss of the time and training investment of veterans. While the risk does exist, since 38 percent of the military component includes these units, it is certainly one than can be accommodated. As a nation, we have an obligation to support our military. They weren’t asked if they believed in the mission or in the values they were defending. They stepped forth so others would not have to do so.

Managing Veterans

Now that they have performed their duties to their country and have returned, we should make every effort to thank them for their service. So what do you need to consider when managing them?

  1. Get rid of the stereotypes. Judge your vet on how he/she performs, not on some preconceived notion on how you think he/she is programmed to act.
  2. Clarify the mission. Veterans were taught to focus on the mission first. Therefore, take time to clarify what the mission is for your veteran employees. It may seem obvious to you, but to someone with a great respect for the value of mission clarification, spelling out what you are doing and why you are doing it.
  3. Show the procedures. Veterans are used to seeing standard operating procedures or protocols, and understand the value of a documented process. If you have one, share it with them. If you don’t, challenge them to help develop a job aid or checklist to ensure repetition. They will respect the sequence of tasks.
  4. Provide autonomy. Once they understand what is needed and how to do something. don’t micromanage them. Challenge them with some degree of authority and responsibility.
  5. Pair up with mentors. Often, military members were assigned to a more senior person for on-the-job training (OJT). They will respect a mentor arrangement for oversight and advice. This gives them a go-to person for when they have questions and ensures they are acclimating into the organization.
  6. Explain budgets. Many military members didn’t have individual contributions or budgetary limits, nor did they really face profit and loss responsibility. It is worth the time and effort to explain costs, revenues and margins so that they understand the sensitivity toward costs in the civilian professions.
  7. Encourage socialization. The vet will see far more value in social activities with fellow workers than most other employees because they have lived in close proximity quarters and socialized with the people they worked with before coming to your company. Finding ways to get them involved in social activities could have an impact on their morale and their sense of camaraderie. This may include after-work or weekend get-togethers or company parties.
  8. Set roles and expectations. A vet knows he/she is expected to perform certain tasks. Take the time to clarify what the tasks are and how to perform them well. Explain how he/she will be measured for performance and expected outcomes.
  9. Explain context and culture. Don’t assume your vet is accustomed to the nuances of office culture. Most veterans find it difficult to get used to the office environment, even if they worked in an office atmosphere in the military. Civilian culture, the sense of urgency and the mission priority are all different, and they need to learn to adapt.
  10. Engage them. They will rarely leave their company, but may leave their supervisor. Stay in touch with them. How are they doing? Are they getting what they need to be successful? Are they adapting to the culture? Are they being recognized for their accomplishments? Is anyone listening to their ideas and suggestions?
  11. Focus on leadership. In the military, it is obvious what the pecking order is and who reports to whom. The insignia is a display of that. In civilian life, that is not the case. Take the time to explain the hierarchy.
  12. Lead by example. Veterans will have a higher expectation for leadership than most civilians. Most military leaders have received considerable training and coaching. Therefore, they are often more effective than many of their civilian counterparts. Veterans are used to being led by strong, decisive leaders who care for their people and focus on their mission.

Leadership is a skill and a character quality that most veterans possess by nature of their participation in military service. They have led troops from the early days of their military lives. This aspect will put additional attention and pressure on the civilian leaders to worker harder at leading, instead of just being the boss.

Source: This article was originally published in Construction Business Owner magazine. Visit constructionbusinessowner.com to read more.

Looking for Your Civilian Career?

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Consider a career in hospitality or another of our top industry choices. From hotel managers to chefs to truck drivers, the hospitality and leisure industry adds more than $3.4 trillion to the global economy every year, according to siteminder.com. If you’d enjoy a job that could take you from being a server in a restaurant to the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company, a career in the hospitality and leisure industry might be perfect for you.

Restaurant General Manager

Average salary: $52,030

Employment is projected to grow 9% by 2026

Restaurant general managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure it is profitable.

Hotel Manager

Average salary: $51,800

Employment is projected to grow 4% by 2026

Hotel managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishment with accommodations. They also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably.

Flight Attendant

Average salary: $50,500

Employment is projected to grow 10% by 2026

Flight attendants provide routine services and respond to emergencies to ensure the safety and comfort of airline passengers while aboard planes.

Event Manager

Average salary: $48,290

Employment is projected to grow 11% by 2026

Event managers coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Executive Chef

Average salary: $45,950

Employment is projected to grow 10% by 2026

Executive chefs oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.

Not seeing your dream job on the list of hospitality jobs? Check out some of our other top industry picks for starting your civilian career.

Other Industry Stats:

Healthcare is expected to provide 2.4 million new jobs by 2026

About 7.7 million people hold jobs related to the trucking industry

Other Top Industries for Veterans

While the latest statistics show the leisure and hospitality industry generally has the highest monthly job openings rate, other professional and business services offer plenty of opportunities as well. These openings are measured by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), a monthly survey conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to help measure job vacancies.

Healthcare

Average salary: $64,770

Employment is projected to grow 18% by 2026

If a job in the medical field interests you, you’ll find many opportunities in healthcare. From assisted living facilities to the operating room, professionals in the healthcare field are in high demand. For example, with a master’s degree, you can become a genetic counselor and earn about $57,000 a year. Respiratory therapists earn about $55,000 a year and require an associate’s degree or higher. Demand for these healthcare specialists is expected to rise 19 percent by 2020.

Transportation

Average salary: $31,600

Employment is projected to grow 6% by 2026

The transportation industry industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Establishments in these industries use transportation equipment or transportation-related facilities as a productive asset. The type of equipment depends on the mode of transportation—air, rail, water, road, or pipeline.

Trucking

Average salary: $42,480

Employment is projected to grow 6% by 2026

Companies in trucking provide over-the-road transportation of cargo using trucks and tractor trailers. The industry is divided into general freight trucking and specialized freight trucking, depending on the equipment used, type of load carried, scheduling, terminal, and other networking services. General freight transportation establishments handle a wide variety of general commodities, usually palletized, and transported in a container or van trailer.

Source: bls.gov

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award of $48.1 Million In Grants for Workforce Reintegration of Homeless Veterans

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Homeless Veteran on the street in the cold

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta today announced the awarding of 149 Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants totaling $48.1 million. This funding will provide workforce reintegration services for more than over 18,000 homeless veterans.

The Department will award funds on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, tribal governments, and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training as well as job search and placement assistance.

This year’s HRVP awards provide 51 first-year grants totaling $16.9 million. Previous awardees will receive first- and second-option year grants totaling $31.2 million.

Grantees in the HVRP program will network and coordinate their efforts with other federal programs such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program.

More information on the Department’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans is available at www.dol.gov/vets. For questions about these grant awards, please contact the Department’s Kia Mason at (202) 693-2606 and for more information about the Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) please visit www.veterans.gov or follow on twitter @VETS_DOL.

For a full list of HVRP grant recipients click here.

After Careers With U.S. Armed Forces And Fema This Couple Opens Their Own Business

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McDuffie,Sharron, Rodney, Lee's Summit, MO

After Rodney and Sharron McDuffie retired from long and successful careers that included both the U.S. Armed Forces and the U.S. Government, the Raymore couple was looking for an attractive business opportunity to bolster their pension income.

So on April 15, Rodney, “61 years young,” and Sharron, “59 years younger,” as they note, officially opened for business as franchise owners with Floor Coverings International, whose representatives visit customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Lee’s Summit serves customers throughout greater Kansas City.

Sharron retired after 30 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she was a Technological Hazards Specialist assigned to several nuclear power plants throughout Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Rodney retired from the U.S. Navy with 25 years as a Yeoman Administrator before joining the Department of Immigration, where he spent more than a decade before retiring as an Immigration Supervisor this past February. “We had started talking about what we would be doing in life with retirement approaching and looking forward to living the lifestyle we were comfortable in after more than 30 years working for the government,” Sharron said. “And we were not sure that once we retired on a government pension, if it would be enough. We are still pretty young and in good health, so we started looking for a business we could purchase that also offered plenty of flexibility, such as being able to work from home when we wanted to.”

In Floor Coverings International, the McDuffies found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

The McDuffies are also very excited about having the opportunity for their children to play a role in the business. Their oldest son, who just earned his master’s degree in Public Affairs, is “more excited than my husband and myself,” said Sharron, while their youngest son, who just graduated from high school, is looking forward to joining one of their flooring installation teams where he will gain the necessary experience to later become a Project Manager or Design Associate. A daughter, currently a middle school biology teacher, might join the business as an office manager or Design Associate while her husband is assisting with local marketing. “Since we have been up and running, the whole family is seeing what a great opportunity it is by joining or just participating in this family business,” Sharron said.

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Successful Transition Begins with Backward Planning

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man thinking about his next career

By Mike Olivier

There are a few transitions in life that are inevitable; of that number there are fewer still where the day and time are certain. The transition from the military to civilian life is one of those transitions.

For those entering the civilian workforce, now is a good time. The military is heartily supported by all sectors of society, the economy is good, and unemployment is very low. That means getting a job is most likely not as difficult as it has been in the past. Nevertheless, there is no one standing outside the base gate handing out hundred dollars bills and employment contracts. Which means finding a good job is going to take work, and it is still going to require planning.

The good news is that the transition date for your departure from military life is certain, and you have advance notice. For some, this transition is seamless—they will go to work in the family business, a few will change their military uniform for civilian clothes and go back to work at the same desk, and some will go to college. Most will venture into the unknown and look for work. It doesn’t matter if you’re going on to school, to work, or going back to the family farm—getting there successfully is going to require a degree of planning.

One thing that most likely rubbed off during your time in the military is an acknowledgement of the value of planning. There is not much in the military that is not the result of planning, good or bad; and knowing when you are released from active duty provides you the opportunity to plan your next step. This ability to backward plan is going to provide you with options, and it is going to give you a better chance of succeeding in your transition. The military now offers a number of transition classes, and there are countless programs and agencies that will help point you in the right direction. Taking advantage of these resources is about the most common-sense action one can take. Even if they are incomplete in some respect, these resources can provide you with options and direction.

Networking is successful quote

Before you can plan, you will need to identify a goal: even if this is a leap into the unknown, there has to be somewhere to land. In this process, the question is often framed as “What do you want to do?” It is good to think about this holistically; that is, where do you want to live, what do the others in your life want, and, practically, what do you need? The answer to these and other related questions may align with one another, or, more likely, the answers will point you in opposite directions. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that this is a discovery process, and that answers to these questions may only eliminate options, but that’s a good thing. As you narrow your options, the remaining few provide direction to your transition goal.

In terms of backward planning, the milestones in the plan are going to be set by the objective. If the goal is to go to school to gain skills or to complete a degree, then identifying and getting accepted into the school is going to take time. The planning elements are gathering up transcripts, completing forms and applications, and meeting deadlines. Applying for a job also takes time as you determine what skills you need to be competitive, complete a resume, attend job fairs, and schedule meetings with recruiters. About 80 percent of people get a job through networking. If you have been in the military and out of the job market, out the network, you have to be proactive to establish your network. This is not a weekend task. You will need to establish your network by focusing on the industry. All industries have associations and events, and you create your industry-specific network by attending these events and meeting people. Volunteering at these events is another good way to get to know key people in the industry. If you want to be part of the successful 80 percent, you need to be known within the network.
Transition, for most, is stressful and challenging—it is a culture change, it is a risk. Improve your success and reduce risk and stress by backward planning. Knowing when you get out, where you want to end up, and the tasks to be completed are all elements of the plan. The most important point is don’t wait—start the plan and execute. When you get out, be where you want to be, not struggling to get there.

Practical Resume Advice for Military Veterans

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Man holding a sign that says "Sell Your Skills"

Switching careers takes courage. And veterans know a thing or two about courage. But when military personnel finish serving their country and look to re-enter civilian life, they need more than just strong nerves to make the transition to a new career. Finding a job demands practical strategies.

For veterans, the struggle is often aligning the skills and experiences they’ve gained in the military with the types of jobs that exist outside the military. On top of that, long-serving veterans don’t have a lot of experience with resume making.

Not to worry. This post is all about helping those that have served in the armed forces create resumes as they seek out civilian positions.

We love bringing insights from job recruiters into the products and resources we offer. So, after talking with recruiters about their experiences hiring veterans, we’ve focused this post on the following areas:

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other considerations when making a resume. So be sure to also see our guide on how to build a resume in 2019.

Best resume format for military veterans

There are three different resume formats that are typically used for resumes. For veterans, the most suitable choice is what is called a “functional” or “skills-based” resume format.

Why this? Well the logic behind the functional format is that it gives greater attention to the skills a person has developed. This stands in contrast to the “reverse chronological” resume format, which offers more space for a person to outline a long employment history in order to demonstrate career progression.

Many veterans have spent much of their working life in the military, so their employment history is really one employer – even if they have progressed through different roles or ranks.

That being the case, listing all the positions and responsibilities over a military career often isn’t the best strategy for persuading recruiters in the public or private sector.

This is because recruiters often aren’t familiar with the types of work military personnel undertake, and therefore may not see the applicability of military experience.

To avoid this problem, veterans should focus less on describing their former roles/responsibilities, and instead focus on highlighting the skills they have gained that are directly relevant to the position they are seeking.

Sample of a Military to Civilian Resume

military veteran resume example

Continue on to Novoresume.com to begin building your resume!

Husband & Wife – Both Military Vets – Launch #1 Mobile Flooring Brand Together

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Lorrie, Lewis Willey stand posing in front of their Floor Coverings van in Colorado Springs, CO

When you are thrown a few curveballs in your working career, you sometimes have to take control of your own destiny, and that’s just what Lewis and Lorrie Willey did when they each decided to leave their jobs and make the most of their new life in Colorado Springs by becoming franchisees with Floor Coverings International, whose representatives visit customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers.

Both Lewis (U.S. Air Force) and Lorrie (U.S. Army) are veterans. Although the couple had spent many years living in Amarillo, Texas, Lewis had always said he would like to retire to Colorado Springs after having been stationed at the Air Force Academy and the couple frequently vacationed in the area. Working as a dialysis nurse, Lewis had the opportunity to relocate to Colorado Springs in 2017. They moved that fall and Lorrie had hoped to continue her executive career with a large insurance company by working remotely from Colorado Springs, but she “retired” after being unable to do so.

Complicating matters even more after their relocation, Lewis was asked to work at a clinic in Alamosa – a three-hour drive from Colorado Springs – several days each week. “He would drive down on Monday and drive back Wednesday or Thursday,” Lorrie said. “It was not what we had in mind when we moved to Colorado and it did not fit our lifestyle ideas. We started looking for other opportunities and got connected with a franchise broker. He showed us what a franchise could do for us in terms of working together to build a future in preparation for retirement down the road.”

Now the couple couldn’t be happier. Lewis had previous experience as a property claims adjuster and he’s been putting those skills to work as a Design Associate, visiting customers’ homes and advising them on appropriate flooring types for their needs. “His knowledge of housing materials, measuring and estimating made him a great fit for that role,” said Lorrie, who will be overseeing the office manager and project coordinator, as well as building community relationships and the Floor Coverings International brand.

In Floor Coverings International, the Willeys found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. Floor Coverings International also has a very strong commitment to community involvement, led by CEO Tom Wood.

“We assessed six different business models and decided that Floor Coverings International had the best business model, the best match for us in terms of utilizing our existing skill sets, and enough moving parts to really challenge us,” Lorrie said. “We also identified closely with their moral code of ethics, their customer service model and their community involvement with Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com.

The Army Needs Entrepreneurs

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army woman sitting at desk in a wheelchair smiling in to camera

The military needs innovative ideas from small businesses and entrepreneurs now more than ever, according to Under Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy.

McCarthy spoke in March at Muster DC, an event in the nation’s capital for military veterans aspiring to be entrepreneurs. “If you look at the history of the Department of Defense, we were at our best when entrepreneurs were doing business with us,” he said.

As an example, he cited that the first jeeps for World War II were actually designed and built by a small motor company called American Bantam in Butler, Pennsylvania. Later, the
design was shared with Willys-Overland and Ford to produce the jeeps on a larger scale.

DOD was at its best when small businesses brought their ideas and “partnered with big corporations to scale out those ideas,” McCarthy said. “We got away from that for the last several decades,” he said, adding the Army’s practice has been to put out 1,000-page requests for proposals, or RFPs, specifying the exact size and weight of each component of a system.

Businesses maybe had a better solution, he said, but they would never share it, because that’s not what they were incentivized to do. That culture needs to change, McCarthy said, and that’s one reason the Army Futures Command was organized. It’s why Soldiers have been placed alongside tech innovators at an “accelerator hub” in Austin, Texas.

The purpose of Futures Command is to drive innovation, he said, “so that we can do business
faster. So small businesses don’t get their cash flow crushed waiting years for us to make a decision.” Out of more than 800 programs that the Army oversees, eight have been granted a special “transactional authority” to do business differently, he said.

The Futures Command has eight crossfunctional teams: long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, Army network, air and missile defense, Soldier lethality, synthetic training environment; and assured positioning, navigation and timing.

The Army needs a “quick win” in these eight programs, McCarthy said, to change the acquisition culture and to keep ahead of nearpeer adversaries. The U.S. military has enjoyed a vast technological advantage for years, he said, but competitors are quickly catching up.

McCarthy said he’d like to see Soldiers in accelerator hubs across the country so entrepreneurs will have easy access to pitch their ideas.

Entrepreneurs who are military veterans have an advantage, he said, because they are resilient and can deal with stress. They know how to organize and plan. When getting ready to leave the Army, where he served as a Ranger, McCarthy said at his first interview in Manhattan, he was asked what he knew about finance.

“I said, ‘Nothing. But I know how to plan and I know how to organize and there would be nothing you can put me through that I hadn’t been through already in the form of stress and pressure,’” he said. After the interviewer stopped laughing, McCarthy said he took a chance and hired him.

The company even held the job open for a year, because soon afterward, the September 11 terrorist attacks occurred, and McCarthy agreed to stay in the Army for a deployment before going to work in New York.

Veterans are not afraid to engage, he said, and have commitment. “Nobody wants to follow a leader that hedges,” he said. “They want somebody that’s playing ‘double-in’ every day.”

Veterans have some of the key attributes business leaders need to have, he said, “especially if they’re going to start their own business.”

Other talents the Army needs most right now include systems engineering and software coding, McCarthy said. Weapons systems are sophisticated and have millions of lines of coding, he said. Most failures of weapons systems in the past came from not having the right systems architecture, he said, which resulted in weapons not being able to communicate with other platforms.

Source: army.mil

The Entrepreneur Ecosystem Still Exists

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Following WWII, almost half of those transitioning out of the military started a business. Today, less than five percent of transitioning service men and women pursue entrepreneurship. Why is there such a gap?

To support the entrepreneurial efforts of transitioning veterans after WWII, the federal government formed the US Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA provided counseling, access to capital and access to government contracts enabling newly formed business to ramp up.  Retired executives from existing businesses volunteered to provide mentoring for these nascent business owners. An entire ecosystem of support services was apparent and readily available to empower veterans to leverage their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Today, this entrepreneurial ecosystem still exists, but the resources are not as apparent. Even with the addition of small business development centers, women’s business centers, procurement technical assistance centers and a myriad of other entrepreneurial development partners, most transitioning service men and women are not aware of this valuable ecosystem.

“I have never heard of SCORE,” is the answer I most often receive when I query the military connected community regarding their knowledge of small business resources.  In addition to the generic request for information on starting a business, “How can I finance my business” is the most frequently asked question. Yet, Community Development Companies (CDC), Community Development Financial Intermediaries (CFDI) and SBA loan programs are foreign to transitioning service members.

This lack of awareness of entrepreneurial development resources dampens the desire to pursue the American dream of business ownership. Coupled with a lack of access to capital, today’s transitioning service men and women forego the opportunity to grow, improve and prosper as the entrepreneurs they desire to be.  Many settle for underemployment in jobs they do not relish, and suffer from diminished hope for the future.

There are resources and information that can inspire an amazing transformation in the lives of those who have served and want to continue serving.  Combine that information with personal motivation and attack. Attack the problems that keep you and others up at night. Attack the problems that plague our communities. Attack the problems that lead to veteran poverty, homelessness, mental and physical incapacity. Attack the problems that are best solved by trained warriors who have served and want to continue serving.

Free seminars, workshops, webcast and on-demand training are available in an abundance. Attending conferences allows you to get face-to-face with aspiring and successful entrepreneurs that have walked the path you are now treading. Connect with customers—and big brands—that are seeking the solutions you provide to their problems. Find mentors willing to stand side by side with you as you journey through the process of launching, growing and winning as a business owner.  Remember, “education costs, but it pays for itself.”

Entrepreneurs take action. By increasing your awareness of and facilitating your access to entrepreneurial development resources and opportunities, you unlock the doors to new and innovative solutions that translate into economic value for yourself and the world around you. Don’t settle. Get the information you need to attack your future, and launch your business beyond the battlefield.

Business beyond battlefield

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