Ready for Take-Off: G-FORCE Launches National Veteran Franchise Initiative

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G-Force

BEDFORD, N.H. G-FORCE™, one of only two Veteran-focused franchise brands and the only one of its kind awarding franchises exclusively to Veterans, is ready for take-off. The New Hampshire-based concept, which provides expert parking lot striping and other pavement marking needs, seeks to provide business ownership opportunities to hundreds of military Veterans across the country with its one-of-a-kind franchise opportunity.

With one location already servicing various parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, G-FORCE™ hopes to open as many as 50 new units over the next 3-5 years. According to founder and CEO Jack Child, the expansion will be accomplished exclusively through franchising and will initially target various cities throughout California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Texas.

“We know the challenges many of our Veterans face when they return to civilian life and, while there are more resources and assistance programs than ever before to help, there’s always more that can and should be done,” said Child. “We want to do our part. We’ve created a one-of-a-kind, low cost franchise business opportunity just for Veterans.”

Child himself is a more than 10-year veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, having spent three years in the enlisted ranks of the U.S. Army and seven years in the U.S. Air Force as an officer and pilot. He also has seven years of experience in the pavement services and franchise industries.

With attention-grabbing, distinctive camouflage trucks and serviceG-Force trailers, state-of-the-art equipment and military-influenced logo and uniforms, G-FORCE™ has built its brand around today’s Veteran.

Founded in 2017, G-FORCE™ prides itself as the go-to resource for all things line striping and pavement marking – New Layout, Re-Stripe, ADA Compliance, Stencil Markings, Warehouse Flooring, Parking Structure Markings, Outdoor Basketball Courts, Athletic Field Markings and more. Other routine maintenance services G-FORCE™ franchisees may offer include: parking lot sign installation, sealcoating, crack sealing, hot and cold asphalt repairs, new paving, power washing and other property services.

“This is a stealth business that few know about, but one where the demand for our services is unquestionable,” said Child. “Look around. Parking lots are everywhere; strip malls, hospitals, office buildings, schools, municipal airports, town streets. They all require proper pavement markings by law. Somebody has to install them and somebody has to re-stripe them numerous times over.”

To augment the company’s growth, G-FORCE™ is seeking military Veterans, including active Guard or Reserve, interested in starting a business built on the values of integrity, reliability, respect, and precision, and one that ensures first class, military-style service. The franchise fee starts at just $5,000 and generally ranges between $7,500 and $15,000 depending upon territory size. The initial investment can start as low as $25,000.

G-Force“Veterans have the best leadership training in the world. In addition to coming from an integrity-focused background, they are mission-oriented and have a call to fulfill a higher purpose – all traits needed to run a successful business,” added Child. ‘With our low investment, G-FORCE™ is a more comfortable approach for Veterans to become entrepreneurs and answer the call.”

To date, G-FORCE™ has secured national corporate sponsorships for its Veteran initiative from GemSeal®, Sherwin-Williams®, Graco Industries® and The Pavement Stencil Company offering incentives such as a free traffic paint starter package and nationwide discount pricing for equipment and paints, over $7,000 in value, to each new G-FORCE™ franchisee.

To learn more on the G-FORCE™ franchise opportunity, please visit gogforce.com/parking-lot-striping-pavement-marking-franchise-opportunity/.

About G-FORCE

Founded in 2017 and franchising since 2018, G-FORCE™ is a franchise built by veterans for veterans that provides expert Parking Lot Striping, Pavement Marking, Sign Installation Services and more. Today, there is one location servicing various parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. For more information, visit gogforce.com.

From the Corps to Corporate America

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Headshot of Laurie Sayles

U.S. Veterans Magazine asked Laurie Sayles, president and CEO of Civility Management Solutions (CivilityMS), and Jackson Dalton, president and founder of Black Box Safety, Inc., to share what it was like for them to transition out of the military and into the boardroom.

Laurie Sayles with Civility Management Solutions

Founded in 2012, CivilityMS provides professional consulting services as an SBA 8(a) certified, verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Economically Disadvantaged Woman and Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB/WOSB). The firm’s status as a SDVOSB is verified with the Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) and the Veterans First Contracting Program.

USVM: Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.

Laurie Sayles (LS): I am from Chicago, IL, and have always sought out a means of having my own money or supplementing my income. I was a baby-sitter to single women in the low-income projects complex I resided as a young girl and I modeled professionally during high school, all before I joined the USMC. So, I often say that I have always been an entrepreneur.

But after getting out of the USMC, I returned to supplementing my income. I tried medical billing as a home-based business only to learn it was a scam. I also became a wellness coach and a bootcamp fitness instructor, to name a few.

My journey was long after transitioning because there was no outreach during the 90’s for military personnel leaving the USMC. For example, TAPS didn’t exist, and no one in the marketplace really cared that you were a veteran. Also, the Internet was not what it is today and there was no support to help translate your MOS. It was a more challenging time.

But I wanted to work in corporate America, so I took a job for $17,000 in 1989 as a receptionist. With that, the journey began to learn the difference of being a civilian in this space as an African-American woman with no degree. Within a short period of time, I began to take English, grammar and speaking courses to help me modify my means of communication.

I climbed the corporate ladder from receptionist to administrative assistant, to an executive assistant, to an operations director to a project manager over a 20-year period. Then in 2012, I became president and CEO of Civility Management Solutions.

USVM: How did your experience in the military influence your skillset as a business owner?

LS: My experience from the military has a huge influence in my skillset as a business owner. Again, being an African-American woman in business adds more challenges that many cannot identify with unless they belong to this ethnicity. But, thanks to being a woman that served in the Marine Corps, I am accustomed to operating in a man’s world and a world that is full of alpha males! The Marine Corps is not known to be, “The Few, The Proud, The Marines,” just as a slogan—it’s a culture and a lifestyle. As I often say, if you re-enlist in any branch of the military, it really speaks to you adapting and accepting that culture completely, otherwise you get out after first term. No one—and I do mean no one—that knows me personally walks away not knowing that I served in the Corps. It shows up in my demeanor and my strength as a business owner.

USVM: What advice would you give someone transitioning from the military into becoming a business owner?

LS: Make sure you start your homework early when you know your end date. There is so much to offer us when we get out of the military, and finally this country is beginning to recognize this fact. Our discipline, leadership, resilience and determination set us apart from anyone else who never served. So, with running anything … you’ve been trained while you wore the uniform; trained to operate in high integrity; and trained to leave no man behind. All three of these lead to you being a strong leader willing to take full responsibility for your actions. Help others be successful as you become successful.

Do take advantage of all the training being offered by the SBA in your State, affiliates of the SBA, and programs offered to veterans of the military. Get yourself affiliated with associations and advocacy groups that focus on the type of work you want to do as a business owner.

Lastly, network, network and network some more to find people that you can engage with. And get yourself some mentors! Each one will add different values and you can call on them as needed.

Jackson Dalton and Black Box Safety, Inc.

Headshot of Jackson DaltonBlack Box Safety, Inc. specializes in the prevention of serious injury in the workplace by supplying safety equipment for government agencies and organizations. Dalton is a Board-Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and holds a Master’s degree (MPH) in public health—only 17 percent of CSPs hold both (Board of Certified Safety Professionals, 2017) —as well as a Bachelor’s degree in business administration.

USVM: Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.

Jackson Dalton (JD): I was injured while serving in the Marine Corps. As a direct result of the injuries I sustained, I went through 3 leg surgeries and was not able to walk for a year. While serving, I was hurt at work—essentially an occupational injury. From this experience, I have made it my mission in life to ensure that others aren’t hurt at work, so that they can continue to do the things that they love to do.

As a direct result of my Marine Corps experience, I transitioned from the military into a career in occupational health and safety. I pursued a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Public Health, and spent over 10 years working as a Safety Engineer. Three years ago, it was my desire to help more people in a more meaningful way so I left my job at 3M and started my company, Black Box Safety, Inc., which is a supplier of safety products and safety training to government agencies and organizations that are looking for ways to reduce risk and help their employees stay safe and healthy.

USVM: How did your experience in the military influence your skillset as a business owner?

JD: My experience in the Marine Corps instilled two traits: Grit and bearing. Grit is the ability or decision to persevere in the face of extreme hardship and danger. Bearing is the ability to maintain a calm and confident demeanor in the face of adversity and uncertainty. I learned that the most contagious thing in the world is not infectious disease—it’s human emotion. As a leader, if I lose my bearing and communicate emotions of fear and stress, those emotions will be transferred to those I’m leading. I served as a squad leader in the Marine Corps and today I serve as President of Black Box Safety, Inc., where I am responsible for the health and welfare of 2 full-time employees and 4 part-time employees.

USVM: What advice would you give someone transitioning from the military into becoming a business owner?

JD: This is the advice that I would give to someone transitioning from the military to entrepreneurship

  1. Take advantage of every educational opportunity available including but not limited to: Post-secondary education funded through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Dept. of VA Vocational Rehabilitation Ch.31,; free business start-up courses offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) [SBA offers free business courses online at SBA.gov]; apply for a free SCORE mentor; podcasts featuring business start-up advice; and finally an often-overlooked resource that proved to be of great value and benefit to me, Shark Tank and YouTube.
  2. Join an incubator that is composed at least partially of active-duty and veteran business owners. I benefited greatly from the camaraderie I found by applying to a veteran incubator called Tactical Launch. I went through this incubator 2 years ago, and I am still close friends with many of the members of the cohort and many of us continue to be successful in business. The camaraderie is necessary when starting a business, especially if you are the sole founder. It’s actually the number one thing that servicemen and women miss the most when transitioning out of the military.
  3. If you are able to do so, start your business now. Many business startups require very little in the way of capital and expense. Most can be started out of your home with a phone, a laptop and a lot of determination. The biggest mistake I see in other founders is the desire to have everything ready prior to launch. A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed tomorrow.

How to Land a Government Contract

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A headshot of Katie Bigelow

By Katie Bigelow, founder, Mettle Ops

Government contracting is not for the faint of heart. The barriers to entry are high and the regulations are complicated and overwhelming. If easy money is the goal, government contracting is not the way to get it. We lose 99 bids out of 100. Can you take that kind of beating and keep going?

The first steps to government contracting are pretty simple. Register with Dun & Bradstreet. Don’t pay them or anyone else to do it. Regardless, of how it seems, it is a free service. They will give you a DUNS number. Use that to register in Sam.Gov where you will get a CAGE code. Don’t skip the opportunity in Sam.gov to complete the SBA Dynamic Small Business search. Read all the regulations that you are committed to follow. Next, register with Beta.sam.gov and look for opportunities to bid. When you find something that looks good, read the whole thing. That’s right. Read all 76 pages paying particular attention to the Performance Work Statement, Section L, and Section M. Submit your bid per their instructions. That’s it. Too easy.

I don’t actually know anyone that has made any real money doing it this way. No doubt there are people out there that simply followed the prescribed path and struck it big. More often, there are people that followed the path and ended up in the pokey, too.

The hard truth is that nobody in this business is rooting for you. I have never found a Government Small Business office that did anything other than put your name on a list and provide a PowerPoint presentation.

Government Contracting Officers, as a general rule, don’t want to do lots of small contracting actions for small businesses. They want to execute fewer contracting actions for big businesses with big dollar amounts. One of my first customers tried to offer me a $14 million contract. The contracting command gave us all a giant “NO!” We were too small, too new, too much of a nuisance.

“Go work for a prime for 5 years,” is the verbatim advice we’ve received from contracting officers. Large government primes have lots of attorneys, lots of money, and lots of shareholders to please. They use small businesses, strip the name of the small business off the work and offer it as your own. It’s not illegal. If you don’t mind, this may be the route for you. It’s not the route for me.

Here’s my secret sauce: Work really hard. Do all the things I mentioned in paragraph 2 and then work hard. We take every opportunity we can afford to meet people, to shake hands, to share what we’ve learned. We don’t shy away from making referrals, even if we get nothing in return. We wear our character on our sleeves, our business cards, and our websites. We were warfighters and always will be at heart. There is a standard of values that comes with that.

We are students of our industry. Take DAU classes. We read and connect and learn. We reach out personally to potential customers every single day. Our goal is to understand more about government contracting than even our customers know. We aren’t trying to outsmart them. We are trying to provide great value to them.

To date, I have only won 4 government contracts since 2015. The first was for $70,000, then $14 million, then $19 million, and the most recent another $19 million. Since I told you we won 1 out of 100 or less, you can do the math to see how many times we lost. Decide if this is the industry for you. If it is, call me. Maybe we can do it together.

Katie Bigelow is the founder of Mettle Ops, a woman-owned, service-disabled, veteran-owned, disadvantaged small business. WBE, WOSB, EDWOSB, NVBDC, CVE, VOSB, SDVOSB, U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) Certified 2027

5 Ways Veterans Can Leverage Facebook to Grow their Career or Business

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Payton Iheme smiling at the camera

By Payton Iheme, U.S. Public Policy Manager, Facebook

Each year, an estimated 200,000 service members return to civilian life and for some, this brings uncertainty to what’s next in their career, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

However, these service men and women continue to contribute to their country, even when they return, albeit in a different way.

I have spent more than 15 years on active duty and continue to serve—from being an officer in the Army’s Special Operations Command and a White House Senior Policy Advisor to currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard. In addition, as the co-owner of a home remodeling business, I know firsthand how important it is to have the right tools and support, whether it’s in the military or as a veteran small business owner.

Everyday Facebook serves as a platform for veterans to find and be a part of groups that help them build community. In fact, more than 900,000 people in the US participate in more than 2,000 groups for military members, veterans and their spouses on Facebook. As a proud supporter of the military-veteran community, Facebook has also made it easier for veterans transitioning into civilian life to find career opportunities and draw on their unique skills to start their entrepreneurial journey.

That’s why we recently announced the launch of the Military and Veterans Hub to provide an all-encompassing resource for veterans to continue to build their community, find job opportunities and enhance their digital skills through Facebook to grow a business or a career.

Facebook also partnered with SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer expert business mentors, to provide business education and mentoring to military members, veterans and their families who want to become entrepreneurs. I utilized SCORE’s resources during my transition into civilian life and it helped me not only build on my experience and skills to find a new career, but it also gave me the confidence to start something new. I’m particularly thrilled about our partnership with SCORE and the opportunities it will unlock for fellow veterans.

Whether you want to build a business or a career, here are five ways military members, spouses and veterans can use Facebook’s Military and Veteran Hub to their advantage:

1. Connect with a mentor from a cohort of SCORE’s experienced business mentors, who are also U.S. veterans themselves, through the Mentor Match program.

2. Access our veteran-focused educational toolkit for launching a business that includes steps for developing a business plan.

3. Attend a veteran-focused interactive workshop to receive guidance on starting a business. We’ll be working with ten local SCORE chapters to bring these in-person workshops to cities that we’ve determined to have a high concentration of military members and veterans.

4. Find employment opportunities through the Facebook Jobs Tool. Frank Diaz, an Army veteran and owner of Tin Hut BBQ, uses the Facebook Jobs Tool, for example, to source employees at his mobile restaurant with an objective to hire discharged veterans in need of work and mentorship.

5. Test out the Facebook Military Skills Translator, designed to help people find careers on Facebook relevant to their military experience. As the Public Policy Manager at Facebook, I’m proud to be a part of a company that values my experience and allows me to use my military skills to make an impact on the business.

Facebook’s Military and Veteran Hub make it easier for military spouses and the military community to find and access Facebook’s resources, tools, events and groups. For more information, visit our website here 

Payton Iheme (Facebook US Public Policy) focuses on policy issues on a range of topics, but works closely on issues related to the Internet, digital economy/small business, counter terrorism, cybersecurity, data privacy, and partnerships. Previously, she served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Communication Technology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She holds honor degrees from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in Government Policy from the George Washington University. Iheme currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard.

Meet Brittney Nicole: Navy Veteran Turned Fashion Entrepreneur

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A clothes hangar filled with women's coats

Transitioning from military life back into civilian life is a challenge for any veteran. While there are many different approaches in choosing a career, one U.S. Navy Veteran decided that she would approach her career choice by following her passions.

Always having a love for fashion, Brittney Nicole decided to open her own clothing business, Coco’s Wardrobe, upon her retirement from the U.S. Navy. The New Orleans based boutique designs, manufactures, and sells women’s clothing that is meant to look as good as they feel, blending comfort with style. All of the clothing in Nicole’s shop has a women’s desire to feel confident and comfortable at the forefront of everything that is produced.

In addition, Nicole has also began selling uniquely designed face masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why Veterans Make the Best Candidates for the Workforce

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A male body wearing a suit that is half black and half camoflauge

Recently, LinkedIn released its “Veteran Opportunity Report,” a list of data that serves to better understand the reality of transitioning veterans into the workforce. The data shows that Veterans are more likely to have a college education, more work experience, and a lower turnaround rate than those who have never served in the military.

These are all ideal qualities for job hiring and yet military veterans are still having a difficult time securing jobs due to the myths about hiring veterans. In fact, the same LinkedIn report stated the unemployment rate of veterans has increased by a whopping 34 percent. However, educating yourself and being aware of the myths are some of the first steps to understanding why military veterans can be some of the best employees for a company, regardless of what the company specializes in.

Myth #1: Veterans don’t have proper work experience

Yes, the culture on the battlefield is different from the culture at home, but military personnel are trained in several areas that result in trusted and efficient employees. In the military, the consequences of mistakes and the criticalness of executing orders are much higher than that of the workplace. Veterans are trained on how to properly ensure that their missions are carried out carefully and efficiently, which transfer over to completing workplace tasks and duties. Many also believe most veterans do not have the mental health to keep a job, but this, as the LinkedIn data show, is incorrect, as they stay at their jobs longer than those who have not served.

Myth #2: Veterans don’t have the capacity to be leaders

This need for attentive, efficient workers also transfers over for a need of management. Managers undergo a significant amount of stress, while trying to manage a group of employees. Veterans on the battlefield also undergo the stress of managing those they are in charge of, but at the risk of bigger stakes and stresses. Veterans are already used to a much higher level of stress when it comes to managing others, which gives them even more of an advantage when they manage employees with a lower level of stress. In fact, veterans are 70 percent more likely to take leadership roles than those who have not served.

Myth #3: Veterans Have a High Turnover Rate

In fact, the opposite is true. LinkedIn’s Report states veterans are actually more likely to stay with their companies for 8.3 percent longer than an employee who has not seen military culture. They are also 39 percent more likely to be promoted in filling larger roles than their counterparts.

It can be hard to know if an individual can take on a needed position, especially when rumors and misconceptions fly around on an entire culture. But taking a look at the data and experiences of veterans can help potential employers to understand how efficient their businesses can be if they hire the ones who know how to lead and succeed.

A Military Wife’s Guide to Suicide Prevention

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Depressed soldier leaning against the window covering his face with his arm

Aleha Landry is one of the many people who has a military spouse suffering from a form of mental illness from military experience.

Through her personal experiences tending to her husband’s mental health conditions and her knowledge of the rising suicide rate among military personnel, Landry does everything in her power to help those suffering from these conditions.

Through her husband’s struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, Landry has had a look at the various military-implemented mental health programs that help military personnel in these specific instances. Though in place for good reason, Landry has expressed her husband’s distaste for the programs, as they claim to be a solution for an issue that is as complicated and complex as mental health. To bring awareness to what veterans are actually feeling in times of mental health issues, Landry writes letters to Air Force leaders and members of Congress.

Though she is yet to receive a response to her letters, Landry does offer three helpful tips that she believes should be implemented into the mental health programs for military personnel.

  • Therapists working through these programs should either be stationed to stay in one place or at least have a five-year commitment to where they are currently located. Many of the therapists that Landry’s husband has seen have relocated in a short span of time, forcing him to retell his story and rebuild trust over and over again. Lancey believes that having one therapist who is guaranteed to stick around would allow for trust, understanding and healing to be better implemented.
  • Guarantee off-base counseling. This would allow for those seeking therapy to have a wider range of choice in finding the right counselor, rather than feeling the pressure to have to talk with a specific person.
  • Reduce the redundancy in progress questionnaires. Many questionnaires given to track the mental progress of military personnel are redundant and frustrating, according to Landry, who believes asking the questions once and having them answered to a therapist rather than on a sheet of paper would decrease frustration and give patients the sense of being cared for.

How Wells Fargo is Prioritizing Veterans

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An American Soldier with his wife and young son, smiling for the camera

By Natalie Rodgers

In 2012, Wells Fargo and Company founded its Military Affairs Program, with the goal to connect with current and past military personnel and their families, and provide them with the proper resources to succeed in their day-to-day lives.

Through this program, Wells Fargo has repeatedly reported the importance of connecting and understanding the concerns of our troops to better serve their needs. This past week, Wells Fargo has gone the extra mile in improving its program by hiring a new head of military talent external recruiting and enterprise military and veteran initiatives—Sean Passmore—who will also oversee the Military Affairs Program. Passmore will officially take this title on May 11, 2020.

Passmore’s resume could not be more impressive. He served in the U.S. Army for over 22 years and has an extensive background in helping military veterans to transition from the battlefield to the workforce. Enforcing Wells Fargo’s desire to better connect and understand its military clients, Passmore’s experiences will help to better cater the program to the needs of its participants.

Passmore has also worked as the executive vice president of strategic initiatives and military affairs for the Perfect Technician Academy (PTA) and as the military hiring advisor for United Services Automobile Association (USAA). In these positions, he became an expert in the recruitment and hiring of military personnel into the workforce. Passmore also served at the White House as a senior presidential officer.

“Sean comes to Wells Fargo with exceptional experience,” Indirhia Arrington, Wells Fargo’s head of Targeting Sourcing and Passmore’s point of report, said. “Sean will be a tremendous asset overseeing this program and building a stronger relationship with the military community at large on behalf of the company.”

To learn more about Wells Fargo’s Military Affairs Program, visit wellsfargo.com/military.

From Navy Officer To Millionaire

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Grant Page Navy Officer headshot

Grant Page, a Latino Navy Officer, is the proud owner and engineer of Magna Imperio Systems (MIS), a clean water manufacturer. The company currently values at $118 million and opened only six years ago.

When Page was only 17 years old, he conducted an experiment on water in which he discovered how to remove salt from water simply by-passing water molecules between two alloys. This idea would not resurface into Page’s life again until he was working on his thesis in his engineering undergraduate degree at the U.S. Naval Academy. His thesis explained a new water treatment technique that would allow for clean drinking water to be easily produced.

Within the next two years, Page would begin to grow his company, all while serving in the U.S. Navy. Page graduated from the academy and started his business in 2014, which he often worked on from the garage in his off-base home’s garage. Page then served as an ensign for the U.S.S. Mason and led a team of 40 men on a six-month deployment to the Middle East, where he performed boat operations and search and rescue.

While Page was earning his title of Lieutenant Junior Grade, all of his spare time went to managing his business. In its first year, the company was valued at $2 million, putting him in charge of a seven-member board at age 23. Before requesting to discharge early in 2017, Page’s business raised $6.6 million on a $20 million valuation, despite never having marketed a product.

Once discharged, Page worked full time at running MIS. The company began distributing clean water to restaurants, industrial manufacturers, municipalities, and disaster crises, and quickly began to surpass the competition. MIS can clean some of the dirtiest of water and does so with technology with a 60 percent energy savings compared to other companies.

Today, at only 28 years old, Page is the president and chairman of the growing company—producing one million gallons of water a day from his Houston headquarters—and credits his time in the Navy to his success. In an interview with Forbes, Page says, “The Navy made me realize that life is a game that’s 90 percent mental. And they made me appreciate the small successes that come when you invest your time and hard work.”

From Air Force to Fortune: One Woman’s Flight to Success

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Kathleen Hildredth, West Point graduate, U.S. Army veteran and success story pictured in office setting

Kathleen Hildredth, West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran, has been penned as one of the most successful women in the world, with a backstory that is just as incredible as her accomplishments.

Having been raised by commercial airplane pilots, Hildredth has always had a close connection to aircraft. Upon graduation from West Point, Hildredth went on to serve in the Army’s aviation branch as an officer, helicopter pilot and maintenance test pilot, and traveled throughout various countries during her service.

When her time with the Army came to an end, Hildredth decided to channel her passion and knowledge for aircraft into her own business venture. In 2001, she founded M1 Support Services, an aviation maintenance company in Texas. The company mainly deals in maintaining fighter jets and almost any kind of government aircraft, its biggest clients being the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as NASA.

The inspiration to start the company came from Hildredth’s past experiences with contractors, believing she was better equipped to serve their needs. Hildredth currently serves as the owner, executive, and financial leader of the entire company, which is now made up of 6,500 employees worldwide. This makes Hildredth a part of the 10 percent of women that make up the aerospace defense industry’s executives.

As impressive as their resume sounds, their revenue clearly speaks for itself. M1 Support Services pulled in $680 million in revenue in 2018, putting Hildredth at an estimated $370 million in personal fortune. This revenue earned her 57th spot on Forbes2019 list of “America’s Most Successful Self-Made Women”, and she is the first veteran to ever debut on the list.

V-E Day Remembered: U-Haul Celebrates WWII Veteran Ralph C. Shivers Jr.

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Ralph Shivers and L.S. Shoen pictured in older black and white photo

V-E Day on May 8 marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. Veterans such as Ralph C. Shivers Jr. returned home to start a new life after the war, and in doing so planted the seeds of prosperity for U-Haul®, a product of the peace for which they fought.

U-Haul is also celebrating 75 years of service. WWII Navy veteran L.S. “Sam” Shoen and his wife, Anna Mary Carty Shoen, conceived U-Haul in June 1945 when they recognized a basic need while moving up the West Coast, having abandoned most of their belongings since one-way trailer rentals did not yet exist.

From that idea, an industry was born and a new level of mobility became attainable for every American family.

To commemorate both events, U-Haul is celebrating former Team Members and U-Haul neighborhood dealers who served in WWII, such as Portland native Ralph Shivers, (pictured left with Sam Shoen).

Man of Service

Shivers was born in January 1926. He attended West Linn High School, graduating in 1943. He and a friend spent the summer of 1943 hitchhiking around the country, hopping rides on a couple of freight trains in the process. That fall, he returned home to Portland and worked as a welder’s assistant. In January 1944, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve.

In October 1944, Shivers was assigned to the USS Craven (DD382), a Gridley-class destroyer, as a fire controlman. He boarded the Craven in Pearl Harbor while it was undergoing an overhaul. In January 1945, the Craven transitioned to the Atlantic Theater through the Panama Canal.

The Craven performed convoy duty from New York to France until the war in Europe ended that May. Afterward, the Craven ranged throughout the Mediterranean Sea on escort, training and transport duties until January 1946.

For his service, Shivers was awarded the Victory, American Theater, Asiatic-Pacific Theater and European Theater medals. He was honorably discharged in May 1946.

Shivers went on to enroll at Oregon State University and began working part time for U-Haul, doing repair work and hooking up trailers in Portland. He graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in geography and transportation.

U-Haul Career

In January 1951, Shivers began working full-time for U-Haul on an Oakland, Calif., rental lot. That August, he became one of only three U-Haul fieldmen, blanketing the entire U.S. for his route. Shivers and his bride of four months, Mary, embarked on a nine-month “honeymoon” servicing U-Haul neighborhood dealers across the country. Mary did her part by learning how to repair electrical wiring on trailers.

Over the next 20 years, Shivers served in a number of key capacities, including field director responsible for establishing and developing U-Haul companies in various parts of the country. He established the first U-Haul Traffic Department in Portland; served as U-Haul Company of Alabama president; U-Haul International vice president; U-Haul International president; and vice president of distribution services – the title he held upon leaving the Company in 1974.

The Shivers have been married for 68 years and live in Hood River. They have a son, Steve, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The Shoens started U-Haul upon Sam’s discharge with $4,000 of accumulated Navy pay and the courage formed by the cauldron of WWII. With the help of other veterans, the young couple forged their new enterprise from the freedom that victory produced.

Veteran Initiative

Today, U-Haul serves all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, helping an estimated 11 million families move every year. Shivers is one of the many of veterans who laid the foundation for the present prosperity U-Haul enjoys.

U-Haul continues to aggressively recruit veterans and gives them preference in the hiring process, having been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s topUHaul logo 75 year anniversary veteran-friendly employers. U-Haul is also committed to honoring veterans and supporting veteran causes. This is accomplished through direct assistance to veteran groups, as well as participation and sponsorship of Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades, and Pearl Harbor tributes.

These 2020 tributes will peak triumphantly with the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum’s dedication of the renovated Ford Island Control Tower on Aug. 29. U-Haul Pacific Theater veterans’ bios and photos will be displayed in the tower lobby. The tower will offer a new elevator, gifted by U-Haul CEO Joe Shoen, providing public access to the observation deck where America’s lone WWII aviation battlefield can be revered and our heroes remembered.

U-Haul is one of a myriad of companies built by these incredible veterans, who are to be saluted and remembered during this 75th anniversary celebration. Thank you, Ralph.

Find more veteran tributes in the History and Culture section of myuhaulstory.com.

About U-Haul

Since 1945, U-Haul has been the No. 1 choice of do-it-yourself movers, with a network of 22,000 locations across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 offers secure access to U-Haul trucks every hour of every day through the customer dispatch option on their smartphones and our proprietary Live Verify technology. Our customers’ patronage has enabled the U-Haul fleet to grow to approximately 167,000 trucks, 120,000 trailers and 43,000 towing devices. U-Haul offers nearly 697,000 rooms and 60.7 million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed facilities throughout North America. U-Haul is the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket industry, and is the largest retailer of propane in the U.S.

For our COVID-19 information page, click on uhaul.com/announcement.

Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans