Diageo’s New American Anthem Vodka Donates to Families

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Diageo-American Anthem Vodka

Distilled. Distinct. Delicious. Dedicated. Here’s to American Anthem! Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol, is proud to introduce its new-to-world, 5× distilled vodka, American Anthem. This exceptionally smooth vodka offers a premium finish for a great value and is rooted in giving back.

Proudly American, this new brand of vodka is uniquely designed to celebrate the American spirit. American Anthem will donate $1 from each bottle made, split between Operation Gratitude and The Mission Continues—two exceptional charitable organizations that are dedicated to strengthening and supporting military personnel and their families.

With ingredients sourced from America’s heartland, this brand-new American vodka uses corn from Indiana and Iowa for a product that is delicious, versatile, and gluten-free. American Anthem is the perfect complement to backyard cookouts, rooftop parties, happy hour or by poolside, and it invites us to come together and unify. “American Anthem inspires us to unite with the pride, the generosity, the people and the uniquely American values of the place we call home,” said Ryan Robertson, Brand Director, American Anthem. “It’s a privilege to partner with two great charitable organizations, Operation Gratitude and The Mission Continues, and we’re honored to be able to offer additional local engagement opportunities for consumers to give-back with these partners via our brand website.”

“We are excited to partner with American Anthem to expand our support of our Military and our mission to give everyone over legal drinking age a way of expressing their appreciation to those who serve,” said Kevin Schmiegel, Chief Executive Officer of Operation Gratitude. “Providing opportunities like this for our nation to say ‘Thank You’ to service members and their families is critically important, because so many grateful citizens want to do so, but many don’t know how.”

“Our partnership with American Anthem vodka is an exciting new opportunity for The Mission Continues,” said Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues. “Their contribution will further propel our efforts to empower veterans creating a positive impact in communities nationwide.”

For delicious American Anthem cocktail recipes and to find out where you can purchase the product, visit AmericanAnthemVodka.com.

About Diageo
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness. Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information about Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.

Source: Diageo North America

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Final Week to Apply for the HIRE Vets Medallion Award

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HIRE Vets banner

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor reminds the nation’s job creators they have one week left to submit their application for the 2019 HIRE Vets Medallion Award. The application period for the inaugural award closes on April 30, 2019.

Through the HIRE Vets Medallion Award, the Department will recognize employers of all sizes – ranging from small businesses and non-profit organizations to large businesses – for their leadership in recruiting, employing and retaining America’s veterans.

Applications for the HIRE Vets Medallion Award are evaluated on a range of criteria that include veteran hiring and retention rates, as well as the availability of veteran-specific resources, leadership programs, dedicated human resources, and compensation and tuition assistance programs. To apply, employers must meet and verify award requirements, complete the online application on HireVets.gov, pay the application fee, and ensure compliance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).

President Donald J. Trump signed the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017 (HIRE Vets Act) into law on May 5, 2017, creating the only federal-level award that recognizes the commitment of job creators to hire America’s veterans.

To learn more and apply for the HIRE Vets Medallion Award, please visit HireVets.gov. Applications will be accepted until April 30, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Communicating with Veterans in the Workplace—A Guide for Supervisors And Managers

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female supervisor shaking hands with veteran employee

Creating a well-functioning and welcoming work environment for veteran employees can improve the work environment for all employees. Effective communication has been shown to lead to improved performance and morale.

Following is a list of communication tips that managers or supervisors may find helpful when bringing veterans on board at work.

General Communication

Be straightforward and direct in both written and spoken communication.
✪ Listen when you are not speaking. Paraphrase and reflect back what someone has said to make sure you understood correctly.
✪ Keep your voice volume at a moderate level.
✪ Avoid using an angry, threatening, or demeaning tone of voice.

Assigning Tasks

✪ Be clear about your expectations. Specify what you expect an employee to do or accomplish with a task.
✪ Consider giving written instructions or expected outcomes of a task.
✪ If you are unsure about your clarity, ask the employee to summarize what you have said and are requesting of them. Confirm or correct the employee’s response.
✪ Clearly designate responsibility for tasks and projects, especially when assigning a task or project to a team of employees.
✪ When assigning work to a team, make sure there is an identified leader or point person.
✪ Make sure deadlines are clear and manageable.

Communicating Limits and Standards

✪ Set clear limits and observe them. Be consistent.
✪ Be clear about standards for promotion.
✪ Give praise and recognition for work well done.
✪ Be clear about the consequences of unacceptable behavior.
✪ When correcting an employee, that at the base when you get your discharge papers, and learn to ask for everything. Asking for an opportunity shows you are eager and motivated to get to work. While not second nature, this mindset will pay dividends.describe what can be observed, not what you suspect.

Managing Conflict

✪ Do not avoid or ignore conflict.
✪ Have a plan or process for managing conflict. Make sure employees know this plan so they can act appropriately when conflict arises.
✪ Check with your Human Resources office to see if your company already has a protocol for how to deal with conflict, or if there is someone to help deal with conflict in the workplace (e.g., an ombudsman).
✪ Have the discussion in a neutral setting that allows for privacy (e.g., a conference room with a door).
✪ Identify the goal of the discussion (e.g., gathering information, generating a solution) and stick to the goal.
✪ Focus on the facts and the identified problem.
✪ If multiple people are involved, let each person have time to describe what he or she sees as the problem. Use a time limit if needed.
✪ Listen actively and paraphrase what was said. Ask for clarification when needed.
✪ Do not focus on emotions or the person.
✪ Use objective, professional language.
✪ Avoid judgmental comments or making generalizations.
✪ Do not interrupt or let others interrupt.
✪ When generating possible solutions, be flexible and offer options when possible.

How to Address a Performance Problem

✪ Identify the changes in performance that need to take place for the employee to be successful.
✪ Meet with the employee to discuss the performance problem or deficiency. Do not wait until a performance review. Use a private setting (e.g., an office with a door) in order to protect confidentiality and to maintain the employee’s dignity.
✪ When meeting with the employee, explain, in detail, the performance issues and explain why it is important for the performance to improve and meet the job standards. Be specific. Stick to the facts. Have documentation available. Discuss the performance issues and behaviors, not the person.
✪ Gain agreement on the deficiencies and agreement on the standards the employee must achieve.
✪ Focus on the performance standards required for the job.
✪ Agree on solutions and ask what the employee needs to perform the job successfully, such as more training or other resources. Agree on the plan and the time frames expected for improving the performance.
✪ Advise the employee of the consequences if the performance does not improve.
✪ Set up regular feedback meetings with the employee to discuss the progress (i.e., every Friday to go over the week’s results).
✪ If the employee does not meet the expectations outlined in the plan, consult with your Human Resource office and follow your company policies and procedures on the next steps (e.g., written warning, suspension).

Source: va.gov

Government Contracting for Your Veteran-Owned Business

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Transitioning Veteran to small business owner

By Larry Stubblefield

GWACs, IDIQs, T&M—oh my! To a new business owner, these acronyms look like alphabet soup. To government entities, they look like work. But to a veteran business owner competing for a government contract, “GWAC, IDIQ, and T&M” look like opportunity.

To start off, the terms GWAC, IDIQs, and T&M are different types of government contracts—federal, state, and/or local. Known as government contracting to some, and procurement to others, selling to the government may provide you with a channel of revenue you may not have previously considered. And, with federally mandated service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) contract spends and the increased desire for supply chain diversity, you’re well positioned to take your business’ products and services to the government marketplace.

Full of jargon and complex processes, learning how to navigate the complex landscape of government contracting can be a difficult process if you try to tackle it alone. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but why re-invent the wheel when you don’t have to? Here are a few ways to start and grow your business in the federal marketplace.

  • Sign up for a training course. The Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneurship Training Program (VFPETP) prepares veteran business owners with the knowledge and skills they need to tackle government contracting. The program is delivered by the National Center for Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) and provides three different courses depending on where you are in your contracting journey:
  • VIP START: designed for veteran-owned businesses that want to enter or expand their business growth into the federal marketplace
  • VIP GROW: designed for veteran-owned businesses to increase their ability to win government contracts by establishing best business practices
  • VIP INTERNATIONAL: designed for veteran-owned small businesses that want to enter and/or expand their federal and commercial contracting opportunities overseas

Fun fact: VIP GROW graduates report an increase in their revenue by an average of 54 percent within their first year of completing the program.

  • Explore SBA’s free online tools. The federal contracting section of the SBA website contains easy-to-digest information on contracting assistance and specialized areas of government contracting (women-owned businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned, minority-owned, etc.). There’s also a Government Contracting 101 learning course available through the SBA Learning Center.
  • Connect with a trusted adviser. Local SBA resources. such as the Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs), District Offices, and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), can either provide you with the procurement expertise you may need—or direct you to a professional who can.
  • Network with other veteran-owned businesses who are already involved in government contracting. Many organizations will host events focused on government contracting, and just government in general. Attend and meet other veteran business owners who have contracting experience—the best advice comes from those who have lived it!

To learn more about the tools available for veteran, service member, National Guard or Reserve, and military spouse entrepreneurs, visit sba.gov/veterans.

Transitioning from Service to Startup

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business people shaking hands with one another in a company setting

You’ve reached a turning point in your military career. You’re transitioning from active duty to civilian and are considering business ownership as your next move.

Regardless of where you are in the entrepreneurial process—toying with a few business concepts or ready to execute your business plan—the SBA and its partner network are ready to support you.

Let your process begin with Boots to Business, a free entrepreneurship training course offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), and continue with free business counseling, mentorship, and even guidance on accessing capital for your business.

Ready for a smooth transition into business ownership? Here are a few ways you can get started.

  • Sign up for the Boots to Business course. Boots to Business is open to transitioning service members (including National Guard and Reserve) and their spouses on military installations worldwide. The course provides you with an overview of business ownership, including topics like market research, business financing, legal considerations, and additional resources to tap into throughout your entrepreneurial journey. Visit sbavets.force.com for a list of upcoming classes, then contact the transition office on your military installation to register for your desired course date.
  • Already completed your transition but still want to take the course? Boots to Business Reboot brings the course off military installations and into your community. Get in touch with your local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) for details on upcoming course dates.
  • Connect with your local VBOC. With locations across the nation, VBOCs can provide you with business advice/recommendations and connect you with other business counselors, training programs, and referrals in the SBA network.
  • Get involved in the entrepreneurial community by attending networking events to meet other veteran entrepreneurs. Also consider online communities, which can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Reddit. These private groups allow you to connect with other veteran entrepreneurs across the globe.

To learn more about the SBA’s veterans programs, visit sba.gov/veterans.

2GIG and ELAN Smart Home Gifted by the Gary Sinise Foundation Provides U.S. Army CPT Jake Murphy with the Control He Needs

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Disabled Veteran with his family standing outside their smart home

While on a mission in Afghanistan on July 23, 2011, a pressure plate improvised explosive device detonated beneath U.S. Army Captain Jake Murphy, immediately taking his left foot and causing an anoxic brain injury that put him into a coma.

Against all odds, Murphy emerged from his coma four weeks later and was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he eventually lost both of his legs.

Recognizing Cpt. Murphy’s immense bravery, the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) program provided him and his family a specially adapted smart home with technologies by Nortek Security & Control in an effort to help improve and simplify everyday life for the family of four.

“When designing this home for Captain Murphy and his family, simplicity was key,” said Jason Hanifan of Comware AV, the ELAN dealer that designed the home technology solution. “With that in mind, we personalized the ELAN Control System to make it easy for the whole family to control all the integrated technologies in the 3,598 square foot home.”

Comware AV built the system with an ELAN gSC10 as the main system controller, with an ELAN S1616A providing audio distribution and a 8×8 HDBaseT™ Matrix for video. The Murphy family can manage their home’s security, audio, video, Lutron® lighting, fans and shades, plus thermostats, and door locks through ELAN HR30 remotes in the family room and master bedroom, ELAN 7” Touch Panels in the kitchen and master bedroom, as well as through the ELAN app on their smart devices and with voice control through ELAN’s Amazon Alexa® integration.

With security being essential to the family, Hanifan and his team installed a 2GIG security system with over 40 sensors wirelessly connected to a 2GIG GC3 panel, which is integrated into the ELAN control system. According to Hanifan, “In addition to the intrusion sensors, we added 2GIG Glass Break Detectors to monitor for the sound of breaking glass in the home, 2GIG Motion Detectors, ten 2GIG Smoke Detectors, plus Carbon Monoxide Detectors.”

Murphy and his family can easily review the status of their home’s doors and windows before leaving the house or turning in for the night, using the GC3 panel, two 2GIG SP1 secondary touchscreens or any of their ELAN interfaces. If a door is left open, the 2GIG system will annunciate exactly which doors or window are open, and where. For further security, an ELAN network video recorder captures video from six ELAN surveillance cameras, all which can be managed from within the ELAN app.

To simplify the home control, Hanifan and the Comware AV team personalized automated scenes, such as “good night,” which automatically locks the doors and adjusts the lights, or “away” which automatically locks the doors, turn off the lights and sets the thermostats to a certain energy-saving level. “By initiating the ‘relax’ scene, the lights will switch to their designated level and the TV will go on,” said Hanifan. “With ELAN, the scene options are endless, which is ideal for Captain Murphy and his family. For example, when he wakes up in the morning he simply needs to say ‘good morning’ and everything will adjust to his desired settings. It’s that easy.”

For the Murphy family, music and entertainment are important aspects of home life. The Comware AV team installed 18 SpeakerCraft AIM282 speakers to maximize audio performance, and added a 1,000-watt Sunfire HRS10 subwoofer so the family can really “feel” the entertainment in the media room.

To ensure that all of the home’s technology receives uncompromised power for optimal operation, the system components plug into a Panamax M4315-PRO power conditioner with BlueBOLT® remote power management, while a Panamax MB-1500 battery backup guarantee protects the system in case of a power outage.

According to Scott Schaeperkoetter, Director of Operations for the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, the smart home system has completely transformed everyday life for the Murphy family. “We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the lives of these veterans and with Nortek Security & Control’s line of smart home and security solutions, we’re able to completely customize the smart home technology in each home to fit the individual needs of the veteran and their family,” he said. “We’re honored to be able to support their journey to regain their independence.”

About ELAN
ELAN®, from Nortek Security & Control, develops an award-winning line of whole-house entertainment and control solutions distributed through a comprehensive channel of select dealers throughout the United States, Canada, and countries worldwide. The ELAN 8 update was honored with the “2017 Human Interface Product of the Year” award, and continues to expand its intuitive functionality with security, climate, surveillance and video distribution products and integrations. To learn more, visit www.elanhomesystems.com.

About Nortek Security & Control
Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC) is a global leader in smart connected devices and systems for residential, security, access control, and digital health markets. NSC and its partners have deployed 5 million connected systems and over 25 million security and home control sensors and peripherals. Through its family of brands including 2GIG®, ELAN®, Linear®, GoControl®, Mighty Mule® and Numera®, NSC designs solutions for security dealers, technology integrators, national telecoms, big box retailers, OEM partners, service providers, and consumers. Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, NSC has over 50 years of innovation and is dedicated to addressing the lifestyle and business needs of millions of customers every day. For further information, visit nortekcontrol.com.

Attracting and Sourcing Veterans—Help for corporations looking for the right veteran for the job

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recruiting and sourcing veterans

By Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

Some organizations, such as TriWest, GAE, and the Combined Insurance Company of America, appoint a key veteran staff member to lead efforts in recruiting high-potential veteran candidates transitioning from military service to the private sector. This person understands military and corporate culture and can help HR and hiring managers understand military culture and service.

However, general recruiting efforts may not reach prospective employees with disabilities, so advertising with disability organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, and disability-related job fairs are good ways to reach potential employees with disabilities.

Another means for attracting veterans is to develop marketing materials that help translate and transfer military skills/experience into civilian job responsibilities. Organizations that have focused veteran recruiting strategies leverage military classification codes in their application materials and jobs postings. These codes specify an individual’s job and rank, and often include additional qualifications, such as languages or specialized training.

Numerous organizations offer specialized websites for veterans, including AT&T, Amazon, Disney, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Sodexo, T-Mobile, and Walmart Inc. Military recruitment channels, career fairs, and other similar events are additional avenues where businesses can share their employment opportunities and veterans can explore whether there’s a match with their skills and experience. Businesses can showcase their job opportunities along with the benefits of joining their organization, while veterans have the opportunity to demonstrate they are some of the most qualified talent in the nation.

Partnerships with business and trade associations represent another important channel for recruiting veteran talent, as well as a means for communicating the value of veterans in the workforce. Leveraging community collaboration and networking with other firms are excellent means for sourcing veterans. Encouraging inter- and intra-industry collaboration to identify and utilize the most comprehensive military skills translators creates more effective placement. The 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of 41 companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020, is an example of private-sector collaboration contributing to improved recruiting practices and outcomes.

JPMorgan Chase has instituted a “High-Touch Gold Desk,” where recruiters respond to any veteran applicant within five days of receiving the individual’s application for employment. This high-touch approach is positioned to support veterans in finding the right opportunity at JPMorgan Chase, based on the applicant’s experiences and qualifications. In addition, this personal response to each and every applicant has the benefit of helping the company’s HR staff become better educated as to how military skills and experiences correlate to the firm’s different work roles. The program functions by utilizing integrated, regional teams that map veteran applications against available positions at the firm. Using those maps, the teams are able to identify positions across the firm that best match the veteran’s skills profile. This results in a process that aligns the veteran with an opportunity where he or she is most likely to find success and also facilitates an approach to recruitment and hiring that looks across lines of business, as opposed to within a given organizational silo.

Other examples of focused military recruiting are at BAE and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. BAE provides career pathways for wounded warriors through its Warrior Integration Program (WIP), which is specifically designed to identify, hire, and develop qualified wounded veterans into valuable employees. Lockheed participates in the Army Partnership for Youth Success Program (PaYS), which allows those who serve our country to plan in advance to explore private-sector job opportunities. The program gives new soldiers the opportunity to select a job with a PaYS partner during the time of enlistment. After the position has been selected, a Statement of Understanding is signed, and the PaYS employer/partner promises to interview the returning solider, as long as he or she receives an honorable discharge, is otherwise qualified, and a job vacancy exists.

Many companies, including Walmart, leverage campus recruiting and veteran service organizations, such as the Student Veterans of American (SVA). Ernst & Young organizes veteran internship fairs at schools, while AT&T leverages internships that provide veterans job shadowing opportunities.

Following are other resources positioned to support employers with veteran-focused recruiting and onboarding initiatives.

U.S. DOL Vet Employment (VETS)

VETS proudly serves veterans and service members by providing resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to obtain careers, employment opportunities, and employment rights, as well as information on transition programs. VETS offers a multitude of resources for veterans looking for jobs.

Joining Forces

Joining Forces is a great resource and offers some of the nation’s top job resources for veterans and employers, such as access to the Veterans Job Bank, links to employment tools, like My Next Move for Veterans, and many more.

Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

This event includes military-friendly employers that represent thousands of available job opportunities for veterans.

U.S. Veterans Pipeline

An effort of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the U.S. Veterans Pipeline is a talent networking and career management platform that allows users to connect directly to peers, companies, jobs, schools, education programs, and more.

Gold Card Initiative

This joint initiative between DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and VETS provides post-9/11 era veterans with intensive and follow-up services, necessary for success in today’s job market. Eligible veterans can present their Gold Card at any One-Stop Career Center to obtain enhanced intensive services that include up to six months of follow-up, job readiness assessment, referral to job banks, and much more.

100,000 Jobs Mission

JPMorgan Chase and the other founding corporation/coalition members are committed to working together, sharing best recruiting and employment practices, and reporting hiring results.

Hero Health Hire

This initiative is a gathering place where business leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens can learn, share information, and commit to helping our nation’s disabled veterans find and retain meaningful employment. This initiative provides information, tools, and guidance for recruiting, hiring, training, and supporting disabled veterans in the workplace.

Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA (Hire Heroes) is dedicated to creating job opportunities for U.S. military veterans and their spouses through personalized employment training and corporate engagement.

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

Offers virtual and in-person meetings or webinars, helping military spouses with resumes, employment resources, training to update skill sets, and assistance in finding employment resources in their current location or the area to which they’re relocating.

Source: toolkit.vets.syr.edu

Understanding Veteran-Owned Business Certifications

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Terms like 8a, SDVOSB, VOSB, and CVE can be confusing for many veterans related to what they might be eligible to use and what the status means to their company.

Why should I get a Veteran certification?

If you are selling to the government or if you are selling to major companies that do business with the government, a Veteran certification gives you more tools in your marketing toolbox—it may give you leverage in some contract bidding. Each year, the federal government is required to buy a certain percentage of their purchases from small businesses and businesses that have minority or presumed disadvantaged status.

Sometimes the government reaches its goals through bid preferences. In a bid preference, if a non-certified company and a certified company both bid $100,000, the certified preference company bid might be viewed as $95,000, thereby giving them the winning bid.

In other cases, the procuring agent might decide that only a certain classification of businesses could bid on a particular contract. This is referred to as a “set aside” solicitation. In the set aside scenario, a procurement officer may decide to only open the bidding process to a minority or preference class of business. Any company that did not have the required certification would not be able to bid on the project. One limitation to this setting is that if there are not at least two businesses of this classification bidding, the bid may have to be reissued and opened to a wider group. In some cases, a procurement officer may be able to justify a sole source contract, but that is the exception, not the rule.

What are the types of Veterans certifications available?

Currently, the federal Veteran status certifications and the agencies that confirm them are:

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) 8a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small business (SDVOSB). The SBA 8a SDVOSB requires an application process to validate the certified status. For the certified SBA’s 8a SDVOSB, only Veterans who are service-connected disabled Veterans can apply.
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB). This status is self-certified by the business owner in the System for Award Management (SAM) Website.
  • Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). This status is self-certified by the business owner in the SAM Website.
  • Veteran Administration (VA) Certified Veteran Enterprise (CVE) Veteran Owned Small Business. The VA CVE is primarily used for the VA’s Vets First program. It is not a substitute for the SBA 8a certification.
  • VA CVE SDVOSB. As noted above, the CVE is mainly for doing business with the VA.

Am I Eligible?

The question of eligibility is where things get to be a little murky at first. Any Veteran, honorably discharged from military service can self-certify as a VOSB in SAM if they meet the following conditions:

  • The Veteran or Veterans must own a minimum of 51 percent of the business.
  • The Veteran or Veterans owning the business must show control of the day-to-day operations of the business and must be the highest-ranking officer of the company. In some cases, where a Veteran is severely disabled, some of that operational control may be handled by a spouse or other family member.
  • To qualify for the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), the disability must be a service connected disability and must be shown on the DD214 document issued when discharged from the service.

For the three certifications issued by the SBA or the VA, the same requirements listed above apply, but must all be supported by documentation to prove ownership and control. Although the documentation may at times seem cumbersome, it is used to verify that the business is indeed owned and operated by the Veteran. This protects the true Veteran-owned businesses and allows them to compete competitively.

Source: Florida SBDC at University of South Florida

Marine Serves Up Success One Slice at a Time

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Mountain Mikes Pizza

Mountain Mike’s Pizza is committed to serving “pizza the way it oughta be!®.” Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, Mountain Mike’s is a family-style pizza chain with more than 200 franchised restaurants in California and the West.

Marine veteran John Maddox owns nine of these franchises throughout the Central Valley region of California, the most locations of any franchisee in the system.

He spoke to U.S. Veterans Magazine about his transition from the Marines to business ownership and how his military experience serves him in his current role.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

My father also served in the armed forces and I was an Army brat, so my family moved around a lot. I was born in Oklahoma and lived in multiple cities across the U.S., and even internationally in Germany. We finally settled in Northern California when I was a teenager. Following my high school graduation, I attended college near home at San Jose State and majored in aeronautics. While pursuing my university education, I worked at McDonald’s in a management position, and really fell in love with the industry. I enjoyed interacting with customers and forged lasting relationships with several colleagues who eventually helped guide me in my early days as a franchisee.

I flew helicopters for the Marine Corps and gained a lot of invaluable experience, but as with any military lifestyle, I continued to move quite a bit and didn’t see as much of my family as I would have liked. When my service with the Marine Corps concluded in 1992, I wanted my next step to be something that would keep my family in one place for a while. I decided to pursue a career in an industry in which I had experience, felt comfortable and was passionate about: food service. It was all about establishing roots in a community on both a personal and professional level.

John Maddox
John Maddox, Mountain Mike’s Pizza

As I began looking at my options, I got in contact with a former colleague who had found success as a franchisee in the pizza industry. I did my research and considered many different types of business opportunities and franchise concepts, ultimately landing on Mountain Mike’s. I was attracted to the brand for many reasons—the first being that my family and I really enjoyed the pizza. In terms of quality and flavor, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that does it better, and I felt very good about that. Also, Mountain Mike’s Pizza had a great reputation in Northern California, with plenty of room for growth, compelling average unit volume, and a history of being an active part of the communities it served. I know I made the right choice, because this continues to be true today. Their established business model and supportive corporate team provided the necessary tools for me and other franchisees to succeed, and I have been lucky to continue growing with the brand as both a franchisee and an area developer.

What lessons did you take from the military that helped you in running your own business?

One of the major things I took from the military is to value the process of training. As a Marine Corps officer, it’s important to train others, and train others how to train others. I also learned the importance of leadership by example. When we first opened, I was in the store from open to close every day for three months straight. It’s important for your employees to know that you’re willing to put the work in and go the extra mile, because they will work hard if you do. Another thing officers in every branch of the military are good at is delegating; hire good people who know how to get the job done, and get out of their way. Lastly, in the military, you learn how to make decisions—hard decisions. You have to be strong enough to tell people “no,” which is an essential skill for any business owner.

What advice would you give other veterans who want to open their own businesses?

I would tell other veterans looking to get into franchising to do their homework. This is something you’ll be doing every single day, so take the time to research your options and choose something you’ll enjoy. It was important to me to work with a concept that offered a high-quality, delicious product, and Mountain Mike’s Pizza has continued to show a commitment to delivering nothing but the best over the past 40 years.

Also, build a business plan and make sure the numbers work before diving in and signing on the dotted line. It could be one of the most successful franchises out there, but as a business owner you have to understand and be comfortable with the financial risk and time commitment involved with building a successful business. Not only did Mountain Mike’s Pizza offer a superior product to similar brands in the industry, they are all about serving and supporting their communities, which was important to my family and me. We continue to uphold this core value by making it a priority to be very active with local schools, community groups, youth clubs and sports leagues, charities and more. We’re committed to putting in the work and investing in our communities because we care about our customers. The benefit is that we’ve built a large and loyal customer base organically.

I went from being an officer in the Marine Corps to making pizzas, and although it was really hard work, it has paid off. Not only do I truly enjoy the restaurant industry and love building relationships with customers, some of whom have become close personal friends, but I’ve also seen a positive return on investment since starting my journey with Mountain Mike’s Pizza. The company is in a growth phase, and I plan to take advantage of the opportunities available to continue growing with the brand.

For more information, visit mountainmikespizza.com.

Top Organizations to Receive Diversity and Inclusion Honors Award At Annual Conference

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The Association of ERGs & Councils (a practice group of PRISM International, Inc.) released their annual list of the Top 25 US Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Business Resource Groups (BRGs) and Diversity Councils set to receive the tenth annual 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ at an award ceremony during the 2019 ERG & Council Conference in Orlando May 3rd.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ is the only annual national award that recognizes and honors the outstanding contributions and achievements of ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils. It was established in 2008 by the Association of ERGs & Councils, a practice group of diversity and inclusion consulting and training firm PRISM International, Inc.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ recipients are a diverse combination of US organizations representing most sectors, geographies and sizes. “This year we had a diverse pool of highly qualified applications representing 1,079 ERGs, BRGs, Diversity Councils and their chapters,” states Fernando Serpa, Executive Director of the Association of ERGs & Councils. “We also had several non-Top 25 groups demonstrate best practices and results that deserve to be recognized and they will be receiving the Spotlight Impact Award™ that highlights the achievements of these select groups in the categories of Organizational Impact, Talent Management and Culture of Inclusion.”

This year, for the first time, the Association of ERGs and Councils will bestow the honor of Top Executive Sponsor of the Year. “We wanted to recognize and call out the important role executive sponsors play in developing, supporting and enabling their ERGs and Councils to succeed,” Serpa said.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ Top 25 recipient rankings will be revealed at the May 3 award ceremony at the Disney Yacht & Beach Club Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Award Ceremony and Conference is open to all diversity and inclusion professionals involved with ERGs, BRGs and Councils.  This is a great opportunity for individuals to learn and share best practices, network, grow and celebrate, to become inspired and be renewed…all for the purpose of increasing their impact on key organizational and business objectives. Learn more by visiting ErgCouncilConference.com.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ recipients in alphabetical order include:

  • American Airlines – American Airlines Diversity Advisory Council
  • Atrium Health – Atrium Health Divisional Diversity Councils
  • Bank of America – Military Support & Assistance Group ( MSAG)
  • Cleveland Clinic – ClinicPride Employee Resource Group (ClinicPride ERG)
  • Cleveland Clinic – Military/Veterans Employee Resource Group
  • Cleveland Clinic – SALUD
  • Davenport University – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council
  • Entergy Corporation – Entergy Employee Resource Group
  • Erie Insurance – Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council
  • Froedtert Health – Froedtert Health Diversity Council
  • General Motors – General Motors Employee Resource Group Council
  • KeyBank – Key Business Impact and Networking Groups
  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals – Mallinckrodt Inclusion & Diversity Council
  • Mount Sinai Queens, part of the Mount Sinai Health System – Mount Sinai Queens Diversity Council
  • Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, part of the Mount Sinai Health System – Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Diversity Council
  • National Guard – Joint Diversity Executive Council
  • Northern Trust Corporation – Advancing Professionals Resource Council (APRC)
  • Northern Trust Corporation – Women In Leadership Business Resource Council (WIL BRC)
  • Northwestern Mutual – Asian ERG
  • Northwestern Mutual – Northwestern Mutual Women’s Employee Resource Group
  • Novant Health – Asian Business Resource Group
  • PNC Financial Services Group – Corporate Diversity Council
  • State Street Corporation – Professional Women’s Network – Massachusetts Chapter (PWN-MA)
  • Texas Instruments – Texas Instruments Diversity Network (TIDN)
  • Turner, Inc. – Turner Business Resource Groups
  • U.S. Bank – Spectrum LGBTQ Business Resource Group
  • U.S. Bank – U.S. Bank Proud to Serve

The 2019 Spotlight Impact Award™ recipients in alphabetical order include:

  • Dominion Energy – Dominion Energy Executive Diversity Council (EDC)
  • FedEx Services – Diversity and Inclusion BRT Council
  • Food Lion – Diversity and Inclusion
  • MUFG Union Bank, N.A. – Women’s Initiative Network (WIN)
  • Summa Health – Diversity and Advisory Council

The 2019 Executive Sponsor of the Year recipients in alphabetical order:

  • FedEx Services Diversity and Inclusion BRT Council – Rebecca Huling
  • Perdue Farms Inclusion Council – Randy Day
  • Southern California Edison Company (SCE) Women’s Roundtable (WR) – Maria Rigatti
  • U.S. Bank Proud to Serve – Mike Ott

About the ERG & Council Honors Award™
The ERG & Council Honors Award™ is the only annual national award that recognizes, honors and celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements of ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils that lead the diversity and inclusion process in their organizations and demonstrate results in their workforce, workplace and marketplace. Learn more by visiting ERG & Council Honors Award™.

About the ERG & Council Conference™
ERGs and Diversity Councils are vital links for improving organizational results. However, to remain impactful and effective, they need opportunities to increase their skills and knowledge and to learn and share best practices. They need opportunities to network, celebrate and grow. This is the purpose of the only annual conference designed specifically for ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils. Learn more by visiting ERGCouncilConference.com.

About the Association of ERGs & Councils
The Association of ERGs & Councils is a practice group of PRISM International Inc. and the premier resource for transforming Employee Resource Groups, Diversity Councils and Employee Network Groups to impact key organizational and business objectives. Learn more by visiting the ErgCouncil.com.

About PRISM International, Inc.
PRISM International Inc., a Talent Dimensions company, is a WBENC-certified, full-service provider of innovative and proven consulting, training and products for leveraging diversity and inclusion, addressing unconscious bias, increasing cross-cultural competencies and creating more effective ERGs and Diversity Councils. Learn more by visiting PrismDiversity.com.

IBM just appointed the first African-American woman to command a US Navy ship to its board

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IBM appointed Admiral Michelle J. Howard, the first African American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, to its board, the company announced Tuesday.

A former U.S. Navy officer, Howard was the first woman to become a 4-star admiral in addition to becoming the first African-American woman to command a U.S. Navy ship, according to IBM’s announcement. In July 2014, she became the first woman and African-American to be named Vice Chief of Naval Operations, IBM said, and she retired from her 35-year career in December 2017.

Howard now teaches cybersecurity and international policy at George Washington University, according to the release.

Howard’s board appointment will be effective March 1.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said in a statement in the release, “Admiral Howard is a groundbreaking leader with a distinguished career in military service. Her leadership skills, international perspective and extensive experience with cybersecurity and information technology will make her a great addition to the IBM Board.”

For the complete article, continue on to CNBC.