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.

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!

ESPN Presents the Pat Tillman Award for Service to Former U.S. Marine Kirstie Ennis at The 2019 ESPYS on July 10

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Kirstie Ennis cover of U.S. Veterans Magazine

While on duty in Afghanistan, former Marine Corps Sergeant Kirstie Ennis was in a helicopter crash in an active combat zone that resulted in severe injuries including facial trauma, a traumatic brain injury, cervical and lumbar spine trauma, and bilateral shoulder damage. Following more than a dozen surgeries, doctors decided to amputate above the knee on her left leg. Having been an athlete for most of her life, Ennis turned to sports as part of her recovery.

The former U.S. Veterans Magazine‘s cover founded the Kirstie Ennis Foundation to provide education and opportunity in the outdoors and to support other non-profits dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals and families. For her dedication to serving others, Ennis will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service sponsored by Mass Mutual at The 2019 ESPYS presented by Capital One live Wednesday, July 10, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

“After being medically retired from the Marine Corps due to my injuries sustained overseas, I have dedicated my life to serving others in a different way. To receive the Pat Tillman Award and to be associated with a true American hero is a tremendous honor,” said Ennis. “It has taken a village to get me to this point in my life, and I would not be where I am now without the amazing people surrounding me. To me, this is a symbol of community and what it means to pay it forward.”

As part of her efforts to inspire others, Ennis has walked 1,000 miles across Britain for a Walking With the Wounded charity event and in 2013 she competed in the Warrior Games where she took home three gold medals in swimming. In 2017, she decided she would set out to become the first female above-the-knee amputee to summit all seven of the world’s highest peaks and has since climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Carstensz in Indonesia, Mount Elbrus in Russia, and Aconcagua in Argentina. Her most recent attempt to climb Mount Everest took place in April and May of this year, and brought Ennis and her team within 200 meters of the finish line, before they turned back due to life threatening conditions. Ennis is also a Paralympic hopeful in snowboarding.

“Pat lived his life with passion and conviction, driving forward in the face of any obstacle that crossed his path,” says Marie Tillman, Board Chair and Co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “I see that same drive and courage in Kirstie as she continues to push the limits and achieve her best. We are proud to present the Tillman Award to Sgt. Kirstie Ennis for her service and leadership.”

The Pat Tillman Award for Service was established in 2014 to commemorate the former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger’s legacy, and honor an individual with a strong connection to sports who has served others in a way that echoes the legacy of Tillman. Kirstie Ennis will be presented with the award at The 2019 ESPYS in conjunction with the Pat Tillman Foundation, a national leader in providing academic support and scholarships to veterans, active-duty service members and their spouses. Past honorees include U.S. Paralympic gold medal sled hockey player and Purple Heart recipient Josh Sweeney (2014), and former Notre Dame basketball player, Iraq war veteran and Purple Heart recipient Danielle Green (2015), U.S. Army Sgt. and Invictus Games gold medalist Elizabeth Marks (2016), and Purple Heart recipient and Invictus Games gold medalist Israel Del Toro (2017), and Navy-Marine Commendation Medal recipient, Sergeant Jake Wood (2018).

The ESPYS helps to raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano at the first ESPYS back in 1993. ESPN has helped raise close to $97 million for the V Foundation over the past 26 years. Tickets are available for public purchase at AXS.com. The ESPYS are executive produced by Maura Mandt and co-produced by Maggievision Productions.

About The ESPYS

The ESPYS gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The show recognizes achievements in categories such as “Best MLB Player,” “Best Team,” “Best Female Athlete” and “Best Upset” and inspiring human stories are showcased through three pillar awards: the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and the Pat Tillman Award for Service. The ESPYS support ESPN’s ongoing commitment to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, launched by ESPN with the late Jim Valvano in 1993.

ABOUT THE PAT TILLMAN FOUNDATION

In 2002, Pat Tillman proudly put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat’s death in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Pat’s legacy of leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation unites and empowers remarkable military veterans and spouses as the next generation of public and private sector leaders committed to service beyond self. For more information on the Pat Tillman Foundation and the impact of the Tillman Scholars, visit PatTillmanFoundation.org.

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 Entrepreneur Ecosystem Still Exists

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veteran businessman

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

Get the details and register today at BBBC19.com

Navy Father, Daughter Enjoy Serving Together

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U.S. Navy father and daughter poese together smiling

By Navy Seaman Michael Prusiecki, USS Nimitz

A Navy father and daughter here say they enjoy their service together aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Eric Alexander, a native of Stuttgart, Arkansas, enlisted in the Navy in 1996 as an aviation boatswain’s mate. He served at various commands and eventually reached the rank of chief petty officer before being commissioned through the limited duty officer program in 2007. Since February, he has been serving as the aircraft handling officer on the Nimitz.

Alexander’s daughter, Petty Officer 3rd Class Erica Alexander-Quow, enlisted in the Navy in June 2017 as an intelligence specialist. She has been serving on the Nimitz since January.

“We commute together and I get to mentor her a lot,” Alexander said of his daughter. “I train her on shipboard safety and being a better sailor. Her safety is my biggest concern.”

Serving alongside her father on the Nimitz is “pretty cool,” Alexander-Quow said.

“We have a great relationship, and it’s interesting to be able to work in the same place, even though we are in completely separate departments with different chains of command,” she said. “It’s nice to have a watchful eye in the sky—someone who is always looking out for me—even though I try not to involve him much because I don’t want to be seen as having an advantage. I try to keep it separate.”

Alexander-Quow said she joined the military due to the lessons learned from her father’s long and successful career in the Navy.

“Seeing his experience and the benefits from it, and also moving around to so many places, was a big inspiration to follow in his footsteps and serve,” she said.

Alexander-Quow said she would like to earn a commission, but for now she’s taking it day by day. “So we will see how my career plays out,” she added.

Both said they try to remain professional at the workplace.

“At work, it’s all business,” Alexander said. “She sees me and she says, ‘Sir.’”

“We’re good at maintaining that father-daughter relationship at home away from work,” Alexander-Quow said. “Our everyday commute gives us time to unwind and diffuse any problems so we don’t have to bring any negativity home.”

Source: defense.gov

How to Hire Veterans

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Woman shaking hands with recruiter

There are more than 21 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces, and many of these veterans have been trained on general as well as technical skills in their military careers.

From food service to technical support, the armed forces impart a great many skills on veterans, and employers reap the benefits of this training when they hire veterans.

Veterans are also very team oriented and have years of experience cooperating with their peers to meet objectives set by team leaders.

This article answers these questions and others you may have when you hire a veteran:

  • How do I hire veterans?
  • Where can I hire veterans?
  • Where do I post jobs to hire veterans?
  • How to find veterans to hire?
  • What are the benefits of hiring veterans?

 

Benefits of Hiring Veterans

While the main thought of many employers is “I want to hire a veteran,” other employers may be wondering more about the benefits of hiring a veteran.

We’ve talked about some of the benefits of hiring veterans, like experience working in teams, but there are hard cost benefits to hiring veterans, other than the experience that veterans have.

Here some of the most tangible benefits of hiring veterans:

  • Employers can get a tax credit of $5,600 for hiring eligible veterans and a $9,600 tax credit for hiring disabled veterans.
  • Veterans are trained on specific technical skills by the armed forces.
  • Veterans are trained in hundreds of general tasks while in the armed forces.
  • Veterans are trained to work cooperatively with their team and are loyal to these teams.
  • Veterans are able to receive support from their government in their education, reducing the cost of any continued education benefits your company offers.
  • Veterans are trained to use effective leadership techniques.

 

How to Find Veterans to Hire

When it comes to hiring veterans, many employers feel like they are in a situation like this:

“I want to hire a veteran, but I don’t know how to find veterans to hire or how to hire a vet.”

If you are wondering where to hire veterans, there are many resources offered to veterans to help them find jobs after they transition out of working for the armed forces.

Where to Post Jobs for Veterans

By advertising open positions on veteran-specific job boards, you can reach thousands of veterans in your area.

You can also use your Glassdoor Employer Profile to feature your commitment to hiring veterans badge, pro-veteran messaging, fun pictures of your employees and reviews from current and former veteran employees.

Another way to find veterans to hire is by using your company’s social media profiles to post about how you are a “veteran friendly employer.” You can also use pro-veteran hiring hashtags along with #jobs or #hiring, such as #vets, #veterans or #SOV (support our veterans) when posting links to your job descriptions on social media.

You can also contact local veteran support organizations and tell them that you are a veteran-friendly business. This way, you can generate local interest in your job opportunities and get a large, skilled demographic in your area engaged in working for your company.

How to Hire a Veteran

Hiring veterans is no different from hiring any other employee. Their time in the armed forces should be viewed like any other job on a resume, and interviewing them about this experience should be focused on exploring the skills they gained in this period.

When reviewing a veteran applicant’s experience, you can ask questions like these about the applicable skills they learned in the armed forces:

  • What technical skills were you trained in that you will use in this job?
  • How many years have you been using these skills?
  • Which soft skills did you learn in the armed forces that will help you do well in this job?
  • What other experience did you gain in the armed forces that will help you succeed in this job?

Their other professional experience should be covered as well, but don’t be intimidated when going over their time in the armed forces.

They gained an immense amount of experience in the armed forces, and to determine that they are a good hire, you will need to explore the professional experience and skills they developed.

Source: www.glassdoor.com

Looking for a STEM Job? Head to These States

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

Milken Institute’s 2018 State Technology and Science Index, a biennial assessment of states’ capabilities and competitiveness in a tech-focused economy, ranked the top ten states to pursue a STEM career.

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Colorado
  3. Maryland
  4. California
  5. Utah
  6. Washington
  7. Delaware
  8. Minnesota
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Oregon

“The success stories of states profiled in this year’s index reflect sustained efforts to not only build but to maintain their ecosystem,” said Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics. “Making the changes that are necessary to perform well on the State Technology and Science Index can contribute to stronger long-term economic performance.”

Massachusetts benefitted from the presence of major research universities, the availability of venture capital, entrepreneurial expertise, and a tech-oriented workforce, according to the report. The state was first in three of the index’s five composite indexes and finished third in another. Massachusetts continues to strengthen its position in tech and science by increasing public funding of neuroscience research, cybersecurity innovation, and startup development.

Utah’s move to fifth was driven by tech-sector employment growth – the fastest in the nation – averaging 4.3 percent annually. The state also had the most university graduates with degrees in science and engineering – 15.4 per 1,000 students. Utah stood out for the success of its universities in spinning research into commercial ventures.

Delaware rose to seventh from tenth, strengthened by an increase in venture capital invested in technology companies. The Legislature authorized a 25 percent tax credit for small companies (those with fewer than 25 employees) engaged in research and development in specific high-tech fields. The state ranks fifth in the number of business startups with 53.4 per 1,000 residents.

The State Technology and Science Index provides a benchmark for policymakers to evaluate their state’s capabilities and formulate strategies for improving STEM education, attracting businesses, and creating jobs in the tech sector. Indices considered in the report include the number of patents issued and doctoral degrees granted in each state.

“Investing in human capital and developing a STEM workforce is crucial for regional economies that want to attract large technology companies and the jobs they bring,” explains Minoli Ratnatunga, Milken Institute’s director of regional economics research.

In addition to the index, the report offers case studies that examine issues such as non-compete contracts that limit employee mobility, along with access to higher education in building a vibrant, adaptable workforce.

Drawing on this data, the report recommends four steps policymakers can take to improve their state’s competitiveness:

Increase scholarships and other financial aid to lower the cost of higher education for in-state students who plan STEM careers.

Better align STEM curriculums to make it easier for students to transfer credits from lower-cost two-year colleges to four-year institutions.

Encourage partnerships between higher-education institutions and private companies to provide students with work experience to improve workforce readiness and job placement.

Make employee noncompete laws less restrictive to encourage a freer exchange of ideas and talent among tech companies.

The index draws on data from government and private sources dating from 2015 to 2017, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, the American Community Survey, and Moody’s Analytics.

Source: milkeninstitute.org

Working With A New Canvas, Air Force Vet Confident, Excited About Transferring Skill Set

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Nick and MelissaMurray pose outside in their franchsie outfits

(CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee)—Nick Murray is transitioning from a military officer to a civilian and small-business owner.

But thanks to his experience and attitude, it has all worked like clockwork and with nary a worry, with the biggest benefactors being the clients of Murray’s CertaPro Painters franchise, which launched in 2018 and serves customers throughout the greater Chattanooga metropolitan area.

CertaPro Painters is America’s largest and most-referred painting company. “In an industry that typically lacks exceptional customer service and involves production management, it sounded like a great challenge to me,” said the four-year veteran of the United States Air Force.

The 28-year-old Murray performed contracting duties in the United Kingdom, Iceland and here at home during his Air Force career, purchasing commodities, services and construction while adhering to all federal regulations and initiatives. That discipline, Murray believes, gives him an edge in being a small-business owner with CertaPro Painters, whose best-in-class operational systems and procedures make it the most professional business model in the industry and its satisfied customers are the direct benefactors.

“Military experience has enhanced my ability to execute at a high level while providing a strong foundation for the contracting industry,” Murray said. Murray met his wife, Melissa, who assists in the business, when they were both in ROTC at the University of Kentucky. While the couple was stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia for two years, they made a few visits to Chattanooga and liked what they saw, especially since it meant being closer to family. “We decided Chattanooga was where we wanted to start our family and our next chapter,” Murray said. “I was confident in my contracting abilities and enthusiastic about the opportunity, so with Melissa’s support, we decided to join the team and purchase the CertaPro franchise here in Chattanooga.”

Commercial and residential painting is an estimated $60 billion industry in the U.S. and Canada. CertaPro has been consistently ranked No. 1 by Entrepreneur magazine in its category and boasts a customer referral rate that exceeds 95 percent.

About CertaPro Painters
Founded in 1992, Audubon, Pennsylvania-based CertaPro Painters is the largest painting company in North America. With more than 350 independently owned and operated franchises worldwide, CertaPro provides a customer-driven painting experience for both residential and commercial properties that is unparalleled in the industry. The company’s stellar service and proven business system have made CertaPro North America’s most referred painting company. For more information, visit www.certapro.com

Five Military Veterans Can Win Free Travel Agency Franchise

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Operation Vetrepreneur Winner and Navy Vet Christo Robinson

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (May 23, 2019) – Leading travel agency franchise Dream Vacations is recruiting military veterans to enlist in its eighth annual, award-winning “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General” contest.

The number one franchise opportunity for veterans will be awarding five veterans a free franchise as part of the nationwide contest that since 2012, has given away 37 franchises valued at nearly half-a-million dollars. This year’s contest begins Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 24, 2019, and lasts through Saturday, August 31, 2019.

“It is because of those in the armed forces that Americans are able to live the American Dream, and at Dream Vacations one small way we show our gratitude is through our annual Operation Vetrepreneur contest which makes it easy for veterans to pursue the dream of small business ownership,” said Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president of Dream Vacations. “While veterans account for 14 percent of franchisees nationwide, at Dream Vacations they make up more than 30 percent of our network and are among our most successful franchisees.”

The Dream Vacations franchise contest is open to former members of any of the five branches of the U.S. military (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) who are retired, off active duty and/or honorably discharged prior to the contest start date. To participate, candidates must complete an online entry form and an introductory phone interview with a franchise development specialist. Candidates will be required to submit a candidate profile, business plan, video and resume. Finalists will be invited to participate in follow-up phone interviews before winners are selected. The entry form and all contest details can be found at www.OperationVetrepreneur.com.

Five winners will be notified in September 2019. Each grand prize is valued at $12,700 and includes a complimentary Dream Vacations franchise with a waived $9,800 initial start-up fee and monthly service fees. The new recruits will report for active duty in November, when they participate in a weeklong franchise training boot camp at Dream Vacations’ state-of-the-art world headquarters in Fort Lauderdale. Winners will be reimbursed up to $500 for their travel and provided with complimentary accommodations during the training program. Once training is completed, winners will be armed with all the tools and knowledge they need to begin their dream business creating dream vacations.

“Winning the contest last year has changed my life by allowing me to meet more than 11,000 new people this year and talk with them about living their dreams,” said Christo Robinson, Navy veteran and 2018 Operation Vetrepreneur winner in Buford, Ga. “The support staff from Dream Vacations has been with me every step of the way and I am excited to say that we have already achieved our next promotion level in only five months after completing training. This is truly an opportunity I think every military veteran should take advantage of because Dream Vacations is committed to your success.”

All military veterans and Gold Star families who purchase a Dream Vacations travel agency business receive an enlistment package valued at no less than $5,000 and ongoing support. They can select one of four perks currently being offered — $2,000 travel training credit; receive up to $7,000 back based on initial fee through the Earn Back promotion; waived administrative fees valued at $1,350; or a Microsoft® Surface Pro tablet valued at $1,000. They also receive a waived training fee for a business partner; veteran-themed marketing assets; and the ability to hire active-duty military spouses and veterans as associates at a discount. Additional veteran incentives include the ability to move residences and stay in business, LeisureCare Travel Insurance discounts for veterans, travel discounts for military customers and access to veteran networking groups.

As the only travel franchise to receive a 5 STAR ranking from the International Franchise Association’s VetFran initiative, Dream Vacations proudly supports military veterans and is consistently recognized by leading industry publications as a veteran-friendly franchise. Other national accolades include number one rankings by Military Times, Entrepreneur and Forbes. Additional recognitions include inclusion on G.I. Jobs annual “Hot Franchises for Veterans,” US Veterans magazine’s “Top Veteran-Friendly Companies” and USA Today’s “50 Top Franchises for Military Veterans.”

Military veterans who have a passion for travel and entrepreneurism who are interested in opening a Dream Vacations travel franchise and want to be considered as a candidate for Operation Vetrepreneur, please visit www.OperationVetrepreneur.com or call 888-249-8235.

About Dream Vacations

Travel agents with the top-ranked home-based travel agency franchise Dream Vacations have the resources to plan and create seamless vacation experiences for their customers while offering the best value. A member of the International Franchise Association, Dream Vacations is part of World Travel Holdings and has received partner of the year, a top-ranking status, by all the major cruise lines as well as national recognition for its support of military veterans. For more information about Dream Vacations, visit www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com. Like Dream Vacations on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DreamVacationsFranchise, follow on Twitter at @Dream_Franchise and watch its videos at http://www.youtube.com/DreamVacationsBusiness.

PHOTO: 2018 Operation Vetrepreneur Winner and Navy Veteran Christo Robinson. Photo Credit: www.TheLXA.com

Seaman Apprentice Serves Aboard Versatile Warship Half A World Away

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seaman Aprrentice Chance Coogle poses in military uniform

By Lt. Jake Joy, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Seaman Apprentice Chance Coogle, a native of Huntington Beach, California, said serving in the Navy is a “family thing.” “I’m the seventh generation of Coogle to enlist, and none have retired – it’s a neat tradition,” he said.

“They were all in the Navy. My dad served in the Gulf War, my grandfather in Vietnam, my great-grandfather was a gunner’s mate in WWII, it goes on and on like that.”

Now, two years after taking his own oath, and half a world away at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Coogle serves aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, patrolling one of the world’s busiest maritime regions as part of the leading-edge of U.S. 7th Fleet.

“It’s cozy,” Coogle said. “Everything’s right where you need it to be, you’re not really going to get lost. It’s like a little town. I like it, you get to see everybody every day. Of all the ships to be on, I think this is a good one.”

Coogle, a 2017 graduate of Edison High School, is an operations specialist aboard the Yokosuka, Japan-based ship, one of several in its class forward-deployed to the region.

“I track air and surface contacts and can contact them over international air distress channels, it’s pretty important,” Coogle said. “If we identify them incorrectly, that aircraft is at higher risk of getting shot down … those times I get to do my job, I feel fulfilled.”

Coogle credits part of his success in the Navy to lessons learned in Huntington Beach.

“‘It is what it is,’ was a pretty big quote around the house and I certainly carried it into the Navy,” he said. “Biggest thing I’ve learned is how important family is … I haven’t seen them for just about as long as I’ve served, but I know I can still depend on them, which is really important.”

U.S. 7th Fleet spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of operations encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors.

“I’m meeting people of all walks of life, especially being close to Tokyo,” Coogle said. “I definitely think that being stationed in the 7th Fleet has given me a lot of opportunities I wouldn’t have had back home. Hanging out with the Japanese is cool, and the stories I’m going to be able to tell when I get back are going to be rich and full of excitement.”

With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment.

“The Navy is forward-deployed to provide security and strengthen relationships in a free and open Indo-Pacific. It’s not just the ships and aircraft that have shown up to prevent conflict and promote peace,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. “It is, and will continue to be our people who define the role our Navy plays around the world. People who’ve made a choice, and have the will and strength of character to make a difference.”

Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. They are 510 feet long and armed with tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, Standard Missile-3 and newer variants of the SM missile family, advanced gun systems and close-in gun systems.

Destroyers are deployed globally and can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, or amphibious readiness groups. Their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is the precondition for everything else the Navy does. It cannot project power, secure the commons, deter aggression, or assure allies without the ability to control the seas when and where desired.

John S. McCain has anti-aircraft capability armed with long range missiles intended for air defense to counter the threat to friendly forces posed by manned aircraft, anti-ship, cruise and tactical ballistic missiles.

Serving in the Navy means Coogle is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

There are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career. Coogle is appreciative of the places he’s seen and explored, like climbing Mount Fuji and watching the sun rise off the coast of China.

“I’ve gotten to really find out about how big and expansive the world is outside of home. It’s pretty nice, I’m pretty proud of that actually,” said Coogle.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Coogle and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

“As much of a mixed bag as service is, it’s more pros than cons,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to college. I’m 20, living on the other side of the world, basically on my own. It teaches you how to be an adult, whether you’re ready for it or not.”

Source: navyoutreach.blogspot.com

Photo credit: Senior Chief Petty Officer Gary Ward