Here's What Can Happen When A Veteran Connects with SBA

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Region VI - South Central Region  - November 7, 2018

u s small business administration
Veterans, let us serve you. SBA can help your small business start, grow, expand and recover.
Dottie Overal

By Dottie Overal

Acting Regional Administrator

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is focusing attention and resources on a community that deserves it – our military veterans.  When their service ends, SBA services to these men and women and their spouses begins. We know many have just what it takes to be their own boss and live the American dream of business ownership.

All week long, the SBA is hosting and participating in free events around the country to provide opportunities for veterans and their spouses to connect with local SBA resources. 

Let me share some examples of what can happen when veterans connect with the SBA.

David Granado

El Paso District

After serving more than 21 years as a logistician, U.S. Army Veteran David Granado used his technical expertise to open his own logistics business, DA Defense Logistics HQ in El Paso, Texas.  Granado was able to increase his opportunities to win federal contracts by obtaining SBA certifications as a Service Disabled Veteran (SDVOSB) and Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) firm.  These certifications help businesses obtain contracts that are set aside to reach the federal government and prime contractor’s small business contracting goals.  Today, Granado runs a multi-million dollar corporation with about 461 employees in eight states.   

“I am doing the same thing I did in the military, just without the uniform,” Granado said. 

Granado donates annually to the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Association and the Wounded Warrior Project. However, he said his greatest satisfaction is supporting his employees and employing U.S. veterans. The company proudly boasts that 34 percent of their employees are military veterans.

Alex Hernandez

Louisiana District

After serving in the U.S. Marines as a Captain and working in the private sector for Citigroup, Alex Hernandez decided to be his own boss. He launched his own project management firm, Hernandez Consulting and Construction in 2005 shortly after Hurricane Katrina, to help New Orleans rebuild.  Today his company generates sales in excess $44 million with 70 employees in eight states, thanks in part to SBA.

Hernandez credits participation in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program with helping his firm develop and grow by taking full advantage of certifications in the SDVOSB and HUBZone programs.

Hernandez says his main passion is to help other veterans achieve the same success by helping them start businesses.  One example is VetMed Group LLC, a SDVOSB that provides medical supplies and Teleradiology services to the Veterans Administration and DOD agencies.  Another example is Spees, LLC (owned by a U.S. Army veteran and SDVOSB), in which they are currently in process of forming a Mentor-Protégé Joint Venture. Mr. Hernandez helped both owners launch their businesses and become certified SDVOSBs in order to gain federal experience as a subcontractor to Hernandez Consulting & Construction.

Shandra Vestal

New Mexico District

A veteran Army military intelligence officer turned entrepreneur, Shandra Vestal is a great example of what can happen when a veteran and the SBA connect.

In 2015, Vestal moved to New Mexico to found her company, Lunatek, LLC.  She was ready to bring the leadership, experience and skills she developed in the military to her new role as entrepreneur.  She turned to the SBA for guidance on how to start and grow a small business.

She certified her business as an 8(a), woman-owned, SDVOSB and HUBZone small business.  These certifications helped open doors for her company to successfully compete in the federal marketplace. With this support and her expertise, in just three years, Vestal grew her start-up to bring in revenues of $10.4 million with 10 full-time employees. 

Vestal began her business serving New Mexico’s two national laboratories, Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs.  With SBA assistance, she expanded her client base to include all 97 National Laboratories across the country, the Department of Defense, NASA, National Institute of Science and Technology, Department of Transportation, higher education institutions and several other government and commercial customers.  Lunatek is also international, supporting customer locations in the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany.

Veterans Business Outreach Centers

In the South Central Region, we have three specialized Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) to equip transitioning service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses with small business counseling, training and education, access to capital, and contracting opportunities:

New Mexico Veterans Business Outreach Center

5201 Eagle Rock Ave, NE Suite 2A

Albuquerque, NM

Phone: 505-383-2403

University of Texas at Arlington Veterans Business Outreach Center

University of Texas at Arlington

701 S West Street

Phone: 817-272-6789

The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley

1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Dr.

Edinburg, TX

Phone: 956-665-8931

Visit www.sba.gov/vetbiz or contact your local SBA district office to find out about various events in your neighborhood.

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Edward Haddock

Arkansas District

Edward Haddock, Director

Herb Austin

Dallas-Fort Worth District

Herb Austin, Director

Phillip Silva

El Paso District

Phillip Silva, Director

Tim Jeffcoat

Houston District

Tim Jeffcoat, Director

Mike Ricks

Louisiana District

Mike Ricks, Director

Angela Burton

Lower Rio Grande Valley District

Angela Burton, Director

Calvin Davis

Lubbock-West Texas District

Calvin Davis, Director

John Garcia

New Mexico District

John Garcia, Director

Dottie Overal

Oklahoma District

Dottie Overal, Director

Anthony Ruiz

San Antonio District

Anthony Ruiz, Director