10 Companies You Didn’t Know Were Veteran-Owned Businesses

Many major companies are veteran-owned

Attendees of a National Veteran Small Business Conference and Expo peruse the various exhibits small businesses, government agencies and prime contractors had on display. Approximately 9 percent of U.S. businesses are owned by former service members.

Frequenting veteran-owned businesses is a great way to show support for returning service members and their families. But it’s not always easy to know whether a business – big or small – is veteran owned or operated. There certainly are a lot of them: The National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) estimates there are 3 million veteran-owned businesses.

Former military members prove that are often ideally suited for leadership positions in corporate America.

In an interview with Federal News Radio, Chris Hale, founder and president of NaVOBA describes the skills and characteristics veterans and service members bring to the workplace:

They’re drug free, they’re healthy, they’re willing to relocate, they’ve got a lot of leadership, they’re very, very diverse, [they have] teamwork under pressure.

“These also happen to be many of the same attributes that are required of entrepreneurs and business owners,” he says. “That’s why veterans tend to go out and start businesses at twice the rate…of non-veterans.”

Veteran-Owned Companies

Many major companies you interact with on a regular basis are headed by former members of the U.S. military. As Daymond John, FUBU founder and “Shark Tank” investor says in an interview with Yahoo! Finance, “these are selfless people that go out and protect us…They know how to accomplish a task, …so I think that they are excellent CEOs.” Among many others, here are some companies you know that were founded by veterans:

  1. FedEx, founded and led by Frederick Smith, who served four years in the Marine Corps
  2. Sports Clips, founded by Gordon Logan and his wife. Logan is an MIT graduate and served in the Air Force
  3. Sperry Shoes, founded by Paul A. Sperry who joined the Navy Reserve then invented the world’s first boat shoe
  4. RE/MAX, co-founded by Dave Liniger and his wife. Liniger served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War
  5. Walmart, founded by the Walton brothers, Sam and Bud, who served in the Army and Navy respectively
  6. GoDaddy, founded by Bob Parson who served in Marine Corps in during the Vietnam War
  7. Nike, co-founded by Phil Knight who enlisted in the Army, serving one year on active duty and seven in the Army Reserve
  8. Universal Health Services, founded by Alan B. Miller who joined ROTC while in college and served in the Army afterward
  9. Amway, co-founded by Richard DeVos who served in the Army Air Corps during WWII
  10. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company, founded by Jack Taylor, a decorated Navy pilot who served in WWII

Veteran-Owned Companies in Your Area

Many smaller and locally-owned businesses are also run by veterans. Visit buyveteran.com to support businesses in your city or state. Registering with NaVOBA, which runs the directory, also provides members with badges for store windows, business cards and other promotional materials to make their veteran connection more visible.

Photo courtesy JaxStrong.