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.)
It’s a proven fact that former military members are often ideally suited for leadership positions in corporate America.
“The reality is, a lot of (job skills) they learn in service, 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 (and perform well) under pressure,” said Chris Hale, founder and president of NaVOBA in an August 2012 interview with Federal News Radio.
“These also happen to be many of the same attributes that are required of entrepreneurs and business owners,” he said. “That’s why veterans tend to go out and start businesses at twice the rate…of non-veterans.”
Many major companies you interact with on a regular basis are headed by former members of the U.S. military. In May, CNN Money compiled a list of Fortune 500 companies whose CEOs are also veterans. Here’s that list, plus a few others:
- 24 Hour Fitness, led by Carl Liebert III, who served two years aboard a Navy vessel as a supply officer
- 7-Eleven, led by Joe DePinto, who served five years as an Army field artillery officer
- Casey’s General Stores, led by Robert Myers, who served 22 years in the Army before retiring as a lieutenant colonel
- FedEx, founded and led by Frederick Smith, who served four years in the Marine Corps
- General Motors, led by Daniel Akerson, who served five years as an officer on a Navy destroyer
- Johnson & Johnson, led by Alex Gorsky, who served six years in the Army, earning a Ranger tab and Airborne wings
- Lockheed Martin, led by Robert Stevens, who served in the Marines
- Procter & Gamble, led by Robert McDonald, who served for five years as a captain in the Army
- USAA, led by Josue Robles, who served for 28 years in the Army, with posts in Korea, Vietnam, Germany and Spain
- Verizon Communications, led by Lowell McAdam, who served six years in the Navy as a Seabee
Veteran-Owned Companies in Your Area
Many smaller and locally-owned businesses are also run by veterans. Visit buyveteran.com to find 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.