Veterans Mean Business!

The veteran community has only grown stronger with the development and progress of veteran owned and operated businesses. These businesses are either founded by veterans, founded with veterans in mind, or are being operated at a senior level by these veterans and offer insight into the leadership and entrepreneurial talent that exists within the veteran community. As these businesses continue to grow, it will mean more opportunities for veteran employment, as we know veterans hire veterans.

Mark Faller, 6 Bears and a Goat Brewing

Commander Mark Faller served 20 years of active duty in the U. S. Coast Guard from 1983 – 2003, following his graduation from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY. He was the Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Cutter Point Harris, an 82-foot patrol boat home ported in Oahu, HI in addition to commanding the Coast Guard Cutter Penobscot Bay, a 140-foot, 700-ton icebreaker that kept the Hudson River shipping lanes open from Governors Island to Albany, NY. Mark retired in 2003 as Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Recruiting Command 

Following his retirement from the Coast Guard, Mark formed Harkcon, Inc. with the other 5 bears and the goat. Harkcon provides customized solutions that improve organizational performance for government agencies and private businesses. He served as Harkcon’s CFO until 2015, when he stepped aside to become the CEO of 6 Bears & a Goat. He remains an owner and director of Harkcon, Inc.

Mark’s vision to establish 6B&G brew house with his partners was inspired by his passion for home brewing, several visits to German biergartens, and Harkcon’s desire to form a second line of business, separate and distinct from Harkcon’s line of work. While making beer is quite different than his other skill sets, he never strays from his guiding principles of patriotism, service, community. His commitment to his customers is to provide great beer, great food and a great atmosphere.

@6bgbrewingco

Mike Bradley, Dynamic Mission Solutions

An active member of the USAF Air National Guard (ANG) for over 7 years, Mike Bradley, started his career as an enlisted Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) member. Having proved himself as an enlisted TACP and servant leader, he recently commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the USAF-ANG where he continues to serve and led troops as an Air Liaison Officer and Joint Terminal Attack Controller Instructor. A driven innovator and entrepreneur,  Mike founded his own business in 2018, Dynamic Mission Solutions, where he provides mission planning and training to train our nation’s operators to leverage digital networks for tracking aircraft, managing ground troop movements, and paint a picture of the operational environment. Dynamic Mission Solutions goal is to bridge major gaps in digital connectivity and integration by deploying teams of digital experts globally in order to troubleshoot and establish digital communications, train the warfighter, and provide change-over support for units in theater. Mike is helping to better prepare his fellow soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen to be more lethal on the battlefield while still serving himself as a citizen soldier.

Jed Morgan, Sergius Industries

Jed Morgan was in the Marine Corps deployed to Afghanistan when on June 20, 2012, while he was conducting a foot patrol, he triggered an improvised explosive device that resulted in the loss of both his legs above the knee and damage to his right hand. This direct experience led Morgan to found Sergius Industries, a company that makes prosthetic and orthotic components, as well as the Amputee Repair Kit (ARK), which is similar to a first aid kit for anyone who wears a prosthesis. It includes items amputees need to care for their prostheses and residual limbs and comes in three sizes–home, vehicle, and travel. It was carefully designed to help prosthesis users achieve comfort and safety as their prosthetic components and skin constantly experience wear and tear. Jed also leads the Guardian Project, an initiative of the White Heart Foundation in which groups of veterans are taken on remote outdoor excursions with the goal of improving mental and physical well-being. This unique environment creates a comfortable space where veterans battling post-traumatic stress or military sexual trauma can open up and relate to others who have had a similar experience.

@SergiusInd

Melonie “Mel” San Pietro, Wanderpups

Melonie (“Mel”) San Pietro graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2004, served seven years active duty in the Air Force, and is currently a Major in the Air Force Reserve. Mel founded Wanderpups out of a desire to practice animal advocacy and takes the mission seriously through supporting local rescue organizations, volunteering at events, educating people on the importance of responsible pet ownership, and enriching the lives of their pets. She relies on much of her military leadership experience in running her company, and  brings an unmatched work ethic, giving her clients the best experience possible. Recognized as a “Best of DC” by Washington City Paper, Wanderpups donates a portion of profits to local animal rescues. They also donate their time and talents towards animal advocacy.

@wanderpups

Mary Kennedy Thompson, Neighborly

Mary Kennedy Thompson currently serves as Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Neighborly.  She oversees the ongoing business operations within Neighborly (formerly Dwyer Group), an international holding company comprised of 22 service brands and over 3700 franchisees. Mary served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a logistics officer.  Helping veterans get into small business ownership has been a passion of hers for more than 25 years. Mary is the longest serving member of the VetFran Board of Directors, of which she is also a past Chair. In 2011, she led the VetFran partnership with the then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s office’s develop Operation Enduring Opportunity. The two-year effort resulted in more than 155,000 veterans being hired into franchising and 6,000 brought into small business opportunities with discounts and mentoring. Since 1991, Neighborly has hired more than 325 veterans into small business ownership and has provided $2.5 million in discounts and during her tenure leading VetFran, the number of franchise companies offering veterans discounts doubled, and she has received multiple national awards for her work empowering veterans and women.

@neighborlybrand