5 Innovative Businesses Launched by Veterans by ApptivoAptivo


									5 Innovative Businesses Launched by
November 11 is Veterans Day. It is an annual United States holiday honouring military veterans.
This Day is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world,
the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

To mark this Day, we bring to you five innovative businesses launched by the Veterans.

Prospect Equities
In 1999, at age 25, U.S. Army veteran and Southern Illinois University graduate Rich Killian
started his business career. Not finding work as a Civil Engineer, he started selling Real Estate
during the week, worked in demolition as a labourer on weekends, and attended night school for
his MBA at Roosevelt University in Chicago. In 2000, he incorporated his first company,
Prospect Equities and has been a successful entrepreneur since then averaging an acquisition or
formation of two companies per year and now controls over 20 companies and
corporations. Rich founded The Hardship Home Foundation, a public charity which assists
people in keeping their homes. Today, Rich Killian is Chairman of the Board for ICH and its 23
companies which produce over $1/2 million in annual sales.

Veteran Franchise Centers
Veteran Franchise Centers – a business by Veterans, for Veterans, about Veterans – was co-
founded in 2010 by Drew Myers, a Marine veteran and the founder of RecruitMilitary, and
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Lonnie Helgerson, an Army veteran and noted franchising pioneer. The company, founded and
operated by veterans, provides free matching services to veterans seeking franchise business
opportunities.Veteran Franchise Centers is an affiliate company of RecruitMilitary, LLC,
headquartered at Loveland, Ohio. It provides free guidance to veterans and military families
entering into franchise opportunities available through the International Franchise Association
VetFran program and other viable channels.In late 2010, Veteran Franchise Centers launched
nationally seeking franchised offices throughout the United States. All Veteran Franchise
Centers offices are veteran-operated; providing veteran-to-veteran business counselling. In
addition, Veteran Franchise Centers maintains strategic partnerships with financial institutions,
banks, and other supplier entities that can provide special veteran financing options and business
programs.”We are expanding through franchising ourselves and now have five offices in four
states. We have assisted many veterans in starting franchises,” says Lonnie Helgerson.

Ears Of Experience, LLC
Ears of Experience, LLC is a family run Disney Travel Company, and a current member of
National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA).While Jon, a veteran and reserve
pilot, manages the website, Disney legal compliance, and business licensing, Amy Westurp runs
the day-to-day business (booking, customer service, planning, dining, etc).Set up from home in
2009, Amy was looking for something she could do from home, since Jon was an Air Force
Reservist (prior active duty, if she needs that too) and gone a lot. Amy had experience as an
executive in the cruise industry and was very familiar with the Disney product. After planning
many family vacations to Disney, she knew how much time and research it took to make sure the
vacation ran smoothly. Since most people don’t have that kind of time, she decided to start a
company that would help them, and Jon joined hands.The company provides its clients with the
ultimate Disney experience, customized to their specific likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. It
books vacations to all Disney destinations: Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise
Lines, and Adventures by Disney.Ears Of Experience is a current member of the National
Veteran-Owned Business Association.

Engineering Services Inc. (ESN)
Raymond F. Lopez Jr., the 29-year Navy veteran, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of
Engineering Services Inc. He has seen his company’s revenues rise from $21 million in 2006 to
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over $36 million today. Proving something to himself means not only being a successful
businessman, but also having the ability to help other business grow much like Anteon did for
him. Raymond F. Lopez, Jr. (63) has served the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1994, Commander (O -
5).Founded in 1995, ESN is an ISO 9001:2000 certified company and is headquartered in
Arlington, Virginia with regional and field offices throughout the U.S. and in Japan. “A leading
engineering and technology company, we apply our depth of customer knowledge and
technological and management competencies to deliver trusted solutions to the U.S. government.
Our customers include the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Military
Sealift Command, the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as other federal
government agencies,” says Raymond.For more than a decade, the company has been providing
its military and government customers with mission-critical services in the areas of engineering
and technical support; strategic and program management; testing and evaluation; operations
support; and information technology.

ElliptiGO Inc.
Bryan Pate, Co-Founder and Co-President of ElliptiGo Inc. has served as an infantry and
intelligence officer in the US Marines from 1995 through 1999. In 2005, he lost the ability to run
for fitness because of hip and knee injuries, so he started working with a friend on a low-impact
fitness device that would let him experience running again. They have spent the last six years
developing and refining that device, now called the ElliptiGO. “We got the idea to build the
ElliptiGO really out of necessity. We started selling them last year and have generated more than
$4 million in revenues and have a company with 13 employees now,” says Bryan.

Do you know any veterans who have started a business? If so, what business?

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