Mission Possible: Building a Culture of Belonging for Veterans

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Innovations Academy buiding

By Erin L. Branham, National Director, Brand and Communications, Balfour Beatty

Construction firm Balfour Beatty is proving that one company and one vision of bringing greater diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) of veterans to the construction industry can change our communities—one mission at a time.

On the $38 million Innovations Academy Modernization project, Balfour Beatty’s mission encompassed far more than delivering 62,000 square feet of state-of-the-art educational space within an accelerated five-month schedule. Balfour Beatty awarded nearly 13 percent, or $5,000,000, in contracts to the growing San Diego Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE) community, more than doubling the school district’s 6 percent project participation goal.

Partnering to Achieve Mutual Success

To achieve such a dynamic DVBE participation on the Innovations Academy Modernization project, Balfour Beatty leveraged a multi-phase strategy that began with developing targeted bid packages during preconstruction.

On all projects, the company invests time ensuring DVBEs understand the full scope, which in turn positions them to create best-value bids. On many occasions, DVBEs contract as second-tier trade partners, so it is critical to establish clear participation goals for the entire supply chain.

Over the last five years, Balfour Beatty has partnered with DVBE IO Environmental on five projects, developing a relationship of mutual trust and respect.

“Operationally, we’ve had a fantastic experience working Balfour Beatty’s estimating and project management teams,” says Mike Bilodeau, president of IO Environmental, who served in the Coast Guard and was also an environmental specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “As a DVBE partner for Balfour Beatty on San Diego Unified School District projects, we feel like we’re actually part of a team instead of just another subcontractor. They have been incredibly supportive of our small business needs, especially with new contracting mechanisms that require complex paperwork.”

As the former owner of a tilt-up concrete company, senior viceThe inside of the Innovations Academy with an open staircase and visiting room downstairs president and one of Balfour Beatty’s California education market leads, Tim Berry recognizes the unique challenges small businesses face. Across the industry, contractors operate on consistently thin margins. For small businesses, many of which are family-owned operating on low reserves, maintaining a consistent cash flow can be just as critical to success as profit. Balfour Beatty minimizes risk by promptly processing change orders and assisting with the submission of accurate and timely pay applications.

“Getting to know Balfour Beatty’s systems and procedures has really helped us become more efficient—not only for production but also for our end customers,” says Dan Parker, U.S. Air Force veteran and operations manager, IO Environmental.

Aligning Forces

As an owner that places tremendous value on the inclusion of emerging business enterprises (EBE), the San Diego Unified School District has repeatedly entrusted its capital construction projects to Balfour Beatty—a people-first contractor that shares its commitment to creating workplaces in which diverse backgrounds, perspectives and talents contribute to shared success. Over the past five years, Balfour Beatty has completed five projects for the school district and currently has six under construction.

Across all projects, San Diego Unified School District’s mandatory EBE participation goal is 50 percent, which includes 5 percent for DVBEs—statistics that vastly exceed that of most public and private owners. But Balfour Beatty’s San Diego-based Minority Business Development Specialist Annie Del Rio predicts that such goals will become standard in the future, thanks to expanding DE&I workforce initiatives.

“I believe we’re ahead of the curve,” praises Del Rio of Balfour Beatty’s DE&I efforts. “In working with the federal government, we are challenged to target nearly 70 percent participation.”

Advancing the Cause of Veteran Inclusion

Across its U.S. operations, Balfour Beatty has taken actionable steps to advance the inclusion of veterans. From visiting military bases to collaborating with the Veterans Administration Transition Assistance Program and recruitment firms that specialize in placing veterans, Balfour Beatty recognizes the critical role veterans will play in shaping the future of an industry facing an unprecedented labor shortage.

“Our industry is starving for leaders,” says Jordan Webster, U.S.full size basketball court inside the innovations academy Army combat medic veteran and Balfour Beatty’s Dallas-based safety health & environment director. “The military provides a continuous source of disciplined, committed professionals with the ability to quickly adapt and perform at high levels in the positions we need to fill.”

In California, Balfour Beatty’s outreach efforts are also focused on removing barriers some firms face to procuring work, including achieving state certification as a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) or DVBE and meeting prequalification standards.

The construction company’s momentum within the DVBE community reflects the company’s passionate and sustained commitment to expanding DE&I efforts. As contractors reimagine partnership models with project stakeholders and their communities, Balfour Beatty will continue to ensure the industry provides equal opportunities for every person who desires to play a role in building its bright future.

 

Military veteran graduates from college alongside his daughter

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NORFOLK, Va. – A father and daughter from Portsmouth, Virginia, are now bonded by their college graduations from the same school and on the same day.

Marvin Fletcher, a retired U.S. Marine and Army veteran, told Fox News Digital that he was shocked when he found out that both he and his daughter SaNayah Hill, 17, would be graduating from Tidewater Community College at the same time.

In a phone interview, Fletcher said he felt overwhelming pride when he learned that his daughter had completed her career studies certificate in emergency medical service as a dual-enrollment student — before even finishing her junior year at Deep Creek High School.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity that TCC afforded myself, as well as other veterans, and my daughter,” Fletcher said.

He earned his associate’s degree in applied science in management after serving for four years in the Marine Corps and eight years in the Army.

Fletcher added, “I’m humbled and honored to have served. And I like the fact that my daughter wants to serve in the medical field in her own way.”

The father-daughter pair completed their graduation march on Monday, May 9, at the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.

Click here to read the full article on FOX.

Nebraska teen accepted to all five military academies; sets out to serve America

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Noble Rassmussen holding military hats

By Angelica Stabile, FOX News

High school senior Noble Rasmussen intends to serve his country well — and all five U.S. military academies seem to agree.

The Nebraska teen joined “Fox & Friends” on Friday to celebrate his acceptance to all five academies.

He then announced on the program that he’ll be attending the United States Air Force Academy in June.

Rasmussen, a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol, said that his interest in applying to each school was sparked from a desire to represent and serve the United States as a whole.

“I want to serve my country the best I can,” he said. “So applying to all academies [presented] the option to serve anywhere.”

“I feel like it’s my duty to serve my country.”

VIDEO: Watch the interview on FOX & Friends

While the “noble” sentiment of military service complements Rasmussen’s first name nicely, his mother, Cheri Rasmussen, said that was his parents’ exact intention when they named him.

“Our prayer for him his whole life was just to have that noble character of honor, honesty and integrity,” she said. “Just to kind of rise above and have that high moral principle.”

“God has blessed us with that, and we see those qualities of leadership and maturity in Noble.”

Continue to Fox News to read the complete article.

NASM Supports Military Families with Career Opportunities

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Young military couple kissing each other, homecoming

By Chris Billingsley

NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), a global leader in fitness education and certifications, supports military families – not only on days like the annual – Military Spouse Appreciation Day – but every day by providing 30% off all courses for military members and their families, as well as a free course on mental toughness.

Since 2017, NASM has been recognized as a Military Friendly School, and its Certified Personal Training (CPT) program is also eligible for military funding reimbursement.

Not only do NASM courses offer invaluable health knowledge, for military members and their spouses, NASM also offers flexible career opportunities perfect for a military family’s lifestyle, which can often include multiple moves and makes working in a traditional environment difficult.

Working as a NASM certified personal trainer, wellness coach, or nutrition coach offers the freedom to work wherever and whenever works best for your family, while offering the purpose and satisfaction that comes from helping others achieve their goals.

In fact, for those that want to coach virtually, now is the best time to get started. NASM is seeing a 23% uptick in graduates who are offering virtual services since 2017, with the online fitness industry projected to grow from $16.15 billion this year to $79.87 billion in 2026.

Military spouses looking for career opportunities can also apply MyCAA scholarship funding to specific programs, including a Group Fitness Instructor certification through AFAA (Athletics and Fitness Association of America).

Learners have many options for their course of study – whether they’re interested in offering clients nutritional support, fitness knowledge, or comprehensive wellness coaching. NASM even offers bundles of courses as well as specializations, such as virtual coaching, to help students create the best program for their career goals.

For more information on how NASM supports military members and their families, visit www.nasm.org/certified-personal-trainer/military-support.

Fort Leavenworth Military spouse continues education at 49

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Kate Hanlen posing outdoors in flowery dress smiling

Great Bend Tribune

When Kate Hanlen went on a mission trip to Honduras at the age of 19, she didn’t know she would discover her career calling that would be 30 years in the making.

“We were there to help build buildings and paint mostly,” she said. “One day there was this six-year-old girl that was on the other side of a fence, and she spoke Spanish and I did not, but she showed me her leg and it had a big wound on it. I ran and grabbed a medical kit we had, and I didn’t know very much but I helped her as much as I could and I thought ‘Lord, if this is what you’re calling me to, I embrace it.’ Since that day, I’ve always prayed that my hands will be used to help as many people as possible.”

That pivotal moment caused Hanlen to enroll in nursing school, but after two years she wasn’t sure exactly in what specific arena she wanted continue helping people so, she enlisted in the Army reserves and served as a combat medic for eight years. During that time, she met her husband who was active duty and they married in 1995. Over the next 26 years, they had six children and traveled the world as a military family with her often handling all the parental duties when her husband was on deployments.

“We’ve traveled all over the world,” she said. “However, the needs of our family were always my treasure. I wanted to be with my kids, make our house a home since we did move so much.”

With her husband retired and four of her kids out of the house and the youngest two not far behind, Hanlen realized her amazing journey as a mother was going to transition into a stage that would allow her time to focus on herself.

Her son had utilized Barton’s LSEC courses in high school at Fort Leavenworth so he could graduate college more quickly. These classes are offered on scholarship to soldiers and their families that are stationed at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley.

“My son and I came down to the Army Education Center and we couldn’t believe we were able to take these classes at no charge, she said. “I kept asking them ‘Are you sure a bill for thousands of dollars isn’t going to show up in a few months?’”

Of course, no bill ever showed up, and now Hanlen is utilizing Barton’s LSEC classes at Fort Leavenworth to fill in some gaps on her transcript that she needs to finish her pre-requisites before transferring to St. Mary’s University to finish her nursing school. At that time, she hopes to find a job in hospice care.

Read the complete article here.

Wells Fargo Launches Military Spouse Hiring Program, Designed to Onboard 100 New Employees Per Year for the Next Five Years

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By Yahoo! Finance

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) recently announced its Military Spouse Homefront Heroes Hiring program, offering mid- to high-level remote, hybrid, and in-office career opportunities with a focus on portability for spouses of those actively serving. The new program is designed to onboard 100 new employees each year for the next five years.

Wells Fargo’s Military Spouse Homefront Heroes Hiring (HHH) program is now accepting interested candidates into its talent community in preparation for launching 100 open positions in early June 2022. The HHH program team will help prepare candidates and hiring managers for a virtual hiring event, assisting with resume development and interview training to help applicants articulate transferrable skills and potential employment gaps. The virtual hiring event will occur in August 2022, with a program start date of Sept. 12, 2022.

The announcement came in advance of Military Spouse Appreciation Day on Friday, May 6.

“The 24% unemployment rate for military spouses far exceeds the national average; this is largely a result of permanent change of station and the inability to have a portable career,” said Sean Passmore, head of Military Talent Strategic Sourcing and Enterprise Military & Veteran Initiatives at Wells Fargo. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution to military spouse un- or underemployment. The scale and complexity of HHH demonstrate our understanding of the unique career challenges faced by military spouses, and our commitment to helping solve the problem.”

Positions will be available in Human Resources, Consumer & Small Business Banking, Technology, Wealth & Investment Management, and Consumer Lending. Each line of business will host 20 roles, and new hires will begin the inaugural program on Sept. 12, 2022.

HHH is just one of several programs Wells Fargo has implemented to serve and employ the military community. Others include:

The Veteran Employment Transition (VET) Program: A nationwide, competitively paid 8+ week Spring and Fall internship for experienced talent that converts directly to a full-time role based on performance. Interns develop an understanding of the daily responsibilities of a full-time Wells Fargo employee, while networking and participating in special training opportunities.

Military Apprenticeships: A Department of Labor structured experiential training program that results in skills certification for applicants who do not initially meet qualifications for the non-apprentice equivalent role.

Boots to Banking: A Wells Fargo one-of-a-kind program designed to attract, prepare, and hire military talent into various career opportunities through military-specific hiring events. Pre- and post-event components include candidate and hiring manager preparation along with valuable resources for a successful transition.

Corporate Fellowship Program: In partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Initiative, the program hosts military personnel within six months of separation for a 12-week fellowship experience to achieve full-time employment.

Applicants interested in joining the HHH talent community should visit the Military Spouse Homefront Heroes Hiring Program website.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Finance.

Diversity in the Healthcare Industry, at Every Step

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Abbott and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) recently announced a $37.5 million initiative to empower diverse small businesses to help create a more diverse healthcare supply chain. The initiative will provide diverse small-business owners with the tailored solutions, support and resources they need to grow, compete and create jobs – enabling greater diversity in healthcare and a more inclusive supply chain for Abbott and other healthcare companies.

This work advances Abbott and LISC’s shared commitment to create a more diverse healthcare industry and generate jobs and stronger economies in underinvested communities.

This funding opportunity is open to qualified diverse small businesses and offers support through:

  • Growth capital: interest-free capital to help businesses overcome hurdles to expansion, such as investing in management systems to comply with regulatory and environmental requirements
  • Business loans: flexible, affordable loans that would not typically be available through conventional lenders
  • Tailored coaching and technical assistance: targeted, customized support, including help with fulfilling investment and loan requirements and identifying and addressing specific business challenges

Eligible diverse small businesses for program participation and funding must be:

  • Diverse-owned, defined as those that are majority owned by people of color (including Black, Latino, Asian and Native Americans), women, veterans, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQ, and other historically underrepresented groups;
  • In business for more than two years and are based in the U.S. with an annual revenue of $250,000 or more; and
  • Focused on manufacturing nutrition, diagnostics, medical devices or other health technologies, or offering business-to-business products and services that the healthcare industry can use.
  • Sole proprietors are not eligible for the program.

For more information about this initiative, please visit the LISC site. And to learn more about Abbott’s work to support a more diverse supply chain, visit Abbott’s site.

Plans for the World’s Tallest Flagpole and Most Comprehensive Veterans Memorial to be Unveiled in Maine

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Flagpole of Freedom logo

The Park will create thousands of jobs and catalyze year-round economic opportunity

WHAT: Born from a desire to advance unity and patriotism in America, the founder of Wreaths Across America, Morrill Worcester, will unveil Flagpole of Freedom Park – an apolitical project 12 years in the making.

This Park will become the only place in the country to honor all 24 million American veterans in one location.

Standing taller than the Empire State Building, the Park will fly the world’s largest American flag from the tallest flagpole in the world, symbolizing the commitment and sacrifice veterans make to protect America’s freedom.

The Park will humanize key milestones that have shaped American history and will feature immersive educational experiences and living history museums. Phase 1 will open on July 4, 2026 – America’s 250th birthday.

Located in Columbia Falls, the large-scale project will catalyze economic development for the State of Maine, creating an estimated 8,000+ year-round jobs and $27M in tax revenue.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 29, 2022 11:00 a.m. Eastern

WHERE: Livestream link

WHO:

  • Morrill Worcester, Founder & Chairman of the Board, Flagpole of Freedom
  • Senator Marianne Moore (R), Washington County Maine
  • Chris Gardner, Washington County Commissioner
  • Tony Santiago, Chair, Columbia Falls Select Board
  • Tim Gatz, Maine Tourism Alliance
  • Maine State Chamber of Commerce
  • Tricia Thurston, American Legion, Department of Maine

DETAILS: Flagpole of Freedom Park: https://www.flagpoleoffreedom.com/launch/

Rhodes Scholar Excels on All Fronts

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black female in U.S. Navy Uniform also pictured palying soccer and standing in front of fighter jet

Established in 1902, after the passing of Cecil John Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship has sought out some of the world’s most outstanding young leaders to pursue a complete expense paid education at the University of Oxford. Over a hundred years later, the scholarships are the oldest and one of the most prestigious academic honors in the world.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen based on high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor. The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field, the degree pursued, and the college chosen.

This year, out of the 820 applicants chosen to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship, only 32 were awarded, including to Midshipman 1st Class Senior, Sarah Skinner, of the U.S. Naval Academy. She will be the Naval Academy’s 54th Rhodes Scholar.

Skinner is an honors political science major, with a Chinese minor, at the U.S. Naval Academy. Her honors research is aimed at evaluating the overall effectiveness of middle power nations and middle power institutions in mitigating hegemonic competition and conflict between the U.S. and China. This past summer, she studied Taiwanese virtually through National Taiwan University.

Additionally, Skinner has held numerous leadership positions at the Naval Academy, including her current position as the 21st Company commander, where she oversees 150 midshipmen. She has previously served as both the 21st Company drill sergeant and honor sergeant. Skinner is also the Navy Women’s Rugby team captain, was selected to play for the USA’s Rugby Olympic Development Program, and a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society.

Skinner is a 2018 graduate of Marist School in Brookhaven, Georgia, and she plans to pursue a Master of Philosophy in international relations at Oxford University. Her education and transportation to and from England will be covered entirely through her scholarship. After completing the Rhodes Scholarship program, Skinner will continue her naval service in the surface warfare community.

Source: The U.S. Naval Academy, The Rhodes Trust

Relying on Military Experience During Times of Uncertainty

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By Chris Wayne, Verizon Small Business Essentials

I spent nearly four years in the military as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. During that time, I learned a lot about perseverance, discipline, and determination from the military standards for working as a team.

Little did I realize how much those skills and experiences would shape my leadership during a global pandemic.

In the military, we prepare for a variety of scenarios and rely on our team to play their individual roles to achieve a greater goal. The belief in this process is how we navigate and survive the challenges we encounter. When you have clear expectations of yourself and those around you, it’s easy to follow through, execute a plan, and be accountable.

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in early 2020, my organization, like many, was unsure of what the future held. But what we did know is we owed it to our customers and our employees to ensure there was minimal disruption to their daily lives, especially as we all hunkered down at home and learned to work in new ways.

Nearly two years later, many companies, large and small, are still grappling with the disruptions of COVID-19. Thus making it imperative to maintain a sense of stability and ensure our teams have the resources they need to work effectively against a set of challenges that constantly evolve.

Here are four ways my time in the military taught me how to lead during times of uncertainty, and it’s my hope that sharing these experiences can help you lead when you are met with adversity.

Create a culture of open communication
Leaders can face an uphill battle when it comes to managing unforeseen or unprecedented issues. Being in charge — whether leading a large team, company or battalion — requires that those who report to you buy into the fact that you are the one who makes the final decision. But just like any endeavor, those in charge can lose control of their team if they don’t earn their respect and trust.

Maintaining that respect starts with open and frequent communication, especially in times of uncertainty. Fostering an environment where your team feels connected and comfortable to express concerns will create trust and ultimately lead to respect. Earning respect can also mean remaining consistent in your work, setting clear expectations with your team, and making sure everyone understands the impact and importance of their role.

Know when to lead and when to bring others in
The mark of a strong leader is someone who understands when there are smarter people in the room. There will be instances where it’s the right decision to lean on others who might have more expertise or more insight into the issue you are facing. True leadership can look different in various scenarios, especially when your team is navigating uncharted territory. Knowing when to step back and allow your team members to lead won’t lessen your leadership; in fact, it might do the opposite.

Failure is a catalyst for growth
Failure is an inevitable part of life. In the military, we know failure can mean the difference between life and death. But that doesn’t mean you should completely dismiss failure when the stakes are not as high.

For our customers, the stakes are always high, just in a different way. They are small business owners and entrepreneurs who put their livelihood on the line to realize their dreams. We recognize and respect that they face challenges every day, and our job is to help them solve those challenges. At Verizon Small Business Essentials, we learn from our failures to help refine our strategies. Making data-driven decisions to help our customers compete and succeed, as well as creating an environment for our employees to learn and innovate in their roles, is key to our success.

Build a network of trusted peers
Leading can be lonely. While you might have a team that looks up to you for guidance, the buck stops with you, meaning success or failure falls squarely upon your shoulders. When you go home at the end of the day, it can be difficult to shake the feeling that you have nowhere to turn to vent.

This is when your network becomes vital. Chances are good your network contains people you trust, who may also have served in the military. Our common experiences can be helpful when seeking advice or a sounding board to work through a variety of challenging scenarios. If you can find the right people to bring into your trusted circle, it will make all the difference when uncertainty arises.

I credit my military service for my ascension in the civilian ranks to becoming a leader with one of the largest companies in the country. Everything I picked up along the way has led me here, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without that experience.

Leadership is defined as the capacity to influence others through inspiration, motivated by passion, generated by vision, produced by conviction, and ignited by purpose. As veterans, our paths to leadership opportunities are diverse. And I firmly believe we are uniquely suited to lead because of our history of military service and sacrifice.

Chris Wayne is the managing director for Verizon Small Business Essentials. Prior to this, he was the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Chris holds a Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) degree from the University of Southern California and is a certified Data Center Management Professional (CDCMP). Before joining Yahoo Small Business, Chris was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

Supplier Diversity Certifications: Game Changers for the Disadvantaged

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In today’s competitive environment, every owner must take advantage of any opportunity to differentiate their company from the competition.

Supplier diversity certifications for disadvantaged businesses are an often-overlooked option with great potential. Qualifying companies include those with veteran, minority, LGBTQ+ or women owners, as well as those in historically underutilized business zones, or HUBZones. These certifications grant access to private-sector opportunities and contracts with local, state, and federal government agencies that want to do business with a diverse pool of suppliers.

Certification History

According to “A History of Corporate Supply Chain Diversity” (WEUSA 4 [2020]: 95), certification programs were born out of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and guided by legislative mandates enacted to end discrimination that gave large businesses a disproportionate share of opportunities. The program flourished in 1969, when the Office of Minority Business Enterprise was established to provide guidance and support. In 1978, the Small Business Act re-categorized minority businesses as socially and economically disadvantaged and required federal agencies to comply with new goals for federal contracts.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, new legislation fostered the advancement of federal contracting opportunities to businesses in HUBZones and those owned by women, veterans, service-disabled veterans and members of the LBGTQ+ community. Today, as more companies invest in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, the demand for diverse suppliers will only increase.

How Certifications Benefited Our Company

The owner of Black Box Safety, Jackson Dalton, is a military veteran who was disabled while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. That status could put a small business owner at a disadvantage, but it qualified Black Box Safety for certifications and network memberships that introduced us to new and otherwise inaccessible clients.

Certification with the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) gives us access to special events (such as its recent Marching Forward Monday) and networking connections that resulted in at least $90,000 in contract wins in the company’s first year of certification. Black Box also received NaVOBA’s 2021 Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprise of the Year award.

Certification with Disability:IN led to our nomination for the organization’s Pitch Perfect Challenge. We presented our pitch to a panel of experienced judges and took first place, landing a five-figure prize and a subsequent feature in a November 2021 Forbes article. Black Box also served on the Re-Imagining Your Business from 2020 Learnings conference panel, which put us in front of potential clients such as Bristol Myers Squibb.

Membership in the Veterans in Business (VIB) Network connects us with private entities, third-party nonprofits and federal contractors through conferences and events. Through VIB alone we secured at least one new regular customer per quarter, and we also increased our visibility as general-session presenters on supplier diversity at the 2021 VIB National Conference.

Black Box Safety put time, money and energy into engaging with these organizations, approaching each with a sense of how our goals and values align with theirs. That investment paid off not only in great opportunities — putting our name in front of Disney, Shell Oil, T-Mobile and other market giants — but also motivation to reach and exceed our own expectations.

The Process

When applying for diversity supplier certifications, begin with the end in mind. Define your target market and evaluate which certifications that market will value. For example, if you manufacture garden and patio decor and want to expand distribution, consider certifications accepted and valued by big-box retailers. NaVOBA certification puts you in front of their corporate sponsors, which include Lowe’s Home Improvement. Many large buyers post a list of accepted certifications on their website, and you can also ask them directly.

Next, evaluate honestly which certifications best reflect the status of your company and whether you meet their requirements. Certification is a rigorous process managed by government agencies or third-party agencies that advocate for the development of disadvantaged-owned businesses. Each has its own conditions, but most require a business to be at least 51 percent diverse-owned. Some require that the owner be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The application process does have associated costs, and you should also set aside time to navigate the documentation, screening, interviews and on-site visits needed to prove that your company is qualified.

For businesses that qualify, the advantages of obtaining diverse supplier certifications far outweigh the costs of earning them. Business partners admire this classification, and certification is alluring to diverse supplier programs. It is not an easy process: it takes not only time and money, but also perseverance and patience to earn these certifications. However, for Black Box Safety, diverse supplier certifications opened doors enough to be well worth the effort and hard work.

Source: Black Box Safety

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. USPAACC’s CelebrASIAN Business + Procurement Conference 2022
    May 25, 2022 - May 27, 2022
  4. LA Fleet Week
    May 27, 2022 - May 30, 2022
  5. Buffalo Soldier Iron Riders Quasquicentennial Gathering
    June 13, 2022 - June 19, 2022