Eric Vasquez is a veteran, owner and founder of Veterans Logistics Group. With a background in military service, Vasquez’s leadership style prioritizes compassion and inclusivity. While running his company, Vasquez still serves as a senior master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
U.S. Veterans Magazine (USVM) sat down with Vasquez to discuss veteran entrepreneurship, the military and how certification has helped his business.
USVM: How did you select a military branch; how long did you serve and what inspired you to join the military?
Eric Vasquez (EV): In 1998, during my junior year of high school, a Navy recruiter came to speak to my physics class. I was immediately interested and wanted to learn more. I don’t have any family members who served, so there was no specific reason outside of wanting to be a part of something bigger than myself. When I went to speak with the recruiter who visited my school, he wasn’t there, but an Air Force recruiter was. We talked, and he later came to my house to meet my family over dinner. I joined my junior year and left for active duty in 1999.
I served for six years on active duty and then went directly into the Air Force Reserves. I’ve been in the Air Force for 24 years and hold the rank of Senior Master Sergeant as the Quality Assurance Superintendent of the 349 MXG, Travis AFB, California. As the years passed, I continued to re-enlist. That feeling of being a part of something greater than myself never left.
USVM: Tell us about Veterans Logistics Group and why you decided to become a small business owner.
EV: Founded in 2016, Veterans Logistics Group offers global logistics solutions for government and commercial freight. We enhance familiar traditional shipping and logistics methods with our advanced technology, transparency and industry knowledge.
I wanted to take the skills I learned while serving in the Air Force and apply them to my own business. A few years ago, I felt like I had finally learned enough from my family, who are largely self-employed, and my experience in the Air Force to take the leap. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road, but it’s been worth it.
USVM: How has your military experience shaped the way that you run your business?
EV: My military experience has shaped me into an organized business owner with the ability to keep a fresh perspective on operations and re-evaluate procedures and processes on the fly. The military teaches you about decision-making and triage management from day one, so whether it is a basic or critical decision, you’re armed with the skills and know-how to act under pressure.
USVM: You’re a certified Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB); why did you decide to get this certification?
Actually, we are SDVOSB (service-disabled veteran-owned) certified. I wanted to get into the government contracting space, and this certification has helped me get in front of procurement officers as a small business competing against larger firms. Find out more about Supplier Diversity Certification here.
USVM: How has being a certified SDVOSB helped your business?
EV: It’s greatly helped get our name out there and showcase our services and expertise to a larger clientele. The certification helps bring you to the table; it’s up to you to deliver and establish a good reputation for your business.
Veterans Logistics Group is certified by The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – SDVOSB; Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council (SCMSDC) – MBE; The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). For more information about Veterans Logistics Group, visit vetslg.com.