Small Business Spotlight: Combat to Career with VetSource
We spoke with Bob Troutwine about VetSource’s vision to provide job training and placement support for veterans in across all industries. Read how VetSource assists veterans in developing the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs.
How did VetSource begin?
I graduated from the West Point in 1996, and I medically retired as a major in 2009 after being injured conducting combat operations in Korea. I start a residential renovation company while I was active in the Army. After I retired, I gave construction development a try. Since then, I have operated several businesses in multiple industries in Cincinnati Later I started working with a local group of veteran-owned businesses to aid veterans who were transitioning out of the Services. This lead to the idea for a business that helps veterans transition into the private sector.
How does VetSource help veterans transition from service to a career?
We offer start-up business assistance, in the form of placement and job training. We have office with all kind of facilities to support this mission. We have a policy not to turn away any veteran in need of help. We have extended our support by partner with private and public organizations, creating a network extension to VetSource.
We act as a veteran-focused staffing company in that we match company's job requirements to our veterans' skill sets and experiences. We also work with regulatory organizations, such as OSHA, to ensure our veterans have the right certifications for the opportunity.
We also work with our veterans to help them through essential personal- and business-life skills, such as financial literacy. Previous education and specialized military training often leaves knowledge gaps around critical financial skills like budgeting, etc. Lastly we teach a change in mindset, from a military-focused thinking process to a private commercial one.
How does a military background help veterans run a business?
Military veterans have critical private sector skills and experience, such as organization, leadership, perseverance, and operations. They also have extensive people skills and crisis management experience. Sure the environment is vastly different between combat operations and the commercial marketplace, however the core skills required to succeed in both are applicable.
Can you share a veteran’s success story from working with VetSource?
In our first year, a former Army ranger, Neil Sumner was probably our best "poster child", so to speak. He had an interest and background so he launched a musician and composer career post separation fro the Army, and he has gone on to releasing his first album, SOLIDER, coming out soon.
Another success story is a husband and wife partnership to develop a franchise model for a business they started after retirements - Hot Dogz. Not only did they create the restaurant concept and bring it into reality, but they branded and modeled it into a franchise business that can be replicated and sold. VetSource helped them with the resources necessary to expand their business model into franchising.
How can people help or get involved with VetSource?
We have many private and public sector partners but are always looking for more. We need a diverse set of industry and government partners in order to provide the variety of support services our veterans needs when they transition from the military. We also need financial donations of course. Lastly, we can always use help in identifying vets that need our help but for whatever reason don't seek us out.