In 2001, Navy veterans Chris Hale, Rich McCormack and Scott Shaw founded a veteran-owned business named Victory Media. That same year, they launched G.I. Jobs®, a print and online magazine that assists veterans in finding civilian employment. For the past six years, G.I. Jobs has marketed veterans, as employees, to corporate America – to convince corporate America to “Hire Veteran.”
Corporate America is under no mandate to “Hire Veteran.” But G.I. Jobs has made them want to do so. In fact, the G.I. Jobs approach has had such a profound impact on corporate hiring policies that nearly all large companies now have a “Hire Veteran” program in place. And they compete vehemently for that veteran talent.
In 2004, they launched Veterans Business Journal (now Vetrepreneur®) magazine and started holding VOBE, the Veteran Owned Business Expo, events. They used that same “G.I. Jobs” template to market vetrepreneurs as suppliers to corporate America. Their work is paying off. Corporate America, which they’ve convinced to “Hire Veteran,” is now starting to also “Buy Veteran.”
In 2005, they attended the National Minority Supplier Development Council Annual Convention in Dallas. What they witnessed was an incredible display of minority business unity, power and opportunity. They couldn’t understand how veterans, who were such a close knit family while in the service, became so fragmented as business owners.
They left Dallas with an idea – an organization that would take the veteran business movement beyond the beltway, provide intellectual research leadership, assist community advocates in their work of lobbying the government and, perhaps most importantly, to convince corporate America to “Buy Veteran.” That profound desire became a reality with the creation of NaVOBA early in 2007.
And there could be no better vetrepreneur to deliver that unifying “Buy Veteran” message to the world than a man for whom the word hero seems mild. A man for whom description as an over-acheiver is a clear under-statement. And a man who bleeds red, white, blue…and black and gold. Mr. Rocky Bleier joined NaVOBA as its national spokesman in early 2007.