HeroPreneur program helps veterans build a future

The HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit, a three-day event for military veterans, returns to Phoenix for its second year.

HeroPreneur supports veterans by focusing on entrepreneurship, employment and education and will offer panels, workshops and job opportunities to veterans.

Taking place Nov. 14-16, over 2,000 veteran-owned businesses will attend the multi-day experience, conducting interviews on-site.

HeroPreneur founder and Scottsdale resident Alan “AP” Powell created the event because he understands firsthand how difficult it can be for vets re-entering the workforce.

Powell, a U.S. Army Desert Storm veteran, founded HeroPreneur in 1991 when he got out of the military. He applied to jobs but confronted an unfortunate truth: “There weren’t any opportunities for a veteran to own his own company or start a company,” he said.

He took matters into his own hands, creating a platform for vets called the Checkered Flag Run Foundation, which was later renamed to HeroZona Foundation.

“When I figured out Arizona had 640,000 vets, I sat down with Gov. [Doug] Doucey, Sen. [John] McCain and former Mayor Greg Stanton and Mayor [Jim] Lane from Scottsdale and figured out what would be the best entry point to try to create something and actually came up with HeroZona,” Powell said.

HeroZona Foundation is a nonprofit organization that offers under-served students and veterans entrepreneurship, employment and educational opportunities through various programs and events.

HeroPreneur is spearheaded by HeroZona Foundation and Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services. The inaugural event took place last year, and it was a success.

Participating businesses conducted 600 interviews, and about 80 percent of those interviewees were hired.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the veteran unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in October 2018. In 2017, the veteran unemployment rate in Arizona was 5.2 percent, a 1.3 percent increase from 2016.

It’s through HeroPreneur that Powell hopes to continue to decrease Arizona’s unemployment rate and increase the number of veteran-owned businesses.

Veterans are more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans – the unincorporated self-employment rate for veterans was 7.1 percent in 2015 compared to 6.4 percent for non-veterans.

But the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March 2016 that only 4.5 percent of the more than 3.6 million people who have served in the U.S. military since September 11, 2001, have launched a company. This amounts to about 162,000 veteran-owned businesses.

These numbers may seem impressive, but it’s actually alarmingly low.

Last century, 49.7 percent of World War II vets went on to own or operate a business, according to Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

Powell believes it’s the lack of resources, education and guidance that discourage veterans from pursuing entrepreneurship.

However, at HeroPreneur, all resources are under one roof – the Phoenix Convention Center.

Veterans can attend HeroPreneur’s workshops and classes to gather tips and advice on how to start their own business. They will also have the opportunity to get funding at the event.

“There are so many programs that are out there for vets, but you have to know the right people to talk to and be able to get the information correctly,” Powell said. “That’s why we have this one-stop shop Super Bowl version of a veteran experience.”

Plus, the programs offered are customized to cater to all veterans.

“You have people from all different walks of life. Everybody has different issues,” Powell said. “You have some people who have post-traumatic stress. They need help. Just because you have PTSD doesn’t mean you can’t be in business or you can’t have a job.”

“Shark Tank” star and entrepreneur extraordinaire Daymond John and veteran advocate Justin Constantine, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps, (Ret.) will both speak at the event.

The HeroPreneur Awards Luncheon, hosted by CNN Military Analyst James A. “Spider” Marks, Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.), will honor individuals and organizations that support the Veteran community. The luncheon will also honor the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day.

Award recipients include Donald E. Brandt, president and CEO of Pinnacle West and Arizona Public Service, who will receive the Maverick Award.

The HeroPreneur Entrepreneurship Award will be given to U.S. Marine Corps veteran Edward J. Robson, founder and chairman of Robson Resort Communities. Interim CEO of Intel Corporation Robert H. Swan will receive the HeroPreneur Employment Award, and the HeroPreneur Education Award will go to ASU President Michael M. Crow.

Powell hopes to not only support, guide and serve Arizona’s veterans through HeroPreneur, but he also stresses the importance of helping vets feel part of the community year-round.

“I don’t think people really understand the sacrifice that a lot of people made for this country,” Powell said. “If people understood the sacrifice, they may be more willing to help veterans – because this is a big sacrifice.”

All workshops and the business and career fairs are free to student veterans, Reserve Officer Training Corps, active duty military, military veterans and their spouses.

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Forgotten Heroes Breakfast @ 12 News

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Forgotten Heroes Breakfast @ ABC15 News

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Scottsdale Vet’s Program helps veterans build a future

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‘Forgotten Heroes’ Breakfast Honors Homeless Veterans

Veterans from three Arizona homeless shelters gathered in Phoenix Saturday morning. They were invited to an American Legion post for what was dubbed a ‘Forgotten Heroes Appreciation Breakfast’.

Representative Reginald Bolding from District 27 helped organize the event. He recently signed into law a bill that provides free state IDs to homeless veterans. Bolding said the work is far from over.

“We have to also make sure that we have the opportunity for jobs, healthcare, making sure that the V.A. is actually providing a system that’s providing our veterans with what they need,” Bolding said.

Not only were attendees provided a free breakfast, but they were sent home with care packages. Those included food, blankets and shoes.

Felice Wimbish-Tribue served five years in the Marine Corps. She now works with the American Legion, organizing events like this one.

“Food shows love,” she said. “So we want to serve them a good breakfast, provide them with some of the things they may need in their everyday lives and let them know that we haven’t forgotten them and we’re here if they need us. That’s the most important part of this event.”

Wimbish-Tribue said she is particularly concerned about female veterans with children.

“If she has two or three kids a homeless veteran shelter is available but won’t take her because she has two or three children,” she said. “There are so many problems that we’ve kind of addressed the top tier of it, but we haven’t dug deep enough.”

Arizona Department of Veteran Services Director Wanda Wright also attended the breakfast. She said homelessness among veterans is on the rise due to a lack of affordable housing.

“I always think it’s a wonderful thing to kind of talk to them about our services and benefits that we have at the department and just to honor them by feeding them breakfast and just hanging out with them,” Wright said.

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An Interview with ABC15 News

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‘You are not forgotten’: Phoenix American Legion Post honors homeless veterans at 7th annual breakfast

In a weekend full of parades and celebrations, dozens of veterans quietly filled a Phoenix American Legion Post Saturday ahead of Veterans Day.

They sat patiently through speakers who thanked them for their service before they filled their plates with waffles and oatmeal and chatted with the others at their tables.

It was a scene that could likely be found in countless American Legion Posts across the country over Veterans Day weekend — except the men and women at the Travis L. Williams American Legion Post were homeless. Each one was bused in from one of the veteran’s homes throughout the Valley.

Approximately 11 percent of the adult homeless population are veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Without stable shelter, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans said it’s challenging for veterans to find housing or a job. This is often coupled with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.

State Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix, said it’s not just that the men and women in attendance were homeless, but they had been forgotten by those they had served. The current system and community needs to do more to take care of veterans, he said.

“You are not forgotten,” Bolding said. “We truly believe in the service you’ve given and we want to give back to you to thank you for giving so much.”

Bolding introduced a bill that provided free state identification and birth certificates to homeless veterans. It was signed into law earlier this year. Both the new law and events like the forgotten heroes breakfasts were just examples of how Arizona should be thanking their veterans.

“We have to provide opportunities to give back to those who gave to us,” Bolding said.

Each attendee also left the event with care packages full of clothing, toiletries and fresh vegetables.

To Ronald Bolden, American Legion Post 65 house committee chairman, it was the least they could do.

“There’s no excuse for any veteran to be out here walking the street that don’t have a place to lay his head, have clean clothing or food to eat,” he said.

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U.S. Department of Labor Vets Medallion Luncheon Recognizes Those That Employ Vets

The HeroZona FoundationArizona Department of Veterans’ Services and the Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers is pleased to announce the U.S. Department of Labor’s Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act (HIRE Vets Act) Medallion Luncheon on Friday, November 16, at the Phoenix Convention Center. The event will occur during the HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit, with registration starting at 11:30 a.m. and the luncheon beginning at 12 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s HIRE Vets Medallion Award recognizes employers for their investments in recruiting, employing and retaining the nation’s veterans. Over 230 employers will be recognized at the luncheon. The companies will be announced prior to the event, during an award ceremony on Thursday, November 8, in Washington D.C. The award signals to veterans that an employer is committed to and supports veteran careers.

The program utilizes the requirements of the HIRE Vets Act, which was signed by President Trump in May 2017. The award recognizes small, medium and large employers at two levels, platinum and gold. Verification of the award criteria includes a self-attestation by the applicant and a check for violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Act (VEVRAA).

“The HIRE Vets Act of 2017 directed creation of the Medallion Program, which is the only federal award program that recognizes job creators who successfully recruit, hire, and retain veterans. We are proud to recognize our deserving 2018 award recipients,” says the Director of Strategic Outreach for Veterans Employment Service (VETS) for the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Air Force Col. (R), Timothy Green.

Welcoming remarks will be given by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the Executive Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, Debbie Johnson. The luncheon’s Master of Ceremonies will be President and CEO of the HeroZona Foundation, and Desert Storm U.S. Air Force Veteran, Ronnie R. Williams. The Director of Strategic Outreach for Veterans Employment Service (VETS) for the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Air Force Col. (R), Timothy Green, will also be speaking.

The keynote speaker for the luncheon will be U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. (R) and Purple Heart recipient, Justin Constantine. Constantine was deployed to Iraq in 2006 and served as a Civil Affairs Team Leader while attached to an infantry battalion. During a combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper. For his service in Iraq, Constantine earned the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon and Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal. He now runs his own business, serves as an inspirational leader and is a veteran employment expert.

“We are honored that the U.S. Department of Labor will be recognizing employers who hire our nation’s veterans at the HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit,” says U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran and HeroZona Foundation Founder, Alan “AP” Powell.

PING will also be doing a giveaway for those in attendance on Friday, November 16. They are donating a VIP custom fitting by its experts and a full set of PING golf clubs for one winning hero. This set includes one G400 driver, two G400 fairway woods and G400 hybrids with standard graphite shafts, one set of (8) irons (choice of model) with standard steel shafts and one Sigma G putter.

“PING has a long history of making custom-engineered, custom-fit, and custom-built golf equipment that helps every golfer play their best, including golfers with disabilities,” says Corporate Counsel for Karsten Manufacturing Corporation and the Parent Company of PING, Dawn Grove.

The HeroZona Foundation’s HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit is a three-day engagement returning to Phoenix from November 14 through November 16, to empower veterans through entrepreneurship, employment and education. It is spearheaded by the HeroZona Foundation and Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, in conjunction with the State of Arizona, City of Phoenix and Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers.

The engagement is culminated by various events including the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, Phoenix Sun’s NBA Military Appreciation Night basketball game and other entertainment activities. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will also attend and host workshops for large companies, small veteran owned businesses and veterans interested in government contracting certification.

It is $75 to attend the luncheon, free parking will be available to veterans and their spouses. For more information about the U.S. Department of Labor’s Vets HIRE Vets Medallion Luncheon and all of the HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit’s upcoming experiences, visit HeroPreneur.com.

About HeroZona Foundation
The HeroZona Foundation has a strong focus on veteran initiatives and honoring those who have served our country and their family members. The nonprofit’s name reflects that messaging to focus on empowering and celebrating America’s veterans. Their upcoming event, HeroPreneur is a three-day Veterans Day engagement with three pillars to empower Arizona’s veterans through entrepreneurship, employment and education. HeroZona‘s Annual Heropreneur National Veteran Business Summit has created a multi-day networking experience to improve America’s support of
Veteran companies through workshops, networking, entrepreneurial connections, and seminars. The engagement is culminated by various entertainment events including the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, Phoenix Sun’s NBA Military basketball game and other entertainment activities. For more information visit hnvbs.com, heropreneur.com or herozona.org.

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The People’s Shark, Daymond John, to Attend HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit

The HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit is pleased to announce that the “People’s Shark” on ABC’s The Shark Tank, Daymond John, will be participating in a fireside chat at the Phoenix Convention Center on Thursday, November 15. The multiple New York Times bestselling author, CEO and longtime friend of U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran and HeroZona Foundation Founder, Alan “AP Powell, will lead discussions with the Managing Director for Kittyhawk.io, Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Singularity University and Co-Founder of the HeroZona Foundation, Aaron D. Bare.

“They call me “The People’s Shark” because I invest in people, but I’m looking forward to attend the HeroPreneur Luncheon to share my experiences and, more significantly, to celebrate the folks who have committed to investing their lives, if necessary, for all us – our brave service men and women,” says John.

John and Bare will be discussing best practices for entrepreneurs and how to craft the perfect pitch.

“We are ecstatic to host Daymond John at our Heropreneur Awards Luncheon. He will share unique insights from the frontline of investing and we will discuss strategies with our veterans to leverage their service experience,” says Bare.

The Fireside Chat will take place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in the West Building of the Phoenix Convention Center. The Fireside Chats will happen after the HeroPreneur Awards and Luncheon, with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The HeroPreneur Awards and Luncheon will be hosted by CNN Military Analyst and Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.), James A. “Spider” Marks; and Co-Chairman of Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers and Rear Admiral for the U.S. Navy (Ret.), Hal Pittman. The event will celebrate and honor individuals and organizations that support the veteran community as well as honoring the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day.

Last year, U.S. Senator John McCain accepted the Lifetime Service Award at the Inaugural Ceremony. This prestigious award was renamed to the Maverick Award in honor of the late, great Senator McCain. HeroPreneur will also give out The Mission Continues Service Award to local organization, Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. There will also be three other awards given out to corporations and individuals under HeroPreneur’s three pillars: entrepreneurship, employment and education.

The HeroZona Foundation’s HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit is a three-day engagement that is returning to Phoenix from November 14 through November 16 to empower veterans through entrepreneurship, employment and education. It is spearheaded by HeroZona Foundation and Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, in conjunction with State of Arizona, City of Phoenix and Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will also be at HeroPreneur hosting workshops for large companies, small veteran owned businesses and veterans interested in contracting government and earning certification. The U.S. Department of Labor will be hosting the HIRE Vets Medallion Luncheon, which will recognize employers who hire veterans.

For more information about all of the HeroPreneur National Veterans Business Summit’s upcoming experiences, visit HeroPreneur.com.

About HeroZona Foundation
The HeroZona Foundation has a strong focus on veteran initiatives and honoring those who have served our country and their family members. The nonprofit’s name reflects that messaging to focus on empowering and celebrating America’s veterans. Their upcoming event, HeroPreneur is a week-
long Veterans Day engagement that has three pillars which empower Arizona’s veterans through entrepreneurship, employment and education. HeroZona‘s Annual Heropreneur National Veteran Business Summit has created a multi-day networking experience to improve America’s support of
veteran companies through workshops, networking, entrepreneurial connections, and seminars; culminated by various entertainment events including the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, Phoenix Sun’s NBA basketball game and other entertainment activities. For more information visit hnvbs.com, heropreneur.com or herozona.org.

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Arizona Non-Profit Founder and Entrepreneur Awarded John S. McCain Inspirational Leadership Award by APS

Serial entrepreneur, Gulf War veteran and philanthropist Alan “AP” Powell Will be honored Friday, November 2, at the 5th Annual Arizona Public Service Veterans Day Ceremony with the John S. McCain Inspirational Leadership Award.

Powell and U.S. Navy veteran and Founder of the Phoenix Veterans Day ParadePaula Pedene, will be honored by Arizona Public Service with their annual leadership award honoring members of the Arizona veteran community who have displayed the leadership, character and commitment to veterans exemplified by that the late Senator throughout his lifetime of service.

“This year’s honorees have gone above and beyond in their service to the veteran community in Arizona,” said Hal Pittman, director of external communications at APS and a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral. “This award is meant to honor those individuals who continually advocate for active duty service members, veterans and their families.”

Powell is being honored for his efforts supporting Arizona’s veterans through the HeroZona Foundation, and the HeroPreneur National Veterans Business Summit, an educational conference supporting both veteran entrepreneurs and jobseekers.

Powell is chairman and CEO of AP & Associates, LLC, founded in 2004, and founder of the non-profit HeroZona Foundation, formerly Checkered Flag Run Foundation, a non-profit that serves students and veterans by giving them access to educational opportunities to ensure they get to cross the ‘finish line’. The Foundation’s programs include HeroZona’s HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit, Veterans Reach to Teach, Phoenix Tools 4 Schools and the Bridge Forum.

Powell founded the non-profit Checkered Flag Run Foundation, now HeroZona Foundation, in 2011. Their Inaugural HeroZona, for Arizona’s 640,000 veterans and 2,000 veteran owned companies gained national and local recognition from the entire Arizona community with support from U.S. Arizona Senator John S. McCain, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Former City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Arizona Department of Veterans Services Director and U.S. Air Force Col. (Ret), Wanda A. Wright; and many corporations and educational colleges. Last year, Senator McCain accepted the HeroZona Lifetime of Service Award, which was renamed the John S. McCain Maverick Award for 2018.

The 2nd annual event honoring America’s veterans was renamed this year to the HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit. The engagement from November 14 through November 16, is a multi-day networking experience that improves America’s support of veteran companies through workshops, networking, entrepreneurial connections, and seminars. It is culminated by various entertainment events including the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, Phoenix Sun’s NBA Military Appreciation Night basketball game and other entertainment activities. The U.S. Department of Labor will hosta Vets Medallion Luncheon to honor companies that employ veterans, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will host HeroPreneur workshops for large companies, small veteran owned businesses and veterans interested in contracting government and earning certification.

The Foundation is also working on a series of Bridge Forums in an effort to understand different perspectives, attitudes and beliefs about community policing. The previous Bridge Forum included participation from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich; Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery; Scottsdale Mayor Jim lane; Scottsdale Police Chief Alan G. Rodbell; 5 Valley mayors and police chiefs; Phoenix Suns owner, Robert Sarver; and wife of Arizona Diamondbacks owner, Randy Kendrick.

Powell was recently recognized with the Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce Corporate Star Award (2016), the MLK Living the Dream Award (2017), Greater Phoenix Urban League’s Whitney M. Young Jr. Award (2017), the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity’s Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award (2017) and
ABC 15 and Sanderson Ford’s Saluting Arizona’s Veterans Award (2018). He also served as the Grand Marshall for the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade in 2017. Powell is currently nominated for 2019’s ‘Most Influential Man in the Valley’ by Arizona Foothills.

Powell has previously served as an advisory board member for Arizona 7th District Congressman Ruben Gallego’s Veterans Advisory Council, the University of Phoenix Criminal Justice Industry Advisory Board, City of Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board, and District 8’s African American Advisory Council. Currently, Powell serves on the advisory board for the Phoenix Theatre.

For more information, visit heropreneur.com and apandassociatesllc.com

About HeroZona Foundation
The HeroZona Foundation has a strong focus on veteran initiatives and honoring those who have served our country and their family members. The nonprofit’s name reflects that messaging to focus on empowering and celebrating America’s veterans. Their upcoming event, HeroPreneur is a week-long Veterans Day engagement that has three pillars which empower Arizona’s veterans through entrepreneurship, employment and education. HeroZona‘s Annual Heropreneur National Veteran Business Summit has created a multi-day networking experience to improve America’s support of veteran companies through workshops, networking, entrepreneurial connections, and seminars; culminated by various entertainment events including the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, Phoenix Sun’s NBA basketball game and other entertainment activities. For more information visit hnvbs.com, heropreneur.com or herozona.org.

About AP & Associates LLC
AP & Associates LLC is a strategic alliances firm with specific expertise in multicultural initiatives. Through the development and creation of strategic partnerships AP & Associates has positioned itself as an expert in the art of company, customer and revenue acquisition. AP & Associates LLC has created strategic alliances with Fortune 500 companies, venture capital firms and private equity to bridge the gap between mainstream and urban customers to clients generating top flight results, capable of raising the monies, introducing strategic relationships and driving customer and revenue acquisition. For more information, visit http://www.apandassociatesllc.com 

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Our Mission

The mission of Herozona Foundation is to provide diverse educational programs that impact under-served students and veterans. Our belief is access to quality educational opportunities ensures the investment of every student & Veteran getting to cross the “finish line”.

Upcoming Events

HeroPreneur NVBS

Nov 14-16, 2018
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HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit was created to continue empowering our heroes. This three-day event will feature panels and programming that focuses on three pillars –
EntrepreneurshipEmployment and Education.

The Bridge Forum
HeroZona U.S. Veteran Edition

Nov 14, 2018
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An exclusive panel of Veteran Service Specialists and Community Luminaries participating in a forum on topics important to our U.S. Armed Forces veterans.

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” We provide diverse educational programs that impact under-served students & veterans. “