Getting disabled veterans a good job.

Mark Voner, Founder & CEO of Veterans Development Corporation, is interviewed by Mike Armstrong on an episode of The Financial Exchange Radio Show titled “Helping Disabled Veterans with Mark Voner”. In the episode, they discuss topics on the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business program (SDVOSB), how the program works, who is taking advantage of it, how to qualify, and how his company got involved with the program.

YouTube link to the interview,

Apple Podcast link to the interview,


0:00 Mark Voner is the founder and CEO of
0:02 the Veterans Development Corporation, he is
0:04 joining us in studio live today to talk
0:06 a little bit about his business but
0:08 before we even get there uh Mark he’s a
0:10 recipient of the U.S Marine Corps
0:12 Expeditionary Medal one of the oldest
0:14 decorations still issued two active duty
0:16 Personnel uh thanks for joining us on
0:18 the program I really do appreciate you
0:20 coming in and coming in in studio and
0:21 talking to us today. Thank you for having
0:23 me so um this was a new one for me I
0:27 honestly wasn’t aware of the program and
0:29 uh wasn’t really aware that this existed
0:32 to this specific program here so talk to
0:35 me about the SDVOSB the service
0:37 disabled veteran owned Small Business
0:40 program how does it work and uh you know
0:44 who’s taking advantage of it today okay
0:46 so quickly it was founded in 2003
0:49 President Bush George Bush II founded it
0:53 and we got the law passed late 2003
0:56 giving service disabled veteran-owned
0:59 small businesses a set-aside program
1:01 within the federal government
1:05 having that been said it started out
1:08 very slowly but in 2007 the VA Health
1:12 Care System went across the board giving
1:15 all contracts to service disabled
1:18 veteran-owned small businesses okay
1:20 so uh effectively this is a program that
1:23 allows government contracts to be issued
1:25 and specifically spells out that dollar
1:27 amounts for government contracts go to
1:30 service disabled veterans owned
1:32 businesses what do you need to be there
1:34 to qualify I mean we’ll get into what
1:37 your business does in a few moments here
1:39 but
1:40 um you know can I be a portion owner of
1:43 a small business and you know what sort
1:45 of contracts are are we seeing
1:46 government issue these two for these for
1:48 these services for businesses sure the
1:51 the uh the amount of work that’s coming
1:52 out of there right now is uh 10 million
1:55 and Below okay so what happens is they
1:57 get into these small PODS of money
1:59 within the VA Health Care System all
2:02 over the country they call them may
2:04 talks multiple award task order
2:06 contracts you buy to get into that
2:08 contract with your qualifications okay
2:10 based on that qualification then you’re
2:13 certified verified by the VA through the
2:16 CVE, Center for Veteran Entrepreneurial
2:19 Enterprise okay they certify that you
2:21 are service connected with a disability
2:23 once that happens they verify your
2:26 service and then you are certified and
2:28 then you can stop bidding on these
2:30 projects based on your bonding capacity
2:33 and your expertise okay well talk to me
2:36 a little bit about your business because
2:37 you’ve you
2:38 talked a little bit about the program
2:39 but I want to know a little bit about
2:40 your business how you fit into this and
2:43 where you’ve seen opportunities for
2:45 veterans coming home to work in you know
2:47 different lines of business as they
2:48 return absolutely so my business is a
2:51 general contractor that self-performs
2:53 its own mechanical I started in the HVAC
2:56 world and spun it back into a GC because
2:59 I found out pretty quickly you had to be
3:00 a prime contractor to be in the
3:03 government to take advantage of these
3:05 programs sure all right so I stayed with
3:08 the mechanical but uh morphed into a
3:11 general contract over the last 20 years
3:12 got it some of the work that we’re doing
3:15 right now is West Roxbury VA health care
3:18 we’re doing a bunch of electrical
3:20 upgrades there we’re doing a huge
3:22 Community Living setting where the
3:24 veterans are there 24 7. we’re
3:26 renovating the the two wings of the
3:29 hospital we’re in Leeds Massachusetts up
3:32 in Northampton doing a Big Chill water
3:35 upgrade so there’s a ton of opportunity
3:37 for the veteran that are coming back
3:39 that are either service connected and
3:42 there is a program also for veterans or
3:44 veteran-owned businesses as well it’s
3:46 not a full set aside like the service
3:48 disabled got it but it’s a great
3:50 opportunity so we’re here to try to get
3:52 these young kids coming back from either
3:54 combat or service and sitting in with
3:57 companies like myself through a lot of
3:59 um you know Business Development Arenas
4:02 and work
4:04 stations and stuff like that to get them
4:07 to come in to learn the program it’s
4:10 there for the taking if you’re a a solid
4:13 young man coming out of the military and
4:16 have the basics of structure and you
4:20 know fortitude you can do well talk to
4:23 me a little bit about the trades in
4:24 general we’ve been hearing for I mean
4:27 really since probably 2013 coming out of
4:29 the great financial crisis that you know
4:31 there’s a huge disruption to that space
4:33 a lot of workers left the construction
4:35 industry in general left the trades and
4:38 there seems to be a massive shortage in
4:39 that space now what are the
4:41 opportunities that you see out there for
4:43 somebody you know obviously in your case
4:46 looking at you know veterans coming home
4:48 but for the general public out there uh
4:51 as maybe an alternative to the
4:54 traditional four-year college and coming
4:56 out with you know a degree and going
4:58 into a different line of work what are
5:00 the opportunities that you see out there
5:01 what can somebody expect from from an
5:03 income perspective if they’re just
5:04 entering and the path to get into the
5:07 trades today all right so the pathway
5:08 would be the first way to start out they
5:11 start out at a five-year Apprentice
5:13 program whether you’re a carpenter
5:14 plumber pipefitter electrician you do a
5:17 five-year stint apprenticeship program
5:19 each six every six month you’re
5:22 evaluated by the company got it if you
5:24 meet the qualifications of the schooling
5:26 that you required and the hours of work
5:29 you get a raise at the end of the five
5:31 years you’re making right now for a
5:33 pipefitter
5:34 98.75 an hour I believe wow a
5:37 electrician’s up there sheet metal
5:39 technician uh plumber they’re all way
5:42 above the norm as far as the uh the
5:45 normal Tradesmen out there not working
5:47 in the state or federal level and a lot
5:49 of these jobs too I mean from what I
5:50 have seen I don’t know what the rules
5:52 are today but I’ve seen things like
5:54 pretty robust pensions for some of these
5:56 work groups and really significant
5:58 benefits it’s you know not to say it
6:00 can’t be back breaking work I’m sure it
6:02 is at times but you know the benefits
6:03 that are out there for folks too are
6:05 kind of Lifetime when you look at them
6:07 in addition to what seemed like pretty
6:09 competitive wages too absolutely it’s a
6:11 hundred percent uh they have a we have a
6:13 401k for the office and we have a
6:15 pension plan for the guys that are out
6:16 in the prevailing wage World wow so it’s
6:19 a great opportunity what do you see
6:21 what’s kind of your vision
6:23 not just for your business over the next
6:25 few years but for this program in
6:26 general and for you know folks returning
6:29 home from the military and how they can
6:30 be involved in the trades and and your
6:33 line of work specifically there is a
6:34 major opportunity and that’s why we’re
6:36 here today to try to get the word out
6:38 for any veteran or a disabled veteran
6:40 that’s out there listening the the door
6:43 is open it’s wide open the opportunity
6:45 is endless you can do anything from like
6:48 where I started as a pipefitter to
6:49 owning a company yeah and I did it uh
6:52 very very I was very fortunate to have
6:55 people train me that that are out there
6:58 today willing to do the same thing so
7:00 the opportunity for that excuse me is a
7:02 is a mile long you just need to take
7:04 advantage of it Mark um I don’t expect
7:07 you to have websites memorized but in
7:09 terms of resources that are out there
7:11 places that you could direct people to
7:12 if you’re if you’re coming back trying
7:14 to figure out your career for the first
7:15 time you’ve been enlisted for for a
7:17 decade and trying to figure out hey
7:19 where do I go next do you have any
7:21 resources that you would Point towards
7:22 Point people towards to help figure
7:24 themselves out sure the VA has a huge
7:27 presence in the Workforce program they
7:30 have a lot of connection with people
7:31 like myself and we’re going to do a lot
7:33 of career fairs over the next 10 years
7:36 and obviously uh we’ve got the DAV 5K
7:39 coming up this fall there’s a Gala the
7:42 the golf outing that does a lot in the
7:44 veteran community so yeah I think that’s
7:46 the key takeaway that I hear from people
7:48 too is hey when you get back you know
7:50 those resources are available to you for
7:53 a reason and trying to take advantage of
7:54 them is is important absolutely it’s the
7:57 challenge right now yeah getting people
7:59 to actually use the resources that are
8:00 out there absolutely Mark it’s been a
8:03 real pleasure to talk to you today I’m
8:04 looking forward to doing it again in the
8:05 future again Mark Voner he’s the
8:07 founder and CEO of the veterans
8:09 Development Corporation joined us today
8:11 to talk a little bit about his company
8:13 how he got there as well as the service
8:15 disabled veteran-owned small business uh
8:18 plenty of information out there and uh
8:20 we I’m sure can get some information out
8:22 there uh via the show as well so Mark
8:25 thanks for joining us appreciate it and
8:27 uh we’ll talk again soon thank you very much.