The HeroZona Foundation’s HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit returned to Phoenix from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16 to empower veterans through entrepreneurship, employment and education. During the summit, Nielsen presented their Global Veteran Consumer Insight Report, which found that there are just under 20 million veterans in the U.S. today. At a glance, the report stated that women veterans make up 10 percent of the current veteran population and as of 2018, the Gulf War Era veterans make up the largest cohort.
A record number of more than 1,500 U.S. veterans attended the summit over the course of the three day engagements and more than 75 organizations participated in the career fairs and business fairs in an effort to network, hire and do business with veterans.
“We are amazed by the support we received for our second annual event. It’s great to see all of the incredible growth, sponsors, supporters and partners that our three day experience attracted,” says U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran and HeroZona Foundation Founder, Alan “AP” Powell.
The summit also recognized individuals and organizations that support the veteran community with a HeroPreneur Awards and Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15. The luncheon was hosted by CNN Military Analyst and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. (R), James A. “Spider” Marks; and Co-Chairman of Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. (R), Hal Pittman.
Last year, U.S. Senator John McCain accepted the Lifetime Service Award at the inaugural ceremony. This prestigious award was renamed this year to the Maverick Award in honor of the late, great senator. The recipient of the 2018 HeroZona Foundation Maverick Award was President and CEO of Pinnacle West & Arizona Public Service, Donald E. Brandt. During the ceremony, the Mission Continues Award was given to the organization, Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
During the summit, the HeroPreneur NVBS also gave out awards to individuals under the summit’s three pillars: entrepreneurship, employment and education. The HeroPreneur Entrepreneur Award recipient was Robson Resort Communities Founder and Chairman, Edward J. Robson; the HeroPreneur Employment Award recipient was Intel Corporation’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, Robert H. Swan; and the HeroPreneur Education Award recipient was Arizona State University’s President, Dr. Michael M. Crow. During the ceremony, Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes, provided opening remarks.
“It is great to see the connective tissue amongst Arizona’s businesses, educational institutions, service organization, and community leaders represented at HeroPreneur,” said Eversole. “When you collaborate and share best practices, you are not just improving one company or organization—you are making your entire community a better place for veterans and military families across Arizona.”
On Friday, Nov. 16, the U.S. Department of Labor hosted the HIRE Vets Medallion Luncheon which recognized employers for their investments in recruiting, employing and retaining the nation’s veterans. More than 230 employers
were recognized at the luncheon, including Arizona’s Pinnacle West Capital Corporation DBA Arizona Public Service, which received the Platinum HIRE Vets Medallion. During the Medallion Luncheon, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and 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 gave opening remarks.
Other summit highlights included The Bridge Forum U.S. Veteran Edition; Fireside Chat with the “People’s Shark”, Daymond John and HeroZona Co-Founder, Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Singularity University and Managing Director for Kittyhawk.io, Aaron Bare; keynote speaker and veteran advocate, Justin Constantine; career fair for veterans and their spouses and a business fair for veteran-owned businesses. Also in attendance was Arizona State University, Maricopa Community Colleges, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and U.S. Small Business Administration, who hosted workshops for veterans and veteran owned businesses.
The HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit was 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. A portion of the proceeds from the HeroPreneur week of experiences benefited veteran organization programs such as the HeroZona Foundation, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Honoring Arizona’s Veterans and the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services veteran programs.