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Celebrating Veteran Business Owners During National Veteran Small Business Week

Each year the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrates, connects, and empowers service members, Veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses during National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW).

This year marks the seventh annual NVSBW.

The theme for this year is #VetBiz Resources in Your Local Community. The theme highlights the breadth of free to low-cost entrepreneurial resources that veteran and military entrepreneurs can access right in their neighborhoods. In recognition of National Veteran Small Business Week (NVSBW), this year the Pacific Northwest branch of the Veteran Business Outreach Center and Business Impact NW will host a week of webcasts. The goal is to empower Veteran-owned small businesses and promote virtual connections within the community.

Our National Veteran Small Business Week will be a week of webcasts featuring presentations from leading experts of veteran-owned small businesses. Opportunities for virtual networking and resource sharing as well as mini-grants for attendees will also be shared. To shine a light on the incredible work of veteran-owned businesses around the region, we will feature 4 “spotlight” veteran-owned businesses during NVSBW.

NVSBW is all about celebrating the incredible work of veteran entrepreneurs and creating connections in the veteran business community. Says Steve Watts Oelrich, Region X VBOC Program Director.

“As a veteran who ran businesses without SBA help, I understand the great need for the SBA and its resource partners like VBOC. So I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to lead the Region X Veterans Business Outreach Center and provide the business training and coaching veterans, their spouses, and other eligible persons need to succeed. The team at the Region X VBOC all love working with militarily connected persons as they navigate their entrepreneurial journey and we are all so excited to turn the spotlight on these inspiring veteran-owned businesses during NVSBW.” – Steve Watts Oelrich

PCI Pest Control | Olympia, WA

Matt Purcell Headshot
Matt Purcell of PCI Pest Control

One of the NVSBW spotlight businesses is Matt Purcell, owner and founder of PCI Pest Control. Matt founded PCI Pest Control in his hometown of Olympia, WA in 1998. This was just after he served in the Active Guard Reserve Program. The program supported National Guard units in Alaska, Virginia, and Washington for 20 years. Mr. Purcell started doing pest control work on a limited basis while still in the military. He did it mostly to support a friend’s small business and earn some money on the side. After retiring from the military, Matt decided to start his own business.

Mr. Purcell has been serving the Washington community by providing residential and commercial pest and weed control services in Thurston, Pierce, and Mason counties. He has also done contract work with state governments in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington for over 20 years. A few years back, Matt brought in his son Matthew Purcell Jr., to work alongside him. PCI is a proud veteran and family-owned business. In 2020, PCI Pest Control was recognized for their incredible success and was named the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Seattle District Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year. Matt is an inspiring example of how to turn military leadership skills into business success. We are excited to have Matt join us on Monday, November 2nd as the first spotlight business featured during NVSBW.

Krueger Olympic Auto Detailing | Spanaway, WA

Joe Krueger, Founder of Krueger Olympic Auto Detailing

Our second NVSBW spotlight business is Joe Krueger, founder of Krueger Olympic Auto Detailing. Joe Krueger currently serves as a Staff Sergeant in the Air National Guard 194th Regional Support Wing. Sergeant Krueger has been with the 194th Regional Support Wing in WA as a Security Officer since 2017.

In addition to his service Mr. Krueger founded Krueger Olympic Auto Detailing in May 2019 and has spent the last year and half growing his auto detailing business. Krueger Olympic Auto Detailing is based out of Spanaway, WA. It provides quality auto detailing care directly to their customers by bringing the shop directly to you. Waiting for your car to be cleaned and detailed is a hassle, so Joe brings auto detailing directly to his customers with his mobile detailing capabilities. At Business Impact NW, we are so excited to witness the growth of Joe’s business and are looking forward to his innovative entrepreneurial insights on Tuesday November 3rd. Thank you Joe for joining us this year as a spotlight business at NVSBW.

 Stumpworx LLC | Portland, OR

Jon Kuniholm of Stumpworx LLC

On Wednesday, November 4th, we will hear from our third NVSBW spotlight business leader Jon Kuniholm, founder of Stumpworx LLC.  Stumpworx LLC is a research and development firm devoted to improving prosthetic arm technology. Jon is a mechanical and biomedical engineer with skills in physical design, prototyping, and electromechanical control.

In 1997, at age 24, Kuniholm joined the Marines and after receiving a graduate degree in industrial design re-enlisted in 2004 and was sent to Iraq. In 2006 while deployed to the Anbar Province in western Iraq Captain Kuniholm’s forearm was injured in an IED explosion. Surgery for a muscle transplant was followed by amputation of his right arm below the elbow. After five months of rehabilitation Kuniholm was fitted with a prosthetic arm. Soon after Jon began a PhD in biomedical engineering at Duke University. He switched the focus of his engineering work to prosthetic technology in an effort to ensure amputees like himself had access to better prosthetics. When engineer turned entrepreneur Kuniholm founded Stumpworx he forever changed the prosthetics world.

In the decades since his injury Jon has become a leading innovator in prosthetic design and an advocate for the amputee and veteran community. In addition to founding Stumpworx Jon is the President of the Open Prosthetics Project. This project seeks to improve the lives of amputees through open design, while developing and testing more general tools for design sharing. We are honored to have Jon join us as a spotlight business for NVSBW this year.

Leisureland RV Center | Boise, ID

John and Carina DeHoff of Leisureland RV Center

We will end the week on Thursday November 5th with John DeHoff, founder and owner of Leisureland RV Center in Boise, Idaho. Together, John and wife Carina built Leisureland RV Center from a small RV dealership founded in 2015 into a company serving the entire western United States.  The business has grown to have 21 employees and more than $7 million in sales and 272% growth since inception.

John has applied leadership principles learned from serving 25 years in the U.S. Air Force. He retired at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant in 2014 after serving in Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. This year the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded John DeHoff the 2020 Idaho Small Business Persons of the Year. John and wife Carina are Boots to Business alumni and we at Business Impact NW are proud to have them in our community and are thrilled to have John join us as a spotlight business at NVSBW this year.

 Featured Veteran Business Leader Speakers

In addition to highlighting veteran-owned businesses, NVSBW will feature esteemed veteran business leaders as speakers throughout the week. On Thursday November 5th, the final day of NVSBW we will be hearing from Richard Chacon.

Richard Chacon of MUFG Union Bank

Richard Chacon is the Director of Supplier Diversity and Development and MUFG Union Bank. In his role at Union Bank Mr. Chacon is responsible for providing diverse business enterprises with the opportunity to participate in the Bank’s procurement of products and services throughout its geographic footprint. Richard joined Union Bank in 1998 and has been the driving force behind the increase in diverse business supplier spending. From $26 million in 1998 to $270 million in 2019.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Chacon held various management positions with Levi Strauss & Co., LB Credit Corporation and Wells Fargo Bank. Mr. Chacon is an active member of his community and involved with numerous business development organizations. He is a member of the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity, supports the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council, and is a board member of the Council for Supplier Diversity in San Diego.

Mr. Chacon served 10 years in the U.S. Army, and with Pacific Bell for 13 years. He is an active supporter of the veteran entrepreneurial community. He will be joining our first ever National Veteran Small Business Week as a speaker on behalf of the NVSBW presenting sponsor Union Bank.

Thank you to our sponsor Union Bank for making this event possible.

Join us in celebrating veteran entrepreneurship and hearing from our spotlight businesses during NVSBW next week. For detailed information about the event schedule, mini-grant eligibility rules, and to register now for this FREE event check out our NVSBW event page.

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

About the author

Madeline Nicholson
Grants & Giving Manager at Business Impact NW

Madeline Nicholson is the Grants & Giving Manager at Business Impact NW. Prior to joining Business Impact NW, Madeline served as the Development and Communications Assistant at Inside Out Youth Services. Madeline began her career in Museum Education at the Fine Arts Center of Colorado Springs where she worked for three years as an in-gallery museum educator. Her passion for working with diverse communities brought her from the museum to the nonprofit sector to work in Development. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Colorado College. Madeline brings a commitment to social justice and experience cultivating relationships with individual donors. Madeline enjoys hiking, yoga, making ceramic pottery, and baking bread.

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