VETLANTA — The Business Pillar
VETLANTA was founded in 2014, originally because business leaders from company business resource groups (BRGs) in the greater Atlanta area were seeking ways to work together. Their general idea was that their collective impact on the local veteran community would be greater than the sum of the individual efforts of each company. After all, they all desired to improve the lives of veterans and their families and make Atlanta a welcoming destination for them. As VETLANTA grew to include non-profits, government agencies, and educational institutions, business remains, and continues to be, a defining pillar of the club. Today, VETLANTA is proudly connected with numerous company BRGs, small businesses, and professional organizations that support veteran-owned businesses and enhance the careers of veterans.
One such organization is a leader in professional development in the supply chain field. American Production and Inventory Control Society, better known as APICS, offers certifications in several supply chain areas of expertise that are recognized as some of the best in the industry. Additionally, they provide many networking and career development opportunities through classes, seminars, and other events. VETLANTA Business Pillar Co-Director Scott Luton is also on the Executive Board of APICS Atlanta. As an Air Force veteran and business leader, he remarks, “APICS Atlanta has been serving the Metro Area for almost 60 years. However, our formal efforts to heighten our support for the Veteran and Military community took a leap forward when we developed a practical and positive partnership with VETLANTA. This unique organization really ‘gets it,’ and it’s been an absolute pleasure collaborating with the VETLANTA team.” VETLANTA is proud to support APICS as they improve the careers of veterans in supply chain and beyond.
One of VETLANTA’s founding partners, and also the host of the first meeting of what would eventually become VETLANTA, is The Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola). Coca-Cola has a deep history of partnership with the military that was the primary catalyst for its international growth, but its relationships really improved with the founding of its Military Veterans BRG (MVBRG) in 2012. Since then, Coca-Cola has developed a solid relationship with VETLANTA to improve its collaboration efforts with the local veteran community. MVBRG President Joe Palmeri, an Army veteran, remarks, “VETLANTA has been an inspiration to the Coca-Cola MVBRG. So much so, we have it as an agenda topic in monthly meetings and ensure members participate in VETLANTA events.” His sentiments are echoed by many Atlanta companies, and VETLANTA is thankful for their partnership.
Veterans are known to be innovative, and it is no surprise that many of them start their own businesses as a result. Of course, starting a business is not devoid of challenges, including funding, strategy development, and collaboration resources, just to name a few. Fortunately, one non-profit is doing a tremendous job helping with these challenges. Chicago-based Bunker Labs has created incubator-like resource centers in multiple communities around the United States, and Atlanta is gearing up to be the next location for such a center. While there is still work to be done to make this vision a reality, community leaders and VETLANTA members are working hard to make it happen. One such leader, local entrepreneur and Navy veteran Bryan Wolfe, says, “There is a small core team here in Atlanta working to establish Bunker Labs here in close cooperation with Todd Connor and his leadership team in Chicago. We’ve had a very positive response from the community with people offering to mentor as well as corporations and other non-profits wanting to get involved. There’s a lot of anticipation among the Atlanta area veteran entrepreneurial community, and we are looking forward to getting the program launched.” VETLANTA is proud of these efforts and looks forward to the addition of this awesome resource for “vetrepreneurs” in Atlanta.
So, as you can see, the business community is a core component of what makes VETLANTA an effective resource for veterans in Atlanta. The VETLANTA leadership team is always seeking new ways to create a greater impact, and volunteers ready to help are always welcome. If you are interested in getting more involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we will make Atlanta the premier destination for veterans and their families!
Patrick Haddock is a founding member and on the Executive Committee of VETLANTA. He also currently serves as Program Manager and Team Lead for the Treasury Management Associate Program at Wells Fargo. In this role, he leads a year-long leadership development rotation program for early-career professionals, and he is also responsible to build a military veteran component to the same program. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2017, Patrick spent 11 years with The Coca-Cola Company. He concurrently served as President of the company’s Military Veterans Business Resource Group, which he co-founded in 2012, from 2014 through 2016. Prior to joining Coca-Cola, Patrick served as an officer in the United States Army, where he led military organizations up to 150 personnel responsible for multiple aspects of logistics and supply chain. His service has included three combat tours in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. He continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve, holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
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