San Diego

Entrepreneurial Veterans Make Business Connections at Conference

Veterans who are entrepreneurs are connecting with companies who want to do business

Air Force Veteran Lisa D’alessio owns a company that helps provide power sources. “These are the people that are going to help you figure out all the parts and pieces when you start a business it’s very confusing because there’s so many things you need to know,” she said.

D’alessio is one of about 200 veteran entrepreneurs who attended the U.S. Veteran Business Alliance conference in San Diego Tuesday. 

Ed Jones, a Navy veteran, has turned his experience in Naval Criminal Investigations into a defense and cybersecurity business.

“We help your IT department get back to normal operations and of course patch those things that enabled the intrusion to occur in the first place,” he explained.

Leslie Marshall is the Chairman of the Board of the Organization that puts on the conference. He served in the Air Force in Vietnam.

“This gives them a chance to have meetings with them to be able to show their products and to see what some of our partners,” he explained.

Some of the companies at the three-day conference include AT&T, Chevron, Kaiser Permanente and agencies like the San Diego Port District and San Diego International Airport.

At a panel discussion, company representative gave tips and information to help veterans bid for new business. 

Andre Gomez is in the U.S. Navy and also attends the University of Southern California’s Marshall Masters In Business for Veterans Program.

This conference is allowing him to get a running start when he retires from the Navy and starts his business.

“You are getting a leg up to start a business that can be successful out of the gate instead of failing over and over again,” he said.

U.S. Marine veteran Andy Williams and his wife, who is also a veteran, are real estate developers and featured on the show “Flip or Flop.”

He hires veterans to work with him on large scale projects.

“I want for veterans to see that entrepreneurs like us do exist and there are opportunities to serve in this fashion,” he said.

Lisa D’alessio is also hoping to grow her business and has some advice for veterans to follow in her footsteps: be brave.

“Starting your own business is not for the faint of heart and it is something that requires you to be tenacious, and that’s something that everybody I’ve met in the military has – that tenacity,” she said.

The conference continues through Wednesday

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