The Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)


April 2022 - Episode 008

It was March 11, 2011. A 9.0 earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima, Japan. Shortly after, the PA system went off announcing the risk of tsunamis - even thousands of miles away from the epicenter.

Life after was not normal. At least not for awhile.

Immediately after the first hit, the train system which is the primary mode of transportation, was shut down forcing many to have to walk to/from home or work. Many people even had to walk for several hours in the cold. Homes and police stations along major roads opened up to give pedestrians a place to stop to warm up.

Traffic on the roads were backed up - causing what normally would have been a 30 minute drive to take several hours in gridlock because traffic lights were out and many people were trying to find alternate modes of transportation, or were in a hurry to run to the store for provisions.

Children were separated from family members for extended amounts of time. Cell phone lines were so tied up that many couldn’t even reach their loved ones by phone. Power was out in many areas.

Days later, media announced not only was there a double natural disaster, but also a nuclear disaster. There was an issue with not just one, but three of the reactors. The reactors were successfully shut down in time, but there wasn’t enough power, causing cooling systems to fail.

For many months, Japan felt the aftermath of these disasters. Some lost their lives or loved ones. Others lost their homes. Many lost power in rolling blackouts - even hundreds of miles outside of the Fukushima area for many weeks.

While this situation seems a bit of an overkill, it is, in fact, a real life situation. No one was prepared for all of these events to take place at one time. This caused confusion and panic, which made things even more dangerous than the actual disaster themselves.

Disaster preparedness is not something that should be taken lightly. While we can’t plan for every possibly scenario, having a general outline of solutions for a variety of possible disasters is important.

Fire plans. Escape plans. Active shooters. Equipment failure. And many other possible scenarios.

How prepared are you and your employees?

Do they all know what to do, where to go, and who to call in the event of an unforeseen emergency?

What about if cell service is down or limited? Do you have a landline to call for help?

How often are plans that are in place reviewed and rehearsed?

How will your business and employees be able to recover in the event of a disaster?

Meet Erika Andresen. CBCP, JD, MPA, and founder of EaaS Consulting LLC.

EaaS (Erika as a Service) provides consultation services to help businesses with disaster preparedness and business continuity. She helps them plan for a disaster, survive the disruption, and survive the aftermath. Because, let’s face it - the effects of a disaster are felt long after the disaster itself is over.

While she’s worked in the industry for more than 9 years, this veteran owned business only came about in 2021 - after her active duty service in the US Army as a JAG.

“It’s very difficult to plan for something that may or may not happen, but you’d rather have something that’s just in case versus just in time, or nothing.”

You won’t want to miss this discussion with lots of insight that you may or may not have considered to help better prepare you and your company with being ready to face a disruption, recover, and resume operations as quickly as possible. Plus, there are great resources Erika provides for aspiring business owners.

And if you are in need of someone to review your company’s existing program and help you fill the gaps or to tailor a plan if you don’t have one yet, Erika offers services nationwide. Her services are built for medium and large sized companies, but she is also working on a program for small business owners as well.

To learn more about EaaS, visit

Erika can be reached by emailing

April 2022 - Episode 007

As time passes, certain memories are sure to slowly fade.

Memories of children, parents, grandparents, friends, and even pets.

First steps, childhood memories, marriages, births, progressions of life.

We live in a world where it’s so much easier to capture these moments, but it’s still not foolproof and this wasn’t always the case.

Printed photographs, slides, negatives, 8mm videos, reels, VHS tapes…

Recently, I received a box of items after my grandmother passed. In that box were old letters that my dad had written before I was born. 10 years’ worth, actually. Additionally, there were some old photographs. Many worn, some still in decent shape. My aunt had sent them to me because she figured that of out of all of the people in my immediate family, I was probably the one to appreciate them the most.

As I read through the letters and looked at the photographs, I found some that I thought my dad would enjoy. I took a photo with my iPhone Pro, but it definitely didn’t them justice. My $500 scanner wasn’t much better. Also, I didn’t really have the time and patience to scan them all, so I only sent over a couple.

As expected, my dad enjoyed them. But a few months later asked if I could send one of them to him again. I have no idea where those images went - I had deleted them shortly after sending them off. The originals are packed in a box somewhere with my recent PCS.

In another instance, I was proactive and had backed up my wedding and honeymoon photos on an external hard drive. Too bad that both my computer and the hard drive both crashed at the same time. Not that this is likely to happen to anyone else, but heaven forbid that photos I got from my aunt got lost in a PCS, or something happened to them when I wasn’t home.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get these items (old and new) nicely preserved in a safe place and easily sharable? I wouldn’t have to spend hours looking for my kid’s senior photos from 6 months prior when his father’s aunt asked for a copy.

Well, the good news is that my next guest’s veteran owned business does exactly that. AND more.

Geoff Weber - Founder and CEO of Heirloom Cloud

Geoff Weber is the founder and CEO of Heirloom Cloud Corporation. Prior to 9/11, he joined the Navy as an Intelligence Officer, and very recently retired. (Congratulations to Geoff and his family!)

Prior to joining the Navy, he had founded 2 other startups. But this veteran owned business was founded while he was still serving on active duty, and has been running 3 years strong!

So how did it all start?

Being active duty, he and his family constantly moved during his 20 years in the service. Every PCS, he and his wife struggled to preserve all of their family’s precious memories in different media formats. Eventually he figured out a way to digitize everything into the cloud. Family and friends heard about their process and wanted to preserve their memories as well. After spending countless hours helping them, he realized there was a problem.

Heirloom became the solution.

But, if preserving memories wasn’t enough of a reason, Geoff had an additional purpose. As the father of an autistic son, he knew how these talented men and women on the spectrum have an eye for detail, strong focus, and can perform repetitive tasks at a high level and wanted to incorporate supporting them. Heirloom will be hiring several autistic employees in September as they expand.

AND they are making a positive impact in the transitioning service member community by being a part of the DoD Skillbridge program! They have over a dozen on their team through the program - learning new skills and helping to make a difference. While they don’t have any openings currently, definitely keep an eye out for future opportunities!

“Founding a new startup takes perseverance and determination. You have to have a solid mission and vision to stay focused on the long game. Success in a startup doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of dedication and long hours to make it happen. You also need to surround yourself with a team that you trust. Leveraging the talents of your team is essential if you want your business to not only survive, but to strategically become the reality of your vision.” Excellent advice, Geoff!

Heirloom launched their “No Memory Left Behind” Kickstarter Fundraiser Friday, April 9th. Funds generated through this will be used to open a new fulfillment center that will hire up to 10 autistic workers by September, as well as develop new code for their platform, supporting contracted coders in war torn Ukraine. Kickstarter rewards will offer digitizing discounts that save clients up to $12,000 in digitizing their precious memories.

But don’t let those savings scare you. Their pricing is incredibly affordable, and they have some amazing upgrades to their offerings coming later this year.

You can find out more about Heirloom Cloud at

Their site has easy to access contact information, and if you take a look at the banner at the top, you can get more information about their Kickstarter Fundraiser!

This blogcast is 100% volunteer ran and currently not taking donations of any kind. If you’d like to help, please consider sharing! Don’t forget to support this and other veteran owned businesses by following and interacting their social media platforms as well!

View all of our interviews on our
YouTube Channel!

April 2022 - Episode 006

Paul Cummings - CEO of Whole Cyber Human Initiative

Every time I meet someone who says that they’re interested in either of these fields, I ask them, “Do you know Paul?”

Paul Cummings is a veteran. A retired Navy Chief. Fellow shipmate. Vets2Industry volunteer, among other entities. And from personal experience, I can tell you he’s one amazing individual.

He’s also the CEO of Whole Cyber Human Initiative Inc. - a non profit organization.

The mission of The Whole Cyber Human Initiative is to redefine how the industry as a whole identifies and trains these individuals. Growing awareness and providing opportunities for learning and growth for all aspiring IT and cybersecurity professionals of all ages and walks of life.

Read that again: Growing AWARENESS and providing OPPORTUNITIES for learning and growth to ALL aspiring IT and cybersecurity professionals of ALL ages and walks of life.

So, yes - their services are available to EVERYONE. Veterans. Spouses. First responders. Or none of the above.

Retirees. Middle aged individual like myself. Young adults.

In fact, their youngest candidate in the program is actually 16 years old!

You can participate in their program from anywhere in the world, and you can go through the program at your own pace. Game changer for those who have a job - particularly active duty service members who deploy.

Gain knowledge. Gain experience. Learn practical skills and not just learn how to pass a test.

They offer a workforce development pipeline. They have a candidate pipeline to help individuals figure out what they actually want to do in the field. They get to know their candidates and provide guidance to best prepare them for what’s to come after they successfully complete the program.

And if this weren’t incredible enough, the program is 100% free - and includes 100 hours of training, labs, and hands on experience. Taking a holistic approach by teaching different roles within these industries to help make their students marketable in different fields.

Learn more about this incredible initiative and how it came about, plus hear some great advice about starting a business, and ways to grow by listening to the full interview in the video below. Don't for checck out our previous guests on our YouTube Channel.

If this program sounds incredible to you and you want to learn more, check out The Whole Cyber Human Initiative on their website.

If you’d like to help, there are a few ways you can:

veteran owned business non profit whole cyber human initiative support by purchasing swag cups tshirts coffee

* Donate

* Shop their store on their website. They’ve got COFFEE, shirts, cups, and other items through Proper Patriot.

* Spread the word!

They are working on a scholarship program that they’re building to help students get certifications.

They are also looking for companies that see value in their approach that would be interested in a direct hire program. So, if you’re a company or business that would like to hear more about this, reach out to Paul, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

This blogcast is 100% volunteer ran and currently not taking donations of any kind. If you’d like to help, please consider sharing!

April 2022 - Episode 005

Peak Safety Solutions Inc. on the VOB

Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions, INC.

Whether or not you consider it, safety is a key factor in success - particularly for companies and business owners.

Accidents may happen, but many are preventable.

Regulatory knowledge, implementation, and enforcement should not be compromised for any reason. Assessments are also a key factor in ensuring that awareness is customized to the hazards faced based on a worker’s job duties as well as their environment.

Safety isn’t a chore. It’s a way of life.

Failure to plan and to keep safety first and foremost could lead to countless losses.

Money lost by way of fines, workman comp payouts, medical fees, and more.

Man-hours lost (which also means money) due to injury or illness, investigation, broken equipment, or perhaps workplace destruction - resulting not only in those work hours lost but also loss of morale. With that comes a loss of productivity.

Then there are the negative results relating to the worse loss possible - life.

And while a company has to keep the momentum of moving the business forward, this is why it’s important to not put safety on the back burner. Because instead of taking 2 steps forward, a safety infraction or fatality could force them 2 steps back.

While larger companies may have a safety professional on staff, smaller and mid-sized businesses may not have all of the boxes checked off to ensure that their company and employees are in the safest environment possible.

This is where a safety and health consultant comes in handy. They can assess various hazards that most workers and employers take for granted because they are familiar with regulations that are set forth by regulatory standards to help keep workers safe. And if that’s not enough for you to call one in right now, they can also save you a ton of money in the long run.

I would love to take this opportunity to introduce you all to Daniel (Dan) Hughes, a U.S. Army veteran, and certified safety professional (CSP).

Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions Inc on the Veteran Owned Business (the VOB) - Safety.
Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions Inc on the Veteran Owned Business (the VOB)- Profile.
Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions Inc on the Veteran Owned Business (the VOB)- Training.

Dan joined the Army 6 months after graduating high school and served as an infantry medic for nearly 6 years. And for those of you who don’t know, safety and health go hand in hand.

Fast forward a few years, and Dan was hired by an oil refinery and chemical plant where he worked his way up from laborer to equipment operator, then process unit operator back to laborer. As you may have expected, this industry has more than its fair share of accidents. He has witnessed several workplace fatalities that deeply affected him - increasing the impact that safety has in his life.

He was given the opportunity to get into safety and health and emergency response a few years later, but a little over a decade after that, he was laid off and had difficulty finding employment. This is when he started his first consulting business which was fairly successful until he was offered a full-time position as a construction safety manager. 21 years later, he retired as a senior safety director.

But, as anyone who truly lives safety to their core knows, safety doesn’t just stop - not even for retirement. His passion for safety still burns strongly, and he’s not ready to stop his passion after nearly 40 years. And while he’s felt accomplished in what he’s contributed so far, he’s got many, many years left to dedicate to his life-long passion.

So Dan started his second veteran-owned business - Peak Safety Solutions Incorporated.

Peak Safety Solutions offers a variety of services - perfect for any business who wants to ensure the health and safety of their employees. He offers valuable safety and health consulting to include training, short term projects for construction safety oversight, investigations, expert witness, leadership engagement, audits and inspections, and safety program reviews. But that’s not all. He can offer practically any service a potential client may need to improve their safety and health atmosphere in a multitude of industries.

While he is located in central Indiana, he’s willing to travel to any location. To him, safety and health is about making an impact in people’s lives. His ultimate goal is to help others make it home safely. Not just today, but every day.

Experience, integrity, and heart. This veteran-owned business has it.

To hear more about Peak Safety Solutions as well as Dan’s impressive background and journey, various businesses and life tips, as well as resources, check out the full interview on our YouTube Channel. You’ll be glad you did!

Dan can be reached at:


Dan Hughes of Peak Safety Solutions Inc on the Veteran Owned Business (the VOB).

March 2022 - Episode 004

Crayons Ready-To-Eat on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)
Frank Manteau on the Veteran Owned Business

Frank Manteau of Crayons Ready-To-Eat

Making the decision to join the military, regardless of branch, means that you are part of a bigger family.

We support each other. Have mutual respect for each other. Both while in, and maybe even more so after transitioning back to civilian life, as veterans (hence, how The Veteran Owned Business came to be).

While we all serve the same main purpose - defending our country - like siblings, we like to torment each other too. You may or may not be familiar with the playful banter between the military branches.

Sure, there’s the Army - Navy games, but each branch has its own nickname as well. Only, they aren’t really nicknames used within the branch…just…by every other branch. But it’s all in good fun.

Names like:



“Crayon Eaters.”

Yes, crayon eaters. And, yes, they are over the age of 3.

Frank Manteau, The Crayon Eater King, is a Marine: 0311 Infantry and Marine Security Forces. Originally from the sticks of Ohio, he returned after his time in service. Dealt with some hardships - only to eventually pick up his family and move all the way out to Southern California.

From Corporate America to starting his own woodworking business, he eventually worked on a project which lead him to the epiphany of where Crayons Ready-to-Eat all began.

Crayons Ready-to-Eat is a veteran-owned business. They’ve made the joke of calling Marines “Crayon Eaters” a reality by creating the first edible, colorable, chocolate crayon. Yes, we said edible. And colorable.

The business originally launched in 2018, became an LLC in 2021, and will be ready to ship on May 1st. His story and journey is absolutely fascinating with lots of twists, turns, and incredibly helpful people (you’ll hear who in the interview).

CrowdFunding. Business Showers. Pitch competitions.

He’s a do-er. Determined. Resourceful. Inventive. A problem solver. Persistent. Inspiring.

You’ll want to listen to this entire interview on The Veteran Owned Business’ YouTube Channel.

And don’t forget to get your pre-orders in now!

Crayons Ready-to-Eat LLC

Social media: @crayonsreadytoeat

Crayons Ready-To-Eat on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)

March 2022 - Episode 003

Veterans Ascend Logo on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)
Veterans Ascend Team on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)

The Veterans Ascend Team

Changing jobs is never an easy feat. You’re at a new location, with new people, possibly doing new things. It takes a little time to acclimate.

Imagine changing jobs every 2-5 years at the same company. Any time there’s a change - software, different management styles, equipment - you’re up to the challenge and you succeed. You learn the ins and outs at every new job, and you’re the go-to when someone needs certain tasks accomplished. Some parts of your job are the same with each move, but there’s always something different.

And you’re REALLY good at your job. Especially if you’ve been building your skillset over the last 20+ years.

When your friends and family ask you what you do, you have a difficult time translating it into terminology that they can understand. Your family tries to translate what you do in terms that are more relatable for them, but they only understand a small fraction of the details.

Now, imagine leaving your company after years of dedication. Moving where they want you to, - when they need you to. Spending more time at work than with your own family. Years of dedication to your work.

Trying to communicate how your work experience can fit well with your new company can be challenging. Terminology is different. They’ve never heard of the equipment and software you’ve worked with for years.

There’s a gap in translation.

To the interviewer, it sounds like you lack experience.

This is what our transitioning service members deal with every day as they try to leave the military and join the civilian workforce. Unless they’re applying for a job with a company that’s contracted with the military, it’s difficult to find the right words from their expertise and the skills they possess.

Robyn Grable, a veteran of the US Navy (GO NAVY!!!) recognized this pitfall. From her early days in the service, she advocated for our service members. She grew up in this lifestyle as a stepchild, later becoming a female in the military when some ratings (careers) were restricted for women.

With this unique experience, and as a single parent of a gifted child, she’s a defender for people to be recognized for their skills and not dismissed for something someone else thinks they may be missing.

This is why she created Veterans ASCEND.

Veterans ASCEND is an Ai-powered talent sourcing platform created in 2019, although Robyn has been in the industry for about 30 years.

It helps companies build an investment and a talent strategy that is 100% intentional and inclusive. No resume. No application upfront. Helping employers pinpoint what skills are needed for their positions and the company overall, and matching them with high-quality candidates that have these skills. Pricing is based on the size of the company, and she has over 60 employers that are currently using the platform - many of whom have been using it since the very beginning.

On the talent side of things, it’s a national program available to all active service members, Guard, Reservists, Veterans, and their spouses. All at no cost to them. Helping them to pinpoint their skills which are translated from their military or civilian occupational background. Helping them see where they fit best.

To hear more about Veterans ASCEND, Robyn’s story, and what they can do to help both employers and job seekers, check out the
full interview on our YouTube Channel!

You can reach out to Robyn and her team with any questions by emailing them at

February 2022 - Episode 002

Trevor Kinkade logo on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)

Trevor Kinkade

Some businesses have done it intentionally, while others have done it by accident, but any successful business owner (veteran-owned, or not) can tell you how important quality branding is in contributing to their success.

Why is branding so important?

Because it’s memorable and shows your clients what they can expect from you. It’s a way a business can distinguish itself from its competitors. Branding helps clients, as well as potential clients, recognize a business’s products, its reputation, and the viewer’s perception. It shows consistency, which leads to recognition, reputation, and trust. It helps a business stand out.

Think about Apple. Whether you own Apple products or not - or even like them or not - chances are if you saw their logo of the apple with the bite taken out of it, you’d know exactly who they are. That’s successful branding.

Branding is best done before you start your business, however, it’s also very common that branding changes over time. It takes a lot of thought, research, and soul searching. And sometimes help.

Here’s where I’ll introduce our next guest - Trevor Kinkade with Trevor Kinkade Design.

Trevor is a former logistics officer in the Army, and his story is unique.

While many in the industry started at a young age and probably went to college for graphic design, marketing, or something of the like, Trevor went to college for something else. It wasn’t until he was in the Army that he realized his love for graphic design and “how powerful a great design could be in increasing morale.”

As a platoon leader, he realized that their logo could use a little work. So he created a new one and eventually was creating logos for other platoons, companies, battalions, and brigades - building his skill practically every off-duty hour.

Overall Trevor has 8 years of experience in the industry, however, Trevor Kinkade Design wasn’t established until 2018. He’s based out of Colorado Spring with clients all across the U.S.!

He helps “dreamers bring their ideas to life through well-crafted brands and logo design that lasts.”

“Nothing feels better than an idea coming to life.”

So whether you are a small business owner or a large corporation - a solid brand reputation and an amazing logo are very important in growth and recognition. This is where veteran-owned and operated, Trevor Kinkade Design can support you and help you grow and tell your story.

Check out this video short, but don’t forget to visit our YouTube channel for the full interview.

Then, of course, take a look at his work, and reach out if your business can use his talent!


Grove Cookie Company on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)

We all know that when you do a little research on the internet, chances are that you’ll come up with conflicting answers.

Strangely enough, I recently found myself googling, “ When was the first cookie invented?” Because that’s important to know.

Final verdict? Most likely in the 7th century in Persia, although I found the first chocolate chip cookie was credited to Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1937.

I know, I know….you didn’t come here for a history lesson. You probably came here to hear about one of the many veteran-owned companies out on the market today, or maybe you’re here to pick up an entrepreneurial tip or two.

As you may have guessed, this blog post features our very first veteran-owned business, which just happens to do with cookies.

While I’m a long-time fan of these tasty desserts, I recently became a fan of Grove Cookie Company, based in Beaverton, Oregon. Beaverton is a small city just outside of Portland.

Writing a blog takes a little bit of research, and I can’t just look at cookies and not eat them, soooo.… I’m glad listened to my stomach and just placed an order while I was “working.”

Gourmet, indeed.

Grove Cookie Company's Cookies on the Veteran Owned Business (theVOB)
Some of the many delicious cookies that Grove Cookie Company has to offer.

Founders Marie and Grayson Hogard are a husband and wife team who craft small-batch gourmet cookies out of their kitchen using quality ingredients from companies known for their ethical treatment of animals and who are also committed to sustainability. Companies such as Ghirardelli, Bob’s Red Mill, and Vital Farms.

Grayson is a veteran - prior Army - MOS 31B and 31E - military police and corrections. He handles the business side of this endeavor, while Marie is the baking mastermind behind it all. Both have been working, and continue to work from home with their corporate jobs since Grove Cookie Company first began.

Originally, they had thought they might just sell their delicious cookies to friends and family, but somehow things got out of hand (as they tend to do at times), and they ended up with a full-fledged business. One year later, and things are going stronger than ever!

Their mission is to enhance client relationships, one cookie at a time.

They’ve spent 7 months fine-tuning their process to provide the best product for their clients.

Primarily their clients are companies, although they take personal orders as well.

Gourmet cookies, custom notecards, lovingly packaged and protected so that their clients’ recipients receive a beautiful (and tasty!) gift to help build business-client relationships. What a great way to leave an impression!

So if you’re looking for a delicious gift to thank a client, Grove Cookie Company could be the solution. They’re also a great idea if you want to send a gift to a loved one whether it be for a birthday, holiday, or “just because”. They ship nationwide!

And if you’re ever in the Portland area, you’ll want to stop by their brick and mortar location, expected to open by November 2022.

Check out this video short, but don’t forget to visit our YouTube channel for the full interview.