Government agencies have a growing number of veteran-owned businesses from which to choose when searching for products and services. For instance, the Web site includes a directory of businesses throughout the United States owned by veterans, active duty military, reservists and service disabled veterans of the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and National Guard. The site, which went live on Veterans Day 2008, now has more than 2,000 listings for veteran-owned businesses in the U.S.

Many governments find tremendous value in working with veteran-owned businesses. "Employers that I've interviewed in the course of my research totally value and appreciate the skills that prior service members can offer," says Janet Farley, author of "The Military-to-Civilian Career Transition Guide, 2nd Edition" and "The Military Spouse's Complete Guide to Career Success." "Veterans are known for their dedication and commitment in the military and out. What state or local government couldn't benefit from those qualities?"

"It's very simple, in my opinion," Farley adds. "Our veterans have voluntarily and faithfully served our country, front and center in harm's way. In their post-military life, it's our turn to faithfully serve and support them."

Amos Otis, CEO of Fairfax, Va.-based SoBran, Inc., is a firm believer in governments supporting veteran-owned businesses. Otis served as a missile combat crew commander, weapons analyst and quality assurance specialist before retiring as an Air Force general in 1987. From there, he switched his cap for a CEO suit, founding SoBran, a professional and technical services firm.

Twenty-two years later, his company is a $50+ million government contractor of homeland defense, mail security and biomedical services for the DoD, DHS, Army, Navy, Air Force, NIH and other federal agencies. The company also works with institutional and commercial organizations to complete critical missions in research support, systems engineering, environmental protection, logistics and supply chain management, program management, and administrative services. For three straight years, Inc. Magazine has named the company to its Inc. 5000 list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies.

Otis offers the following three reasons why governments should do business with veteran-owned companies:

  • 1. Veterans are bridges between the civilian sectors and the government sectors. Veterans re-establish themselves in communities and build businesses supportive of areas in which they have spent careers developing skills and knowledge essential to the welfare and security of the nation.
  • 2. Veterans build networks and hire other veterans, building a solid repository of experience, knowledge and mission-related discipline that translates into excellent products.
  • 3. Veterans possess the management skills necessary to motivate people, molding the unit into a productive, goal-oriented workforce. hopes to spotlight other veteran-owned businesses that serve government agencies. Please provide contact information for the businesses to

Part 1: Veterans continue serving their country as vendors to governments
Part 3: Veterans group calls on state and local governments to support veteran-owned businesses
Part 4: Another vote in support of veteran-owned businesses