Covid-19 Veteran Business and Alumni Success

During the uncertain times we are living in right now, it’s nice to see our alumni, veterans, and veteran business owners do what they can to help the community. Below are only a couple of stories we wanted to highlight to show that in this time of crisis, now more than ever, we are all in this together.

Business Success Stories | Alumni Success Stories 

Business Success Stories


Bringing Remote Opportunity To Military Spouses All Over The World

V-WISE graduates, Erica McMannes and Liza Rodewald with Instant Teams connect employers with qualified military spouse remote talent, and recently closed a $1.5M round with Squadra Ventures. Now, the company is releasing its new beta software early for free in order to help companies successfully transition to remote working.

Read more here.


Virtual Speakeasy

In partnership with the Tampa Bay chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, Horse Soldier Bourbon in St. Petersburg has launched a relief initiative for local bartenders who are out of work at the moment, tapping them to lead its new live-streaming speakeasy series.

“The bartenders across Tampa Bay, our backyard, are not only our partners but they are also our friends,” said Horse Soldier co-founder Scott Neil in statement. “We hope this virtual speakeasy gives them not just a little cash, but also a chance to engage in what they love to do and are probably missing most right now: crafting cocktails. That’s what bourbon is all about, bringing people together. Social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t virtually come together.”

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Donating Thousands of Hand Sanitizer

Since its inception, Battle Sight Technologies has developed products for first responders. But with the outbreak of coronavirus, the Dayton company has switched from making the infrared marking devices it is known for to one of today’s most in-demand products: hand sanitizer.

Battle Sight has retooled its product line to make way for the development of the product, which is used to prevent infectious disease agents on the hands. Hand sanitizer has been in short supply in recent weeks, as it has been touted by health experts as an easy way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus disease.

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Local Security Company Offers Free High-quality Cameras

A Savannah business is helping keep the community safe during these uncertain times. They’re installing cameras for local businesses for free. High-quality cameras are being placed in different locations throughout local business corridors in order to provide clear coverage of their facilities while they’re currently not in business.

“One it’s no cost and two people are getting worried,” scDataCom Founder and COO, Alaina Ford said.

scDataCom is launching their newest initiative early installing two cameras that will cover nine businesses along Bull Street.

“This program is rooted in the idea of community and what you can do for your neighborhood not what you can do for yourself,” Ford said.

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Restaurant helps the community keep food on the table

As we all adjust to the new normal many in the community have come together to help others, two veterans who own Semper Fi Bar and Grille are among that group and they’re making sure everyone in their community has something to eat.

See the whole story


Distilling Sanitizer

David Raad, Six & Twenty Distillery, who is also an EDGE grad, is producing 600-700 gallons of sanitizer each day and will continue to do so for as long as it’s necessary. Any donations he receives will be given to the Powdersville Volunteer Fire Department.

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Essential Deliveries

Logan Bonney, Anything But Beer Brewery & Taproom, who is also an EBV and EDGE grad, opened his taproom just a month before the COVID crisis hit. He noticed that health care workers were coming in after their shifts for takeout and community folks, seeing the health care workers getting food at his place, were offering to pay for their meals. He is now delivering free meals to health care professionals, and through this effort he has been able to rehire many of his employees.

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Flowers For A Pandemic

Here at The Enchanted Rose Floral Co we want to help you spread that light. Throughout the duration of quarantine and social distancing we will be offering free single stem flowers to everyone, no purchase necessary just pay shipping and handling. The idea is to send that stem to someone you know that could use a little bit of a pick me up: essential employees, military members, medical personnel, the elderly in assisted living facilities, anyone isolated alone, or anyone you know struggling in these trying times. Don’t know someone who could use the pick me up? No worries! You can donate a stem to someone in need by reaching out to us and we can set up a donation in your name. Since our flowers never die, they make a memorable memento that will stand the test of time. Our flowers can even be sanitized (read about sanitizing your flowers here) which makes them an even better gift to receive during this pandemic.

Read the whole blog post


New Business Launched to help those affected by Covid-19

A new lawn maintenance company in Moore County, North  Carolina was founded with the purpose of providing employment to people who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rakemates founders Crystal Wambeke and Michael Barbera  hired six people who were financially affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Rakemates, a  lawn maintenance subscription service, will launch their service to select neighborhoods in  Moore County on Thursday, April 30, 2020.   According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 34,000 residents of Moore County lost their jobs since February 2020. Rakemates’ social mission is to hire people who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Rakemates’ environmental mission is to care for our  planet. Your Rakematers will use mostly eco-friendly (battery-operated tools) and will not use chemicals on lawns or weeds.

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Alumni Success Stories


Sarah Chen

O2O graduate Sarah ChenAfter I passed the PMP exam, the goal for springtime was to continue to network with O2O and hopefully secure something part-time heading into Summer/Fall that could be potentially portable when we PCS next Summer.

The friends at Hire Our Heroes offered to set me up with a mentoring conversation – another PMP certified project manager – who could speak with me about how she explored opportunities and was eventually hired. We spoke RIGHT before the sky fell and the lockdown began. This ACP mentor connected me with her friend who works as a full time remote project manager out of Argentina where he resides with his girlfriend who’s in school. He hired me!

I am still astonished this month – even amidst the pandemic and lockdown – even with the children home and homeschooling – that I had the self-confidence to push for professional goals. I decided NO I wasn’t going to let fear stop me, and YES I was capable and qualified, and that YES we are living in the golden age of remote work and “WHY NOT ME?”

I went for it. It worked out. The position was sub-contracted, fully remote, and I earned some cash to gain some experience in the industry. That was always the goal. I know you know the challenges that balancing motherhood and working and military life can bring. I wanted to be part of that juggle. So I joined the circus, ha!

A sincere thanks to O2O for investing in me. The time spent in the 3-day workshop was transcendent for me and deeply impactful. It helped give me that jolt of confidence I didn’t realize I so sorely needed. I plan to continue to explore opportunities and set professional goals for myself. Thank you for guiding me through that process.

Sarah Chen
US Military Spouse
O2O Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)
Project Management Professional (PMP) Graduate
Freelance Project Manager at The Becker Group since May 2020


Mark Siegel

The flexibility and support that the Onward to O2O graduate Mark Siegel.Opportunity program has provided me during the transition has been invaluable. Leaving active military service is always a stressful transition, and the onset of COVID-19 along with the ensuing record-shattering unemployment rates has made a difficult transition even more stressful. The ability to use a structured program to translate my military experiences into a known certification through Project Management Professional Certification course has been invaluable. Onward to Opportunity pairs this world-class training with the additional resume and interview preparation offered through Hiring Heroes to foster job placement and offer a holistic transition program that far surpasses any other transition assistance I have found. The Onward to Opportunity staff is genuinely committed to supporting all servicemembers through this transition and their ability to pivot during the challenges presented has been truly noteworthy. I will continue to recommend this service to all of my fellow servicemembers separating from active service and will be forever grateful for the opportunity offered by the Onward to Opportunity team.

Mark Siegel
7532, MV-22 Pilot
Camp Lejeune
Project Management Professional (PMP) Graduate


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