Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why GallantFew?

GallantFew, Inc formed and became an approved 501(c)3 non-profit in 2010.  As the year closes, I wanted to reflect on how and why GallantFew came to be, and share that with you in the hopes that you will also become connected to our vision and become involved, donating of your time and resources as you are able.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation here.  This program works!

Why GallantFew?

I left active duty in 1993.  It was a sudden decision, the culmination of several events - a helicopter crash that killed 12 friends, and a dream job that was promised me, then given to another.  I left active duty completely unprepared to enter the civilian economy.  I didn't understand the value that my military skills and experiences brought to a civilian employer.  I didn't know how to write a resume, let alone translate my military skills in "civilianese", and certainly didn't understand the value of a Top Secret clearance.  I returned home to a city that is not a "military community" - with a small Air Force base that is virtually unseen by the town.

With a wife and two small daughters I went back home unknowingly ignorant.  In spite of myself, I obtained a job interview at one of the largest privately held companies in the world.  During the interview, the young human resources manager looked at my resume, then across me at the table.
"Hmmmmm.  Army officer", she paused.  "You Army officers are really good at following orders and doing what you are told but here at XYZ Industries we value people who can think outside the box, make great decisions, and operate with little supervision.  I don't think you're right for us."    
I walked out the door vowing to never work at a company so ignorant about an Army officer!  Why, a few months ago I received a medal for planning an operation involving two Ranger battalions parachuting into a desert and with air and artillery support from the USMC!  How could she not know there was no task too difficult for me at which to succeed?  The fact was - I failed to prepare myself, the Army failed to prepare me, and XYZ Industries and the professional HR societies failed to prepare her.

I eventually took a job that paid far less than my skills warranted and contained virtually zero authority or responsibility.  For several years we struggled, pinching every dime to make sure we could buy groceries, until another veteran reached out and offered me a position completely outside of anything I had ever done before.

Fast forward fifteen years.  Now I have had positions where I have hired people and directed sales organizations.  In every instance where possible I have looked for a veteran to hire - and have found it difficult to find veterans, particularly those leaving active duty and coming back to my home town.  Even the local Air Force base transition office was of little value.  The resumes I do see from new veterans are woefully inadequate for civilian use - unfortunately civilians don't care how long you were a squad leader, or how many skill qualification courses you attended.

Sometime around 2007 I discovered facebook - one as a way to stay connected to my now grown daughters, and one to start reconnecting with high school friends for an upcoming reunion.  Low and behold, there's Rangers on facebook!  In a fairly short period of time I built a network of nearly 2,000 Ranger veterans on several social media platforms.  Soon I was helping unemployed Rangers network and connect with job opportunities, and I had an absolute blast.

The more involved I became with connecting veterans, the more I learned about veteran issues.  As a patient of the VA system myself, this also because very interesting to me.  I learned:
  • Veterans comprise about 12% of the US population overall
  • Post 9/11 veterans are about 1% of the US population 
  • Veteran unemployment is more than double the US national average
  • Veteran homeless rates are 3-4 times that of a non-veteran
  • Tragically, eighteen veterans commit suicide every day - and a third of these are under the active care of the VA
I also learned that veterans are 2.5 times more likely than a non-veteran to start a small business, and although veterans are a bit over 5% of the working population, we deliver 13% of economic growth  (source Nick's Rant).  I also learned that the federal government has a wonderful set-aside program for Service-Disabled Veterans, where by law 3% of the federal procurement budget must be awarded to small businesses owned by veterans who earned their qualifications the hard way.

A first-term enlistee probably enlisted upon graduation from high school and has never written a resume, never sat through a job interview.  Yet he or she launches full of pep and vinegar back to a hometown that doesn't have jobs available for people that KNOW how to look and are connected locally, let alone a brand-new veteran returning to the community after years away.

All of this comes together in the form of GallantFew, Inc.  A non-profit run by veterans for veterans.  We match veterans who have successfully transitioned from active duty and now run their own small businesses, are salespeople, managers, or executives and match them in a mentoring relationship with a veteran just leaving active duty.  Our mentors coach the new veteran on how to rewrite their resume, rehearse a job interview, connect him or her to their Chamber of Commerce social group, golfing friends, book club, church group - all to facilitate four areas:  social networking; professional development; emotional support; and physical assistance (home modification for disability, etc).  We also connect with employers and human resources groups to educate them on the value of a veteran as employee and facilitate communication, helping resolve issues if needed.  If the veteran qualifies for the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program, we coach him or her through the process.  We will never charge a veteran a penny for providing these services.

We have already achieved some successes - and are building a strong team of mentors ready to get to work.  While our initial focus is on the US Army Ranger Regiment, we will make every effort to match and assist any honorably discharged veteran of any branch of the service.  Our ultimate goal is to provide a veteran as mentor to EVERY new veteran that wants a mentor - and we make every attempt to match mentors in the same hometown, same branch of service, same professional interest - thereby growing a strong local support group of veterans.
“"During a recent, unexpected downsizing, I found myself looking for work. With Karl's help I was able to tweak my resume to a more business friendly format. Through his networking and guidance I was able focus my resume, get multiple offers and accept a position at a great company in only 6 weeks. Karl was a tremendous help."
In order for us to provide a quality mentor-mentee match, ultimately we'll need some case managers on staff.  We are putting together professional mentor orientation and training materials and other resources that ain't cheap.  We need not only mentor support, we need significant financial support as well to do this right.  We are a total volunteer-run operation today, but to be effective we need professional staff members managing these mentor relationships and connecting with and training corporations.

Finally, as an inexpensive way to immediately reach large numbers of veterans, GallantFew is rolling out First Saturdays.  First Saturdays is a monthly free veteran get-together at a local breakfast spot.  One local veteran volunteers to be the point of contact, selects and coordinates a local breakfast spot, and gets it listed on the website.  8am the first Saturday of each month veterans gather to network and socialize.  Eventually we'll have a First Saturday in every city in the country - a network of veterans helping other veterans.  The first location listed is in Wichita Kansas, and Denver and Maryland are coming on board very soon - pending location coordination.  No one has to make a reservation, no one has to lay out any money - drink a glass of water if that's your budget.  The important thing is, be there!

As 2010 closes there are only a few more days left to make a tax deductible donation to a worthy cause.  I hope you take a look at GallantFew and consider honoring us with a donation.

God bless our veterans and the United States of America.

Very Respectfully,

GallantFew, Inc.

Friday, December 24, 2010

BlogTalkRadio - The New American Veteran - Frank Campanaro

Don't miss this week's episode featuring Ranger veteran Frank Campanaro, CEO of Trillicorpe Construction!

You can listen to the interview through your computer by clicking this link:

Frank received a mission from the late General Wayne Downing and that order sparked a $30 million a year corporation that employs a LOT of veterans.  Other veterans can emulate Frank's example - I love his comment:  "do you lie, cheat or steal?  No?  You're HIRED"".

There are no issues that any veteran faces today - whether PTSD, etc can't be helped with the simple phrase "You're hired"!

Trillicorpe's website is here:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wartime Christmas

As our military marches towards the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, the general public shops on - unaware of the magnitude of sacrifice by a brave few.

The US Census just released US population figures of 309 million, and a scant 2.3 million of the population are military veterans.  The Census also estimates that less than 200,000 are post-9/11 veterans, and about 150,000 remain deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Compare that with previous conflicts:  During the Civil War, the US population was 31 million and about 4 million, or 13% fought.  During WWII, the US population was 76 million with 16 million, or 21% fighting.

From 21% in WWII to about 1% fighting terrorism today.  A very heavy load carried by a very small few for a largely unaware population.

During this Christmas season, remember the ongoing sacrifices.  Keep these brave soldiers, sailors, airmen,  Marines, Coast Guardsmen and all the other unseen and unsung in your prayers - and remember their families, too carry a heavy burden.

God bless and protect the United States of America and all those who have sworn to support and protect the Constitution of the United States.

Happy New Year - one that will mark ten continuous years of conflict.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The New American Veteran - BlogTalkRadio

GallantFew's The New American Veteran internet radio show has featured some outstanding guests lately.  If you haven't listened, stop by and pick a show!  You can download to your computer and listen via ipod or through your computer's internet connection.

Recent guests:

Author/army veteran Boone Cutler
SF/Ranger and MMA fighter Tim Kennedy
Wounded Ranger Mike Schlitz

Merry Christmas and God Bless the USA and our troops!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SDVOSB Adventures

As I type this, I wait on hold with the St. Louis VA.

I started this adventure with two objectives:  Order extra lapels pins for my SDVOSB, and find out how long it would take for one of my clients to have their firm listed on the searchable directory of SDVOSB's at

Reading the letter I received from the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Veterans Enterprise, I noted this paragraph:

"If you would like additional lapel pins for members of your staff, please visit for instructions on how you may order additional pins."

I encourage any reader to visit and if you find out how to order additional pins, please let me know.

After spending ten minutes rooting around, I decided to move on to objective number two.  As part of GallantFew's work, I consult with the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) to help guide veteran owned small businesses through the certification process.  Any money I receive goes directly into GallantFew in order to serve more veterans. 

In early November, I was introduced to a cool small business.  Owned by a Service Disabled Veteran, no one (and they had multiple governmental resources assisting their start-up) ever took them through the process of applying for the VA's CVE designation - which is becoming more and more important for a governmental agency looking for a legitimate SDVOSB in order to satisfy set-aside purchasing requirements.  So I told the owner about my experience, which was one of going to and registering my business as a SDVOSB.  This involved downloading a form, completing and faxing it back and in a few days my company appeared in the directory, without the cool little wreath logo indicating a "certified" veteran business.  About six months later and a few more hurdles and I became "certified" and entitled to display the wreath.

So November 15th this business submitted their packet, and almost immediately received an email response that stated:  

"Congratulations VETERAN! (The real person's name was here)

COMPANY (again, real name omitted) LLC has successfully been added to the Vetbiz Registry.  Your record is being reviewed by our staff and will appear in the Vetbiz Registry upon approval.  You may edit your record by logging on at:" (this link is important later)

So knowing it only took a week or so for my company to make the listing, I kept checking and no luck - it wasn't showing.  After a month (now December 14) I asked the owner if I could call and check on status for them and was given their permission, and they forwarded me the email I quoted above.

Clicked on the link, again here:  Try it - you'll probably get the same message.

Oops! Google Chrome could not find
Did you mean: www.­vip.­vetbiz.­gov 

Yup - of course I did.  Under the contact link, I found 202-303-3360 to the main DC office.  Listening to all the prompts, I went through to "7", or "verification process".  A gentleman answered (and stated he was a contractor for the government), and I explained that I had two requests, and outlined the two above.  He said the lapel pins was EASY!  All I had to do was call the VA Canteen, at 866-256-0266!  As for the request on verification, I of course have the wrong extension, and must call back and this time select option "6" for "certification".

OK - back to 202-303-3360 and option 6.  This time another fine gentleman answered and I explained I was a consultant with a Small Business Development Center and was calling on behalf of a client, further describing their situation.  He told me that we would have to wait for an email and then ask for certification in order for the record to be viewable.


I explained that in MY experience, I was listed in about a week and then certified in about six months.  Since they already received a nice Congratulations! email, shouldn't they also be listed?  

Ah, he said.  Due to Public Law 111-275 that was just passed, only certified companies can now be available for public viewing (dang, now that I write this I should have asked if governmental purchasing officers can see their record - and no, not calling back).

Would you confirm they are in the system?  I asked.

He asked me for the company name, and I gave that to him.  Hmmm, he said... 40%.  (Gee bud, thanks for telling me their disability rating).

And how long should they expect to wait?  I asked.

About four months, he replied.

To which I thanked him and hung up the phone.  Ah, now to my lapel pins!

Call the Vet Canteen at 866-256-0266... Patriot Store Direct

Dell Computers... press 1
Goodyear 2
All other 3
For customer 4

I figured lapel pins must be All other products, sooo now on hold which is where I started this call.  But wait!  A nice woman answers the phone, and when I tell her I need to order lapel pins, she says - Hey, that's Mary!  I'll transfer you!

I left Mary a voicemail.