WASHINGTON – The first public meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development meets today at the headquarters of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The task force includes four members recently appointed from the veterans’ community.
The task force, established by executive order by President Obama on April 26, 2010, coordinates federal efforts to increase and improve veteran small business development. It will make a report to the president by October 15, 2011.
“Through interagency and private-sector cooperation we intend to enhance existing efforts and increase access to capital, improve business development opportunities, and meet federal contracting goals for veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses,” said SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns.
Members consist of the SBA Administrator who shall serve as Chair of the Task Force and a senior level representative, from: the Department of the Treasury; the Department of Defense; the Department of Labor; the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Office of Management and Budget; the Small Business Administration (in addition to the Administrator); and the General Services Administration.
The four veterans’ community members include:
- From The National Association of State Directors of Veteran Affairs - John M. Garcia, Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Service. Garcia, a Vietnam veteran, was appointed by Governor Bill Richardson in January 2003 as the first Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Service.
- From The Student Veterans of America (SVA) – Elizabeth O’Herrin is a co-founder of SVA. O’Herrin, a veteran who served in the Middle East, is currently pursuing her master’s degree in governmental studies from the Johns Hopkins University Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Sciences.
- From VET Force - James F. Wilfong is an executive member of this advocacy group which promotes veteran-owned businesses. Wilfong, a Vietnam era veteran, is the Senior Entrepreneur at University of Southern Maine’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
- From The American Legion - Daniel M. Dellinger is a 29-year member of the American Legion, the world’s largest veterans’ organization. Dellinger, a Vietnam veteran, has served in many capacities throughout his career and is currently the Chairman of the National Security Commission for the national American Legion organization.
The SBA and its Office of Veterans Business Development provides comprehensive assistance, outreach and support to veterans. Each year SBA helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and reservists. To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, please visit the website at www.sba.gov/vets.