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SBA Thanks Boots to Business Instructors of the Year

SBA Thanks Boots to Business Instructors of the Year

By Barbara Carson, SBA Official
Published: November 5, 2015

Our military veterans have made priceless contributions to the peace and security of our nation.   Each year, thousands of veterans transition to civilian life.  Many of them decide to use the discipline, skills and leadership abilities they cultivated while in the military to build a small business.   Entrepreneurship is how many veterans take advantage of the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of the U.S. economy.

This week the U.S. Small Business Administration celebrates the accomplishments of veteran entrepreneurs during the third annual National Veterans Small Business Week

Many of these seasoned or new veteran entrepreneurs learned the basics of business ownership at a Boots to Business training course.

Boots to Business gives military service members and their spouses the opportunity to explore business ownership, helps them evaluate the feasibility of their business concepts and connects the aspiring business owners to SBA’s network of resource partners.

Our resource partners - which include Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC), Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Women’s Business Centers (WBC), SCORE, and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University - deliver the Boots to Business program. This year the Boots to Business program reached a milestone, having trained more than 30,000 transitioning service members and their spouses since the program began in 2013. 

We couldn’t have trained all these entrepreneurs without the dedicated efforts of our Boots to Business instructors.   During National Veterans Small Business Week, we honor them for their expertise, their dedication and for their skill at inspiring so many veterans to pursue their dream of business ownership.

Here are the 2015 Boots to Business Instructors of the Year:

Joe Brisby
Richmond, Virginia SCORE

After serving six years in the U.S. Army Reserves during the Vietnam War era, Joe Brisby joined the corporate world, where he spent 40 years in marketing and product development.  A few years after starting his own consulting business, Joe joined SCORE in 2011.  When the Boots to Business program began in 2013, Joe enlisted to become an instructor, where he’s since leveraged his strong belief that service members have the discipline and training to succeed as business owners.

Doug Dare
SBA Economic Development Specialist, Santa Ana, California District office

As an economic development specialist in the marketing and outreach team of SBA’s Santa Ana District Office, one of Doug’s assignments was to conduct outreach to the military and veteran community about entrepreneurship training, government contracting and financial assistance offered by the SBA and its resource partners.  Beginning in December 2012, Doug worked with Marine Corps Community Services at Camp Pendleton and Orange County SCORE to start several entrepreneurship training classes which were later enveloped by the Boots to Business pilot project.

Becoming a Boots to Business instructor seemed a natural fit for Doug, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Peter Estrada
SBA Economic Development Specialist, Fresno, California District Office

After a successful military career, and thirty years of private industry experience, and running his own small business, Peter  joined the SBA in 2010.  Pete is the Fresno district office veteran business development officer, and serves as a Boots to Business Instructor.  He also works with a wide variety of Veteran Service Organizations across the San Joaquin Valley.

Lexi Hasapis
Director, Fayetteville, North Carolina Women’s Business Center

As director of the Women’s Business Center (WBC) at the Center for Economic Empowerment & Development for the past three years, Lexi has been instrumental in executing several successful programs for women. She helped kick off the Boots to Business program at Fort Bragg in 2013, and has been the lead Boots to Business instructor for the WBC.  Fort Bragg hosts 24 Boots to Business classes each year.  Lexi and the WBC team will teach 12 of those classes.

Robin Stephenson
Business Advisor, Watertown, New York Small Business Development Center

Before the Boots to Business program began, Robin Stephenson and the New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC) had already been offering a three-hour entrepreneurship training seminar on a quarterly basis at Fort Drum. When the Boots to Business program was rolled out in 2013, Robin was able to make the transition go smoothly, allowing Fort Drum to have the new program “go live” more than a full year ahead of many other locations. Robin currently spends several days a month at Fort Drum working with the Soldier for Life/Transition Assistance Program.  

Each one of these instructors have made tremendous contributions to the growth of the Boots to Business program, while making a huge difference in the lives of all those veterans and spouses who have had the good fortune of being their students.   During National Veterans Small Business Week we salute them all and the Boots to Business instructors.

For information on Boots to Business, visit



About the Author:

Barbara Carson
Barbara Carson

SBA Official

Barbara Carson is the Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Veterans Business Development.