Former Airborne Ranger Helps Other Veterans Get to Work

Photo of Mike Wolbrink

Founded in 2012, Azule Staffing’s primary mission is to put veterans to work in lucrative, rewarding vocations outside of the military. In addition to helping his fellow veterans find jobs, Azule offers job coaching, mentoring, resume refinement and more. 

The owner, Michael Wolbrink, is a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger with a proven commitment to the veteran community. Wolbrink’s “never quit” attitude began as a young man detasseling corn and delivering newspapers in Iowa. It continued at Wheaton College where he earned a ROTC scholarship. His attitude propelled him through Ranger school, serving as a general’s aide, the Army Reserves and more.

To help him help others, Wolbrink has received assistance from SBA’s partner the MN Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), including mentoring, Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business certification and more.  In 2012 when he began working with PTAC, Wolbrink’s company had 6 internal employees and placed 485 people in jobs.  In 2015, the number of internal employees doubled and they placed 1,788 people in jobs, including many veterans.

Since its founding, Azule has assisted hundreds of veterans in their efforts to find or better their employment. The company currently includes three corporate offices, soon to be five—in Minnesota, Arizona, California, Florida and Tel Aviv—and has employees in 23 states and counting. 

As a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, the company is able to provide sole source solutions to government prime contractors. This has led to new opportunities to place veterans and non-veterans alike. To maintain a focus on giving back to servicemen and women, Azule uses profits to help veterans successfully reintergrate into civilian life. The company offers financial help, job coaching, housing assistance and more. “We never turn away a vet” is an unofficial company motto.

Each Azule staff member donates time to help veterans. Recruiters offer counseling sessions several times a week with veterans—even if Azule is not placing that veteran in employment. HR and Risk Management staff help with workplace accommodation and referrals to healthcare professionals as necessary. Controllers maintain a schedule of regular financial contributions to various veteran organizations, and they ensure donations are being well stewarded by the recipients. Staff members routinely help identify new opportunities Azule can participate in, either financially or through service hours.

In 2015 Azule formed the Azule Foundation (501(c)(3) in order to coordinate more effectively with the military and other non-profits. Since its formation, the Azule Foundation has provided housing expenses, tuition scholarships and other assistance to veterans in crisis. This spring, the Foundation will open the Azule Academy which will provide underemployed veterans with crucial job skills needed for vocational advancement. The first 3 students enrolled in Cyber Security classes, started in January 2016.

Contracts and additional opportunities with Fortune 500 companies continue to increase as the Azule Team focuses on the quality of the candidates submitted. Although Azule has yet to celebrate its 4th year in business, supplier scorecards place Azule’s performance in the top tier at each corporation. 

Azule Staffing in Eagan was named as the 2016 Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year for Minnesota.   

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Company Name: 
Azule Staffing