Operation: Start Up & Grow

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Do you want to start a business? Expand your existing business? Find all the resources in one location at this FREE conference for veteran entrepreneurs! Operation: Start Up & Grow is the premier veterans business conference in Upstate New York for our veterans and members of the military community who want to start or expand their own small business. The half-day event includesdbreakout workshops, networking sessions with guest experts and exhibitors, award ceremony, free breakfast and lunch.

Questions? Interested in information for the next event? Please see the conference flyer or contact SBA at 315-471-9393 ext. 233.
Location: SRC Arena and Events Center,
4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, NY 13215-4585 (Free parking in Lot # 13)

NEW for 2016!  Boots to Business Reboot session was offered concurrently with 2016 Operation: Start Up and Grow at the SRC Arena in Syracuse. This FREE intensive training was held March 15 and 16 for veterans interested in starting or growing their own small business. For more information, please see the Reboot flyer.


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8:30-8:55 Registration, Continental Breakfast & Networking with Exhibitors
8:55-9:05 Opening Ceremonies
9:10-9:15 Welcome Remarks ~ Barbara Carson, Colonel USAF Reserve, Associate Administrator of SBA Office of Veterans Business Development

Keynote Address ~ Gordon Logan, USAF veteran, Founder & CEO of Sport Clips Haircuts

9:45 Remarks ~ Georgia Marsh, Chief Development Officer of Women's Business Development Center
  • Connections Central with Business Experts
  • Networking with Exhibitors
  • The Black Box of Small Business Financing Workshop
  • Tools to Increase Market Share Workshop
  • The Next Mission: Fortune 500 Supplier Workshop
  • Franchising Workshop
  • Connections Central with Business Experts
  • Networking with Exhibitors
  • Alternative Small Business Financing Workshop
  • Defining Your Marketing Mix Workshop
  • Federal, State & Local Contracting Workshop
  • Ask the Attorneys Workshop
12:00 Networking Session with Exhibitors

Lunch Buffet & Award Presentation: 2016 Veteran-Owned Business Achievement Award

1:00 Emcee Interview with Herbert Dwyer, USMC Veteran, President & CEO, ASI Energy

Closing Remarks


  Gordon Logan photo

Gordon Logan is the founder and CEO of Sport Clips Haircuts. In the early 1990s, Gordon Logan recognized the huge potential, and relative lack of competition, in the men's and boys’ haircut market. He wanted to create a place where guys could take care of one of life’s necessities – a haircut – and say “This is my kind of place, I feel comfortable here” when they walked in the door. Assembling a group of passionate industry professionals, Gordon and his team worked together develop the unique Sport Clips Haircuts concept we know today. While Sport Clips’ logo and store design have changed since the first location opened in Austin, Texas in 1993, Gordon’s goal, and Sport Clips’ mission, to provide a “championship haircut experience in an exciting sports-themed environment” remains the same. Prior to founding Sport Clips, Gordon served as an Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force, after which he worked as a financial planning and control consultant with Price Waterhouse & Co. in Houston, Texas.  He is a graduate of MIT and The Wharton School of Business, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a retired CPA in the State of Texas. Gordon later owned and operated salons throughout Texas, an experience which proved to be invaluable in his journey toward creating one of the most successful haircut franchises in the nation...Read more.

  Barbara Carson Barbara Carson is the Associate Administrator for the SBA Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD). At SBA, Ms. Carson develops, promotes and employs policies and programs that support veteran owned small business. Ms. Carson graduated from the University of Iowa in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. A Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, she was commissioned as an active duty U.S. Air Force officer and has served in multiple assignments in the nuclear and public affairs career fields. Initially, she served on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) crew, achieving the position of Senior Missile Combat Crew Evaluator for the Peacekeeper ICBM force. In 1998, she joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve, earning another specialty code as a military public affairs officer. She is currently a Colonel and assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs. During a family military assignment to Japan in 2006, Ms. Carson embarked on her first entrepreneurial adventure where she co-developed an outdoor personal training business with another military veteran. The business prospered and ignited her passion for and personal understanding of veteran-owned businesses... Read more.
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Damon Draught is the Chairman and COO of DNJ Management, LLC. of Watertown, NY.  DNJ Management, LLC. was founded in 2013 as an investment company by Damon and Sonja Draught.  In 2013, DNJ Management opened its first Dairy Queen in the Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, NY and it’s second location in Evans Mills, NY.  Damon enlisted in US Army in 1992 as a Human Resource Specialist and retired in 2012 as a Master Sergeant.  Damon earned a Master Degree in Management and Finance from the University of Maryland, University College in 2009.

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Georgia Marsh is the Chief Development Officer for the Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) in Chicago, IL. Prior to joining the WBDC, Marsh had her own advisory and consulting business. Marsh was named the 2015 JP Morgan Chase/NaVOBA Women's Veterans Business Advocate of the Year for her work with women veterans at the WBDC and through the V-WISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) program...Read more.


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Herbert Dwyer is president and CEO of ASI Energy, an Ithaca, NY-based company providing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) for commercial and industrial buildings. ASI Energy is backed by $150 million in project investment capital in order to offer the most reliable, efficient and affordable energy solutions. Prior to pursuing his Bachelors of Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, Herb enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as an Intelligence Operator and Platoon Sergeant.

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  • Admin-On-Call
  • Albany Associates Cleaning & Supply
  • Allgaier Law Firm
  • AmeriCU
  • Bellevue University
  • Bond, Schoeneck & King
  • Business Journal News Network
  • CEDA Cayuga Economic Development Agency
  • City of Syracuse Office of Neighborhood and Business Development
  • Clear Path for Veterans
  • CNY Enterprise Development
  • Columbia College
  • Cooperative Federal Credit Union
  • Cornell Small Farms Program
  • DCS Insfrastructure Engineering, PLLC
  • Easter Seals New York
  • Empire State Development
  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR)
  • FranNet of CNY
  • Galaxy Communications
  • Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation (GSBDC)
  • Honor Flight Syracuse
  • Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), Syracuse University
  • Keller Williams Realty Syracuse
  • KeyBank
  • M&T Bank
  • N.Y.S. SBDC Veteran Business Outreach Program
  • National Grid
  • National Tractor Trailer School
  • NBT Bank
  • New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC)
  • North Country Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
  • NYS Department of Labor (Veterans Services)
  • NYS Division of Veterans Affairs
  • NYS Office of General Services-Procurement Services Division
  • NYS Office of Homes and Community Renewal
  • NYS Office of Information Technology
  • NYS Office of the Medicaid Inspector General
  • NYS OGS, Division of Service-Disabled Veterans' Business Development
  • Office of Representative John M Katko NY-24
  • Office of the NYS Comptroller CNY Region
  • Onondaga Community College Office of Veterans Affairs
  • Onondaga County Division of Purchase
  • Onondaga County Office of Economic Development
  • Onondaga Employee Leasing Services, Inc.
  • Pathfinder Bank
  • Primerica
  • RF Solutions, LLC
  • SCSD Literacy Zone
  • Site-Seeker Inc
  • Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College
  • Smithson Marketing
  • South Side Innovation Center
  • Staff Leasing, Inc.
  • SUNY-Upstate, Geneseo, Albany, Morrisville
  • Syracuse SCORE
  • Syracuse VA Medical Center
  • Syracuse/Binghamton Vet Centers
  • T. Gschwender and Associates
  • Team Red, White, and Blue
  • The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship, Whitman School of Business
  • The Tech Garden
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Service
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • University College of Syracuse University
  • Upstate Minority Economic Alliance
  • USDA Farm Service Agency
  • USDA Rural Development
  • VA Network Contracting Office
  • Watertown Vet Center
  • WISE Women's Business Center
  • Zoey Advertising


Cosponsorship Authorization # 16-0248-42. SBA's participation in this cosponsored activity in not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs or cosponsored programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact: Tania Hanouille at 315-498-6076.

File Attachments: 
Attachments Size
Carson biography 118Kb
Carson photo 52Kb
OSUAG Save the Date 223Kb
Dwyer photo 43Kb
Sponsor logos 1 34Kb
Sponsor logos 2 27Kb
Marsh photo 81Kb
Marsh biography 220Kb
OSUAG photo 1 860Kb
OSUAG photo 2 198Kb
OSUAG photo 3 192Kb
Draught photo 8Kb
OSUAG flyer 820Kb
Reboot flyer 555Kb
Logan photo 26Kb