My orientation started October 1999, when I was in Yokosuka Japan, visiting units and during an out brief I presented to the local commands, my vision was triggered and I planned my future. Shortly afterwards, I submitted my retirement request to be effective April 1, 2000, April Fool’s Day. To everyone’s surprise and it became a reality when I actually retired into the sunset after 26 years of Marine Corps service. I share with you that it has taken me ten years to complete my 14 Level Reintegration Program and as a result, effective today I have incorporated Albert R. Renteria Corporation, aka The ARRC ™. And I will finalize my business plan next week.
I created the Southwest Veterans’ Business Resource Center, Inc to empower communities and increase awareness on how best to serve our America Veterans. Below is my ten year journey and a template for our Learners to consider. The success of my efforts is in fact the steps and models I created to develop the value of social capital. Without a network, the cost to start a business will far exceed your means and create more of a burden than meeting your vision to start your own business. I am now ready to start another new journey.
My 14 Level Reintegration Program
Who am I? I am an American Veteran, a unique race of people that was indoctrinated the importance of God, Country and its people. I served to defend freedoms and a capitalist society so that the citizens may have the right to a free enterprise to profit and selling products and services the market will bear.
What industry am I interest in? All I know is how to be a service provider and for 26 years, I serviced thousands of Marines, I was a Chief Warrant Officer 4, and I want to provide a service to others to ensure their quality of life is prosperous and the awareness of benefits and programs surpasses their own expectation. I want to be in the service provider industry and the premier business sought by many.
What are my goals? I knew that I was about to disembark a fast moving vehicle and it was not about to stop to let me off. My goal was to use my GI Bill and embarked to earn my masters degree and I jumped into my first course the same day I retired. I set my goals to complete my masters in one year, completed, I set my goal to establish a non-profit to provide a means to civilians by which they can serve and support deployed forces and I created www.OIDelivers.org, done! A full operational Civilian-to-Military Delivery System® manned by an all volunteer team. My goal was to learn more about what it took to create a business, I worked for George S. May International Consulting firm and met over 2,000 Chief Executive Officers, I learned so much and got paid to learn, done! I wanted to create a post service non-profit after I passed on OI to the civilian volunteers and during May 2008, I founded the Southwest Veterans’ Business Resource Center, Inc., a national organization. My ten year goal was to incorporate April 1, 2010, and I reached that milestone today. I have set my goals and reached them all, these are just my top level goals.
What are my objectives to reach my goals? I set a few objectives that promised that I reach all of my goals. Education, learning, networking, social capital, travel and meet the people I wanted to serve was my primary objective that allowed me to achieve my goals. I volunteered and developed a series of models to make the two non-profits a success. My objective was to ensure I can in fact build a business and serve the community. These objectives was a living plan for a ten year cycle. The cycle is complete and I have new goals to set.
How many benefits and resources are there? During my 26 year military career, I was the subject matter expert and I thought I knew all of my benefits and resources, and I was so wrong. What I knew was all the benefits and resources made available by the Department of Defense and nothing really, about the Veteran Affairs or community support for Veterans. Once I finally acknowledged what I didn’t know, I sought out every opportunity to increase my knowledge base and it proved to be a ten year trek and I am still learning! It is an endless list. However, during my discovery, I recognized a problem. The problem was not 100% of the Veterans were enjoying the support, including me. I learned that there are redundancies and wasted resources and a solution is in demand. This new founded information influenced me on what my vision would formulate to be. I am a 50% disabled Veteran and the first year of my retirement I learned a few things, but it was later that I learned the full benefit of the Veteran Vocational Rehab and Employment program. Like most Department of Defense programs, there are many conditions to be met and variances to entitlement. Ten years later, I sought a benefit and approved for one of the programs. I suspect many more that think they know, might not know enough to realize there is so much.
What do I need to do to network with all existing resources? Reach out is what I knew I had to do. I am a life member to several Veteran group. It was a financial investment, but I did so, not so much to establish a network, but to give back to these Veteran organizations for doing so much to ensure I had the benefits I earned for my service. I had no expectations, but my network grew into the thousands across the United States. I joined chat rooms, studied behaviors via online. My masters was electronic commerce, my military expertise was manpower management systems, I began to understand the value of social capital and how important it is to create links with not just those you know, but those you don’t know. I know someone in all 50 states and thousands more around the world. I am never a stranger in any town I visit for the first time.
Am I registered with the VA, local groups and national groups? I quickly realized his being a necessity if I were to achieve my goals and objectives and became a life member to a dozen Veteran groups. I registered with the VA and have my VA card. This is the essence of being an American Veteran and my interest is to make sure every Veteran is a VA card carry participant. Do know a Veteran that doesn’t have one?
What does my network look like, is it providing results? I have a global network, but it took me ten years to build and bring together like minded people to serve others. My approach has always been simple, how can I best serve you? My focus is you, not me, if you succeed, I succeed. The results have been incredible, the learning has been amazing and the blessings of meeting so many has kept me in awe. Awe, because they all want to help a Veteran, their family and our deployed forces. Never have I had any difficulty reaching out to my network to engage them to serve our Veterans, their family and deployed forces. The results, well, I am a loss for words.
Are my techniques for interviewing to par? They never are! Each new day demands a new approach and just when I think I nailed it, I have to revise. My technique is up to par, but I have learned never to take for granted that the next person I interview with for a job or contract, I need to adjust to that situation. I have competitors and they are good and better than me, if I settle for one approach. I am a capitalist and risks exists and the greatest risk is when one thinks they have no risk and believe their techniques for interviewing are up to par.
Is starting my own business a better option for me? This took some real awareness. I know who I am and I knew my attitude and level of experience would be more of a handicap and as each year passed, my age added to that handicap. Starting my own business is the best option for me. I recognized this early on and my sanity was balanced by creating non-profits to keep my core values intact and to continue to serve as I served for 26 years. I managed financially with my pension and other independent contracts I secured as a self employed. I donated substantially to the non-profits I founded and not just with funds, but my time and resources. It was my way of transitioning and I really needed it, otherwise, I would have collapsed as many do, when they are not doing what they were accustom of doing for so long. My plan was to incorporate on April 1, 2010 and I did. My benefits with the VA were approved to support this decision.
Of all the resources I have uncovered, do I have the knowledge and tools? After ten years and combined with the tools I garnered during my military career, I have a good set of tools to establish a corporation. I will continue to find more tools, resources and people to be part of what I do.
What do I need to do to create a viable business plan? I took steps to learn, maybe ten years is too long for many, but I first had to reintegrate back into society and learn as much as I could to make sure that owning my own business was a better option for me. I knew that I had to reach out to the VA and relearn the five step program and seek support from their self-employment program. The program is to guide and assist the Veteran to develop and produce a viable business plan. I am in that program now.
Will my business plan work, is it financially sound, will it create jobs? This is the next journey and I believe it will be and produce all the results I am seeking. I have prepared myself the best I could and with the support of one of my VA benefits, I REFUSE TO FAIL!!