VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki Joins National Franchise Business Leaders to Promote Veteran Employment

Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki praised franchise leaders led by Tasti D-Lite Chairman and CEO and former International Franchise Association Chairman Jim Amos, CFE;  and Steve Romaniello, CFE, Roark Capital Group managing director and IFA second Vice Chairman, at a franchise roundtable in Atlanta yesterday for taking the lead on veterans hiring and recruiting initiatives.

 “What you are doing is critically important for our young people returning from service, and for our national economy,” Shinseki told the 30 franchise leaders gathered for the roundtable focused on IFA’s VetFran program. “We’re here to talk about what is working and how we at the VA can support it.”

Executives from Coca-Cola, UPS, The UPS Store, Aaron’s, Arby’s International, InterContinental Hotels Group, NAPA Auto Parts and Cisco Systems thanked the secretary for his leadership and that of White House Joining Forces Initiative Executive Director Brad Cooper (USN). Former Sen. Sam Nunn, who chaired the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, representing the state of Georgia, also attended the meeting.

“One million service members will transition out of the military by the end of 2015 – that’s an incredible number,” said Romaniello. “Because of the need and this opportunity, IFA’s 1,200 franchisor members and 600 supplier members have committed to recruit as franchise business owners and hire as team members 75,000 veterans and military spouses plus 5,000 wounded veterans by the end of 2014 as part of IFA’s Operation Enduring Opportunity. I am proud of the commitment we have made.”

“After Vietnam, there was no plan for transition for veterans,” said Amos, who served two combat tours and was awarded the Purple Heart, among other honors. “I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t even know who I was. And I was an officer.”

Amos said the nation can’t afford to allow the new generation of veterans, who Shinseki said may be the most highly-trained force in U.S. history, to fall into unemployment and other problems. “The most important thing veterans need when they return is a job. If they don’t have a job, nothing we do for veterans is going to work. We as a nation can’t afford to fail at this mission.”

Attendees at the franchise leader’s roundtable included:

  • Secretary Eric Shinseki, Veterans Administration

  • Capt. Brad Cooper, Executive Director, White House Joining Forces Initiative Former Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.)

  • Jim Amos, CFE, (USMC, Ret.), Tasti D-Lite Chairman and CEO, IFA Past Chairman

  • Steve Chambers, Veterans Employment Opportunities, The UPS Store

  • Josh D’Agostino, Director, New Business Development, NAPA Auto Parts

  • Todd Evans, Vice President, Franchise Operations, Aaron’s

  • Jason Farr, Vice President, Talent Acquisition, Coca-Cola Refreshments

  • Arthur Holst, Vice President of Operations, InterContinental Hotels Group

  • Lytana Kids, Global Workforce Planning Manager, The UPS Store

  • Laura Miller, Chief Human Resources Officer, Coca-Cola Refreshments

  • Nils Okeson, General Counsel and Chief Development Officer, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.,

  • Scott Pressly, CFE, Partner, BIP Opportunities Fund

  • Steve Romaniello, CFE, Managing Director, Roark Capital Group, Chairman FOCUS Brands

  • Jon Rucker, (USAF, Ret.) Military Program Manager, Snap-On Tools

  • Janet Thomas, Director, Organizational Development, NAPA Auto Parts

  • Michael Veysey, Director of Veterans Programs, Cisco Systems