As the President and CEO of ITA International, a global support services company with a focus on the maritime and coastal environments,  I was delighted to be afforded the opportunity to provide a few lines for the VAntage Point Blog on this year’s National Veteran Small Business Conference, hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  My wife and ITA’s Senior Vice President, Kathy, and I have attended every National Veteran Small Business Conference in the last six years, and it has enriched our personal and professional associations many fold each time. This year’s theme of building partnerships among Veterans, businesses, and the government is right on the mark.

The value of partnerships cannot be overstated. You cannot succeed in business by yourself. ITA has the luxury and privilege of being headquartered in a military-centric area, the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and, as such, enjoys interaction and partnerships with many Veterans, including those that own small and large businesses.  An added demographic bonus is that several of our elected representatives are on important House, Senate and Virginia state legislative committees and they represent very pro-military constituencies. As a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), I am treated as a valued partner. In fact, I have had numerous opportunities to interact with many of our elected officials and it is very clear that they want to hear from me and other Veteran entrepreneurs.

In perusing this year’s conference agenda, I am struck by the new and exciting features that have been added such as a multi-track based agenda offering business information and insights specific to wherever you are within the business growth lifecycle, exclusive presentations on acquisition forecasts and upcoming requirements from Government program managers and acquisition professionals, and enhanced networking opportunities. More than ever, this conference is current; it is unique and is at the top of my list of “must attend” events this year.

At ITA, we are indeed proud of our military heritage. The letters in ITA stand for “In the Arena,” which comes from an address delivered by President Teddy Roosevelt at the Sorbonne in 1910. Roosevelt’s famous call to action, during that speech, is our guiding principle at ITA:

“It’s not the Critic who counts…not the man who points out how the strongman stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better…the credit belongs to the man In the Arena…who strives…who spends himself…so if he fails he fails while daring so his place will not be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Of ITA’s 150 full-and part-time employees, 90 percent are either Veterans or are still serving as members of the Reserve.  Many of us have worn the nation’s cloth and take tremendous pride in supporting those that are still “In the Arena.”

One of the great things about being part of the National Veteran Small Business Conference is that it gives us the opportunity to venture “outside the lifelines” of Hampton Roads and tap into the vast Veteran networking venue that this conference offers.  Whether as a panel member in past conferences, a booth sponsor, or as an attendee, ITA thanks the Department of Veterans Affairs for spearheading such a great conference and looks forward to continuing our association with the National Veteran Small Business Conference for many years to come.

Mike Melo, President and CEO of ITA International, a global support services company with a focus on the maritime and coastal environments.

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Published on Jun. 6, 2011

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  3. Carolyn Fields-Wilkins July 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I recently received my declined letter from Center for Veteran’s Enterprise. I am a 100% service disabled veteran. My company was created September 2010. I decided to submit an application to be a certified service disabled veteran owned small business and what I have learned through this process is just like trying to obtain veterans benefits this too is a way in which the VA makes veterans jump through hoops just to decline the application to have your company certified. This to me is a waste of tax payers money; the process – why decline an application when you can communicate with the veteran and have adminitrative issues corrected or changed while the application is in house, instead of making the veterans have to re-submit the application and go through the entire process all over again. This is again a waste of tax payers money. Why is there not a section that the Veteran can communicate with CVE and have the issues explained to the veterans and allow the corrections to be made with the first submission. During the time in which my application was in house I made more than twenty calls to try and gain som understanding of the process and what I needed to do when I was told my application would be declined. I was then told my application looked to not have a problem. So I now have a letter stating the application has been declined…what a waste. We as veterans have been given another obstacle and something else to have to fight for as veterans.

  4. Craig Ober June 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Starting a DME focused on veterans and TRICARE ADSM care. I am a 14 year active duy veteran of the air force medical corps. How can I become a part of this wonderful sounding organization?

    Thank you in advance,

  5. Donald R Green June 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I would like to be association with the natoinal veteran small business.

    • Donn Nemchick June 22, 2011 at 7:00 am

      Go to the website for the National Association of Veteran Owned Businesses at Good luck and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about your small business.

      Donn Nemchick
      Veterans Project Coordinator
      Riverside Center for Innovation
      700 River Ave
      Pittsburgh, PA 15212

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