The 3rd Annual "Veterans Mean Business" event will
be Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the University Center at LSU in Shreveport.
The event is geared toward veterans who own a small
business or who are thinking about starting a business. All veterans, including reservists, National Guard members and military
spouses are welcome.
Guest speaker for the event will be Billy Bretherton,
a former Air Force sergeant who stars with his family in A&E Network's "The Exterminators" reality TV show. Bretherton
dresses in gothic black emblazoned with his company’s skull and crossbone logo as he tackles all types of pests and
animals, from bees to alligators. The jobs highlighted on the TV show all play out in a backdrop of family business issues.
Filming is currently going on in the area for new
episodes to begin airing in early 2010.
Behind the show is a successful company, Vexcon,
begun in 1996 by the Bretherton family. Billy Bretherton learned entomology while serving in the U.S. Air Force. Following
his honorable discharge, he trained with industry experts in the field and through Purdue University and LSU. Bretherton is an expert
in the use of organic, non-chemical procedures & animal control and is a former president of the Northwest
Louisiana Pest Control Association.
Bretherton credits his Air Force service in shaping
“I joined the Air Force to be a cop but through
aptitude assessment they were able to draw out my natural interest in biology and entomology,” Bretherton said. “It
was a match that is now allowing me to do what I love.”
Bretherton will join other local veteran business
owners in discussing "Finding Your Business Niche." Other speakers include Sharon McCullar, owner of The Glenwood Tearoom;
Floyd Parker, owner of ParkerPointe Systems; Eddie Brumfield, owner of Dreamz
Office Suites; and Steven Lott, owner of Lott’s Photography.
Breakout sessions will address the following topics:
Government Contracting Opportunities, Steps to Starting a Business, Financing Your Business, Franchise Opportunities for Veterans
and Marketing Your Business in the 21st Century.
Veterans often have greater success in operating
their own business because they bring strong discipline and planning skills from their military experience, said Cooper Cochran,
director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at LSUS, one of the event hosts. Cochran is a retired lieutenant
colonel with more than 28 years service in the U.S. Army Reserves.
A study on veteran entrepreneurs released in 2004
by the Small Business Administration shows 22 percent of veterans will start or consider starting a small business, often
relying on skills from their active duty service.
The Louisiana Small Business Development Center is
a partnership program with the Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development and LSUS. Others hosting the
event are the Northwest Louisiana Government Procurement Center, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/Shreveport Vet Center,
the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and Barksdale Air Force Base 2nd Contracting Squadron.
Silver Star sponsors are Barksdale Federal Credit
Union and Disabled American Veterans. Bronze Star sponsors are Impressions Advertising Specialties and the Latin Connection.
The cost to attend is $15 before November 5 and $25
after November 5, which includes breakfast. To register, call 318-677-2530 or register online at http://nwlagpc.org.