Franchising for Transitioning Warriors Program: A Collaborative Success Story for the Franchise Industry

VetToCEO, in collaboration with Veterans Business Services (VBS), and four franchising organizations, and two resource providers, were able to offer and deliver an insightful and informative online interactive franchising course for transitioning Veterans.
Through initial marketing efforts of the course, Veteran enrollment was at 120 Veterans by the start of the course on June 23rd. One of the impressive features of the program included the ability of all the Veterans and the presenters to interact through an online social forum which included what VetToCEO calls the “Warrior Website”. Participants can revisit any presentations made throughout the course and revisit any course work required for the program through the website and interact with the facilitators of the course for additional support.

VBS reached out to the franchise industry to get sponsors for the free online course, “Franchising for Transitioning Warriors Program” and received an incredible response to fulfill all seven course sessions with experienced franchise industry professionals.

The course kicked off with both VetToCEO instructors John Panaccione and Michael Horn, who are both Veterans and experienced entrepreneurs, leading the programs. Although they had offered the VetToCEO entrepreneurial course many times in the past, this course was geared specifically to franchising and the unique aspects of the franchise industry which required significant planning and efforts to update the materials and coordination to find the right presenters and materials for each session.

The first session focused on Marketing Research which was supported by presenter Michelle Bearden, Vice President of Franchise Operations at Link Staffing. The second session focusing on marketing planning and was supported by Rachelle Piranio from UPS Stores. The third session focusing on mission was supported by Jon Rucker, Military Program Manager at Snap-On Tools Franchise. The fourth session focusing on business execution and legal issues was supported by Kenneth Kaplan, CEO of the Kaplan Franchise Group. The fifth  session which focused on logistics and finance was supported by three representatives from Two Men and a Truck, including Jeff Wesley CFO, Joey Hale franchisee for the past 16 years, and David Richardson Accountant and franchisee. The sixth session focusing on finance strategies was supported by James Drayton from Corporate Capital Funding. The last session focusing on organizational and networking tools was supported by Jim Mingey from Veterans Business Services.

The course was received very well by the military participants and throughout each two hour session, Veterans were able to ask franchise industry experts specific questions about their business models, learn about how the franchise industry functions, learn how to finance a franchise opportunity and why franchising is a great option for Veteran entrepreneurs. Participants were able to discuss their business interests and differentiate why franchising can be a better option than starting their own independent small business.

The VetToCEO sponsors also benefited very much through their interaction with the Veteran participants.

“The VettoCEO Program gave amazing insight and practical, need-to-know information. In our world of “information overload”, I found the VettoCEO curriculum easy to understand and vector. Incredible staff knowledge and instructor professionalism. Thank you for offering this course to our nation’s heroes…   For any veteran interested in the wonderful world of franchise ownership, this course is a MUST-DO!”

Jon Rucker, Military Program Manager, Snap-On Tools Franchise

“We were honored to participate in the Vet to CEO Program recently as subject matter experts in the financial field of business ownership. It’s rewarding to work with veterans, expand their business knowledge, and be able to highlight the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system opportunities to such a proven group of leaders. The Vet to CEO program format is truly invaluable for training veterans who aspire to become business owners.”

Noelle Burak, Franchise Development Manager, Two Men and a Truck International

“At Link Staffing, we are passionate about supporting our veterans and believe a proven franchise model aligns strategically with the training and experience they receive serving in our military. We are grateful to VBS for providing a forum to present Link Staffing because we do not find a lot of opportunities to engage with our veterans in educating them on franchising and franchise opportunities. I am always honored to participate in programs like VetToCEO, to share my knowledge on franchising and Link, and to be a future resource for our Veterans.”

Michelle Bearden, Vice President of Franchise Operations, Link Staffing

Overall, the Franchising for Transitioning Warriors Program was a great success for both the Veteran participants and the franchise sponsors and VBS hopes to continue supporting the VetToCEO entrepreneurial courses in the future. To learn more about the available courses go to and to learn more about franchise opportunities and business resources visit

VBS’ Founder and Managing Director, Jim Mingey, is a decorated Vietnam veteran raised from a proud military background. An entrepreneur for more than 35 years, Jim can relate on a personal level to the needs of the veteran small businessperson, and possesses the practical knowledge to implement his experience in today’s market. Jim participated in the EBV Program at Purdue University, is a mentor at American Corporate Partners, developed the first approved franchise training program for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program at Veterans Administration, and was instrumental in forming the first equity fund in the United States exclusively for veteran owned small businesses and franchises: The Veterans Opportunity Fund. Jim intends to keep on ‘advocating’ for veterans in franchising. 

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