Former Marine Kevin Blanchard Takes Post With IFA’s VetFran Program
The International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, which has built a strong foundation in transitioning military veterans to become franchise owners and employees, is adding an experienced advocate. On Feb. 25, former Marine Kevin Blanchard, who served as a combat engineer in Iraq, will join the association as coordinator, research and strategic initiatives.
Blanchard, who is a Purple Heart Medal recipient, led a team of five Marines through security operations that included destroying weapons caches while serving in Iraq. He brings a thorough understanding of the skills and leadership qualities that make veterans outstanding candidates to own and operate a franchise business. Blanchard will act as a representative of VetFran among veterans, veterans groups and the franchise community and engaging them on mutually beneficial activities. He will also support IFA initiatives in multi-unit recruitment, international development and research.
“The VetFran and Operation Enduring Opportunity outreach activities will greatly benefit from Kevin’s military and consulting expertise,” said IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE. “We are honored to have one of our nation’s heroes and wounded warriors to join us to enable more returning veterans to transition from military to civilian life by learning about opportunities in franchise small-business ownership and employment.”
More than 70,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the United States provide jobs directly for nearly 850,000 Americans, and generate more than $41 billion in gross domestic product. Since the November 2011 launch of Operation Enduring Opportunity, more than 64,000 veterans started careers in franchising, including over 4,314 new franchise business owners.
Blanchard’s experience will help the program continue its positive, important and impressive momentum. Before joining IFA, Blanchard was a communications consultant with Reingold, Inc. in the nation’s capital where he managed the distribution of outreach materials for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ homeless program and coordinated outreach and communications for three of the agency’s campaigns. From 2011 to 2012, Blanchard served as a healthcare and rehabilitation consultant for the American Legion in Washington, D.C., and was responsible for conducting investigations on the quality of health care at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers nationwide. Earlier in his career, he was an amputee counselor at the Wounded Warrior Project in Washington, D.C.
Blanchard is currently enrolled at Catholic University of America to earn a master’s of science degree in management: social entrepreneurship. Blanchard undertook Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans coursework at Syracuse University. His educational focus has also included earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration on international business from the George Washington University School of Business, as well as studying business marketing through the university’s Nordic Study Abroad Program. Blanchard has also studied the Spanish language and culture at the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. ⎯