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Franchise Industry Welcomes Military Veterans’ Taste for Excellence

Anthony Auman, an Asheboro, N.C. native, had a decision to make after graduating from Asheboro High. Aumon sought adventure, something off the traditional path of a 9-to-5 job, but still worthwhile and valuable. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1994 where he could serve his country, see the world and, eventually, attend college with the help of a GI Bill.

The bulk of Aumon’s military service was spent aboard the USS Belleau Wood, stationed in Sasebo, Japan. The Belleau Wood was a general-purpose, amphibious assault ship, whereon he served as a crypotologic technician operator, playing an integral support role in the nation’s intelligence efforts. Aumon aided in several joint United Nations missions, not the least of which was Operation United Shield, the mission to safely evacuate all U.N. peacekeeping troops from Somalia.

After returning home, Aumon started classes at the nearby University of North Carolina’s Charlotte campus and in 1998, earned a bachelor’s degree. Still, Aumon wanted to accomplish more academically, but understood that he needed to continue working.

After college graduation, he began working in the transportation industry. Over the course of the next decade, he focused on supply chain management, a position wherein he oversaw $200M budgets, trucking sale operations, and overall business management strategies. Aumon balanced his work with his desire to attain a higher academic standing, pursuing a master’s degree in procurement from the University of Maryland.

In 2011, Aumon felt the pull to start his own business and started researching franchise opportunities. Only one franchise truly stuck out in his mind that offered the sense of fun and excitement for which he sought.

College Hunks Hauling Junk popped off the computer screen and something told Aumon that this was the right fit for him. The brand included a moving branch, College Hunks Moving, which fit well with his previous work experience. Plus, he liked the growth opportunity he saw in this young franchise.

Today, he owns and operates the Greensboro, N.C. franchise, serving all of the surrounding areas as the first franchise partner to qualify for the VetFran discount.

Jerry Benware has been a Sport Clips franchisee for seven years and operates a shop in Louisville, Ky. He was recently recognized by the VFW in his state for donations made to Sport Clips Haircuts’ annual fundraiser, Help a Hero, which makes free phone calls home possible for hospitalized and deployed service members. The program supports the VFW’s Operation Uplink program.

When Benware was seeking to invest in a franchise, he had three requirements: The business had to be something that couldn’t be provided over the Internet, it had to be a cash business (minimal accounts receivable and accounts payable) and minimal inventory. Sport Clips met all three requirements. In addition, Sport Clips’ core values (Do what’s right, do your best and treat others the way they want to be treated) aligned with his personal and U.S. Air Force values: Integrity first, excellence in all you do, and service before self.

During his Air Force career, he was a navigator on a KC 135 air refueling aircraft. Benware spent more than 3,000 flight hours and is a veteran of the Vietnam war. He served in Southeast Asia at the end of the conflict during 1973.

As a navigator, he progressed to instructor navigator, evaluator navigator and a combat crew training school instructor teaching new navigators how to fly the KC 135. Early in his career, his crew represented Plattsburgh AFB in the Strategic Air Command’s version of Top Gun, it was known as Giant Voice, which is basically a flying and navigation competition for “heavy” aircraft. The Wing won the Navigation Trophy and the overall competition and received the coveted Fairchild Trophy. Benware finished his career as a commander of a defense contract management organization of more than 150 staff members. He retired from the active duty in 1993 after 21 years of service and achieved the rank of major.

Before becoming a successful franchisee with nine stores in Georgia and Florida, Alkina (Al) Daniels served his country for 20 years in the U.S. Navy. Daniels has been in every conflict from 1987 to 2007 including his service in Desert Storm, Desert Shield and at the World Trade Center in 2001. Originally from Portsmouth, Va., Daniels joined the military right out of high school due to tough economic times and the persistent will of his mother for him to make a life for himself.

Throughout his military service, Daniels worked at his local Domino’s Pizza store as a driver to help support his family whenever he visited home in Georgia. He worked as a driver, customer service representative, assistant manager, store manager and regional manager.

In 2002, he lost his father to cancer and saved his portion of the life insurance for the right moment and in 2007 that moment came. After realizing that 20 years had gone by in the Navy, Daniels had a strong desire to return to his family in Georgia. The Navy approved his retirement and he immediately began the process of becoming a Domino’s Pizza franchisee.

The discipline, networking skills, financial education and strategy taught in the military ultimately set Daniels up for explosive success in the Domino’s brand. His stores have a strong infrastructure and second-to-none leadership that he attributes to his military career.

Daniels is an active philanthropist. Each day he chooses one family in need to receive one free meal–a Domino’s Pizza. He is involved in numerous community organizations including his local domestic violence shelter and the American Cancer Society. Daniels is so dedicated to giving back to those in need that he donated his entire military pension to the American Cancer Society in honor of his father who helped him start his Domino’s franchise business.

Jo McCabe operates a Mr. Handyman in Manassas, Va. McCabe built her success on structure, setting goals and mastering the basics, all skills she learned from her military career. McCabe spent eight years in physical security, overseeing the Navy’s Northeast region and eventually managing 1,500 people. She then bought the Mr. Handyman business in 2008, right before the economy took a turn for the worse. Her first two years in business were certainly challenging.

By 2010, McCabe had managed to increase revenues by 46 percent, crediting her business accomplishments with learning marketing tactics to attract new business and landing repeat customers.

Last year she beat out hundreds of others in the Mr. Handyman system and was named “Franchisee of the Year.” Now with six employees, Mr. Handyman is serving Prince William and Southern Fairfax Counties in Virginia by providing major and minor repairs, maintenance and improvements for both homes and businesses in the area.

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