This January, Vanquish Worldwide and other members of the public and private sector business community joined together for the Fifth Annual Tennessee Veterans Business Association (TVBA) Business and Education Expo. This is a unique event that combines a business-to-business showcase with a career and education opportunity summit for veterans. The two-day event took place at the Knoxville Holiday Inn Downtown Knoxville on January 26 and 27, 2015.
The Keynote Dinner for the Fifth Annual Business and Education Expo was held on Jan. 26. The keynote speaker was Staff Sgt. (Ret) Shilo Harris, an enlisted Cavalry Scout in the United States Army. As the son of a Vietnam veteran, native Texan Shilo Harris knew he always wanted to be a soldier. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he enlisted as a Cavalry Scout in the U.S. Army. He and his wife Kathreyn were stationed in Germany with the First Infantry Division when he deployed to Iraq in February 2004.
On his second deployment in August 2006 with the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y., Harris worked near southern Baghdad on route clearance. Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris’ Humvee hit an IED while on patrol in Iraq in February 2007. In that blast he lost three of his best friends. He is missing his ears, the tip of his nose, three fingers, fractured his collar bone and the C-7 vertebrae, and suffered partial to full thickness burns over 35 percent of his body.
What followed was an agonizing road to recovery, which began with nearly two months in a medically-induced coma. He spent nearly three years in the burn unit of Brooke Army Medical Center. During that time, he experienced a version of hell so terrifying, the memories still haunt him today.
Harris retired from the military in 2010. Today he is a motivational speaker and urges his audiences to welcome veterans and warriors home. The Harris family resides in south Texas and was recently awarded a new home, which was featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Dec. 11, 2012.
Harris has published his inspiring story in his memoir, Steel Will: My Journey Through Hell to Become the Man I was Meant to Be.
2015 TVBA Awards Presentation
Each year the Tennessee Veterans Business Association recognizes member companies that demonstrate the veteran spirit within the business community. These companies provide superior service to our community and nation. Their business leadership brings a credit upon themselves, and the United States of America, according to Jonathan Williams, Founder and Chairman of the Tennessee Veterans Business Association. The winners this year are as follows:
– “Veterans Excellence” Award went to Alliant – honors a local company that works with and hires veterans
– “Bravo Zulu” Award went to Attention IT – presented to a Member company that exemplifies the veteran spirit
– “Veteran Pioneer” Award went to Sword and Shield – presented to a member company that is thriving in a unique business model
– “Veterans Innovator” Award went to Vanquish Worldwide – presented to a member company that is an innovator in their field
– “Veteran Supporter” Award went to Leidos – presented to a company that is a supporter of veteran causes.
The 2015 high-energy expo connected government, industry, active duty and retired military personnel, and veteran-focused non-profits for a business and education showcase and hiring event. Pre-expo seminars provided entrepreneurship training, business development assistance and networking opportunities to military veterans and their families.
TVBA is a non-profit membership trade association that is dedicated exclusively to the interests of veterans in business. The foundation of the organization is built on four cornerstones: marketing, government advocacy, education and training, and veteran employment issues.
As a diamond member of TVBA, Vanquish Worldwide is a proud supporter of this organization and extremely grateful for the recognition as 2015 “Veterans Innovator”. Vanquish’s sister and subsidiary companies – Peak Technical Institute, Front Range Training and LexLin Gypsy Ranch – are TVBA members as well and most, in addition to hiring veterans, regularly give to veteran nonprofits centered on education and wounded warrior therapy programs.