Looking for Leaders |
Published in the March/April 2013 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Leadership is a cord that joins veterans to the business world. The ability to navigate a team through uncertainty to success is a valuable commodity in any business – and a quality that veterans typically possess in abundance.
An appreciation of leadership and a deep respect for the sacrifices of current and former servicemembers have motivated a franchisor named College Hunks Hauling Junk and College Hunks Moving to provide substantial business-ownership opportunities to veterans. College Hunks is a national junk-removal, labor services, and moving company with franchises serving 45 markets in 25 states. Those markets include Atlanta, Baltimore, central New Jersey, central Pennsylvania, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Myers, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh-Durham, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Washington.
The company has about 100 employees under its corporate entity and more than 500 system-wide. College Hunks is always looking for talented franchise partners and college-age frontline employees.
The company recently signed its third veteran under the VetFran Initiative, by which former military personnel receive a discounted rate when purchasing a franchise. VetFran is an initiative of the International Franchise Association (IFA).
Anthony Auman, a United States Navy veteran and owner of the franchise in Greensboro, North Carolina, said that, during his search for franchise opportunities, “College Hunks was the only one that really popped off the screen at me. They’re a fun brand, and it seemed like franchising with them would be more of an adventure.” Auman served as a cryptologic technician operator aboard the USS Belleau Wood and played an integral support role in such missions as Operation United Shield.
He said that opting to become a business owner instead of an employee was a no-brainer. “I realized that this was the right path for me,” he said. “I wanted to take control of my professional life and the College Hunks franchise opportunity let me do just that.”
Auman also cited company’s growth as a factor in his decision. “It’s the perfect time in the company’s history,” he said. “It’s a young company that is clearly turning the corner. It’s really taking off, and I’m proud to be on board for it.”
Auman said that his attention to detail has helped him in every post-military opportunity. That attention has kept him organized and enabled him to provide better client relations.
He encourages servicemembers to be active savers and ration money to use on opportunities when they get out. He said to take advantage of all available support, such as the G.I. Bill, and become a part of the community.
Nick Friedman, president and co-founder of College Hunks, pointed to Auman’s ability to lead as the reason for the Greensboro location’s success. “Anthony is doing very well because he understands what it takes to be successful, and he has the follow-through to get it done,” Friedman said. “More importantly, he knows how to get his team to do the same and work toward a shared vision. That’s what leadership is all about, and he does it well.”
Echoing the importance of leadership is Carl Carter, a former United States Army Reserve captain and a College Hunks franchise owner in Jackson, Mississippi. Carter, who is currently preparing to launch his location, recognizes how critical good leaders are to successful ventures.
“I personally think the leadership and vision I developed throughout my time in the military will be my biggest strengths in terms of running this business,” Carter said. “It works out well because ‘Building Leaders’ is one of the company’s four core values, and it’s not just a pair of words – you can tell everyone in the organization really buys into it and lives by it.”
Carter also benefitted from a $5,000 VetFran discount that College Hunks offers. “The VetFran bonus creates a win-win scenario,” said Omar Soliman, CEO and co-founder of College Hunks. “Veterans get an advantage in pricing, which helps make business ownership a feasible option, and we get highly talented men and women as franchise partners. This is how we plan to help bring back the American Dream for so many men and women who sacrifice so much for us.”
A husband-and-wife team also took advantage of the College Hunks VetFran discount. Rick and Laura Turner purchased a franchise in Oklahoma City. Both of them retired after more than 20 years in the United States Air Force – and both are big believers in the importance of leadership.
Rick finished his Air Force career as an operations officer, and he points to his ability to lead as the reason for his professional success. He won four major leadership awards for his work in the military.
According to Friedman, “The Turners represent the third VetFran bonus we’ve been able to grant. Our hope is that they, along with Mr. Carter and Mr. Auman, are the start of a trend where talented veteran leaders join our team and become empowered as business owners. After all, these brave men and women have already done an incredible service for our country. Now, it’s up to us to return the favor.”