Veterans In Business Network

Speakers & Workshops

To find more information about the speakers and workshops, click on a presenter to quickly jump to that section.

Robert E. Jones
Cost Accounting in Government Contracts
Cybersecurity – Keep Your Business Protected

Keith Wichmann
Top 10 Things KOs Wish SDVOSBs Knew, But Aren't Allowed to Tell Them

Leah Nelson
The Art of Relational Confrontation: Leadership Communication That Gets Results

Kasey Ortiz
Setting Up Your Business For Tax Success

Don Martinez
Personal Branding & Power Networking

Hawk Thomas
Award Protests - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (There is no Pretty)

Laura Yang Renner
Developing Systems to Help Your Business Run Smoothly

Shelton Rhodes
Strategy: The Foundation of Business Development and Sustainable Competitive Advantage

James Wittmack
How To Write a Winning Business Battle Plan

Coreena Conley
Top Notch Capabilities Statement

Chris Tande
Top Notch Capabilities Statement

Cesar Nader
Marketing Your Veteran Status to Win in Business

Jose G. Espinoza
Tips for Success: A View from the Other Side

Kelly Bagla
Know the Legal Lifecycle of Your Business

Catherine Francis
Hidden Rules of Working with Prime Contractors

Mel Austin
Above & Beyond Banquet Dinner Emcee

Robert E. Jones, CPA, CPCM, NCMA FellowRobertBW
Government Contracts &

LeftBrainProsAccounting Expert

Bio: Award-winning speaker Robert E. Jones shows audiences how to navigate the constantly changing legal and regulatory landscape of government contracts. In his engaging and highly rated presentations, he shares insider secrets drawn from 14 years of DoD contract and accounting experience.

Robert is a Veteran Advocate.

Cost Accounting in Government Contracts

Government contractors face unique cost accounting principles not practiced by many commercial entities. We make compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulations and Cost Accounting Standards easy to understand. Join us to learn about cost pools, cost allocations, and wrap rates. We’ll make the connection between cost accounting and pricing in your next proposal.

Cybersecurity – Keep Your Business Protected
All businesses face cyber security issues. Defense contractors must meet the requirements outlined in NIST (SP) 800-171 R1 by December 31, 2017. Learn best practices all businesses can use to secure their networks and protect their data. We guarantee you’ll walk away with tools you can easily implement today.


Keith Wichmann

HurtVetPresident & Founder

Bio: Upon graduating from Annapolis in 1989 with a degree in aerospace engineering & having received his wings, Mr. Wichmann flew P-3 Anti-Submarine missions in the Navy for 10 years. Following his naval career, he flew night freight for a major airline for the next decade. After 20 years of flying Keith left aviation to enter the corporate world as Director of Operations for an industrial contractor. In 2009, Mr. Wichmann started HurtVet Subcontracting, LLC and within 12 weeks of start-up was awarded a $429,000 Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam project, which was delivered 7 weeks ahead of schedule and under budget. In the last 2 years HurtVet Subcontracting has grown 100-300% annually and has successfully completed more than 35 projects worth over $7,000,000.

Keith is a Navy Veteran.

Top 10 Things KOs Wish SDVOSBs Knew, But Aren’t Allowed to Tell Them

The FARs prohibit Contracting Officers (KO) from telling you certain things.  Join us to hear Tips, Tricks, and Secrets of understanding the unspoken language of government contracting.  Learn the subtleties of reading between the lines, hearing what is not said, and answering questions you were never asked.  To “sell” to a contracting officer, you need to “think” like a contracting officer.  Learn from our mistakes and successes!



Leah Nelson

townsendDirector, Coach & Consultant

Bio:  Leah Nelson is a highly skilled leader with over 22 years of military, business and sales experience. As a coach and consultant, she helps individuals and businesses achieve growth, and new levels of results, while cultivating the relationships that help your business thrive. 

Leah is a Navy Veteran.

The Art of Relational Confrontation: Leadership Communication That Gets Results

Have you been avoiding some difficult conversations at work? Or have you had some of those conversations but then had to do some clean-up work because of the fallout?  This class will help you learn how to balance assertiveness with empathic listening.  You will learn how to maintain connection when giving performance feedback, thereby reducing pushback and negative outcomes to culture while still getting the results you need.


Kasey Ortiz, EA

Bio:  Kasey Ortiz, EA – CEO of Jes Taxes, Inc, USMC Veteran & Business Development Coach. She has over 25 years experience in the Tax Industry. Her expertise has helped clients save tens of thousands of tax dollars over the years. Yet, her ultimate goal is to take the fear out of taxes by educating everyone regarding tax basics. 

Kasey is a Marine Veteran.

Setting Up Your Business for Tax Success

Understanding how taxes affect your business is important. In order to take advantage of the numerous tax benefits available, you must arrange it for success. Some key items are: How the business is Structured/Set Up (i.e. LLC, Corp, Partnership, etc), What Taxing agencies apply to your type of Business (i.e. EDD, BOE, FTB, Local, etc), Business Deductions and Recordkeeping Requirements. These are important tools to help reduce costs and keep more of what is earned.

DonBWDon Martinez

Domar LogoFounder & President

Bio:  Don Martinez Master Certified Coach, and MNLP/PT, Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer and Speaker is the founder & President of Domar Companies, LLC., an Executive Search firm and Advantage Coaching Network a Los Angeles-based organization that provides Executive Search, Leadership development, Executive coaching & Training.  He is the Author of Mastering the Art of Communication Second Edition, The Art of Business, Your Universal Mind and Principles of a Career Search.

Don is ranked one of the top five Executive Career Coaches by UC Irvine Executive MBA Alumni Association. Don enjoys helping Veterans in business and is a Board Member for “Operation Give Back” for Military veterans.

Don is a Veteran Advocate.

Personal Branding & Business Marketing

Whether you’ve been in business for some time or are just getting started, Our Entrepreneurial, Development, Growth and Educational (EDGE) Program is Made for you.
• What is Marketing?
• Marketing research is Key
• Identify Target Markets
• Description of Products and Services
• Pricing Strategies and Promotions

This course has Four Key objectives:

  1. Describe what Marketing is and Why It’s Important
  2. Define and Describe how to conduct Market Research
  3. Explain How to Develop a Marketing Plan
  4. Provide Access to Quality Marketing Resources

HawkBWHawk Thomas

ReidManaging Counsel

Bio:  Mark R. “Hawk” Thomas, Esq. is Managing Counsel at Reid Law PC, where he represents federal business ventures. Colonel Thomas is an industry executive, federal lawyer, military aviator, and electrical engineer with more than thirty years’ tested leadership in government contracting, technology development, and legal advocacy. He guides businesses through the regulatory labyrinth, technical challenges, financial complexities, and myriad legal mandates inherent to procurement transactions and disputes with federal agencies. A Wendelken legal scholar with graduate degrees in business and military operations as well as multiple postgraduate credentials, Colonel Thomas is also active in legal aid ministry and military charities.

Hawk is an Air Force Veteran.

Award Protests - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (There is no Pretty)

You put a ton of time, money, and effort into fighting for an important contract. Then you lose to a competitor. Or you win and they protest. Do you fight or cut your losses? Find out! Topics include protest myths, pre- and post-award challenges; debriefings, the decision calculus, intervening, forums, pleadings, discovery, hearings, alliances, outcomes, appeals, and fee recovery. Attend… and learn how to recognize, embrace, and conquer award protests crucial to your success!

LauraBWLaura Yang Renner

Bio:  Laura Renner is the founder of Freedom Makers, which provides virtual assistant services to small business owners. The assistants are military spouses who can have portable and stable work opportunities. Laura's background is an Army brat, Air Force veteran, and MBA with over 15 years' experience in public and foreign relations, education, and human resources.

Laura is an Air Force Veteran.

Developing Systems to Help Your Business Run Smoothly

Systems are not only critical to scaling your business but also for your sanity. When you’re so busy taking care of all the day-to-day tasks, how do you stop, take a step back to review, and then build and hold to a system? In this presentation, you’ll learn how to easily build systems for the every day tasks that will prepare your business for growth in the years to come and give you more time.

SheltonBW2Shelton Rhodes

Bio:  Dr. Shelton Rhodes has over forty years of combined experience as a military officer, business owner, college professor, and university administrator and he is the author of two books. Dr. Rhodes is a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and he holds a Master of Public Administration from Howard University's School of Business, a Ph.D. from Old Dominion University’s School of Business in Urban Services Management, and a post doctorate fellowship from the University of Washington in Strategic Management.

Shelton is an Army Veteran.

Strategy: The Mother of Business Success Sustainable Competitive Advantage!

It is well documented that strategy is the key to success in business, sports, military or individual success. Strategy about winning! It is about competing differently from rivals—doing what competitors don’t do or, even better, doing what they can’t do! This workshop will describe key strategy concepts and techniques necessary for an entrepreneur to develop and sustain his/her business in the highly competitive environment of business which is like fighting a never-ending war.

JamesBWJames Wittmack

Bio:  James Wittmack had his business stolen from him at gunpoint 27 years ago.  Since then he has been doing everything he can to prevent any business owner from getting into a similar predicament.  James has helped numerous companies accelerate to the next level some of which have grown into national corporations.

James is a Veteran Advocate.

How To Write a Winning Business Battle Plan

  • You don’t win battles with rifles if you can't shoot straight and don’t have bullets
  • You don’t win wars if you can't see the battlefield and have no strategy
  • You don’t win the “Business War” without a winning business battle plan.

An entertaining information-packed presentation!  Receive a FREE comprehensive business plan outline template.

coreenaBWCoreena Conley


Bio:  Coming soon! 

Coreena is a Veteran Advocate.

Top Notch Capabilities Statement & Tactics – A Learning Platform

The government and private sector markets utilizes a business development document known as a Capability Statement. This learning platform provides guidance to better understand the different types and usage of a Capability Statement. You will learn how to create a core focused effective industry specific Capability Statement that will capture the interest and deliver a value proposition.  Then you will learn how to develop your value proposition to foster and solidify relationships with decision makers.

chrisBWChris Tande

Bio:  Chris Tande serves as the Small Business Manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Service Area Office (SAO) West.

He was raised in Helena, Montana and holds several educational degrees and certifications which include a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, International Business from Montana State University and a Master of Science degree in Program Management from the University of Maryland University College. Chris also has three master’s level certificates in construction management from Auburn University.  And, he has a Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level III Certification in both Program Management and Contracting, as well as a Federal Acquisition Certification Level III in Contracting.  

He is a recently retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Army with 21 years of active duty service. As a soldier, Chris served in infantry and military intelligence units before becoming an acquisition officer specializing in program management and contracting.  His career highlights include service as a Rifle Platoon Leader, and Scout Platoon Leader with 1-36IN in Friedberg, Germany and Bosnia, Herzegovina; J2X Operations Officer with the CJTOF – Horn of Africa in Djibouti, Djibouti; Company Commander with the 502nd MI Battalion in Baghdad, Iraq; Contracting Officer with the 902nd Contingency Contracting Battalion in the Southern Philippines; Chief of Contracting with the JCC-I in Kirkuk, Iraq; Integration Officer for the THAAD Missile Program in San Jose, CA; and, Deputy Chief of Contracting for USACE in Sacramento, CA.
Chris has numerous awards and decorations which include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medal, Joint Achievement Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal as well as Joint Meritorious Unit Citation with two oak leaf clusters; Parachutist Badge, and Combat Action Badge


Chris is an Army Veteran.

Top Notch Capabilities Statement & Tactics – A Learning Platform

(Presented with Coreena Conley)


Cesar NaderCesarBW


Bio:  Cesar Nader is a Marine retired, business owner, veteran advocate and executive coach with over 15 years of experience coaching and mentoring individuals, entrepreneurs, couples, teams and organizations to improve and realize their potential with practical and proven methods. Mr. Nader leads from experience and with the understanding that connecting people and helping them be successful is the key to a great reputation.

Cesar is a Marine Veteran.        

Small Business Guerrilla Marketing
To win contracts you must be recognized as a household name by your government cusotmers. The Guerrilla Marketing for Small Businesses workshop, is design to show your the tools you will need to successfully develop a business battle rhythm to improve your marketing, be more effective at winning contracts and get more calls and engagements with your government customers. This is not a "feel good" seminar where you hear about someone else's success stories. This is the down and dirty hard work required to get you to the top, so come prepare with your challenges in marketing and your willingness to put the hard work to bring your business more wins. This workshop will give you an edge on your competition and the attention of your customers.




CesarBWCesar Nader

Bio:  Cesar Nader is a Marine retired, business owner, veteran advocate and executive coach with over 15 years of experience coaching and mentoring individuals, entrepreneurs, couples, teams and organizations to improve and realize their potential with practical and proven methods. Mr. Nader leads from experience and with the understanding that connecting people and helping them be successful is the key to a great reputation.          

Small Business Guerrilla Marketing

Motivation is the key to success.

joseBWJose G. Espinoza

Bio:  Jose is responsible for California Water Service’s supplier diversity goal, that is, 21.5% of all procurement sourced from Minority- Women- Disabled Veteran- and LGBT- Owned Businesses. He previously served 5 years in the Marines.

Jose is a Marine Veteran.

Tips for Success:  A View from the Other Side
Looking for ways to stand out from the competition?  Bring a pen and paper for a few practical tips for promoting your business and remaining relevant.

KellyBWKelly Bagla

Bio:  Kelly Bagla, Esq. is an author, a speaker and the founder of Bagla Law Firm, APC.  Kelly is an experienced business attorney who has helped hundreds of business owners with setting up their business for success.  Kelly is the creator of the Business Legal Lifecycle™ and the author of, “Go Legal Yourself!” which is specifically written for business owners, showing them how to legally protect their business in every phase, be it startup, to growth, or established to exit. 

Kelly prides herself by serving military clients who want to start businesses or who are looking for funding.  Kelly’s military clients range from Lieutenant Colonels to Sargent Majors and Marines looking to start businesses. 

Kelly is a Veteran Advocate.

Know the Legal Lifecycle of your Business 
By knowing exactly where you are in your Legal Lifecycle, you can easily move from one phase to another, be it from Startup to Growth or from Establishment to Exit.

If you don’t have the right tools to protect your personal assets, fighting a legal battle can be very expensive.  Learn how to avoid costly legal battles and how to get the right tools for your Business Legal Lifecycle.


CatherineBWCatherine Francis


Bio:  Catherine Francis is an author, trainer and speaker. She has committed her life to helping small businesses succeed locally and internationally by being competitive in today's global marketplace. Catherine is passionate about Supplier Diversity and has a mission to ensure every capable and qualified company can participate and benefit from Supplier Diversity spend opportunities.

Catherine is a Veteran Advocate.        

Hidden Rules of Working with Prime Contractors
Participants will learn ways to improve their business efficiency and effectiveness by understanding common expectations among prime contractors and large business entities. Participants will discuss the varying distinctions that allow some companies to thrive and succeed in larger marketplace opportunities. 

• Learn how to know what you don't know 
• Understand the common expectations of prime contractors
• Learn strategies to stay competitive to succeed in the global marketplace 
• Learn the secret strategies of big business
• Understand the hidden expectations of large contractors


CesarBWCesar Nader

Bio:  Cesar Nader is a Marine retired, business owner, veteran advocate and executive coach with over 15 years of experience coaching and mentoring individuals, entrepreneurs, couples, teams and organizations to improve and realize their potential with practical and proven methods. Mr. Nader leads from experience and with the understanding that connecting people and helping them be successful is the key to a great reputation.          

Small Business Guerrilla Marketing

Motivation is the key to success.


MelBWMel Austin

Bio:  Mel is a Veteran business owner and CEO of Laughing to Success Entertainment and Laughing 2 Success Academy. He is also an actor and comedian for the last 20 years and has served in the U.S. Marine Corps.  He performs at The Improv, Comedy Store, Laugh Factory and produces comedy events.  Mel Austin is the host and creator of “Squeaky Clean Comedy” at Dave & Buster's (Ontario, Orange, & San Diego, CA).  He has several commercial, film and theatre credits.  His most recent nationwide commercials are with Terminix and National Geographic and AMP’D Mobile.

Mel Austin is a coach/trainer/teacher of acting and standup.  Originally from Chicago, Illinois; He resides in the city of Riverside, California. 

Mel is a Marine Veteran.

Above & Beyond Banquet Dinner Emcee


Outlook Outlook
iCal iCal
Google Google
Yahoo! Yahoo!