Is Dayton a land of opportunity for Veterans?

We’ve heard the Richard Florida argument for a culture centered around the “Creative Class” as a driver of economic prosperity. Yet, the “creative class” is somewhat a matter of opinion- and it’s something that any community could have a shot at.

The Dayton Development Coalition talks about their four key focuses as drivers of economic development.

Advanced Materials and Manufacturing
The unique and compelling nature of our industry allows us to quickly transform innovations into processes and products.

Aerospace R&D
The advances achieved by our Aerospace R&D community gives ample evidence that the Air Force Research Laboratory and their hundreds of industry and university partners in our region have formed the preeminent aeronautical research and development center in the world.

Healthcare and Human Sciences
Aeromedical research, training, and acquisition elements are being consolidated into a Center of Excellence for Human Performance at Wright-Patt, accompanied by 21 existing regional hospitals, medical schools, training facilities and human science-focused businesses.

IT / Data Management
The Dayton Region is a global leader in understanding how the innovative use of information can transform people’s lives.

via – Dayton Region.

These are all business focuses- and leave out the most critical part: social capital. How do we really get these things done if the people who do these things have a really good reason to operate here instead of elsewhere. Sure, there is the base- with its huge R&D budget, but in a virtual world, that money could be spent here or in San Jose without much difference to the contracting officer.

Having a major military installation nearby is a good economic engine to rely on, but with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down, and our economy in shambles, it would be foolhardy not to expect cutbacks in the military budget.

However, there is one thing the wars have created a bountiful supply of: veterans, and more specifically, service disabled veterans. Besides being a logistics center, WPAFB has a medical center that is serving a multi-state area for transitioning seriously injured vets. We also have the Dayton VA Medical Center- another large treatment facility- toss in the Wright State University with one of the nation’s most accessible campuses with extensive experience in handling students with disabilities and all of a sudden, you start to realize that we may have a strong positioning potential to become a community of choice for disabled veterans to put down roots.

When I was in the Army and traveling from post to post- I could tell which communities embraced their soldiers and which didn’t. Fayettville NC, Augusta GA both seemed to loathe the kids in uniform- while the people of Columbus GA welcomed us and treated us with respect. Dayton has always seemed to be somewhat apathetic- but leaning toward respect. Of course, I also often marveled at the star power on base- when first arriving here I saw more stars on shoulders in one trip to the BX than I’d seen in 2+ years of active duty on an Army post.

With this idea of starting to market Dayton as a great place for disabled veterans to retire and reside- will require additional support of local businesses in their commitment to hire these brave young men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country- but also a strong support network to assist them in starting and running their own businesses. The Federal Government passed a law in 2003 requiring all Federal contracts to have 3% Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) participation- a goal that’s not even remotely close to being met. Quite a few States have also given SDVOB and even Veteran Owned Businesses (VOB) preference in bidding. Ohio has not shown an interest- although they did vote to make military retirement pay not eligible for State income taxes.

For the last four plus years, a small group of which I’m a founding member has worked to support and grow VOBs in the region. We’re the representatives of NaVOBA here in SW Ohio and just received our 501C6 designation as a non-profit.

Vet Biz Now! Flyer for event

Click on image for Printable PDF

This Oct 14th, from 11 to 2 we’ll be hosting our first event, Vet Biz Now, bringing in a nationally recognized expert in the field:

Scott Denniston, former Director of Small Business Programs and the Center for Veterans Enterprise at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will present a status update on Vet Biz opportunities.

Seating is limited for this lunch event at the Hope Hotel at WPAFB in Dayton. Please make reservations at $20 includes lunch.

via Vet Biz Now! Oct. 14 2010, Dayton Ohio — VOB108.

Besides Scott discussing the state of Veteran Business opportunities and a status update, VOB108 will be making some presentations of success stories- and highlighting some area VOB that are making a difference.

We welcome you to attend, and ask that if you know any Veterans who own their own business to inform them of this event.

Small business has been one of the saving graces through this economic crisis, with all the programs available and becoming made available to help assist these wounded warriors transition back to civilian life- this could be an effort that is both good for our country and our community and our souls.

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Greg HunterjstultsJeff DziwulskiDonald Phillips Recent comment authors
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Donald Phillips
Donald Phillips

Ahugm… And what was the result of Richard Florida Thought– sixty-some odd jobs  in the Boring Again District.  I sure was off base about that; I predicted a net gain of six jobs.My apologies to the Metroids.

You’re simply substituting old soldiers for Richard Florida’s homosexual culture vultures as the insturments of Dayton’s salvation. Don’t bank on it. The aerospace industry is poised to dismiss tens of thousands of employees and consolidate into even fewer behemouths. Also, with the imminent demise of knee-jerk patriotism, tax payers are going to assault veterans’ benefits just as they have welfare entitlements and Civil Service health & pension plans. Unlike the twenty-million veterans of WWII, the veterans of  the NeoCon Crusades will constitute too small a voting block to garner the fear of Congress. Veterans will be lucky if they collect forty acres and a mule.

Jeff Dziwulski
Jeff Dziwulski

The aerospace industry is poised to dismiss tens of thousands of employees and consolidate into even fewer behemouths

True, one can expect cutbacks and at best a plateau in defense-related employment  (private- & public-sector) once the BRAC-related bed-downs come on-line.  This will be driven by the need to reduce or hold level the Defense budget, which currently exceeds Cold War highs in current-year dollars (but is still a relatively small percent of GDP).  Spending at this level is unsustainable and would crowd-out other types of discretionary spending.  This would be a budget policy issue even if the Federal Government didn’t have the big recession-driven deficits.

Yet the type of industry cutback Phillips mentions is going to affect places like Wichita, which has around 30,000 positions attributed to aerospace production.  What goes on here is different and the cuts here will be different.

However, the thrust of David’s post was military retirees and veterans as social capital.  This is recognized.  Military members are considered to have a superior work-ethic to the private sector when it comes to stick-to-it’ ivness and teamwork.    So to have a pool of potential workers like this  is a regional asset that could be pushed more.  Kudos to David and his band of brothers for making this effort.



Jeff (unsited) Dziwulski:

Yet the type of industry cutback Phillips mentions is going to affect places like Wichita…

Wichita is already bleeding.  The existing aerospace cluster in Wichita, and the aspirational one here in Dayton both seem to be following the accepted formula of relocating (or originally sourcing) any “metal cutting” into low-wage production clusters in the second world while retaining the “top” of the value chain.  That’s the way for everybody with a pull to get paid, but it sucks if you cut metal for a living.  It also means that the value proposition that Dayton’s “cluster” brings is not as compelling, because it is not as differentiated and the barriers to entry for prospective competitors are lower.  Any mid-size town in the middle of the midwest can through up an office complex.  GE is asking the important question: You threw up some office space, So What?


Must be Oktoberfest…

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

Military members are considered to have a superior work-ethic to the private sector when it comes to stick-to-it’ ivness and teamwork.

Agreed….the keep doing the same thing they did when they were in the military only collecting two paychecks….you really cannot make up how in the rabbit hole this type of thinking leads too….Their goal is too keeping making the salary not doing anything different…with that kind of budget and no real questioning of results you get mediocrity for the money.  Keep turning that crank for the WPAFB as I have not seen bang for the buck only one more congressmen purchased by the MIC.  Keep going Bucky!

Donald Phillips
Donald Phillips

Wright-Patt in its permutationshas been around for over seventy years, while Mr. Esrati contends that the Miami Valley is an ‘unknown gem’  to military personnel. This belies logical correspondance. Military retirees overwhelmingly prefer the South and Southwest, as evidanced by the resources the VA has shifted to those locales.

Mr. Esrati is increasingly exposing his susceptability to Metroid self-mendacity: that is, the tendency to believe in-house propaganda in inverse rationship to the reality before ones eyes.


Southern upstart luring established manufacturing concern from the city of its founding.  Dayton-NCR-Gerogia saga?  Nope, it’s Wichita-HawkerBeech-Louisiana.  A story folks in Dayton will find familiar:

It was only two years ago that striking machinists at Hawker Beechcraft accepted a hard-fought, three-year labor contract after nearly a month on the picket lines.

But that was before a global economic downturn that devastated the aircraft manufacturing industry. And before Louisiana reportedly offered the debt-ridden aircraft maker millions in incentives to lure its 6,000 jobs to Baton Rouge.

On Saturday, machinists will vote on a new seven-year contract offer that includes a 10 percent pay cut and other labor concessions. The contract requires a simple majority for approval and there is no strike vote.
Hawker-Beechcraft contract offer

Looks like the union is willing to deal though, so the manufacturing ops will likely stay in Wichita for a little bit longer.  This part is interesting:

The lost machining jobs are mostly in the company’s fabrication work, small parts, electrical and upholstery operations along with some back shop work.