Mark was in a holding pattern, not knowing exactly what direction to go in as he progressed through his transition. He knew he wanted to be his own boss and had a good conception of the business he wanted to start. Sealcoating had always sparked an interest with Mark. But he wanted to set his business apart from all the rest. We discussed the products that he would use for his sealcoating, the uniforms that his men would wear and the idea that he was only looking to hire combat veterans. As the class came to an end, Mark made the decision to contact me and continue his business endeavor. Our discussion was enlightening for both of us, so I want to share some of the questions and answers we tried to solve:
Amy: Give me a brief background of your military career.
Mark: I enlisted in the USMC in 1990 during the Gulf War. I spent 4 years on active duty based at Kings Bay, Georgia and then Camp Pendleton, California. While in the Marine Corps, I was originally part of FAST Co.(Fleet Anti-Terrorist Strike Team) then moved out to California to link up with 2nd Battalion 9th Marines/2nd Battalion 4th Marines doing Amphibious Assault Vehicles, and then moved on to the Provost Marshall’s Office as a Military Policeman.
In 2008, I entered the US Army National Guard joining the 206th Military Police Co. for their deployment to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and the PTT mission (Police Transition Teams). While in Iraq, I worked primarily as part of the Quick Response Force for the Basra Providence. After returning home from deployment, I did a short stint with the PTAE (Pre-Mobilization Training Assistance Element) and then joined the 1108th EOD unit (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) as the Supply NCO.
Amy: What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
Mark: I founded Veterans Sealcoating LLC after recognizing the need to provide employment opportunities for our Service Members returning home. As a Combat Veteran, the thought of our Service Members returning home from an overseas deployment and not having a job here was upsetting to me. That thought inspired me to form a business staffed solely by Combat Veterans, so that we may continue to proudly serve our country in a different way. I knew that with our training, dedication and work ethic, we could provide a superior service to our customers while also giving back to those who served our great Nation.
Amy: What did you learn in the Boots 2 Business class?
Mark: I heard about the class through the ACAP course. The class was extremely informative and helped guide me through the steps necessary to get a small business up and running. It was a two-day curriculum, taught by Amy Amoroso-Director for Veteran Business Outreach (and also my business advisor) and Erica Choi- SBA. Amy and Erica offered their skills and knowledge and took us on a two-day journey explaining the many facets of owning and operating a business. Amy also pulled in current veteran clients of hers, and they gave their own stories on transitioning from military to civilian to entrepreneurship.
Amy: Tell us more about your business.
Mark: Veterans Sealcoating LLC employs a team of Combat Veterans who strive to provide the most exceptional service and superior workmanship for all of your asphalt needs. We currently employ about 12 part-time employees and hope to provide employment to more Veterans as our business grows. Our philosophy is simple – we all wear the same uniform to work and pride ourselves on our professionalism and commitment to quality work and customer satisfaction.
We use only the finest and most eco-friendly products available from SealMaster. We do meticulous preparation which includes edging the driveway, making sure the pavement is clean and spot-prepped for fuel leaks, and taping all areas that need protection like sidewalks and landscape stone. All cracks are filled and our application of the Polymer Modified MasterSeal sealer (the only product we use and endorse) is always done by hand with a horse hair brush or squeegee. Upon completion, we provide drying instructions and leave our signature Bandit sign behind with two American Flags on each side.
Amy: How can Veterans or others contact you?
Mark: I’m happy to talk to anyone who’s interested!
Since my Spring interview with Mark Kring, Veterans Sealcoating LLC has been picking up business and gaining large amounts of contacts. He currently has 12 combat veterans employed on a part time basis and is looking to hire more. Mark stated that he would like to see other combat veterans from other areas starting up a Veterans Sealcoating LLC business. He will be looking into franchising his business to service not only his veterans, but NY and beyond. From combat to entrepreneurship, our military personnel clearly have the energy, innovation, and work ethic to make start-up businesses work for them and their fellow veterans.