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Serving Those Who Served

School of Business Associate Dean Ingrid Fisher and Management Professor Paul Miesing will lead panel presentations at VETCON. Miesing is one of the key organizers of the Oct. 24-25 conference. (Photos by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, NY (Oct. 11, 2016) – The University at Albany family is doing its part to help military veterans find success.

The Veterans in Economic Transition Conference, or VETCON, scheduled for the Desmond Hotel in Albany on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 24-25, aims to give a boost to veterans looking to grow their businesses, make connections, or transition into the professional world. Among the conference’s panelists and presenters will be a number of UAlbany faculty and alumni. Interim Provost Darrell Wheeler will speak at Tuesday morning's breakfast event.

The conference is the first of its kind in the Capital Region. “We want to help veterans as they build their professional careers,” said Paul Miesing, professor of Management and founding director of UAlbany’s Center for Advancement & Understanding of Social Enterprises (CAUSE), which is dedicated to social entrepreneurship.

“VETCON is a unique collection of public and private businesses, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and governmental agencies that have gathered together for a worthy initiative that will help veterans and society, as well as support their own enterprises,” he said.

UAlbany alumni Steve Lobel ’70, founder of The Cheese Connection and Cowan & Lobel restaurants, and Fred Erlich ’69, founder and CEO of health and human services agency Living Resources, will be participating in the “Failing My Way to Success” and “Assisted Living Technologies” presentations, respectively.

On the faculty side, Ingrid Fisher, associate dean of the School of Business and associate professor of Accounting and Law, will be heading up the “Education Opportunities for Returning Veterans” panel. School of Business Professor Peter Duchessi, Assistant Professor Lisa Baranik, lecturer Ronald Ladouceur, and Miesing will all come together for the “Business Functions and Highlights” panel.

VETCON will also include a job fair, matchmaking opportunities for veterans with both government and non-governmental organizations. The state’s Office of General Services will have a representative on hand instructing on how to certify disabled-vet-owned businesses. Also there will be a number of agencies mandated to set aside a percentage of their contracts for such businesses.

Miesing was closely involved with the creation of VETCON. He met with Mario Cometti, a partner in the law firm Tully Rinckey PLLC, and MBA alumnus (2008) Scott DeMarco of BST Valuation and Litigation Advisors, LLC, who both expressed interest in creating an event that supported the business and employment aspirations of military veterans.

They had been impressed with the June 2015 Assisted Living Technologies conference that CAUSE had created with local social service agency Living Resources; it connected innovators and entrepreneurs who have an interest in developing products and services for senior citizens and people with disabilities. They agreed that a similar social entrepreneurship project could be held to support veterans.

UAlbany alumnus and Tully Rinckey co-founder Greg Rinckey MBA ’11, who is also a military veteran, threw his support behind the project, and VETCON became a reality, with more than 30 local businesses and organizations following his firm’s lead in lending support.

“We all look at the conference as having a ‘triple-E’ goal,” said Miesing. “It encourages and teaches about entrepreneurship; through the Job Fair and sessions on things like writing resumes, it addresses how to gain employment; and, through seminars, such as the one led by Ingrid Fisher, it demonstrates the availability and power of education.”

Miesing is pleased so far pleased with the results of VETCON, citing the more than 250 people already registered for Monday’s program.

“We believe this will be the first of many annual VETCON events,” Miesing said.

VETCON requires registration, which can be done by going to the VETCON website.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.