By: Kathy Albarado on July 26th, 2009

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For Love of Country

Helios HR | Risk Management

On July 22nd I was fortunate to participate on a panel and present at the 5th Annual National Veteran Small Business Conference and Expo. My presentation addressed HR Compliance from 100,000 feet. Targeted to the growing federal contractor, I addressed both federal employment regulations pertaining to all employers based on number of employees as well as a more detailed look at those unique employment regulations that impact federal contractors alone. Judging from the audience participation, the topic was useful and timely for many. If you would like a copy of the presentation you can download it here.

The conference, only in its 5th year, had over 3,000 attendees. Not bad in a year when many claim that travel and attendance are down. Topics ranged from building and enhancing business growth in the federal sector, to writing winning proposals, considerations in teaming agreements to building an appropriate infrastructure to address the needs of rapidly scaling the organization.

Whereas the programming content alone was well worth the trip, there was something very, very special about this conference. I was honored and humbled to meet the many service-disabled veterans in attendance. These business owners are passionate about their work in supporting our federal government and shared many common bonds.

Joe Galloway an American icon and newspaper correspondent and columnist was a keynote speaker. Before that day, I was vaguely aware that Mr. Galloway served three tours in Vietnam for United Press International beginning in early 1965. Yet I had no idea that he was decorated for rescuing wounded American soldiers under heavy enemy fire during the battle at Landing Zone X-Ray and that he was the only civilian awarded the Bronze Star by the United States Army during that war. In fact, as he was being introduced by Edward Harrington, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army (Procurement), chills literally ran up my spine as the story was told of how heavy artillery fire kept the medics from landing to save the wounded, yet Joe Galloway came in not once, but three times, piloting the helicopter to land and take his injured comrades to safety. Joe Galloway is a friend indeed of the U.S. military. He received a standing ovation.

I was honored and pleased to offer a contribution to these growing veteran-owned businesses, and was humbled by their presence as they are the true heroes that continue to contribute to the greatness of our country .