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VETCON: Combat-disabled veterans forge business ties at annual event in Albany

A conference is happening this November to connect New York’s service-disabled veteran small business owners with major players in their industry.

The annual Veterans in Economic Transition Conference, or VETCON, will return to the Crowne Plaza Desmond Hotel in Albany for a two-day event from November 29 to 30, 2022.


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Chris Dambach is a United State Marine Corps Combat Veteran who served in Iraq.

He’s the founder and owner of Industry Standard USA, a Syracuse-based construction and demolition company, as well as a member of the VETCON Alliance Board.

Industry Standard will join over 100 certified New York State Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOBs) at the conference this November.

“Each year, there’s about three conferences that no matter what, I’m going to be there,” he told FingerLakes1.com. “This is one of them.”

The reason he returns to VETCON each year is simple, according to Dambach.

“When you meet with a potential customer or client, they know that you are a disabled veteran small business owner,” he said. “They’re there because they want to meet veterans that have businesses. That opens up the opportunity to get down to brass tacks and communicate what exactly it is that you do in your company, and how you can help that potential client right out of the gate and save time.”

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New York’s Office of General Services launched the SDVOB certification program in 2014.

According to the state’s website, the program helps service-disabled veterans “play a greater role in the state’s economy by increasing their participation in New York State’s contracting opportunities.”

Anthony Kuhn is the managing partner at Buffalo-based Tully Rinckey Kuhn PLLC and chair of the VETCON Alliance. He is also a military combat veteran who served for 26 years in the Army and Army Reserve.

Tully Rinckey launched VETCON to connect SDVOBs with state agencies looking to contract them, he explained.


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Conference takes place November 29 and 30 at Albany’s Desmond Hotel

The two-day conference features presentations that run three at a time, so business owners can choose which events they’d like to attend.

“They’re all training. It could be anything from the proper formation of an LLC or a corporation, all the way up to securing funding or drafting a capability statement,” said Kuhn.

Last year, VETCON started offering panel discussions on ‘Contractor Day,’ or day two of the conference.

Kuhn said this year’s schedule includes new presentations aimed at business owners who have attended the conference in years past, featuring all new topics and presenters.

Awards are also given out on day two of VETCON to recognize both new and established businesses.

The program for day one includes lunch and dinner, as well as a happy hour in the evening. The day two program includes breakfast and lunch.

“We expect this year to be our biggest year yet,” said Kuhn.


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Dambach and Kuhn both agree: The biggest benefit of attending VETCON is the connections made.

“It’s about bringing everybody together, shaking hands, meeting each other face to face,” said Kuhn. “Finding the people that you would like to do business with, whether it’s an individual from the state or another SDVOB. You can work together to help each other be successful.”

A few years back, said Dambach, he attended his first VETCON.

“I was blown away,” he said. “It was organized in such a way that I was able to meet everybody I wanted to meet in one weekend, which is phenomenal.”

The conference has only grown and expanded since then, he explained.

“It’s the event you don’t want to miss,” said Dambach. “This program works, and if it wasn’t for the great team at Tully Rinckey who put this together, I don’t know if any other partner can make it happen.”

For more information on the conference and how to buy tickets, head to the VETCON website.



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