Veteran Owned Businesses

Oct 29, 2019

In September 2019, IBA co-sponsored the Veteran Owned Business Award at Impact Pitch, an annual event recognizing success in the entrepreneurial community organized by Seattle non-profit organization, Business Impact Northwest. IBA’s VP of Business Development, Curt Maier, a Navy veteran and the proud father of a daughter who will begin training as a Navy pilot in 2020 represented IBA at the event and presented the award. The 2019 winner of the award was Rocky Butte Coffee Roasters.  Their amazing story is highlighted in the following video (

The United States military is one of the premier training environments in the world.  Annually, knowledgeable, experienced, highly skilled personnel exit the military in the Pacific Northwest ready to enter the private sector.  Many of the individuals desire to start a second career contributing to the success of companies ranging from Boeing to Alaska Airlines to Microsoft.  One pathway to employment program supported by IBA, as a 45 year business broker facilitating transactions in the manufacturing sector, is CAMPS (Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound) M2M – Military to Manufacturing program (  This program helps officers and enlisted personnel find positions in the manufacturing sector when they exit the service.  Any military personnel interested in entering the manufacturing sector of the economy in Washington are encouraged to engage with this program.  IBA is proud to be one of the few mergers & acquisitions firms invited to be a member of CAMPS and actively supports it programs, staff, and members.

A second pathway into the private sector for individuals exiting the military is to enter the world of entrepreneurship.  Individuals interested in this career path have three potential paths forward.  The first path is to take the idea they developed while in the military and execute it in a business start-up.   This is what took place when Greg Van Zandt left the Air Force after significant success keeping squadrons flying from a mechanical perspective.  Recognizing his relevant knowledge, experience, and professional skills related to equipment, Mr. Van Zandt entered the world of equipment sales & rental as a business owner.  Over the next several decades, he became recognized as one of the “best of the best” in the industry building successful companies in Washington & Colorado that had a loyal customer base including government entities like the Department of Transportation and significant construction companies in the region.  Earlier this year, IBA facilitated the sale of Greg Van Zandt’s last equipment dealership & rental company, Van’s Equipment Company ( to allow him to retire officially after a storybook career of American success.

A second option for someone leaving the military with a desire to be their own boss is to purchase a franchised business opportunity.  Franchises have historically been popular with military personnel for entrepreneurship because they offer proven systems that if executed by the book have a high probability of success.  This was the path taken after leaving the military by Gabriel Gilliam who purchased the Seattle Pirtek franchise (  The business that specialized in the manufacturing, repair, & installation of hydraulic hoses for manufacturing, construction, and transportation companies prospered under Mr. Gilliam’s leadership. However, a decade after starting the business he and his wife, Erin, decided they wanted to relocate from Seattle to be closer to their family.  Recognizing they needed to hire their own experienced, knowledgeable, highly skilled professional to achieve their relocation goals, they engaged IBA to sell their profitable business.  Several months later a transaction was completed and the Gilliams headed back to their roots to start the next chapter of their lives surrounded by family & friends.  If you are an entrepreneur interested in pursuing a path forward involving purchasing a franchise, Curt Maier, a licensed franchise broker at IBA who is both a veteran and former franchise owner would welcome the opportunity to discuss the menu of high quality options available.  Mr. Maier can be contacted directly at (425) 454-3052 or   He welcomes calls from any veteran entrepreneur seeking knowledge about franchises.

The final option available to veterans desiring the life of an entrepreneur is to purchase an established business.  IBA, as the premier business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest since 1975, has facilitated many transactions where people leaving military service buy privately held companies or family businesses from IBA.  A recent transaction where this occurred was when two former military officers, Chris & Carrie Omdal, purchased Modern Siding ( in an IBA facilitated transaction employing one of the favorable loan programs offered by the SBA (Small Business Administration) to veterans through the banking community.  The acquisition allowed the Omdals to become the owners of a quality, profitable company with a superior staff and start the entrepreneurial chapter of their lives managing & enhancing business performance rather than building a new business from the ground floor.

The military is a prudent career choice offering opportunities not found in other careers for many individuals out of high school or college.  It is also often a career path that ends after twenty years affording the opportunity to have a second career in the private sector.  IBA welcomes the opportunity to be a resource for this demographic group as a method of thanking you for your service to the nation.  Please contact us if we can provide you with information about buying a franchise or business to enter entrepreneurship or selling a business that you have successfully led into battle in the free market economy of the United States.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, and real estate communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.