Each year during TVBA’s annual Keynote Dinner, the Tennessee Veterans Business Association recognizes those who have exemplified the veteran spirit in the business sector. Four deserving businesses and individuals went home with awards on the evening of January 28th.

The Tennessee Veterans Business Association is pleased to announce its 2019 Business Award Winners.

Hiring Heroes Award – Consolidated Nuclear Security & Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The Hiring Heroes Award recognizes a company that is dedicated to hiring veterans. This company has hired the highest percentage of veterans in 2018.

The candidate pool was so strong for the Hiring Heroes Award, TVBA decided to award two recipients – Consolidated Nuclear Security and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Consolidated Nuclear Security

Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) is the managing operator of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. The two facilities employ more than 5,600 people fulltime. Y-12 and Pantex have a long history of supporting the military and our military veterans.

As of January 1, 2019, CNS employed 1,847 veterans in Tennessee and Texas – 722 in Oak Ridge at the Y-12 complex, and 1,125 at the Pantex Plant. In addition to military veterans, CNS also employs active duty Reserve and National Guardsmen and women who are often deployed on tours of duty around the world.

But that is not where veteran support ends for CNS. They do more than just hire veterans; they also work with veteran-owned small businesses.

From July 2014 to the end of November 2018, CNS has awarded veteran-owned small businesses nearly $184 million in contracts; and service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses more than $81 million. Those contracts represent more than 200 veteran-owned small businesses and about 100 service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. This partnership is proving successful for both veteran-owned small businesses and CNS. This partnership will continue to flourish into the future.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is committed to attracting and retaining veterans as strategic assets in the workplace. Veterans hold numerous leadership positions and bring valuable experience and dedication to the lab’s mission in science, energy and national security. The skills, certifications and professionalism that service members bring from their time in the armed forces are a perfect fit for many ORNL programs, such as nuclear engineering, global and cyber security, and protective forces.

ORNL’s outreach to military personnel includes efforts such as the U.S. Navy Tours with Industry Program and Air Force Fellowship Program, both of which engage active-duty members in collaborative research opportunities. A recent partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs is leveraging the lab’s computational and analytic resources to improve the health and well-being of millions of veterans through better understanding of underlying causes of diseases and conditions, hereditary factors and health history.

The lab’s Veterans Committee implements programs such as its annual Veterans Day celebration to ensure veterans feel connected in the lab community and helps create and expand recruiting pipelines with veteran-focused organizations. Disabled veterans are supported through programs like Healing Waters, which provides therapeutic outdoor recreation.

ORNL continues to support its employees serving in National Guard and Reserve units through flexible employment policies and work-life balance program. As a committed partner of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), ORNL has participated in the ESGR Boss Life Program, providing lab leadership a chance to visit military installations to see first-had what reservists do.

Veteran Entrepreneur Award – Dan Hurst, Strata-G

The Veteran Entrepreneur Award recognizes a veteran entrepreneur who has achieved success in their business through a drive to do things differently and change the world in the most unexpected ways.

Dan Hurst, President and Founder of Strata-G, is the winner of the 2019 TVBA Veteran Entrepreneur Award!

Dan served four years in the U.S. Navy as an instructor at the nuclear power school, where he taught submarine and surface ship operators necessary skills like chemistry, math and materials science. The Navy’s demanding commitment to excellence influenced Dan as he gathered a small team of scientists and engineers to launch Strata-G, LLC, in 2002.

Dan is truly a veteran entrepreneur, who has relied upon his business instincts to create a successful company, anticipating market growth and meeting industry needs. Dan anticipated the growth of renewable energy many years ago and led Strata-G in developing services in solar energy, compressed natural gas and biofuels. His colleagues say he has added “something really special” to his business model, creating a small business based on a simple principle – treat others the way you wish to be treated. Dan embodies this philosophy and his influence permeate throughout the entire company. Strata-G’s core values of integrity, service and quality underpin all projects, operations and growth strategies.

Dan encourages his staff to participate in company growth and success, such as holding “Creatovation” sessions, where the talent of his staff is put to good use, brainstorming new technologies that Strata-G might develop.

In growing his company, Dan has always emphasized the importance of giving back to the community and even identified community outreach as one of the four pillars of Strata-G’s Strategic Plan. Strata-G outreach addresses four areas – food, shelter, education and environment. Employees are encouraged to participate in community outreach either through some of Strata-G’s long-time causes, such as serving lunches at KARM or building houses for Habitat for Humanity, or through charities close to their own hearts. Dan leads by example and has served on the KARM Board for many years and in my other community endeavors

Dan’s inquisitive mind, his passion for environmental stewardship, and his commitment to service to the community are summed up in one word that describes Strata-G – significant.

Humanitarian Award – John Becker, WBIR-TV

The Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated the spirit of humanity through a commitment to a community project or program. This individual has made a significant impact or contribution to our region.

WBIR Channel 10 Anchor John Becker is the winner of the 2019 TVBA Humanitarian Award!

John utilizes his talents as a journalist to memorialize the history of area veterans.

John is best known for his award winning series, Service & Sacrifice, which focuses on the lives and life challenges of military veterans. Over the years, John has documented East Tennessee veterans on return trips to D-Day beaches in France and the battlefields of Vietnam, but every year he continues to meet dozens of “ordinary” neighbors who have a record of “extraordinary” service in uniform. In 2017, John produced and reported the documentary Facing Ghosts Return to Vietnam. The hour-long special centers on the 10-day journey of two dozen veterans returning for the first time since the end of the war.

Service & Sacrifice has told almost 300 stories over the past decade.

The competition was fierce this year, as there were many outstanding finalists considered for the prestigious awards. TVBA would like to thank all of its finalists and congratulate its winners!

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TVBA Announces 2019 Business Award Winners

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