VETS 2020

Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS)

May 26 - 29, 2020 in San Antonio, TX, is a Business Development Conference created by Veterans for Veterans.


Justin Constantine VETS2013 Keynote Speaker


Inspirational Speaker

Justin volunteered for deployment to Iraq in 2006, and served in al-Anbar Province as a Team Leader of a group of Marines performing civil affairs work while attached to an infantry battalion.  During a routine combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper.  Although the original prognosis was that he had been killed in action, Justin survived.  He now is an attorney with the FBI working on counterterrorism issues, and earlier this year he launched his own speaking business, which is his true passion.  He focuses on the value of a positive attitude, teamwork and community values in overcoming adversity.

Justin was the Honor Graduate of his class at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and was recently selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.  He sits on the Board of Directors of the Wounded Warrior Project as well the Give An Hour Foundation, and last year began a night program at Georgetown University pursuing an advanced law degree.  Justin has been invited to the White House on several occasions, and the Virginia Legislature recently passed a commending resolution highlighting his continued support of veterans and other wounded warriors.  Justin was the commencement speaker at James Madison University’s 2012 December graduation ceremony, and has also been featured in magazines and programs such as Fox News, CNN, Mens Health, the Huffington Post and the Atlantic.






Office of Small Business Programs

Office of the Under Secretary of Defense
Acquisition, Technology & Logistics

Mr. Andre J. Gudger was appointed as the Director for the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs in March 2011. Mr. Gudger serves as the principal advisor and staff to the Secretary of Defense on small business related matters.

Mr. Gudger's career expands over 17 years in the defense, intelligence, and investment banking industries. Previously, Mr. Gudger worked on key technical andfinancial initiatives with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Union Bank of Switzerland, and AT&T.

From 2003 to 2009, Andre served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Solvern Innovations, a corporate entity that provided acquisition support and cyber solutions through training, unique research and sponsored product innovation During this period, Solvern Innovations provided software development and commercialization through technology transfer to the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland College Park. In 2003, Mr. Gudger was presented the Granville T. Woods Award for Innovation from The National Association of Black Telecommunications Professionals. In 2009, Solver Innovations was acquired by Telecommunication Systems, Inc. where Mr. Gudger served as the senior vice president of Telecommunication Systems Inc. cyber intelligence division.

Mr. Gudger served on several boards throughout the region, including the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the Maryland BRAC Small & Minority Business Advisory Board, and the Cyber Advisory Council. In addition, he served as the senior executive of the Art of Exploitation University a Cyber Center of Excellence, the architect of the Computer Network Operations Training and Scientific Development program delivering services to the Department of Defense, and as the telecommunications systems program director for the National Cryptologic School, Center for Business Management, Acquisition, and Systems Engineering.

Andre received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He received his Master in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he had the opportunity to study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, Fundacao Vargus University in Brazil, and Gdansk University in Poland.






President and CEO

Tony Jimenez is the award-winning President, CEO, and Founder of MicroTech, one of the top technology integrators in the nation focused on Technology Services, Unified Communication & Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Product Solutions, Network Systems Integration, Cyber Security, Mobility and Big Data Solutions.
He is a Retired Army Officer and a Service-Disabled Veteran with over 24 years of Military Service. Since founding MicroTech in 2004, Tony has grown the business into a profitable quarter-billion dollar company supporting over 100 prime contracts with the Federal government and providing IT and network support to Fortune 500 companies around the globe.
Tony has been named "Entrepreneur of the Year", "Small Business Person of the Year" and "Executive of the Year" by several national organizations. He has also been named among the "Most Influential Hispanics in the Nation" by Hispanic Business Magazine and one of the "Most Innovative Entrepreneurs” by Goldman Sachs.
He is an active member of the technology industry and an advocate for the Veteran, Hispanic, and Small Business communities. Tony serves on several boards including George Mason University's Board of Visitors, the U.S. Department of Commerce National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy. He has testified before Congress and has drafted and reviewed legislation to improve opportunities for Small Business owners. Additionally, Tony has worked with White House administrations, meeting with Presidents and senior advisors regarding business and ways to create jobs, improve education opportunities, and stimulate the economy.



Tom Leney Department of Veterans Affairs


Executive Director for Small and Veteran Business Programs
Department of Veterans Affairs

Thomas J. (Tom) Leney serves as the Executive Director for Small and Veteran Business Programs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he is responsible for programs that promote small business participation in VA procurements, with special emphasis on service-disabled and other Veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs and VOSBs). Mr. Leney is a member of the United States Senior Executive Service.

Prior to his current government service, Mr. Leney gained practical insight into the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses as a senior executive in two successful small businesses. His personal experiences as a government contractor have enabled Mr. Leney to mentor small businesses on the complexities of the federal acquisition process. His earlier work at Winrock International and the United Nations Foundation overseeing the development of projects to support the U.S. Government and the United Nations around the world has given him an understanding of the importance and the complexities of program and partnership development on many levels.

Mr. Leney is a Veteran of the United States Army, serving from 1973 to 1995. Among his military assignments, he led an armored cavalry squadron in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and was the Chief, Strategic Plans and Policy for the Department of the Army.  He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy.



Commander Kirk Lippold


Former Commander of the USS Cole

Commander Kirk Lippold, USN (Ret.) was the Commanding Officer of the USS Cole when it came under a suicide terrorist attack by al Qaeda in the port of Aden, Yemen. During his command, he and his crew distinguished themselves by saving the American war ship from sinking. This event is widely recognized as one of the most brazen acts of terrorism by al Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001. With this unique and invaluable experience, Commander Lippold has briefed over 5,000 military officers and given over 200 presentations on this seminal event in the war on terrorism.

Currently, Commander Lippold is president of Lippold Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in executive leadership development and long-range strategic planning and serves as Senior Vice President for military policy and strategic development at the public affairs firm Phillip Stutts& Co., where he recently started began work in support of the Military Voter Protection Project and Heroes Vote.  A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Commander Lippold has received the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Meritorious Service Medal among others. He is also the author of "Front Burner: Al Qaeda’s Attack on the USS Cole," which recounts the story of Al Qaeda's bombing of his ship on and the continuing ramifications for the war on terror.

Commander Lippold recently served on the Board of Directors for Military Families United and is a member of the Board of Advisors for Halo Maritime Defense Systems and the National Security Roundtable.  He resides in his home state of Nevada where he is active in the future of the state and expanding opportunities for business.






Managing Partner
PilieroMazza PLLC

Pamela J. Mazza is the managing partner of PilieroMazza PLLC, a Washington D.C. law firm that assists small to mid-sized government contractors with their government contracting, corporate, labor and employment, and litigation needs. 

Ms. Mazza counsels clients on all aspects of government contracts law, including compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations and the rules governing the federal set-aside programs. She advices government contractors on strategic relationships with subcontractors, joint venture partners and mentors and on developing corporate policies and procedures to attract key employees and business partners while protecting eligibility to participate in set-aside programs.  Ms. Mazza and her team also file and defend size and eligibility challenges and bid protests.  Ms. Mazza is a frequent speaker at national conferences and conducts in house training for corporations on small business compliance and government contracting issues.    

Ms. Mazza serves as general counsel for the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation, the National Veterans Small Business Coalition and the Small Environmental Business Action Coalition.  She is a founding member and frequent instructor of the MCCC Veterans Institute for Procurement and GovConNet Institute.  She is an active member of Women Impacting Public Policy and received their 2012 President’s Award for the training and leadership assistance she provides.




SMA Jack L. Tilley American Freedom Foundation


Sergeant Major of the Army, Retired
Co-Founder, American Freedom Foundation

A native of Vancouver, Washington, Jack L. Tilley was sworn in as the 12th Sergeant Major of the Army on June 23, 2000 and served until January 15, 2004. A career soldier, he had held many leadership positions within the Department of the Army and Unified Command environments. As Sergeant Major of the Army, Tilley served as the personal advisor to the Army Chief of Staff on all matters affecting more than 1.3 million enlisted soldiers, particularly in areas affecting soldier training and quality of life.

A Vietnam War veteran, Jack has held a variety of leadership positions throughout his 36 year career including tank commander, section leader, drill sergeant, platoon sergeant, senior instructor, operations sergeant, first sergeant and command sergeant major. Among his numerous awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star with V Device, Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Vietnam Service and Campaign Medals.

He is Chairman and Co-Founder of the American Freedom Foundation, a public foundation organized to honor the men and women of America's armed forces, raise awareness for their sacrifice and provide grants that support their long-term well being.  Since its inception, the Foundation has provided approximately $1.5 million in grants to military organizations and $1.1 million in academic scholarships for military spouses and dependents.

Jack has also become a successful management consultant, working with top Fortune 500 companies on a variety of projects and programs that are unique to the military community.  He is President/CEO of J.Tilley Inc., and is part-owner of Oakgrove Technologies.

VETS 2019 is focused on one thing—the success of your Veteran-owned Small Business. Will you be a part of the conversation?