What is VBOC?
The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veteran Business Development and is directed by the Small Business Act (Title 15 U.S.C. sec 637 (b)) to participate in the Defense Department’s Transition Assistance Program.
The Southern California (SoCal) VBOC coordinates and facilitates the Boots to Business program held at Vandenberg AFB, Edwards AFB, Fort Irwin, Los Angeles AFB, Naval Base Ventura, Twentynine Palms, Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Naval Station San Diego and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar military bases. These programs are taught by staff members of SoCal VBOC and the SBA District Offices along with staff from SBA Resource Partners (SDBC, SCORE, WBC).
There are 22 VBOCs around the country, with two locations in California – one in Sacramento and the other at MiraCosta Community College District in Carlsbad, California.
The SoCal VBOC opened in 2016 and serves transitioning service members, Guard, Reserve, Veterans of all eras and military-connected family members in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Meet Your Director – Hazel Beck
As Director of the SoCal Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), Hazel is responsible for the overall management of the VBOC, ensuring that business development services are provided to transitioning active duty service members, Guard, Reserve, Veterans and military-connected family members.
Before joining the SoCal VBOC, Hazel served as the Director of the VBOC in Chicago and as the Center Director for the Hawai’i Small Business Development Center (SBDC) located in Kailua Kona on Hawaii Island providing a range of business consulting services to aspiring entrepreneurs, start-up companies and existing businesses.
Hazel is a Veteran of the United States NAVY and holds a B.A. in Business Management, cum laude, from Hiram College. She has owned and managed three consulting companies from 1990 through 2006. With over 16 years of consulting experience, she worked with global manufacturing clients and their Tier 1 suppliers in North America, the UK and Western Europe to increase collaboration throughout supply chains, improve manufacturing processes and reduce costs. Major clients included Ford Motor Company, Rolls-Royce Aerospace and Lucent Technologies.
Meet Your Deputy Director – Amit Shaunak
Amit has been with the SoCal VBOC program since its original funding date in July of 2016. With more than 15 years of experience in retail banking management, and as a past small business owner himself, he has extensive experience with private sector business ownership. His professional career has prepared him for many of the challenges which face all business owners and his diverse background makes him a valuable asset to the Veterans Business Outreach Center.
Amit Shaunak is committed to providing veterans support in growing or starting their own small business enterprises and achieving their entrepreneurial goals.
Meet Your Business Trainer – Jim Fitzsimmons
Jim brings to the SoCal VBOC an impressive background of both military experience and over 30 years of working with small business owners. Jim is a Marine Corps combat Veteran, a retired small business attorney, a Certified Business Coach, an award winning military instructor and a teacher.
Jim is an attorney and a past counselor/mentor with SCORE. Since 2013, Jim has been the primary facilitator and instructor for the BOOTS TO BUSINESS TAPS training program for bases in San Diego County. These 30+ 2-day trainings reach approximately 800 transitioning service members per year.
In recognition of his dedication and proficiency, Jim has been awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s national 2016 Instructor of the Year for all SCORE Boots to Business instructors.
Meet Your Business Advisor – Mike Sabellico
Mike Sabellico is part-time business advisor with the SoCal VBOC. He is a versatile executive management professional and has over 30 years of diverse work experience in leading programs, managing multi-million dollar budgets and assets, and improving quality and processes. He is a twenty year veteran of the US Coast Guard with several Command Cadre tours. During his time with the Coast Guard, he gained a significant amount of experience in Maritime and Emergency Response, ranging from Search and Rescue and Maritime counter smuggling efforts to hurricane and natural disaster response. After leaving the Coast Guard, he managed a robust business development program for a San Diego based defense contractor with offices throughout the US. He left that company in 2010 to launch Vanguard Global Solutions, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business specializing in Homeland Security, Emergency Preparedness, and specialized business consulting focusing on marketing, growth strategy, certifications, and sales.