Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day!

Tomorrow the nation celebrates Veterans Day, and at Florida State University, the EBV program is celebrating as well! With the offices already gearing up to begin planning for the 2011 EBV class, we are taking a moment to honor those who have served.

Our Veterans Day festivities will begin on Thursday at the Tallahassee Veterans Day Parade. This year’s parade promises to be one of the biggest ever with over 3,000 participants already registered! If you are in Tallahassee, please come out to show your support for our veterans! The parade begins at the intersection of Monroe and Call Streets at 10:30 a.m.

On Friday, we will be hosted by Westminster Oaks as they throw a benefit concert for the FSU EBV program. Our visiting veterans and the EBV staff will be attending the concert and the proceeds will be donated to our program!

Saturday night, our visiting veterans will take center field at the FSU vs. Clemson football game as they serve as honorary captains and flip the coin. The game will be broadcast on ABC at 8:00 p.m., please tune in and see if you can spot our veterans!!

The rest of November promises to be just as busy as we begin to prepare for our 2011 EBV class! Joining Dr. Blass this year is our new Managing Director, Ashley Edwards, and our work study student, Kelly Montoya. You’ll be hearing from them as we proceed with FSU EBV 2011.

As always, please continue to check our social sites and our website to see the latest updates and pictures from all of our events, and if you are interested in making a donation to the FSU EBV program, please click here:

We want to express a heartfelt thanks to our nation’s veterans and those currently serving. You all make the ultimate sacrifice for us, and there are no words to properly thank you. We are so proud to be able to work with so many of you through EBV and can’t wait to start our 4th year!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Graduation Ceremony and Moving Forward

Last night marked the graduation for our veterans. The ceremony was a beautiful finish to such an amazing week for both veterans and volunteers alike. We made sure to catch almost every detail on video so that everyone can see and re-live the wonderful event time and again. We even got coverage from the local ABC station:

We began with a lovely serenade of "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes, seen here:

Then, we had a special table honoring and remembering our POWs from the various branches. The symbolism and ceremony surrounding this occasion can be seen in this video:

From there, speaker Will Gunn, General Counsel of the Department of Veterans addressed the FSU EBV Graduating Class of 2010, discussing changes in the GI Bills, and his hopes for their futures.

To finish things off, Dr. Blass announced our two $500 winners, Jeff Smith and Will Shultz, our two $1000 prize winners, Marylyn Harris and Daryl Jackson, and our two $1500 prize winners, Milton Tookes and John Colley. Catch all the excitement here: and here:

Finally, here's a letter from FSU Program Director, Randy Blass, talking about this year's class and our plans for the future. Keep posted for updates about EBV 2011!

Dear Friends of FSU EBV,

We bid an often tearful farewell to 21 of our newest friends last night as the FSU EBV 2010 program came to a close. It was a joyful evening and everyone present was moved by the experience. As this newest class of fledgling entrepreneurs makes their way back home, they will face many challenges. Our program now shifts from the logistics intensive in-residence program to the mentoring phase. Over the next 12 months this class will have direct access to everything from legal counseling to corporate mentors.

We will also be encouraging our grads to enter into business plan competitions in their local areas. That being said, the EBV Foundation, a separate, non-school affiliated, non-profit, established to support the entire EBV effort, will begin offering up to $30,000 annually (exclusive to EBV graduates) business plan competition. I know quite a few of our folks from this year and years past that will compete well.

Thank-you for your continued support,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Talking with our only female vet and preparing for Graduation!

This Tuesday, June 15th, marks one of the most exciting and nerve-racking days of the entire program. Today the veterans are delivering their final presentations in front of a panel of judges. They have been divided into two groups, and there will be 2 sets of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, getting $1500, $1000, and $500, respectively. This prize money is all thanks to the generous donation of Mark Llano and Source One Distributors.

Aside from presentations, the veterans will also be attending their graduation ceremony for the program tonight at the University Center Ballroom. The evening promises to be quite the event, hosting a very special guest speaker. Be sure to look at for all the official details on the blog tomorrow!

In the mean time, we spotlight our only female veteran, Marylyn, in this interview, as she talks about what it's like to be the only woman around, and also her thoughts on the program. Find it here at:

In light of graduation, you can also hear Professor Jim Dever talk about his involvement in the program and the transformation he has witnessed in the veterans:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day and Interview with Assistant Director and Head Volunteer

The new week started early on Monday with a Flag Day Ceremony at the Hotel Duval. Veterans, volunteers, hotel staff, and media all gathered to watch our veterans raise the American Flag, State of Florida Flag, and a Prisoners of War Flag. Hotel Duval installed three new flag poles just for this occasion, making EBV the first to use the poles.

After a brief introduction by hotel General Manager Marc Bauer, the crowd eagerly anticipated the flags, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance (which can be seen here: and a veteran led moment of silence for those Killed in Action.

To see official coverage of the event done by our local CBS station, visit here:

In other news, we have a spotlight on the FSU EBV Assistant Director and Head Volunteer Jeff Browne. Jeff sat down with us to tell us about his involvement in the EBV program. Listen to what he had to say at:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Donor Spotlight

Seeing as FSU EBV has no formal funding, fund-raising and donations is what makes this entire program possible. At this year's EBV, we are offering prize money for the first time ever, thanks to a generous donation from Source One Distributors. Veterans will all conduct presentations on their business plans and present them in front of a panel of judges. In two separate groups, there will be a first, second, and third place winner getting $1500, $1000, and $500 respectively. This means that 6 of our 21 veterans will walk away with a little nest egg to further their dreams - all thanks to Mark Llano and Source One Distributors.

Llano, the CEO and founder of Source One, flew into Tallahassee to do a presentation with our veterans, and we were even able to snag him for an interview.

To see part of his encouraging presentation, click here:

And to see the one on one interview we got with Mr. Llano talking about his inspiration to contribute to the program, click here:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tales of the Tailgate!

As 6:30 rolled around Friday night, everyone was more than ready to head out onto the field at Doak Campbell Stadium. As veterans and volunteers headed onto the grass, they were greeted by quarterback Christian Ponder and 30 FSU football players, who stopped tossing the football long enough to shake hands with every attendee.

Digital banners scrolled "Military Appreciation Day" as the players signed footballs, chatted with veterans, and everyone took pictures underneath the goal posts.

After leaving the heat of the field, everyone headed up to the 5th floor banquet room of the University Center C. As they stepped off the elevator they were greeted by the Charles Atkins band, open bar, and a seemingly endless buffet of pulled pork, hotdogs, wings, potato salad, chicken salad, deviled eggs, peach cobbler, and cookies

Once eating settled down, everyone was ready to dance. The Charles Atkins band cranked things up and everyone crowded around to dance and enjoy themselves. When things finally wound down, veterans walked away with gift bags from FSU's athletic department containing FSU polos and FSU hats. Everyone left the night feeling like a true Seminole!

Watch our videos from the tailgate here:

and watch footage of everyone gettin' down here:

As always, there are more photos from the event on our Facebook page at:!/group.php?gid=13875024379&ref=ts

Friday, June 11, 2010

Anticipation Reigns in Today's EBV!

As we enter our 3rd day of classes at EBV, the excitement for tonight's events are almost tangible. It's time for the annual EBV tailgate where our veterans will get a taste of true Seminole culture. However, the details of the evening are a surprise for the veterans, but we'll be sure to cover them all in tomorrow's blog! So keep posted to "be in the know" about one of the program's most exciting events.

In this interview with veteran Alan Jones, you can hear him talk about his anticipation for tonight, as well as his career and future business plans. Find the video here:

In other news, EBV was highlighted early Friday morning on NPR in this 4 minute audio clip:

And finally, we continue to top Tallahassee news with more coverage of our program found here:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Snapshot into the Classroom

As veterans entered their second day of classes, we got a sneak peek into a lecture with FSU's own Dr. Jerry Osteryoung of the Jim Moran Institute. His lecture was titled, "Understanding Franchising Opportunities" and focused on the importance and basic tenets of marketing. Watch park of Dr. Osteryoung's lecture here:

We also had a chance to catch up with Ray Toenniessen of Syracuse's EBV program. Here Ray talks about the future of the EBV program and other sister programs that are in the works:

Hear from an EBV Vet!

After the hustle and bustle of the veterans' arrival settled down, we got to talk Rodney, a 2010 FSU vet, about the things he's most excited about during his week here. You can check out our first veteran spotlight here:

In other news, EBV has hit the headlines with a bang!

Check out veteran Josh Cruce in this WTXL feature (local ABC station):

CBS news also showed up to our first day of class, check it out here:

Make sure you're keeping up with Facebook to catch all of the news as well:!/group.php?gid=13875024379&ref=ts

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Bootcamp Begins!

Tuesday June 8th kicked off our 2010 EBV program ( and boy did things start with a bang. All 21 of our veterans have arrived safe and sound, many to an Army/Air Force greeting along with cameras from our local ABC station and volunteers at the Tallahassee airport. The veterans’ day began immediately as they were shuttled over to the hotel where they filled out information packets, took headshots, got their room keys, and headed to orientation before the opening ceremony.

As 5:30 rolled around, the veterans, volunteers, and EBV guests made their way up to Level 8 at the Hotel Duval ( for the opening ceremony to kick off the week. After a brief cocktail hour sprinkled with chicken salad on toasted plantains, coconut shrimp, and fried gator tail, guests settled down for house salads and a buffet including barbeque chicken, tropical mahi mahi, steak, mashed potatoes and rice. Dinner was followed by a selection of orange cheesecake, key-lime pie, and a scrumptious chocolate cake.

Even better than the food; however, was the special guest performance by country star Michael Peterson. Peterson performed a variety of songs that brought on both laughter and tears as he talked about his own entrepreneurial dreams of being a singer/songwriter and his appreciation for the sacrifices our veterans made. You can check out some footage from the event here:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 FSU EBV kicks off!

Today is the first day of the 2010 FSU EBV program residency! We will be meeting veterans at the airport all day and then celebrating with an opening ceremony tonight. Check back later today for footage of veterans arriving, but for now check out this editorial from the Tallahassee Democrat ( Not a bad way to start the program!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

EBV Update Mar 2010

EBV Premier Blog

In late February we had our premier event for our new documentary, “The Meaning of Service: The EBV Program at FSU.” It was an exciting night with over 100 attendees. Guests included EBV coordinator for FSU – Dr. Randy Blass, Dean of the College of Business for FSU – Dean Caryn Beck-Dudley, former EBV participant and actor on the show “All My Children” – JR Martinez, other veteran participants of the program here at FSU, and the EBV volunteer team.

After a few words by head EBV volunteer Jeff Brown, Dr. Blass, and Dean Beck-Dudley, documentary director Adam LaBrie was introduced. It was moving to hear Adam’s account of getting involved with the program and how, in getting over 17 hours of film, he came to really believe in what EBV seeks to accomplish. His passion was easy to see on the larger-than-life IMAX screen at the Challenger Learning Center. Amongst a variety of candid and touching interviews was footage from both the classes in the Boot camp and the tailgate, where participants met the first string of FSU’s football team. The veterans’ spirits were inspiring in both their past service as soldiers and in their bright hopes for futures as entrepreneurs. There were even a few times when audience members found themselves wiping a tear or two as they watched the graduation ceremony flash across the screen, which featured a special presentation and table for missing POW soldiers. As the lights slowly brightened in the theatre, attendees shuffled out to a reception where they could discuss the film and program, and talk to some of the people they had just seen on screen.

If you were unable to attend the event, you can still watch the documentary online at: Also, keep your eyes peeled as the documentary may soon be featured on your very own small screen. In the next few weeks, an EBV participant from Syracuse University will be interviewed on the “Oprah” show talking about PTSD. There is a chance the show will feature parts of the documentary. This is thrilling for both the EBV program and for director Adam LaBrie. His work could be shown on a hugely successful, nationally aired program, before he even graduates from the film school here at FSU. So be on the lookout! EBV is gaining momentum and is proving to be quite the adventure to be a part of!

Thank you to those who attended and to those who provide continued support to our program!