UT CIS Serves Veterans

The UT Center for Industrial Services (UT CIS) understands the unique experience that veterans can bring to creating a business.

As Abe Mbow put it, “[h]iring veterans is not only the right thing to do, most come out of the military with skills easily transferrable to civilian jobs, allowing them to start successful post-military careers right away.” Abe himself is a U.S. Navy veteran with over 10 years of honorable service and is also a client of the Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) that is housed in UT CIS. Abe’s company, Skilled Workforce, matches skilled laborers with job opportunities in the construction, manufacturing and warehousing industries.

With the help of PTAC counselor Debbie Barber, Skilled Workforce became accredited as a SDVOSB and registered with SAM, which allows the company to capitalize on set aside procurement incentives from the federal and state government.

“PTAC is a wonderful organization for someone like me, transitioning out of a corporate role and starting a new venture. Debbie expertly provided me a blue-print I followed...from helping me to tailor my capability statement to assisting me with the bidding process…Thank you Debbie and PTAC!” said Abe.

All programs within UT CIS are eager to assist veterans and veteran-owned businesses through technical assistance and consulting. For example, all four Tennessee PTAC counselors are certified Veteran Assistance Counselors. 

“We assist veterans with obtaining their veteran owned small business and service-disabled veteran owned small business verifications/certifications. Once approved firms are eligible to participate in Veteran-Owned Service-Disabled (VOSB) and SDVOSB set-asides issued by the government,” says Veronica Clark, PTAC counselor.

Both the Tennessee PTAC and the Tennessee Manufacturing Extension Partnership at UT CIS have had an opportunity to work with Per Vivo Labs, a proud, US Department of Veterans Affairs certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Per Vivo Labs is operated by a core of pragmatic self-starters hailing from backgrounds in military, medicine, medical device sales and customer relations. Per Vivo Labs’ focus product line is a portable human temperature management solution to provide rapid medical assistance to patients suffering from heatstroke symptoms.

Per Vivo Labs’ Polar Skin product was developed with one of their target market segments, the U.S. Army, in mind.  The company leaders, Mr. Russell Hubbard, President, and Mr. Sean Hevey, Vice President of Operations, each experienced the need for a rapid and effective solution to address heat related illness, for US Military personnel during extreme conditions experienced in deployment and training.

UT CIS Solutions Consultant Dwaine Raper was able to leverage our University of Tennessee connection and provide assistance in developing the Polar Skin product. Dwaine arranged for Gajanan Bhat, Ph. D., Director of the UT Knoxville Nonwoven Materials Research Laboratory (UTNRL) and Professor in the UTK Department of Materials Science & Engineering, to help Per Vivo Labs with the effort of developing and conducting an applicable product performance validation testing protocol. The testing results validated the superior performance of the Polar Skin product in comparison to the existing solution (a wet cotton bed sheet).

A year or so later, Per Vivo Labs was awarded a contract by the U.S. Army to supply the Polar Skin Cooling Packs, and they were informed that their cooling system is being evaluated to replace the existing system in all bases and units.  PVL began selling to five additional military commands that year, as well as the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Interior.

As part of a separate project, the Tennessee PTAC assisted Per Vivo Labs resolve research and development challenges. The Tennessee PTAC team was also able to provide technical support and guidance in the development of a Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program contract with the Department of Defense (DOD).

These are just a few examples of the veteran-owned businesses that UT CIS has been able to assist in their business journey. Please contact your local Solutions Consultant Kenny Smith at Kenny.smith@tennessee.edu to see how UT CIS can help your veteran-owned business thrive.