Oklahoma veteran entrepreneurs share how military backgrounds shape their business journeys

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 2.5 million businesses owned by veterans in the United States.

Fox 25 sat down with some local veteran business owners about how their military backgrounds have helped them through their careers, they spoke about their time in the service, and how they have been able to apply the skills they learned in the military to their careers today.

According to the International Franchise Association, although veterans make up only 7% of the population, they account for 14% of all franchise owners in the US.

Frank Earnest, an Oklahoma native, and retired Army Colonel is one of those veteran business owners in the sooner state, he owns OKC North Creative Colors, a leather and vinyl repair company,

“I had spent 30 years in the Army, 14 and a half of that I was deployed away from home, so when I left the army, I was looking for something that would not take me (away) I was ready to stay home for a while,” Earnest said, “This was something that my wife and I could do together, so we started the business.”

Earnest says he uses many skills he learned in the army as a business owner,

“The training that we received, you don’t get to just say, hey, I want to stop right now and think about this, you know, the bad guy doesn’t even want to let you stop, so it helped me trained to think on my feet,” he said.

Roman Combs, the owner of Milex, an automotive repair business in OKC is a retired Navy Cryogenics Technician, and says some of the skills that he picked up in the Navy have helped him become a successful business owner,

“I was enlisted in the US Navy from 1986 until 1992, I got to see 37 countries in 46 states in those six years,” Combs said, “Leadership is one of the things that military is good for, they’ve got a lot of structure and a lot of organization and things like that, and you get used to people above you and people below you and how that’s supposed to go… You see a lot of different things in the military and you learn a lot of things that are useful tips and also you learn a lot of things and good examples of what not to do.”

For more information on Earnest’s OKC North Creative Colors, a leather and vinyl repair company, click here.

For more information on Combs, Milex Auto Repair business, click here.

For more information and resources for veteran entrepreneurs, click here.

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