Hiring & Honoring Veterans

18 Nov 2019

Blog, Workforce, Small Business, Home Base Iowa

Two local entities have recently been recognized: one business for their commitment to hiring and retaining veterans, and one business owner who has served in the military and is now committed to serving his local community.

Iowa Lakes Regional Water awarded Platinum Medallion Award

Iowa Lakes Regional Water was one of five Iowa businesses that received a Medallion award, and one of three that were awarded the Platinum Medallion Award from the HIRE Vets Medallion program.

The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans (HIRE Vets) Act was signed into law in May 2017. The Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) administers the Medallion Program to recognize employers’ efforts to recruit, employ and retain veterans.

At the beginning of the year, Iowa Lakes Regional Water completed an extensive application about their recruitment process and resources for veteran employees. Requirements for a Platinum Award for small businesses under 50 employees include 10% of new hires who are veterans or 85% of veteran employees retained and 10% veteran percentage as well as at least two veteran integration assistance programs.

Iowa Lakes Regional Water included information in their application about utilizing the Home Base Iowa program to hire veterans as well as the workshops and training that they provide to their employees. The company is working to step up the emphasis on the employees and empowering them to make decisions and improve the company.


SBA Iowa Impact Award

Tom Wright, owner of Okoboji Tree Specialists, was presented with the Small Business Association (SBA) Iowa Impact Award on November 8th.

National Veterans Small Business Week is a time to raise awareness of veteran business ownership and encourage communities to support those businesses owned by individuals. The SBA Iowa Impact Award recognizes an Iowa small business owner that has received assistance from the SBA and resource partners to successfully grow their business.

Wright is a veteran who served as a First Sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1986 to 2008. After retiring from the military, he purchased Okoboji Tree Specialists and utilized SBA’s government guaranteed loan programs to grow the business in the Iowa Great Lakes region.

Okoboji Tree Specialists provide services including maintenance of new and established trees through pruning, removals and stump grinding. By knowing and understanding state, county and city ordinances, the company serves customers in a timely and efficient manner while also offering competitive rates.


For more information and resources for hiring veterans, check out Home Base Iowa or contact Joanne Follon in our office by email or at 712.264.3474.