Happy Veterans Day to our country’s servicemembers past and present! ACS would like to express its deepest gratitude and respect in saying thank you to those that have served, or are serving, in our armed forces. It undoubtedly takes incredible bravery, fortitude, integrity, respect, and a commitment to our country’s evolving ideals. Some of those same attributes that are necessary for service are also well-geared toward a post-military career in construction. As some already know, Veterans have unique construction contracting opportunities at both the state and federal level. The following is a high-level overview of the process and opportunities for veterans who are not aware or who are considering a career in construction.
There are federal and state level opportunities for Veteran-owned businesses. The initial step in accessing federal and state level contracting opportunities is different for each but begins with certification/verification.
At the federal level, effective January 1, 2023, all responsibilities for the verification of Veteran-owned small businesses (“ VSOB”) will transfer from the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Small Business Administration. Verification is the process that establishes eligibility for access to Veteran-specific benefits, including certain government contracts and the purchase of surplus government property, by confirming that VSOBs and service-disabled Veteran-owned small businesses (“SDVOSB”) are operated by Veterans.
The definition of a Veteran is a person who served on active duty with the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard for any length of time and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran includes reservists or members of the National Guard called to federal active duty or disabled from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty or while in training status. A service-disabled veteran is a veteran who possesses either a disability rating letter issued by the Department of Veteran Affairs establishing a service-connected rating between 0 and 100 percent, or a disability determination from the Department of Defense.
At least 51% of the VSOB or SDVOSB must be owned by one or more Veterans or Service-disabled Veterans. The Veteran or Service-disabled Veteran owner must have: (i) full control over the day-to-day management, decision-making, and strategic policy of the business; (ii) possess the managerial experience of the extent and complexity needed to manage the business; (iii) be the highest-compensated employee (unless the Veteran or Service-disabled Veteran can explain how taking lower compensation benefits the business); (iv) devote fulltime to the business; (v) hold the highest officer position in the business; and (vi) have the ability to exercise independent business judgment.
There is no standard, legal set-aside for either VOSBs or SDVOSBs, however, the federal government endeavors to award three percent of all federal contracting dollars to SDVOSBs each year. VOSBs and SDVOSBs are both eligible for contract set-asides from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Aviation Administration, while SDVOSBs are eligible for contract set-asides from all other federal agencies. VOSBs and SDVOSBs may be eligible for other contracting assistance programs, if the Veteran owner meets the appropriate requirements. Once verified, VOSBs and SDVOSBs will get priority bidding on contracts with federal or state government agencies, tax relief, access to capital, and other resources to guide Veterans on their path to entrepreneurship.
In Washington, the first step in accessing state-level contracting opportunities is certification with the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs. Certification is less intense than the federal verification process for VOSBs and simply requires registration with Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (“WEBS”), then sending in proof of (i) honorable Veteran status, (ii) fifty-one percent (51%) ownership, and (iii) that the VOSB is an enterprise that is incorporated in Washington as a domestic corporation or an enterprise with its principal place of business located in Washington.
Governor Inslee has been asked by Washington State agencies to set-aside 5% of their purchasing from VOSBs. Registration with WEBS provides easy access for state agencies to identify and keep track of their purchasing goals, as well as giving the private sector easy access to identify VOSBs in their communities. Washington VOSBs are eligible for small business loans with interest two percent (2%) below market rate for similar loans and host of other resources designed to ensure success.
In conclusion, for Veterans looking to transition from service to civilian life, construction can be a rewarding and stable career that rewards the attributes you acquired in the military, and with the opportunities and resources available, success is within reach. For those Veterans that still serve their country by constructing projects in their communities, thank you for your continued service. And to all our Veterans, ACS honors you and your service to our country.
Comment: Veterans, ACS can provide information and advise on construction-related issues, including certifying/verifying your veteran-owned construction contracting small business with the state or federal government.
 Note correct spelling of “Veterans” Day (no apostrophe) as per the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, which is not a day that belongs to veterans, but a day for honoring veterans. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Day.
 DD214 member 4 copy, Retired VA ID Card, Retirement Certificate, Discharge Certificate – or if currently serving your military ID, badge, recent pay statement.