SU business boot camp serving veterans

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — For the past 12 years, Syracuse University has been hosting thousands of retired military service members for its Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV).

Among them, U.S. Air Force veteran Thad Hunkins, who is looking ahead to his next mission at SU’s Whitman School for EBV.

While some veterans are focused on starting a new business, others are joining established companies.

After 30 years of military service and retiring with the rank of colonel, Hunkins is shifting gears. He has just taken over as president and CEO of his family’s 46-year-old Northern New York business — NCC Systems, Inc.

The company specializes in fire systems, commercial and residential security systems, CCTV camera systems, door access control systems, phone systems, pro sound and PA systems, nurse call systems or data and fiber cabling.

Because Hunkins is taking over a long-running company, he is focused on growing the business by adding jobs and opening a training center.

“We haven’t done much in the Plattsburgh area. It’s a smaller branch of ours,” Hunkins shared. “We have a couple of techs there. I looked up some things. Plattsburgh is a fast-growing place. It seems like this is our opportunity there.”

Institute for Veterans and Military Families Founder Mike Haynie, also the vice chancellor at SU, says there is no limit to what boot camp grads can do.

“You’d be really hard-pressed to not find some industry or sector represented in the businesses created by our graduates. Everything from it to retail to manufacturing to a host of service-based businesses,” Haynie said. “It really is remarkable what the graduates of this program have created.”

While boot camp wraps up on Saturday, Haynie says the learning does not stop there. He says many participants go all over campus to pursue other degrees. Some go to University College to take advantage of veterans rate tuition.

To learn more about EBV, click here.

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