The VETERANS BUSINESS OUTREACH CENTER at Gulf Coast State College
Proudly Empowering Veteran Entrepreneurship in Florida
Our Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) serves active duty personnel, veterans, and military spouses who want to learn more about, then start and grow a small business of their own in the state of Florida. We serve the entire state of Florida from our headquarters in Panama City at Gulf Coast State College.
WHAT CAN THE VBOC DO FOR YOU?
We are your tax dollars at work. The VBOC is funded in part by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). We stand ready to help with FREE business counseling and assistance to Florida’s veterans and military spouses to help you.
- Test the feasibility and potential profitability of your start-up idea or expansion of an existing business.
- Write a solid business plan before you spend any money.
- Take the right steps to start and successfully manage a small business in Florida.
- Identify funding sources (banks, credit unions, non-traditional business lenders) and SBA loan programs. VBOC is not a lender nor do we represent any lenders.
- Understand business taxes and your financial statements.
- Develop marketing and customer acquisition strategies to grow your business.
- Consider government contracting and take advantage of your veteran-owned small business status in procurement at all levels (federal, state and local).
Reach us at:
VBOC Associate Director and Business Analyst
Subject Matter Expertise: Business plan review; market research, business lending; marketing, advertising and promotions. Instructor for Boots to Business, the DOD’s two-day Transition Assistance Program GPS for separating/retiring military members’ business start-up course.
Brent Peacock is the Associate Director and a Business Analyst for the Veterans Business Outreach Center serving the state of Florida. Brent was awarded Regional Certified Business Analyst (CBA) of the Year in 2009 and again in 2012, then Regional Consultant of the Year in 2014.
A successful entrepreneur himself, Brent’s work experience includes 14 years in business counseling and teaching. Prior to assuming the Directorship of the VBOC in 2012, Brent was a Certified Business Analyst, with the Veterans Business Outreach Center. Prior to that, he was an instructor of Broadcasting/Communication Studies at Gulf Coast Community College as well as Morning News Anchor for WKGC FM Public Radio for over 5 years, and an employment counselor at Workforce Center for 10 years before transitioning over to the VBOC in 2008.
Brent earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication/Business from Florida State University and an Associate in Arts degree from Chipola Junior College. He is pursuing a Master’s degree from American Military University in Entrepreneurship and Leadership.
VBOC Business Analyst and CPA
Subject Matter Expertise: Financial and capital access assistance, including accounting, cash-flow management, cost control, financial metrics, inventory control; insurance, and compliance; business start-up and strategic planning for real estate, retail, and industrial companies. Instructor for Boots to Business, the DOD’s two-day Transition Assistance Program GPS for separating/retiring military members’ business start-up course.
In 2013, Jim Riley brought a very wide breadth and depth of experience in the private sector to the VBOC. He has worked with newly formed private firms in real estate investment, brokerage, construction, development and commercial property management. He was Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration for a $30M per year general contractor in the multi-family construction sector, as well as a townhome developer and a high rise condominium developer. In addition, he spent 7 years as Senior Vice President for and a principal in Scanamerican Property Management, Inc., representing various Swedish institutional investors in the acquisition, upgrading and disposal of over $300M in properties. He has also has experience with large public international firms in mining, petroleum/petrochemical and hospitality industries. Prior to his involvement in real estate, he held various internal audit, analysis, accounting and managerial positions in petroleum and petrochemical manufacturing, mining, granite quarrying and fabrication and asset-based lending.
Jim is a Cum Laude graduate of the University of Miami with a BBA in Accounting. He passed all 4 parts of the Uniform Certified Public Accounting examination on the first sitting and holds a CPA certificate in Louisiana.
VBOC Business Analyst and “Boots to Business” Lead Instructor
Subject Matter Expertise: Marketing and public relations; instructional materials development and presentations; business plan process and review. Jamie is a former small business owner serving as the Florida VBOC’s Lead Instructor for Boots to Business, the DOD’s two-day Transition Assistance Program GPS for separating/retiring military members’ business start-up course.
As a military spouse, Jamie Shepard has traveled and worked from coast to coast. Her multi-faceted experience offers a broad perspective of problem-solving skills from start-up to operations. A successful entrepreneur herself in advertising and marketing and later as a project manager, technical writer and trade show coordinator, she managed the Bay County Small Business Incubator and the Small Business Development Center, as well as grant programs at Gulf Coast State College. She has helped develop and lead several community service organizations.
Jamie has a Master of Science degree in Executive Management from Florida State University.
John Miller III
VBOC Business Analyst and Procurement Specialist
Subject Matter Expertise: Government contracting/procurement assistance, including marketing to prime contractors and government Small Business Representatives. Lead procurement consultant reviewing and assisting in development of VBOC clients’ procurement proposals and Capabilities Statements.
John Miller has been a part-time Business Consultant and Procurement Contracting Specialist with the Veteran Business Outreach Center since 2006. John brings 41 years of government service experience to the VBOC: 20 years’ Active Duty Air Force as an Inventory Manager and Logistics Planner, plus 21 years in Civil Service, initially as an Inventory Manager and for 19 years as a Contract Specialist/Contracting Officer. John was dual tasked as a Grants Officer for the Navy from 1995-2005. He has extensive experience negotiating and awarding contracts with final dollar value of up to $40M. John maintains currency on Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Department of Defense procurement policies and regulations.
VBOC Administration Assistant
As the VBOC’s Administrative Assistant, Savannah assists with research, follow up communication and logistical support for the Boots to Business program. Before working with VBOC, she worked with two local start-up businesses. She is a valuable asset to the VBOC team. Savannah completed her AA degree in Business at Gulf Coast State College and is pursuing a BS in Business at Florida State University-Panama City campus.