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At IPC APEX EXPO 2020, I spoke with Al Dill, president and CEO of Blackfox, about the Evolution Foundation, a nonprofit program to assist veterans with training and assistance into civilian tech jobs. Here, we get an update from Dill, Jahr Turchan, director of veteran services and advanced manufacturing programs, and Sharon Montana-Beard, VP and director of sales and operations, on Blackfox’s programs for veterans.
Nolan Johnson: Al, we did an interview at IPC a while back on your program for veterans. Can you give us a quick update on how that’s going currently through all of this?
Al Dill: Because of this pandemic, a lot of the program has slowed down quite a bit because of lack of access to the military bases and everyone being cautious about travel and too much movement. We worked with some other veteran-related organizations that are manufacturer organizations, and we’re preparing to launch as soon as this loosens up.
We haven’t just sat idle here; we are ready. We have good connections at the military bases, particularly in Colorado, and other veteran-affiliated associations that we’re ready to turn on. And as I mentioned in the interview, we launched a nonprofit called the Evolution Foundation in that timeframe. It’s formed and ready to roll. We have a director overseeing the nonprofit, and its primary goal is to provide monetary resources to help support mostly our veterans in their pursuit of the career. Jahr, can you talk about our relationship with them and what we’ve done?
Jahr Turchan: Absolutely. Although we did slow things down a little bit, the executive director of the Evolution Foundation, Jerry Ward, has been very active in seeking strategic partnerships to keep that moving forward. Unfortunately, nonprofit donations have dipped extremely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what little donations are still coming out of people’s pockets are obviously focused as much as possible on COVID19 relief-type activities. We’ve been doing whatever we can to strengthen our infrastructure and be ready for a post-COVID-19 environment to utilize that vehicle and really help veterans successfully transfer to civilian careers.
To read this entire interview, which appeared in the October 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.