Officially launched in March, Berwyn-based Veteran Opportunity Partners is helping armed-forces veterans through job placement. VOP has now partnered with the local JDog Junk Removal & Hauling in the hopes of expanding the veteran-owned franchise throughout the Mid-Atlantic. CEO Steve Tazza graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served as an active-duty naval officer aboard the USS Constellation. Following his service, he ventured into the private sector, working at Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Zeke Capital Advisors. His new role melds both of those worlds.
MLT: What drew you to the armed forces?
ST: I always thought it was the right thing to do. My dad served in World War II. I was an athlete growing up, and there are a lot of shared ideas between the military and organized sports.
MLT: What made you want to partner with JDog?
ST: There’s a dual purpose—to first run a great business, and second, to give military veterans an opportunity that really crosses three things: It allows them to acquire commercial competencies that they can own for a lifetime; it gives them an environment where they can be themselves; it has a culture across an organization that serves customers and is successful financially. We saw it as a rare opportunity to check a lot of boxes.
MLT: What about the partnership with the armed services?
ST: It’s unofficial. Jerry Flanagan, the founder of JDog, is a military veteran and the majority owner. There is no formal affiliation, but there are countless informal affiliations.
MLT: What’s the future for VOP?
ST: We have to demonstrate consumer success, so we had to find a financial model in this market. We think we can create several hundred new jobs. But first things first—we have to be successful in one territory.
MLT: What do you want to achieve through VOP?
ST: I hope we can build a legacy that will outlive all of us.