Veteran Franchise Spotlight – The model fits the bill perfectly.


Fairfax County is home to more than 80,000 veterans and their families and nearly 2,000 veteran-owned businesses in 2022, according to Jeff McKay (D), chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, in his message dated 11 November, Veterans Day, 2022. Businesses, including franchises, span all industries, from professional services and healthcare to cybersecurity and construction.

Hal Berens of Fairfax County owns multiple locations of The UPS Store, Reston, McLean and Chantilly.

Joseph Ortiz is the president of PuroClean Reston, serving communities in Fairfax County. Due to their structures and processes, veterans were attracted to franchising after leaving the military.

On the left, Joseph Ortiz deployed in Iraq

Berens served as the aircraft maintenance logistics officer for Operation Joint Endeavour. “I really enjoyed working with the professionals. They were great people. It was a big mission,” he said. When his deployment ended in 1997, Berens left the military, in part because he had two young children and another on the way. “I loved the military. I loved the air force, (but) I didn’t want to do a corporate tour remotely for two years,” he said.

Berens’ military experience and skills helped him in his entrepreneurial endeavors. “I think most military people, when they go out, are motivated. They know they want to accomplish a mission,” Berens said. “And they want to do something bigger than themselves. Being an entrepreneur and supporting the community is a great way to do that.”

Berens said that as a franchisee of The UPS Store, he has access to marketing materials containing strategies for generating more business flow and revenue. Her store is community-focused, donating thousands of dollars worth of books to Terraset Elementary School in Reston. He is a member of two Chambers of Commerce, Dulles Regional and Greater Reston. He is the cooperative president of a marketing association in Washington, DC, representing 37 stores. Berens acknowledged that between owning three franchises and serving his communities, his schedule could be tough. But Berens brings his military leadership skills to the table, and he enjoys being a seasoned entrepreneur in the structured franchise concept.

Fairfax County turned out to be the perfect location for Ortiz, an Army veteran who had been deployed to Iraq. Like Berens, Ortiz determined that buying a franchise was his best option. Four days after 9/11, 18-year-old Ortiz went to the recruiting station in Puerto Rico and decided to join the military. He was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for basic training. He received his technical training in Alabama before being sent to the Air Force Division at Fort Drum, New York. “It was an amazing experience for me, a kid… who barely spoke English, but it was perfect,” Ortiz said. A 14-month deployment to Iraq followed, during which he learned “a lot of good things” but lost “a lot of friends”.

“It was life changing. [It] made me appreciate what the military does,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz, like Berens, left the military and what he learned serving his country helped him in business. Ortiz was also inspired by his single mother who ran her small moving business in Puerto Rico. He was looking for a company that would encourage responsibility and personal touches like his. Her mother’s business supported local families by providing services that a larger company might not be able to provide.

Ortiz asks its PuroClean employees to uphold the franchise’s two guiding principles: compassion and empathy. His team uses these principles for clients in Fairfax County who have suffered water damage to their business and are losing money. They also put themselves in the shoes of homeowners who had to stay in hotels due to flooding and damage to their homes.

In the military, Ortiz said, “Everyone swims the same. … They set a mission, complete it, and then do a review to see if it was successful or not and how to improve it.” The civilian universe of his franchise is identical.

“Military is all about attention to detail,” Ortiz said. It brings that level of precision to its PuroClean franchise. “It’s about how you look, how you present yourself, and how you enter someone’s house to help them,” said Ortiz, who strictly adheres to industry standards. It takes dedication. According to Ortiz, anyone can be motivated. However, motivation fluctuates. “If you’re not disciplined to get up on days you’re not motivated, you’re screwed,” Ortiz said.

For Berens, retirement will be the next event on his horizon in four or five years. Berens doesn’t want to sit down. He would rather volunteer, devote more time to his church, and pursue a hobby. In particular, he wishes to defend the issues of veterans. “I am a disabled veteran. I want veterans to be successful with the Veterans Administration (VA) because dealing with a huge government agency can sometimes slow down the process. … I want to work in the Legion,” a- he declared. represent veterans more meaningfully.

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