Now, more than ever, our returning veterans need our help. Our military is being called on to go above and beyond their expected duty. Families are being stressed. Divorce rates for military personnel are at record levels. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is at an all-time high affecting spouses and children. Long and repeated tours of duty put the veterans’ civilian jobs in jeopardy.
As a community, we are working diligently to help veterans connect once back home to meaningful jobs, to the health care they may need, and to the education they desire.
VetConnection is here to serve United States military veterans by providing resources for vets and their families including: jobs, healthcare, job training, education, housing assistance, financial guidance, legal advice and more.
VetConnection is a non-profit organization founded in 2010.
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Morgantown on April 20, 2010. During that visit, Admiral Mullen challenged Morgantown Area community leaders to provide a support mechanism for returning veterans and their families.
Frank Vitale, Mark Carter, Admiral Mullen, Delbert Royce and Ken Busz.
Since then, a large number of organizations and volunteers have come together to develop a “one stop” portal for our returning warriors and their families, www.vetconnection.org. VetConnection.org will provide information on healthcare, jobs, job training, education, housing, finances, legal advice and so much more.
Kenneth Busz, IOM
President Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce
Ken is a Chamber of Commerce veteran of 23 years having served two Chambers in New Jersey, the Huntington (WV) Regional Chamber of Commerce and Frederick County (MD). He came to Morgantown (WV) Area Chamber of Commerce as President in May of 2008. In the spring of 2010, the Morgantown Area Chamber was honored to host ADM Mike Mullins, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Chairman came to Morgantown to see and hear how returning vets were being assimilated back in to society in the areas of Education, Employment and Health Care. In planning for the Chairman’s visit, we were pleased to see that there is a lot available but Vets were having difficulty locating the programs. The Chamber launched vetconnection.org later that spring in hopes of hosting a web site that would include all programs and services available to Vets and their families. That process is underway now. Because I was part of the effort to host the Chairman and the creating of vetconnection.org, I was honored to receive the Seven Seals Award from ESGR. Ken is a 1993 graduate of the Institute of Organization Management and later went on to become Chairman of the Board of Regents of the northeast site at Villanova University. He has also served as President of the WV Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
In 2004, Mark Carter stepped into the newly-created position of Vice President-Business Development for Swanson Industries. He oversees all non-mining sales, marketing and Swanson Industries International manufacturing and sales.
Carter has led the business expansion of the remanufacturing business, including quality certification, facilities and process design, scheduling systems, and training.
Carter began his career with international management and engineering consulting firms, assisting over 50 clients in manufacturing, health care and government.
In 1993, Carter joined Swanson Industries as director of manufacturing. By 1997, he became Vice President and General Manager of Swanson’s Laser Processing Company, navigating the firm through its creation and relocation from the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University, College Park, Pa., to Morgantown, W.Va.
Carter holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University (1984) and is a Certified Quality Auditor. He earned his Certified Systems Integrator status through the Institute of Industrial Engineers. He has been designated a Certified Production and Inventory Manager through the American Production and Inventory Control Society.
Carter is a board member of the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce and is one of the four founders of VetConnection, answering the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen’s, challenge for the Morgantown area to help integrate returning veterans and their families back into our community. Carter chaired the business portion of the admiral’s forum held at WVU and has been instrumental in promoting VetConnection to area businesses and industries.
A native of Morgantown, Delbert Royce has 35 years of sales and management experience. In 1987 he became vice-president and partner in BlaineTurner Advertising in Morgantown, West Virginia. Royce spent nearly 20 years with the Dominion Post serving as Advertising Director from 1978 – 1987.
Royce’s strong commitment to his community is evident in his leadership roles. He is one of the four original organizers of VetConnection and currently serves on its advisory board. In addition to serving as 2010 chairman of the board of directors for the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, he is on the advisory committee for the interim mayor of Star City and is a member of the Star City Vision Committee which was instrumental in acquiring a $4 million TIF grant. He is a past member of the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors.
Clear Mountain Bank
Frank Vitale has accumulated nearly 18 years of service to his country in the United States Army since his graduation from Valley Forge Military College in 1994, where he held his first leadership positions as regimental sergeant major and student body president.
Throughout his accomplished Military career, Vitale has been continually recognized for his leadership and dedication to the Army and the West Virginia Army National Guard. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal with oak-leaf cluster.
Vitale’s commitment to professionalism and military service has moved him through various positions of leadership within the West Virginia Army National Guard, where he most recently earned the designation of Senior Instructor for Officer Candidate School, serving the National Guards of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
After graduating from West Virginia University with his bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1996, Vitale began his professional career in the healthcare industry, where he served as the regional human resources director and executive director for a sizeable assisted living center.
Vitale’s human resources expertise led to an opportunity in the financial services industry, where he developed the human resources department for a start-up bank. He eventually went on to take dual executive roles, managing both the human resources and executive banking departments. He currently serves as a senior vice president at Clear Mountain Bank in Morgantown, where he leads their Private Banking Group.
His dedication to service also extends into his community, where Vitale has selflessly given his time to over a dozen civic organizations in his hometown of Morgantown, WV. He currently serves as the chairman of the United Way, chairman and commissioner of the Monongalia County Deputy Sheriff’s Civil Service Commission and board member of the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce.
In 2008, Vitale returned to his alma mater to pursue post-graduate educational opportunities. In May 2010, he graduated with his master’s in Business Administration from West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics. He currently serves West Virginia University as a member of the MBA Advisory Board for the College of Business and Economics and as a member of the Visiting Committee for the College of Human Resources and Education. In 2010 Vitale was named Adjunct Assistant Professor for WVU’s School of Dentistry and the College of Business and Economics. In 2011 Vitale was named by the State Journal to Generation Next / 40 Under 40 for Leadership.