VRHabilis in the News

VetChamps Tourney Interview

Hiring Our Heroes program and the Hire A Vet campaign by SPIKE TV named VRHabilis as one of eight finalists in the Small Business Tournament of Veteran Champions. The public now has the chance to vote at to help identify the most veteran-friendly small business in America.

A few reasons VRHabilis was selected are:

• Service-disabled veteran-owned small business
• 75% of full-time employees are veterans
• Volunteer and donate to numerous local and national veteran organizations

Watch this Google hangout video interview with Tom Rancich to learn more about the company and why they should be named the Champion of Veteran Friendly Small Businesses.

[mcw_jwplayer_video src=youtube video=eJ0wRUWfRTc width=600 preview=hangout-video.jpg]

A combination of public voting and a panel of judges will narrow the field down to four semifinalists and the same format will be used to select a winner. Voting for the Final Four continues through May 16, 2013, and for the champion through May 30, 2013. Judging for the tournament is based on criteria such as innovative recruiting and retention strategies for veterans, veteran community engagement and leadership as well as an ongoing commitment to hire veterans. The winning business will receive a custom spot produced by and aired on Spike TV.

VRHabilis in the News

Hang Out with VRHabilis

Come join our Google+ Hangout Friday morning to chat with VRHabilis CEO and co-founder Tom Rancich about the company, the veterans who work with us, and how we work with veterans’ organizations. The Hangout starts at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, May 10, 2013, and will run for 15 minutes.

This Hangout is being presented by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program. It is part of their Small Business Tournament of Veteran Champions. VRHabilis is one of eight finalists for this national award.

We hope you can join us!

VRHabilis in the News

VRHabilis Named Finalist for National Award Recognizing Veteran-Friendly Small Businesses

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program and Spike TV’s Hire A Vet campaign today named VRHabilis LLC one of eight finalists in the Small Business Tournament of Veteran Champions.

Small Business Tournament of Veteran Champions

“We had extraordinary entries from coast-to-coast, but VRHabilis’ commitment to our nation’s veterans set itself apart,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel (ret.), executive director of Hiring Our Heroes. “These eight finalists have established themselves as national leaders for other small businesses to follow. VRHabilis deserves to be recognized for its innovative strategies to recruit and support the men and women who have served our country. ”

A combination of public voting and a panel of judges will narrow the field to four semifinalists and the same format will be used to select a winner. Voting for the Final Four continues through May 16, 2013, and for the champion through May 30, 2013. Judging for the tournament is based on criteria such as innovative recruiting and retention strategies for veterans, veteran community engagement and leadership as well as an ongoing commitment to hire veterans.

You can cast your votes at You are allowed to vote up to once each day, so vote early and vote often! We appreciate your support.

Read the official press release (PDF).

About VRHabilis

VRH Heads to 2nd Annual TVBA Trade Show

It is that time of year again! The management team travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee to represent VRHabilis at the Tennessee Veterans Business Association (TVBA) trade show.

The TVBA is a wonderful organization that brings together companies and veterans from all over the U.S. in hopes to find work for veterans. It was established to help veterans get on their feet and assist them in discovering ways to put their skills to good use. They give veterans the tools to allow them to showcase their experience.

This year marked the second annual TVBA trade show and VRHabilis is a Diamond Sponsor. VRH returned this year because it is an extremely beneficial way to meet with other companies that could be potential partners and meet veterans who are looking for work.

The TVBA’s mission statement is “ [to] provide entrepreneurship training, business development assistance, and networking opportunities to military veterans and their families. We also provide assistance in finding rewarding employment to all veterans, and support the work of both public and private sector organizations who offer charitable support to current service members and veterans.” VRH has a goal to find veterans who can contribute to the company and be there as they rapidly develop. Both the TVBA and VRH have similar objectives and is why VRHabilis will continue supporting TVBA in the future. The success and enlightening experiences are impossible to pass up!

VRHabilis in the News

Fellow Martha’s Vineyard veterans lend Jared Meader a helping hand

By Janet Hefler of the Martha’s Vineyard Times:

Last week veteran Jared Meader of Vineyard Haven experienced [the] “band of brothers” bond first-hand when fellow veterans Tom Rancich and Elliott Adler stepped up with a $5,000 loan to stop foreclosure proceedings on his home….

Mr. Meader shared his frustration and despair about possibly losing his home at a recent veterans’ support group meeting run by Tom Bennett, the associate executive director and senior clinical advisor at the Island Counseling Center.

Afterwards, Mr. Rancich pulled Mr. Meader aside and said he would talk to his business partner about helping the Meaders out.

“Tom said, hey, this isn’t charity; we all hit hard times, and I’m not going to see another veteran lose his house,” Mr. Meader recalled.

Mr. Rancich is a U.S. Navy veteran who spent part of his career as a SEAL dealing with disposal of unexploded bombs. He and his business partner Elliott Adler met in the Navy as classmates in explosive ordnance school.

After retirement from their military careers, Mr. Rancich and Mr. Adler started their own company, VRHabilis, in 2007. The “VR” stands for “veteran run,” and “habilis” is Latin for “work.”

Mr. Rancich said after he left the veterans’ support group meeting, he shared Mr. Meader’s story with his partner.

“Why don’t we help?” Mr. Adler immediately responded.

“I went to Jared and told him, we’re not a mega-corporation, but we’ll be damned if we’ll see you and your wife and kids put on the street for $5,000,” Mr. Rancich said. “And what we’d like to do is extend to you a loan for that amount, get you current, get the bank off your back and allow you to have a little breathing room, so you can have a chance to succeed.”

On May 5 he put a cashier’s check for $5,000 in Mr. Meader’s hands. The next day Mr. Meader paid his back mortgage payments to Bank of America and put a halt to foreclosure proceedings scheduled for May 18.

“I think that if I had not known Jared through Tom’s group, that would have been an impossible offer to make,” Mr. Rancich said. “But since we’ve sat there and cried at the table together, I was able to make the offer, and he was able to accept it in the vein that I was extending it, which was look, you’re a brother in arms, and one of our company’s core values is to try to help out disabled veterans.”

Challenges for returning vets

Mr. Meader and Mr. Rancich stopped by The Times office last week to share their story. Mr. Meader said he didn’t mind going public with it, in the hope that it would bring to light the problems that some returning veterans face, especially those with disabilities.

“One of my soap box issues, and this is repeated throughout our history, is the country is perfectly willing to go to war without an appropriate safety net for the guys coming back,” Mr. Rancich said. “And you just see an enormous divorce rate, an enormous alcoholism rate, and an enormous suicide rate because civilians are of the opinion that you have to have fought in the Battle of the Bulge or something like that to have post-traumatic stress.”

VRHabilis provides military range management, remediation, and emergency response. The company is currently under contract to help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its survey and cleanup of World War II-era munitions from former practice sites along Martha’s Vineyard’s south shore.

Mr. Rancich and Mr. Adler share a kinship with disabled vets, since both of them qualified for that category from injuries during their years of service.

Mr. Rancich broke his neck and back in a helicopter crash in 1997. He said that because of superior care he received from therapists on the SEAL team, he was able to continue to serve out his 20 years.

“So one of our company’s goals is to take guys with traumatic brain injuries or missing limbs and use adaptive technologies or adaptive strategies to employ them in fields that they want to work,” Mr. Rancich said.

There’s lots more — read the full article at the MV Times website.

VRHabilis in the News

VRHabilis co-founder chosen for Construction Institute committee

The Jan-Feb 2008 issue of the Construction Zone, the Construction Institute’s bi-monthly newsletter, featured Tom Rancich and VRHabilis in this article by Stephan Butler, A.M.ASCE.

Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy (Ret.) and founder of VRHabilis, has recently joined CI’s Social and Environmental Concerns in Construction Committee. The Committee’s members, who focus on social, economic, technological and environmental concerns in construction, believe that VRHabilis’s business model, which is informed by both social justice and profit concerns, embodies the core vision and mission of the committee and its work.

VRHabilis, which stands for Veteran Run Work (Latin derivative), is a disabled veteran-owned small business with the large vision of increasing career opportunities for disabled veterans in construction and related fields. Tom Rancich, a retired Navy SEAL, combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan (awarded the Bronze Star for valor), explains, “VRHabilis (pronounced vrahhbliss) began as a military range remediation service company. We saw where we could seize a niche market by providing military range managers with tailored solutions to their individual needs instead of following the status quo in the unexploded ordnance industry. One of the first things we wanted to develop was an enhanced remote-controlled capability for land clearance and target placement. We developed the concept, which, we joked, if we got right, we would never have to leave the pickup. Right then the light went on: if we could do it from the pickup, then so could any disabled veteran.”

From that initial conversation VRHabilis has developed the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology. “We refer to it as ‘mass customization to maximize human potential,’™” explains Rancich. “The idea is to work with equipment manufacturers and construction managers to develop cost-effective solutions to individual disabilities and then field those solutions to add service-disabled veterans to the work force.”

The facts are clear. Tens of thousands of disabled veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars face huge challenges reintegrating into the work force. These are not men and women who want, or even would, take hand outs, but the handicap posed to them by their service-related injuries is real.

“I fractured my neck in a helicopter crash in 1996,” says Rancich. “I was able to continue to serve but as I went through the retirement process in 2005 it was obvious that the system was skewed toward telling [me] what I could not do rather than help[ing] me find a way to do what I wanted to. We want to reverse that skew. In the interest of full disclosure, we believe that there [will be] enormous socio, economic and financial benefits in doing so; this is not a nonprofit effort. By focusing on what we know to be true about these men and women—they are honorable, they are trained, they are adaptable, they are diligent, etc.—we can build a corporate structure that supports their needs as a function of productivity instead of overhead.” Success in that endeavor could add tens of thousands of motivated workers to the industry at great benefit to society and the economy, not to mention honoring a sliver of the debt of gratitude owed to these individuals.

You can download a PDF of the newsletter from the Construction Zone.