Madrid veteran launches new business to connect fellow vets with chances at entrepreneurship, CEO positions
POTSDAM -- After 17 years in the U.S. Army, a Madrid man is now running a business to connect veterans with job opportunities and admistrative posts.
Stephen Matthew Wisniew, who served in the 10th Mountain Division's Strategic and Operations Planning office for three years and one at the Public Affairs Office at Fort Drum, has chosen the North Country as his home and is launching “Task Force Vetrepreneur” to deploy veterans into the workforce as CEOs and entrepreneurs. He's working with Clarkson University.“I'm settling down for first time in my life,” said Wisniew, who now lives in Madrid. “I'm looking for a community that fits my life and business. Matt Draper told me, 'We have the resources to help you out.' And they do. It's amazing what's available. I can't say enough about how grateful I am for the program and for finding it.”
His design and consulting company, Stephen Matthew Designs, “brings together his drive to make businesses succeed and his engineer's problem-solving approach,” according to a press release from Clarkson.
“I worked on a business plan in the Boots to Business program through the Institute for Veterans and Families in Syracuse, offered by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University,” he said. “The Army had trained me in design and planning, so I wanted to take that skill into the civilian world. I began to shop around my plan and see where in New York State I could do this.”
Wisniew, a San Diego native, who works under his first name, Stephen Matthew, first considered establishing his company in Syracuse or Rochester. He later decided on Clarkson and the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship, which guided him through the commercialization process.
“Being part of the community is important to me, as is the idea of running my own business. I fell in love with this area. I visited Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, and Syracuse and went down to Florida as well,” he said in the release. “Those places just didn't feel right. My son and daughter are nine and seven now. Last year, I told them I don't think people in those places care about what I'm doing, but they do in northern New York. So my kids said we have to come to northern New York. That sold it for me.”
In addition to his military experience, he has a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from Villanova University, a master's degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri Science and Technology, a master's degree in strategic communications from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, and a master's degree in military art and science from the Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Science.
“Imagine senior officers and non-commissioned officers working with fresh students on projects. What great give and take this can provide. Then when businesses are looking for leaders and they could use a mature professional to get it off the ground, the veterans will be right here to help,” he said.
His goal is to start with 10 vets by August. Then he'll add more each year.
His site is at 65 Main St.