The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce will hold a virtual event aimed at reaching out to local military veterans who are interested in starting their own businesses in their local community.

The event which is entitled “Vetrepreneurs” will consist of a panel of entrepreneurs and business people with ties to the veterans community. The members of the panel will share their experiences and advice to a virtual audience on how their experiences of military service and working with veterans has shaped and guided their paths in the world of the private sector.

The event will be presented by the Chamber’s Veteran and Military Business Council which according to its website aims to bridge veterans, veteran supporters, and veteran-friendly businesses within the Northern Virginia community in order to help better their communities. 

This will be the third “vetrepreneurs” panel the Council has run in the past three years.

According to Council Leader Ben Rodgers, the three areas of focus that the council aims towards are helping veteran entrepreneurs thrive, helping veteran employees succeed, and networking within the veteran community.

“Northern Virginia bleeds with an abundance of vets looking to start businesses and grow the economy. The benefit of service minded entrepreneurs is that they help to create solutions for the government, create jobs, assist with the needs of national security, and use their experience to enrich the community,” stated Rodgers.

One of the event’s panelists is the President and CEO of Reston based company Thundercat Technology Tom Deierlein. Deierlein is a former Major in the United States Army and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and co-founded Thundercat in 1993.

Deierlein has stated that his time in the military has taught him the values of teamwork, diversity, perseverance and especially leadership.

“The Army gave me a chance very early on to learn and study leadership and then practice it. Second was grit.  The military taught me to deal with adversity, setbacks and challenges but to remain focused on the task or goal or objective on hand,” said Deierlein.

Other members of the panel will include Laurie Buckhout, Chief Revenue Officer & Director of Castellum US; Seda Atam Goff, Director of Veteran Entrepreneurship and PenFed; Hae-Sue Park, CEO of Apogee Systems Corporation and Erik Wittreich, CEO, Ridgeline International, Inc.

The live virtual event will take place on Oct. 20 from 10-11am. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register by 5 pm on Oct. 19. For more information, please visit

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