NM Dept of Veterans Services Helps One Community Auto Win Award

New Mexico Department of Veterans' Services

For Immediate Release May 3, 2017

Local Veteran-Owned Business Selected as a Winner in the 2017 American Small Business Championship

One Community Auto LLC Received Start-Up Help From the NMDVS

(ALBUQUERQUE, NM) -- A veteran-owned business which received start-up counseling and assistance from the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (NMDVS) has been selected as a winner of the 2017 American Small Business Championship.

One Community Auto LLC of Albuquerque was chosen as one of 102 nationwide winners by SCORE—the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors which helps small business owners in America--which also collaborated with Sam’s Club for this nationwide contest.

The company was founded by Albuquerque native and retired U.S. Air Force Major Gary Peterson, and was one of only two companies from New Mexico to receive the award. One Community Auto LLC assists non-profit organizations by refurbishing their donated used cars and re-selling it for them at its lot not far from Kirtland Air Force Base—where Mr. Peterson was formerly stationed.

Entrants submitted an online application describing the most unique aspect of their small business that has contributed to their success, and how it positively impacts the community. Nominations which garnered at least 100 votes were then presented to a judging panel of small business experts to determine the winners.

It was this aspect of re-selling on behalf of non-profit organizations which, according to Mr. Peterson, most likely impressed the judges.

“This not only saves the car from the junk yard, it end up also benefitting organizations which help citizens in need here in the community,” said Mr. Peterson. “Other programs send vehicles to auction--but we save the vehicles and give them new life.”

He also thanked the New Mexico Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)—the business development division of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services--and other agencies for helping him realize a long-held dream of opening his own company.

“I couldn’t have launched my business without the help of the VBOC, the SBA, SCORE, the New Mexico Small Business Developments Centers, WESST, and other local resources,” said Mr. Peterson. “I had the passion and the drive, but not the business sense. They helped me put my business plan together and then launch and grow One Community Auto.”

All 102 winners receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a training and networking event, SCORE mentoring, and free publicity throughout the year. One Community Auto is now eligible to win one of three $25,000 grand prizes awards as one of three national Grand Champions this fall.

The New Mexico Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)

The New Mexico Veterans’ Business Outreach Center (VBOC) was created by the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services to help entrepreneurial-minded veterans start or expand a small business. It was the first such state managed center in the nation created specifically to help veterans and is funded through a grant by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

New Mexico’s VBOC is located in Albuquerque but provides service free of charge to any veteran statewide. For more information about the VBOC, contact Rich Coffel at (505) 383-2401 or richardl.coffel@state.nm.us.


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