Press Releases

Missouri Veteran, Lt. Cmdr. Taylor Burks Testifies in House Small Business Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) and the House Small Business Committee held a hearing entitled, “Saluting Service: Supporting Veteran Owned Small Businesses.” The committee hosted veteran small business owners from across the country including Boone County, MO-native, Navy Lieutenant Commander Taylor Burks, President and General Manager of Rost Landscaping. Congressman Luetkemeyer and Lt. Cmdr. Burks discussed the issues impacting veteran-owned businesses specifically as well as all small businesses in general.

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Rep. Luetkemeyer: Mr. Burks, you talk about the G.I. Bill’s Yellow Ribbon Program, and you had some frustrations with that.

Lt. Cmdr. Burks: The Yellow Ribbon Program was a blessing. I would not have been able to afford a private institution like Washington University without that. Where the gulf was is bringing and translating my military skills for a – at the time – new business school graduate to the job market in St. Louis… When you join the military, you leave behind your family support, and you build your new network in the military. Then you leave the military and go back home and have to rebuild your network again. That was really the gulf that I saw through the Yellow Ribbon Program, the education was phenomenal, and I’m blessed to have it. How do I take that and my experience and build an entirely new network after being away from home for eight plus years – or twenty years if I was retiring. That’s that frustration and difficulty where I hope we can provide better support to recently transitioning veterans.

Rep. Luetkemeyer: You’ve been involved with and continue to be involved with multiple businesses. What are some of the common problems and concerns you have with running those businesses especially with regulations, taxes, whatever the problem is.

Lt. Cmdr. Burks: Uncertainty… Without a doubt, uncertainty throws I think each of us for a curve regardless of what your industry is. And being able to predict that beyond what our size is – we can’t have consultants and staff to do everything for us. But that’s where small business – regardless of your veteran status – struggles.