June 24, 2014

Captain Phillips rescuer on deck

On Tuesday, June 24, only two days before the first round of the 2014 Quicken Loans National, the Tiger Woods Foundation and wire2netllc hosted the annual Veterans Business Summit, which featured an array of accomplished and distinguished guests, at Congressional Country Club.

To kick off the morning’s schedule of events, the newly appointed president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation, Rick Singer, welcomed the group as he set the stage for a series of speakers and two panels that would comprise the morning’s discussions. 

Following Singer, Veterans Business Summit presenter Darryl Dennis welcomed the event’s keynote speaker, Vice Admiral Michelle Howard. Vice Admiral Howard is the highest ranking female officer in the U.S. Navy’s 239-year history and is the U.S. Navy’s first ever female four-star admiral. She is also responsible for coordinating the rescue mission of Captain Richard Phillips, who was captured by Somali pirates and detained for five days after the pirates hijacked Captain Phillips’ unarmed, U.S.-marked cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama. At that time in 2009, Vice Admiral Howard was merely three days into her new position as head of a U.S. Navy strike force responsible for combating pirates in the Arabian Sea and also aboard the U.S.S. Boxer when she learned of the hijacking. To end the crisis and return Captain Phillips to safety, Vice Admiral Howard issued the command for Navy SEAL snipers, aboard the U.S.S. Bainbridge, to take out the Somali pirates. 

Vice Admiral Howard devoted her address to discussing and giving rise to the U.S. Navy’s Small Business Programs. 

The Department of the Navy Office of Small Business Programs is dedicated to supporting the needs and development of small businesses that have the capabilities of helping to sustain the Navy-Marine Corps force. 

“The big thing for me is the focus on veterans, folks who used to be in the service,” Howard said. “[Today] is a chance to thank veterans for their service and to say thanks for still wanting to serve in a different way. Veterans understand the customer because they were the customer once.”

And although Howard has given and sacrificed so much for the United States Navy, the United States of America and the world, she is zeroed in on always giving back.

“I always think: ‘What a great phase of your life to say: I can provide a product or service that supports my shipmates.'”

Director of the Navy’s Small Business Program (SBP) Seán F. Crean couldn’t think of a better way to market and discuss the SBP — which has already generated business with more than 850 small businesses — than at a Tiger Woods Foundation event. 

“When you look at something like what the [Tiger Woods] Foundation does for wounded warriors, the connection with veterans and obviously Tiger’s relationship with his father, it gives us a need to say, ‘Hey, there’s an opportunity for us and there are organizations like [Tiger’s] that can bring everyone together,” Crean said. “It gives us a chance to be able to come in for that [connection], and it’s absolutely terrific.”

Following Howard’s keynote address, the program finished with two panels focused on the challenges and solutions facing service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses, followed by mingling and networking before viewing the professional practice round.

The Tiger Woods Foundation and wire2netllc could not have been happier to host such a distinguished group of guests for an important and successful event that made this year’s Quicken Loans National that much more special.