After service, many Veterans find themselves asking the question: What’s next? Serving in the military is a commitment that provides a sense of mission and service that is unparalleled in most other careers.
For many Veterans, it can be a daunting task to think about what your next mission will be. Taking time to explore yourself and discovering your passions and motivations can help you find a new path that provides a way to make an impact and serve your community.
In the case of two former Air Force members, Ron Burnett and Susan Smith, they found their new mission in owning and operating their package-delivery businesses in partnership with Amazon. The Delivery Service Partner (DSP) Program has provided them an opportunity not only to launch and scale a small business, but to lead with human connection and give back to their communities.
Ron Burnett, USAF retired
Burnett has built a foundation of strong leadership, business skills and, more importantly, a sense of duty to his community. He credits much of his company’s success to his time in the military. He joined the Air Force at 19 and spent 20 years across several roles, including serving as a financial manager and budget analyst. He went on to have a successful career in government and as an entrepreneur as well. In 2018, Burnett took a pivot and decided to start his own DSP business in Colorado, which has enabled him not only to change his life but the lives of hundreds of employees from his local community.
Burnett’s deep caring and dedication to his community fuels his purpose as an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP). He says, “Being a DSP is more than just about making money. I see this opportunity as way to serve others – from the customers who depend on Amazon to deliver their packages, to the people we employ, to the non-profits our business is able to give back to, such as Smile Train and Toys for Tots. When you’re in a position like this, you can really impact people’s lives. It’s about caring. Nobody wants to know about how much you know until they know how much you care, and that’s something that I’ve always kept in mind when building and supporting my team.”
Susan Smith, USAF retired
Susan Smith retired after 20 years of service in the Air Force, but continued serving in other countries by building wells for drinking water with her husband. In 2018, she became a DSP, and her company started delivering Blessing Bags, kits of toiletry and food items for the homeless. She and her team of drivers have delivered 900 blessing bags to people in need. Her story was recently featured during Black History month on NBC’s Los Angeles local news.
After service, many Veterans continue to be fueled by a mission-driven purpose to make a bigger impact on the lives of others, and Smith’s continued dedication to others hasn’t gone unnoticed. Hal Roesch, VFW commander and chief says, “She does this out of the kindness of her heart and betterment of people.”
Smith believes, “It’s all about helping.”
Veterans and the Amazon Delivery Service Partner Program
Veterans’ backgrounds provide a natural affinity to becoming small business owners. They have the leadership, grit, team-building skills and, as we saw with Burnett and Smith, the dedication to community that make them excellent candidates for the Amazon DSP program. Currently, hundreds of Veterans own and operate DSP businesses in partnership with Amazon.
The DSP program is a business opportunity for adaptable leaders and experienced team motivators to launch and build their own package delivery business. It’s not an opportunity for everyone – you must possess the grit and tenacity to problem solve on a daily basis. But the Amazon partnership provides unique resources to DSPs, including access to business coaches who support and mentor DSPs as they scale their package-delivery businesses. Moreover, Amazon provides the tools to help DSPs hit the ground running with low upfront costs and build a safe work environment for their drivers.
To find out more about how you can deploy your leadership skills as a Delivery Service Partner, visit www.amazon.com/VA-DSP.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of VA.