Jeff Shuford, president of Tech From Vets & chairman of Vets 22, is featured prominently in the Jacksonville Business Journal cover story, “Welcome to Appsonville: Tips From First Coast Technologists On Turning Ideas Into Reality,” published on June 29, 2018. The article details his strategies and techniques deploying his company’s award-winning mobile app Vets 22 and covers his work as a syndicated columnist to the American City Business Journals and Forbes.com. Shuford was also recently named “Top Influential Veteran Entrepreneur To Watch In 2018” and was bestowed the President’s Award from the Jacksonville Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants in mid-2018.
It’s been only a year since Shuford and retired National Football League star Drayton Florence decided that it was time to take action and stop veteran suicides. The statistics were frightening to Florence as he plunged into the figures. “I was shocked to learn that 22 veterans decide to take their own lives each day in our country,” asserted Florence. Fully realizing that producing the award-winning app would take months to develop, days to aggregate, and countless hours to design, with no outside funding, the Vets 22 staff decided to remain steadfast and focused on the mission at hand. “When the NFL Network requested that Drayton present our mobile app on live TV I was elated. Our partner company (Tech From Vets) scrapped together the necessary funds for travel expenses, it was tough but definitely worth the investment,” indicated Shuford. “To sustain Vets 22, Shuford turned the company behind it into a nonprofit, allowing it to access alternative sources of funds,” stated the Jacksonville Business Journal. “We felt it was unethical to subject people looking for food services and homeless shelters to advertising,” affirmed Shuford.
Shuford recalls proudly watching Florence’s interview on the NFL Network live from his home in Jacksonville with his wife and young daughter by his side, “There is no greater form of validation than watching a global sports brand articulate your company’s innovations,” mentioned Shuford. By Florence being a popular sports influencer bringing national attention to the veteran suicide crisis, many felt that he ultimately helped soften a hard conversation regarding veterans and their battles with wartime traumas. Florence would later be asked to present the Vets 22 app at the South by Southwest Confrence which ultimately led to the apps media feature in Sports Illustrated.
“Serving thousands of veterans each month is absolutely gratifying,” stated Navy Veteran Mario Poole, a respected Certified Public Accountant who serves as Vets 22’s Executive Director. Poole himself, a veteran suffering from PTSD knows first-hand the sacrifices of our military service personnel. Poole was instrumental in the non-profit’s strategic development and fiscal progression. “We wanted to wait until we had a team in place to properly establish Vets 22 as a non-profit organization. With Mario’s addition, we have achieved our goal of becoming a registered 501(c)(3), and we remain laser-focused on the continuance of our mission to provide innovation, outreach, and support to the heroes of our nation,” stated Lieutenant Colonel Rickey L. Pope U.S. Army (ret.), the organizations public affairs officer.
The award-winning Iraq Veteran recently partnered with successful serial Vetrepreneur Gregory Grant to mentor emerging and aspiring veteran entrepreneurs in private group settings. The two will be facilitating a class at Jacksonville University’s Davis School of Business later this month. The class is a continuation of their successful Jacksonville Vetrepreneur Summit that’s been streamed online by over thirty thousand veterans and physically attended by hundreds eager to start and grow their businesses.