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Stafford County businessman chosen as UMW's Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year
Free Lance-Star - 11/26/2018
Nov. 26--FROM STAFF REPORTS
A Stafford County business owner has been chosen as the University of Mary Washington's 2018 Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year.
The award, presented at the Veteran's Business Bootcamp at UMW's Stafford Campus, went to Edward DeVilliers, president of DeVilliers Technology Solutions, a minority- and veteran-owned company.
A news release on the award noted that DeVilliers was born in Connecticut to Cuban parents who immigrated to the United States. He became a Marine Corps officer, graduating with a chemistry degree from the United States Naval Academy.
During his service he was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal for his leadership in starting the systems engineering and integration organization within Marine Corps Systems Command, serving as its first chief engineer.
Leaving the Marine Corps in 2000, DeVilliers took lead engineering positions in government and the private sector. DeVilliers Technology Solutions opened in 2012, supporting Marine Corps programs.
DeVilliers received his Ph.D. in systems engineering from George Washington University and a master's in computer science from the Naval Postgraduate School.
His chemistry research includes the discovery of a lightweight advanced material being tested to replace glass on combat vehicles.
In accepting the award, DeVilliers recognized the contributions of his wife, Catherine Medina-DeVilliers, vice president of the company. She is the chairman of the math department of T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, and works with minority students in computer science Advanced Placement courses.
DeVilliers Technology Solutions supports regional high school programming competitions, and STEM-oriented field trips.
The Veteran's Business Bootcamp is a collaborative program offered by Stafford County Economic Development Authority, the University of Mary Washington and the U.S. Small Business Administration to advance practical knowledge for military veterans who own or want to own a business.
Brian Baker, executive director of the UMW Center for Economic Development, said that the award received by DeVilliers recognizes entrepreneurs who served in the military, established a successful enterprise and support corporate citizenship in the community.
The Veteran's Business Bootcamp ceremony featured Virginia Del. Bob Thomas, R -- 28th District, and Carl Knoblock, the director of the Richmond District for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Thomas, a Marine Corps veteran and business owner, shared what he believes are the basic skills to succeed as an entrepreneur: focus, determination, luck and ability to survive difficult phases of establishing a business.
Knoblock, a Navy veteran, spoke about acquiring distressed manufacturing businesses and making them profitable by focusing on global markets.
Virginia's small business development centers each select a veteran small-business owner or entrepreneur from their local service areas. All those recipients are then considered for Virginia's Small Business Veteran of the Year award. That state winner receives a plaque and his or her name is displayed at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.
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