Business Pillar

VETLANTA Entrepreneurial Center of Excellence (VECOE) Mission: To build a world class program that helps our veteran entrepreneurs build a strong foundation to successfully launch, grow and sustain their business ventures.



  1. Mentorship: We connect veteran entrepreneurs with senior businesses leaders through a structure mentoring program to help build a strong a successful business
  2. VOB Summit Series: Facilitating innovation and networking through the ongoing summits with thought leaders from around the country for Veteran Owned Businesses (VOB)
  3. Incubator: Establish and facilitate an incubator program to provide an environment for start-ups to take off and succeed


  • Facilitating innovation and networking through the ongoing summits with thought leaders from around the country for Veteran Owned Businesses (VOB).
  • Target Attendees are veterans who own a small to medium sized business and are looking to gain insight on business trends that will impact their business and for those who want to gain peer-to-peer networking opportunities.


  • Establish and facilitate an incubator program to provide an environment for start-ups to take off and succeed.
  • Target participants are veterans who own a small to medium sized business, who meet our criteria, and are looking to have a hosted office environment to launch their business.

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may 2021

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Mentorship Program:

Provide an accessible point of entry to get connected with resources and networks who can quickly help define the fundamental builds blocks to create a successful business that is specifically tailored toward veterans and is free.

Mentor program Roles/profile:

  • Veteran Entrepreneur: Any prior service military member who is seeking to start and/or grow their own business
  • Mentor: An individual with a proven business background who can present the fundamental aspects of a strong business model. Will typically have a professional network they can access to help with research and consultation to provide industry/market specific guidance to the veteran’s business plan
  • VECOE Project Team: Identify key challenges facing the small business startups and the veteran community and co-develop the program to meet those needs including the mentor/protégé program
  • Resources: a network of key resources offering expertise in various aspects of what a veteran business owner will need that are brought into the mentorship engagement as needed

Mentorship Timeframe:

  • Three month’s long with two brief sessions per month. This is a baseline but will vary depending on the needs and dynamic of the engagement
  • Initial engagement would typically be 1-2 hrs. in person
  • Participate in an Incubator Program and other future external opportunities that may be derived from this program


Pillar Directors

Colonel Patrick S. Ballard, USAF (Ret.) joined Vision Financial Group, Inc. after a 25-year career as an aircraft maintenance officer in the United States Air Force.  His last assignment was as the Commander of the 36th Maintenance Group at Andersen AFB, Guam where he was responsible for leading all aircraft maintenance and munitions support for the 36th Wing.

While on active duty he served on staffs at the Major Command levels and in the field supporting conventional and nuclear operations to include load, launch, recovery and sustainment of B-52H bombers, F-15/F-16/A-10 fighters, and HH-60 helicopters in many stateside assignments as well as in Iceland and Afghanistan

Col Ballard grew up in Birmingham, AL is a 1991 graduate of and was commissioned through the University of Georgia AF ROTC. He also holds a Masters of Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Logistics Management and is now back in the “Classic City” as he works for VFG. Patrick relishes the professional challenge of finding inefficiencies and solving them through teamwork and collaboration.  He hopes to be able to continue to do the same for VFG customers.

Patrick has many hobbies and as an amateur musician, Patrick has has started several rock bands and lead two Contemporary Christian Praise Bands. Patrick also enjoys upland game hunting and bass fishing.  He and his wife have three daughters and reside in Bogart, GA.


Mark Horn currently serves as Chief Operations Officer and associate principal with Evans Building Maintenance. He has over 28 years of experience in the contract services industry, and he brings a wealth of knowledge in business development and operational oversight.

Mark HornMark began his career with the founding of Professional Systems in 1989. Professional Systems provided contract cleaning and temporary engineering services to the manufacturing, medical and hospitality markets. By 2016, Professional Systems, with revenues of $250,000,000, employed 8000 cleaning, engineering and management staff in over 40 states.

Mark formed EBM Managed Services n 2017 with United States Army veteran Mike Evans. Mark is a civilian who knows the benefit of veterans. He is a spirited and dedicated supporter of veterans, and a determined advocate of organizations dedicated to enhancing the lives of veterans and their families.

Mark serves as co-chair of the Business Pillar with VETLANTA. He has served as a mentor with the Mentors program through the Bibb County Board of Education. He served on the church finance committee, and also serves in numerous functions as a parishioner at Vineville United Methodist Church. He is a graduate of The University of Georgia, is married, and he enjoys time with his wife Mindy and two children.