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Veteran Business Owners Celebrated in November

When Dan Shinaver left the U.S. Marine Corps in 1999 after four years, he didn’t want his service to his country to end.  

The Potterville resident worked in the nonprofit world for 12 years helping homeless veterans find employment and housing. Then he started his own company, DS Employment Services, assisting the unemployed in finding work. 

Marc Hile of Owosso served in the U.S. Army in a delayed entry program, where he attended basic training between his junior and senior year in high school. When he was honorably discharged from service, he started Hile Family Construction, where he focuses on home improvement.  

They are just two of hundreds of veterans from Adrian to Ypsilanti who started their own businesses after their military service came to an end. 

November is a month to celebrate those who served America in uniform. In addition to Veterans Day on Nov. 11, the first five days in November have been designated Veterans Small Business Week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Shinaver not only has his own small-business enterprise, but he also has a contract with the state. 

“Currently, I don’t specialize in finding employment for veterans through my company, as I work with anyone who needs it,” he said. “However, I do hold multiple roles with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, where I provide mentorship and community outreach services as a contractor.” 

When Hile was 17, he enlisted in the Army. He was emulating his idol, who also served in the military.  

“I wanted to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps,” Hile said. “He was my hero.” 

Hile explained how his service in the Army, during which he was based in Bay City, influenced his decision to become an entrepreneur. “The military gave me the drive to not give up, and work as hard as possible to achieve my dreams and not let anyone stop me from doing so,” he said. 

Shinaver, who served at Camp Pendleton in California before he suffered a career-ending injury and the rest of his unit deployed to Okinawa, Japan, said running his own company taught him how to pivot. 

“The United States Marine Corps taught me inner strength, fortitude and discipline,” Shinaver said. “In my civilian enterprise this has taught me to adapt and overcome many tough obstacles. It has taught me to find unique and creative ways to solve many problems. And it has taught me to stand up for myself, persevere in the face of adversity and to never give up — even when the going gets tough.”