Veterans and Entrepreneurship
Alan “AP” Powell, The HeroZona Foundation
Alan “AP” Powell is a serial entrepreneur, Gulf War Veteran, philanthropist and a renowned strategic consultant developing relationships for Fortune 500 companies. Powell currently serves as chairman and CEO of AP & Associates, LLC, founded in 2004. He is also the founder of The HeroZona Foundation, a non-profit that serves students and veterans by giving them access to educational opportunities to ensure they get to cross the ‘finish line’. The foundation’s name reflects that messaging to focus on empowering and celebrating America’s veterans. Programs include the Herozona National Veteran Summit — a multi-day networking experience to improve America’s support of veteran companies through workshops, networking, entrepreneurial connections, and seminars — and Play It Forward, Veterans Reach to Teach, Phoenix Tools 4 Schools and the Bridge Forum.
Powell’s upcoming engagement, the HeroZona National Veteran Summit will will return to Phoenix from November 5 – 7, 2019. This multi-day experience for America’s veterans — including Arizona’s 640,000 veterans, 38,000 active duty service members and 1,000 veteran owned companies — is spearheaded by the HeroZona Foundation and its new partner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes. Other 2019 sponsors include Arizona Public Service (APS), Phoenix Suns, USAA, Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers and the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services.
The 2019 theme is advancing economic opportunity for the military community and includes executive roundtables, an awards dinner, employment summit, job fair, Bridge Forum and workshops. HeroZona National Veteran Summit is free and open to active duty service members, National Guard and Army Reserve, veterans, military spouses and caregivers. To learn more about The HeroZona Foundation’s programs and HeroZona National Veteran Summit, visit herozonasummit.com or herozona.org.
Powell was recently recognized with the Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce Corporate Star Award (2016), the MLK Living the Dream Award (2017), Greater Phoenix Urban League’s Whitney M. Young Jr. Award (2017), the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity’s Edward M. Kennedy Community Service Award (2017), ABC 15 and Sanderson Ford’s Saluting Arizona’s Veterans Award (2018) and the John S. McCain Inspirational Leadership Award (2018). He also served as the Grand Marshall for the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade in 2017. Powell also won 2019’s ‘Most Influential Man in the Valley’ award by Arizona Foothills Magazine.
Heather Dopson, formerly of GoDaddy and now independent at heatherdopson.com, is a community builder and an advocate for authenticity. She’s a catalyst for conversations worth having, and an enabler for ideas worth exploring. Heather is fueled by tracking digital trends, innovation in technology, and taco trucks. She has a profound understanding of social networks, consumers and branding; and a pronounced intolerance for BS. As a Community Builder, she leverages her skills as a connector and her drive to help small businesses succeed. Her mission in life is to help people lose their J-O-B and find their J-O-Y. She is an international speaker on the topics of social media, entrepreneurship, community and digital marketing.
Heather is a veteran of the US Air Force where she served as an AMMO troop assigned to the 523rd Combat Munitions Unit, 27th Fighter Wing.
Ben Bronson, Bunker Labs
Ben Bronson is Phoenix City Leader with Bunker Labs, a national network of veteran, reservist, and military spouse entrepreneurs dedicated to helping new veteran community entrepreneurs start their own business. A 501(c)(3) non-profit, Bunker Labs is committed to seeing that every entrepreneur in the veteran community has the network, tools, and resources they need to start and grow their own business.
Ben is an Army veteran and holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.