Who They Are: Team VBOC of The Dakotas

Written by: Brady Drake

Wendy Klug

Wendy Klug is the Veterans Business Outreach Center Director which serves both North Dakota and South Dakota. She provides entrepreneurial-focused training workshops both on and off installations that teach key concepts for starting, running and operating a small business. Wendy also provides no-cost advising, webinars and subject-specific workshops tailored around a community or client’s interests and needs.

She specializes in creating workshops and events that are interesting, upbeat and filled with vital information. Wendy has a creative knack that allows her to assist with marketing, social media and other business aspects that involve creative thinking. She brings 15-plus years of teaching, over 10 years of small business ownership and more than 5 years of small business consulting to this program. Klug holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of North Dakota.

Who They Serve:

Active military, veterans of all eras, military spouses and immediate family of veterans. VBOC of the Dakotas also gets to support their community by participating in a wide variety of gatherings and community events. While they focus on training and providing client advice, they also focus on being a part of the community. Their team loves to give back! From providing support to veterans through writing holiday cards that get shipped overseas to volunteering at the VA during Christmas to assist with holiday activities, VBOC is there to give back.

“We aren’t here to just get our job done, but to truly support those that have served our country. I am so proud of my team and their dedication to veterans, military spouses and active military. There is nothing better than having a team that cares,” Klug said.

What They Do:

VBOC of the Dakotas offers training workshops on and off and an installation titled Boots to Business and Reboots, a beginner entrepreneurial workshop. They also provide no-cost business advising with one-on-one personalized sessions where a client can really focus on what they need in their business to grow. VBOC of the Dakotas also offers online webinars that can be accessed by veterans at their convenience, whenever and wherever that may be. Several marketing webinars are held per month virtually and are free of charge to attend. For more information on these services, send a request to [email protected].

Julie Hinker

Julie Hinker is the Veterans Business Specialist for the VBOC of the Dakotas with a focus on South Dakota. She implements workshops, webinars and trainings that are entrepreneurial-focused to help you kick-start your small business journey.

Julie also provides free business advice and resource connections to anyone interested in launching a business or anyone that has a pre-established business looking for new or innovative ideas. She brings you her experience in digital marketing, communication, strategic leadership, finance, small business ownership and much more to help you take your business or career to the next level! Julie earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. She also acquired her master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota.

How They Do It:

The VBOC of the Dakotas is here to guide and mentor veterans along every step of the way for their business dreams. No business is too small and no business is not important. They listen to your ideas and help you turn them into your success. VBOC of the Dakotas is here to provide you support and become part of your cheerleader team. “Nobody goes into business thinking they will work less hours. The hustle is real and we are here to help you get all your ducks in a row! We have a team of experts ready to help you see your dreams of business ownership come true,” Klug said.

Why They Do It:

“Our client’s success is our success,” Hinker said.

There is nothing better than helping someone achieve their goals. I recently got to watch one of our most successful client, Lovely Lashes, be recognized nationally. The Office of Veterans Business Development located in DC sent a team to North Dakota to do a success story video. This is an honor for our clients to be recognized on a national level. We assisted them from the day of ideation and are also there today supporting and working with them. It’s amazing to see this happen! Not only is client success a great part of their job, but they also really enjoy being engaged in the community.

“The veteran community is one like no other. They are welcoming, hard workers, and very caring. Our program has the honor of being able to volunteer for events that mean a lot to this community. From partaking in welcoming the Honor Flights home, to donating personal items from VBOC drives, to representing veterans in communities’ parades, we really do have the best job! We get to make a difference in people’s lives every day of our lives. Nothing is better than that,” Clough said.

Liza Clough

Liza Clough is the Outreach Specialist for the Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Dakotas. She provides support at community events, veteran functions, online workshops and technical assistance for the program. Her grandparents emigrated from China and became entrepreneurs by opening a restaurant. Growing up with the daily hustle of a family-owned restaurant, Liza learned firsthand what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Liza has experience with all aspects of business ownership from customer service and bookkeeping to marketing products online for a family-owned art business. Liza has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Dakota.

Favorite Part of Their Job:

Wendy’s favorite part of the job: “Getting to serve those that have served our country. Working with military members of all eras is rewarding. These are some of the most driven entrepreneurs out there and their dedication to make it happen is like no other! Their success feels like my success. I love helping others and this job lets me do just that!”

Julie’s favorite part of the job: “Helping individuals that have once served our country become thriving and successful small business owners in our community. I love being able to connect, teach, honor and celebrate the contributions veterans have made to small businesses across the nation.”

Liza’s favorite part of the job: “When I make connections with so many different veteran organizations and the community, we all have the same goal in mind, to help our veterans. My work is very rewarding and I feel blessed to serve those that have served our country.”

Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Dakotas

4200 James Ray Drive, Room 203
Grand Forks, ND 58202

Coverage Areas: North Dakota and South Dakota
Facebook: /dakotasvboc
Twitter: @DakotasVBOC

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.