EBV PROGRAM: CELEBRATING 10
YEARS, 10 UNIVERSITIES IN 2016
A GRADUATE SPOTLIGHT ON …
Robert Luft’s company, SureFire Innovations, was experiencing success at the time he was accepted into the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program at the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute at Louisiana State University (LSU). However, Luft admits that he lacked knowledge of how to operate a company on a foundational level. He attributes his newly gained knowledge and renewed passion for entrepreneurship to the EBV program and staff at LSU.
“The commitment from the LSU staff was nothing short of spectacular and I could not be more appreciative of the time, energy and enthusiasm they displayed,” said Luft. “I would encourage every veteran who has the desire to become an entrepreneur to pursue this passion wholeheartedly. Veterans have had unique experiences that have afforded us the ability to mitigate risk and overcome obstacles. These are the exact qualities that reside within successful entrepreneurs. Utilizing such a unique program like EBV will help veterans understand how transferrable these qualities are to entrepreneurship.”
Luft founded SureFire Innovations in 2014. Surefire Innovations is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) telecommunications company in Cincinnati, Ohio that specializes in network infrastructure and the installation of fiber optic and copper data systems. SureFire, serving both the commercial and government sectors, has developed a solid reputation in the Cincinnati area as a member of the Cincinnati USA Regional and African American Chambers. Some of the clients for whom they do work include GE Aviation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the University of Louisville, and Makino.
Prior to launching his business venture, Luft spent seven years as a Combat Engineer. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2000 and served multiple combat deployments to Iraq, receiving the Combat Action Badge as a member of the US Army’s 478th Engineer Battalion in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky. Luft’s first deployment to Iraq was during the initial invasion in 2003 and he was re-deployed to Iraq in 2007 as a Platoon Sergeant. The Association of the US Army (AUSA) named him 2007 US Army Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana region.
In 2009, Luft served with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Personnel Force Innovations (PFI) as a recruiter assisting on large-scale projects with the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) along with multiple DoD organizations. Luft was deployed to Saudi Arabia as the PFI liaison to provide guidance for the participating organizations in the program.
Currently, Luft is active in the veteran and minority communities as a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the American Society of Military Comptrollers and the NAACP. He is driven to become a role model for other aspiring veteran and minority entrepreneurs.
Luft shares that the EBV program showed him that “setbacks will dissipate and [he] will be left standing stronger, smarter, and more determined to achieve [his] mission of being a successful ‘vetrepreneur.’”