Moran Family of Brands is proud of all of our talented and caring franchise owners, but we’re especially appreciative of our 14 franchise owners in our system who have served in the military. In honor of Veterans Day this year we thought we’d spotlight Albert Daniel, who with his wife, Serina, have owned their Milex shop in Frederick Maryland, for the past 11 years – and then they added a Milex/Alta Mere co-branded store in nearby Boonsboro, Maryland, in 2015. Albert also serves on Moran’s Franchise Advisory Alliance and has been a trainer and mentor to other franchisees throughout the Moran system. This year he was named Milex Franchisee of the Year for the fourth time.
We caught up with Albert recently to talk about his years in the military, and here are some highlights from our conversation.
How Albert wound up in the navy. Albert joined in 1989 when he was just 17 years old. He had grown up in a rough neighborhood in Hyattsville, Maryland and wanted find an opportunity for the future. He worked with the Navy to help him get his GED and enlist. Because Albert had experience and an interest in working on cars growing up, he was given an ASVAB test upon entering the Navy and tested highly in his mechanically abilities. He was assigned to work on maintaining the jets.
Overall military experience. From 1989 to 1994, Albert was in the United States Navy and stationed on the USS George Washington (CVN 73), an aircraft carrier based out of Norfolk, Virginia. He was a Petty Officer, 2nd class, working on the flight deck in AS2 Maintenance, which is where he obtained his many of the technical skills he employs when running his two franchise locations today. Mostly, Albert repaired and maintained equipment that supported jets on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington. But he was also a “plank owner,” which means as part of the crew that built the ship, the Navy will give him a piece of the ship when they de-commission it.
That make take awhile, however. Albert says that the lifespan of those ships are about 50 to 60 years.
Most memorable experiences in the military. Albert was part of building the USS George Washington. Construction started several years before Albert started in the Navy and he was present at a ceremony in which First Lady Barbara Bush christened the ship in 1990. They continued to do work on the ship over the next two years before it was officially commissioned into active service at Naval Station Norfolk on July 4, 1992.
How Albert’s military experience has helped him as a franchise owner. He says that it “prepared me in so many ways. You understand the importance of having a strong work ethic and doing whatever it takes to get the job done right. All those things I learned in the military. I was a good fit as an employee as soon as I got out. It helped me grow professionally and become the top lead mechanic in my job at a dealership. I felt the next step up from there was to open my own business.”
The experience of being on a flight deck. Although there is certain pressure in fixing cars in a timely fashion for his customers, Albert said it pales in comparison to his time in fixing jets on the flight deck in the Navy.
“There is more stress when the flight deck is moving because you have to get that equipment up and running, so it can support the aircraft while you are doing live takeoffs and landings,” he says.
Does Albert think being a franchise owner could be a good choice for other people who are leaving the military and looking at career options? “Yes, definitely,” said Albert. “Coming out of the military you often have the hands-on training that prepares you for what you need to do. The franchise side gives you the whole package for your business, so you can open without failing.”
Albert also adds that the franchise system works well for veterans who are trained to follow a system in place. And if you have questions and are unsure about the system? Albert said that there are plenty of people in corporate – as well as fellow franchise owners – who will be glad to offer their advice and moral support.
If you happen to be reading this and are a military veteran and possibly a future franchise owner, please keep in mind that Moran Family of Brands is an active member of VetFran, an initiative that provides a $5,000 franchise fee discount, mentorship and training programs for any honorably discharged U.S. Veteran transition to civilian life.