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Amazon delivery service partners with vets

Mike Cooper, a Coast Guard veteran and new Amazon employee, at a ceremony for graduates of an apprenticeship program that trains military veterans for technology jobs at Amazon. Seated are Jennifer Carlson, of the Washington Technology Industry Association, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Ardine Williams, an Amazon vice president. (Jordan Stead/Amazon/TNS)

In the six months after he partnered with Amazon, former Army Maj. Quinton Burgess saw the number of his trucks and employees rise exponentially.

“I started off with five trucks and 10 employees,” Burgess said, inside an Amazon warehouse in Richmond. “We rapidly grew over the last six months … I have 60 personnel now and 30 trucks.”

Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner program is geared toward entrepreneurs interested in working with the e-commerce giant to launch small businesses.

In return, Amazon uses these independent logistics companies to meet the demand to deliver Amazon packages from warehouses to homes. The program began in June 2018.

Amazon provides branded Amazon vans customized for delivery, a fuel program, high-quality uniforms and business services, such as recruiting-tool discounts; payroll, tax and accounting software discounts; legal support; insurance options; and more.

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The company also has incentives for veterans. Amazon has committed $1 million to reimburse up to $10,000 in startup costs for qualified U.S. military veterans.

“When we sat down to think who we wanted to be our leaders, we wanted … military veterans to join the program,” said Amanda Lee, an Amazon spokeswoman. “Amazon has a long history of supporting and hiring veterans within the company at various levels … and we wanted to do the same for our delivery service partners.”

After spending 26 years in the Army with the 3rd Infantry Division and later with the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) in Iraq and Afghanistan, Burgess said he was ready for a change. He decided to start Allegiance Logistics LLC, a transportation-and-delivery company.

“I came to the point where I wanted to do something else,” he said. “I feel like I served my country … and I wanted to do more for Quinton.

“So becoming an entrepreneur was something that I wanted to do and I decided to make that change.”

Experience working for United Parcel Service, along with his military background, pushed Burgess toward shipping and logistics.

“The opportunity came with Amazon,” said Burgess, 60. “My wife and I saw the commercial … and really thought this would be a great opportunity, with my background.”

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There are risks in any business venture. Amazon makes it clear that its revenue and profit projections are “unproven estimates,” according to GeekWire.com.

“We do not guarantee results of any kind, including that what a delivery company earns will exceed the owner’s investment in his or her business,” according to Amazon’s brochure, the Seattle-based technology news site reported.

Still, Burgess recommends the Amazon program, especially for former servicemembers.

“For veterans who are considering doing this, I would tell them to jump in, by all means,” he said. “It may be the best opportunity they have.

“I come here excited every day,” he said. “It puts me back to where I commanded troops.”

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© 2019 the Stars and Stripes

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.