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Meet Hernán Luis y Prado of VetPowered in Barrio Logan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hernán Luis y Prado.

Hernán, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2008, I had just founded Workshops for Warriors, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to training, certifying, and helping to place Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members into Advanced manufacturing Careers. Although we had a lot of support for our school, funding was incredibly tight. We needed larger facilities and better equipment for our school and I started noticing that the Navy needed help in servicing industrial machinery onboard Naval Bases. Since we needed additional revenue, I started VetPowered in 2009 in order to generate income to help support Workshops for Warriors.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Although we have almost doubled in size every year since 2009, we had our fair share of challenges, but most importantly, we had an incredible amount of support to overcome them.

We spend most of our money supporting Workshops for Warriors instead of keeping cash reserves, as a result, when we lost a major contract we had several stressful months as we struggled to make payroll until we diversified our customer base. We learned a lot and realized how little we knew about starting (and maintaining a business). We quickly realized that assets were great, but cash flow was even more important. We also learned that we needed several key people, but only had enough revenue to support half of what we needed. We had to see what positions were crucial to growing and which ones would have to wait.

Fortunately, we live in San Diego, the most collaborative city in the world, so when we had an issue or a challenge, we were blessed to have some very talented people willing to share their experiences with us so that we could learn from their mistakes.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about VetPowered – what should we know?
VETPOWERED LLC is an ISO 9001/2008 Certified, HUBZoned, Self Certified Small Disadvantaged business,
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVSB), Small Business, and Micro-SB Certified business dedicated to
bringing advanced manufacturing back to America, one Veteran at a time. Our products proudly bear the label “MADE IN SAN DIEGO BY VETERANS!”

VETPOWERED LLC provides exceptional customer service and expertise to the defense, space, marine, aerospace, manufacturing, machining and heavy equipment industries. We manufacture custom CNC parts, provide welding services, and offer preventive maintenance contracts as well as industrial equipment repair.
Our capabilities include advanced CNC manufacturing, SolidWorks, Mastercam, engineering and design services, rapid prototyping, 3D printing, short and long production runs.

VETPOWERED LLC also provides specialized training and certifications in FlowMaster Programming & Waterjet
Operations, Amada FOM2 Laser, Amada CNC Press Break, Starrett Tools, Forklift Safety, SolidWorks, CNC
Software (Mastercam), National Institute for Metalworking skills (NIMS), Immerse2Learn, National Coalition of
Certification Centers (NC3), SolidProfessor, and Welding (SMAWB, GMAWB, GTAWI, FCAWB).
Patents: Leveling Machines of Support Surfaces (Patent No US 9,581,283 B2), Securing Loads to

What sets VetPowered apart from others is that VetPowered is passionate about supporting our troops and rebuilding America. VetPowered proudly supports Workshops for Warriors, the only accredited 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the United States that provides Veterans and Wounded Warriors training, certification, and placement into manufacturing careers at no cost to the Veteran or Wounded Warrior. Workshops for Warriors trains all returning, wounded and disabled veterans of the US Armed Services as well as their survivors. Please visit them at

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I don’t think I have enough space to thank all of the people that have helped us. It would sound like an Academy Awards acceptance speech. If I had to thank seven people it would be:

My wife-my friend, constant partner, mother of my two beautiful daughters….and Sugar Momma for the first three years. We would never have made it without her constant financial and emotional support.

My family – Alan, David, and Michael Bark and their families as well as Mindy, Mary-Jo, Daniel, and Gil Gersenfish. They literally provided a home for us while we were starting out.

My adopted sister, CDR Amanda Barber, USN – Always a source of counsel and ready to talk through any situation that surfaced.

Mr. Ethan Weinstein – Our first attorney and source of legal counsel that seemed to be required every month.

Mr. Dick Eger – My surrogate father and business mentor. Helped me understand what was required to run a successful business and constantly helping our organization move forward.

Mr. Marc Edwards – My Brother-in-Arms that always makes time for me and asks me the hard questions that I did not even realize I needed to answer before moving forward.

Mr. Lyle Anderson – Another father figure who helped me understand what was needed to run a machine shop and still gives me great advice whenever I ask him.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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