Nov 201424

Long & Foster Establishes Dedicated Veterans Training Program

Pictured are, from left, Bill Reagan, executive director of the Alexandria Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Forrest Odend'hal, manager of Long & Foster's Alexandria/Old Town District office, Wes Foster, founder of Long & Foster, Emily McMahan, executive director of the Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center, Val P. Hawkins, president & CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, and Elfie Biankini, a real estate agent with Long & Foster.
Nov 201424

Long & Foster Establishes Dedicated Veterans Training Program

Wes Foster Commits $25,000 to Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center

Long & Foster Real Estate will establish a training program to recruit and train military veterans for a career in residential real estate through a partnership with the Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center (AVBEC). The Long & Foster program with AVBEC will supplement traditional residential real estate licensing classes with a mentoring program and additional training sessions focused on principles of business, customer service and finance led by veteran entrepreneurs and area business leaders.

Long & Foster is a veteran-owned business and the largest privately held residential real estate company in the United States, with over $51 billion in sales in 2013, more than 180 locations and over 11,000 real estate agents across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The financial and programmatic commitment by Long & Foster to AVBEC represents the largest corporate partnership to date for the year-old AVBEC program.

The Long & Foster AVBEC veteran recruitment and training program will begin in 2015. The partnership significantly expands the scope of the company’s current veteran-focused initiative, the P. Wesley Foster Military Service Scholarship, which covers real estate licensing tuition for U.S. military veterans, active duty personnel and their spouses and children.

P. Wesley (Wes) Foster, Jr., founder and CEO of Long & Foster, and a veteran U.S. Army field artillery officer, led the company’s drive toward the partnership with AVBEC. “As a company, we have nearly half a century of demonstrated commitment to the communities across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions where we live and work. Our dedication to giving back and operating our business with the utmost integrity and honesty are a natural fit for our partnership with AVBEC,” Foster said.

Forrest Odend’hal, branch manager at Long & Foster’s Alexandria/Old Town Historic District office, echoed Foster’s comments. “It’s our veterans and military servicemen and women that secure our nation’s future, and partnering with AVBEC is just one way that we can give back to them—whether it’s helping them to enter the field of real estate and sharing with them our knowledge of buying, selling and owning a home,” Odend’hal said.

The partnership is a key initiative of the Alexandria/Old Town Long & Foster office’s overall philanthropy program to support veterans and active duty military. In addition, the office joined The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration as a Commemorative Partner earlier this year. It is also part of the Veterans History Project with the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, conducting personal interviews with veterans to share their stories.

“Long & Foster has been a noteworthy partner of AVBEC since our inception, and we are exceptionally pleased to launch this partnership,” stated Emily McMahan, Director of the Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center. “Veterans are a natural fit for the goal-oriented sales process, and fiduciary responsibilities essential to success as a real estate professional.”

The Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center was established in November last year to serve the 378,000+ veterans in the Washington, D.C. region. AVBEC provides mentoring from some of the area’s top business leaders, connections with the veteran entrepreneur community, training programs and a forthcoming on-site business incubator.