YesVets hiring initiative spotlights local veteran business and celebrates more than 3,800 vets hired | Combat Flip Flops owner shares positive impact

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and Employment Security Department Media Release

WDVA Director Lourdes E. Alvarado-Ramos        ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine



For immediate release

Date:                July 9, 2019

Contact:           WDVA Heidi Audette, 360-725-2154 or

ESD Janelle Guthrie, 360-902-9289 or

YesVets ceremony recognizes nearly 1000 employers for hiring roughly 3,800 veterans

Combat Flip Flops CEO shares positive impact


OLYMPIA — Matt Griffin, Chief Executive Officer of Combat Flip Flops, joined leaders from the state departments of Employment Security (ESD) and Veterans Affairs (DVA) as well as key legislators, human resource professionals and businesses to celebrate the fourth anniversary of YesVets – a statewide initiative to recognize businesses that hire veterans.    

Since its launch in February 2016, nearly 1,000 businesses have hired roughly 3,800 veterans.

Speakers at the ceremony spotlighted the success of the hiring initiative to date, revealed plans to expand efforts to support military spouses and celebrated the impact veterans like Griffin can make in the world.

Griffin conceptualized the idea of Combat Flip Flops in 2009 then led a team to create an internationally recognized brand with products manufactured in five nations. He’s reinvested the profits from Combat Flip Flops to fund education for 600 Afghan girls and to clear over 10,000 square meters of landmines in Laos.  He shared how his work with fellow entrepreneurs in conflict areas makes a difference not just for veterans and military spouses but for the people affected by conflict around the world.

“As Washington celebrates Independence Day, we also celebrate the contributions our veterans and their spouses make in our communities and across the world,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.  “Congratulations to YesVets for connecting thousands of veterans with employment in our state and thank you to the employers and leaders who are expanding this work to support military spouses.”

 “As the daughter and granddaughter of military veterans, I’m proud to play an important role in helping our veterans and their spouses succeed in the workplace and as entrepreneurs,” said ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine. “Now more than ever, employers need the great talent and innovation our veterans and their spouses bring to the workplace and to the new businesses they create. Whether our veterans and their spouses are employees or partners in the marketplace, they bring unique skills and ideas to our communities.”

“Having worked with the Legislature and our ESD partners since the beginning of this great program, I’m excited to see how far we’ve come,” said WDVA Director, Lourdes E. “Alfie” Alvarado-Ramos. “Whether they are starting their own businesses or contributing to an established workplace, veterans and their spouses are incredible assets and helping connect them to jobs or start businesses is one of the best ways that we can thank them for their service!”

The event also recognized the 12 winners of the 2018 Hire-a-Vet Award—one from each workforce development area:

·         Skookum Contract Services (SKS) — This Bremerton facilities management and logistics firm employs 1,300 employees in 11 states, of which a third are veterans.

·         Department of Health (DOH) — This state agency in Olympia hired 21 transitioning veterans in 2018.

·         VT Volant — This aerospace company in Burlington employs 18 veterans – representing nearly 25 percent of its workforce.

·         Motor Trucks, Inc. — This diesel repair and truck sales company in Everett employs 32 employees, of which six are veterans — 20 percent of the company’s workforce.

·         Allied Universal Security — This Seattle firm hired a whopping 36 veterans in 2018.

·         West Sound Workforce — This Gig Harbor-based recruitment firm first reached out to WorkSource in 2016. The first year, the company placed 14 veterans, followed by 24 in 2017 and 20 so far in 2018. West Sound Workforce also helped employ 13 military spouses in 2018. 

·         CloudOne — This Vancouver call center brought on a new recruiter in March 2018 with the specific charge to hire more veterans. Since then, the company has increased its veteran workforce to 10 percent with only a 5 percent turnover rate– unheard of in a call center.

·         Chelan County — Chelan County employs 540 full-time employees, of which 81 are veterans.

·         Yakima Training Center (YTC) —YTC employs 144 people, of which 115 are veterans – 80 percent of the company’s workforce.

·         Columbia Cedar, Inc. — Columbia Cedar in Kettle Falls is the largest private employer in Ferry County. The company employs 170 people, of which 12 are veterans.

·         Tri-Cities 911 Driving School — This veteran-owned company employs 22 driving instructors, of which 17 are veterans.

·         Dealer Auto Auction (DAA) Northwest — This local business employs 85 full-time employees, of which 21 are veterans. 

How YesVets works

YesVets publicly recognizes employers who actively recruit and hire veterans. By creating a business environment that values employers who commit to hiring veterans, YesVets hopes to continue decreasing veteran unemployment. The YesVets decal presented to employers who have hired a veteran also provides a very public way for both customers and veterans to see that the business supports veterans.

Enrolling in YesVets is quick and easy. Employers simply visit and enter basic business and contact information. A local veteran’s employment representative contacts them directly to help them use the job match site built and powered by Monster. Once the employer has hired a veteran, their local veteran’s employment representative presents them with their YesVets decal to proudly display on their business window.

Other resources for veterans and incentives for employers

·         Employment Security

o   YesVets

o   Work Opportunity Tax Credit

o   HIRE Vets Medallion Program  

·         Dept. of Veteran Affairs

o   Veterans Employee Resource Group

o   Veteran Owned Business Certification

·         Dept. of Revenue

o   Business and Occupation or Public Utility Tax credits