SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — When Hernán Luis y Prado transitioned from being a Navy Lieutenant back to civilian life, he saw something he needed to change.
"I was just so blown away, to see all these competent, capable and honorable men and women that served faithfully just be lost when they got back to the U.S.," he said Thursday.
The year was 2009. Luis y Prado and his wife Rachel cashed in their assets to launch two organizations -- a defense contractor called VetPowered, and a training program for veterans called Workshops for Warriors to get them into advanced manufacturing.
"I want to give every single veteran the opportunity to rebuild America," Luis y Prado said. "I want to give every veteran the opportunity to have a dignified career, to put food on their table for their families."
Fast forward to 2022, and Barrio Logan-based VetPowered and its staff of veterans is doing advanced manufacturing for the Department of Defense and Fortune 500 companies.
Meanwhile, Workshops for Warriors is teaching machining and welding to transitioning service members, at no cost to them. Luis y Prado said the average grad makes a starting salary of $60,000 a year after its four-month program.
On Thursday, Congressman Juan Vargas presented Luis y Prado the honor of the Small Business Administration's California small business person of the year.
"We have in our own district here, in our own area, a real hero, someone who started a business here and did it for all the right reasons," Vargas said.
But Luis y Prado isn't done.
"A hundred years from now people are going to look back and see Barrio Logan and San Diego as the birthplace for America's green manufacturing renaissance," he said. "And we will do it one veteran at a time."