SBC Helps Retired Military Officer Launch Business

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The Director of the SCC Small Business Center, Lori Williams, was instrumental in assisting retired military officer Frank Rodriguez launch his new business, Imperium Acer. He utilized numerous resources offered by the Center and is all set to offer consulting services for leadership and movie production plus construction project resource acquisition.

“I wasn’t procrastinating. I just didn’t know the next steps to establish my business,” says entrepreneur Frank Rodriguez. “But with assistance from the Small Business Center (SBC) at Sandhills Community College, Imperium Acer is off the ground.”

When Rodriguez, with a 24-year Army career, retired in January he was passionate about starting his new business, a consulting company that would take the principles of military leadership and apply them to the private sector. He had the name for his company – “Imperium,” Latin for “power to command,” and “Acer,” Latin for “sharp, keen, eager and fierce.”

“I was passionate about my goals,” said Rodriguez. “I knew my company would have much to offer individuals, corporations, schools and non-profit agencies but I had very little knowledge about how to launch the business,” he admits.

Rodriguez is very grateful that one day this past summer, when he was taking a class at Sandhills, he spotted the sign for the SBC, located in Van Dusen Hall. When he walked in, he received a hearty welcome from Director Lori Williams. Williams worked with Rodriguez over a series of meetings, providing valuable information and guidance.

“I learned how to register my company name, establish the corporation, and open a business banking account,” Rodriguez reports. “Now I’m in the process of getting a website, business cards and other materials and starting to network and advertise.”

Rodriguez developed his own leadership skills in the Army, including serving as a Company Commander in the 82nd Airborne Division, an infantry division specializing in parachute assault operations in denied areas. In his writing “The Rise and Fall of an Iraqi Warlord,” Rodriguez chronicled a particular 30-hour fire fight in Iraq. His writing has attracted the interest of a movie producer.

“The ability to lead successfully is an art and a calling,” Rodriguez comments. “I’ve seen it done well and done poorly. But the U.S. Army gives its leaders an outstanding framework to make decisions, including critical decisions that affect life and death. I am eager to share the leadership principles I have learned.”

Turning to Sandhills SBC is something that Rodriguez would encourage other entrepreneurs to do. “If you have a terrific idea, whether it’s a product or a service, but you don’t know the next steps, see how Sandhills’ SBC can help you,” he advises. “I was so impressed – and grateful – for the help I received to launch Imperium Acer.”

Imperium Acer is a minority-combat-disable-veteran-owned Consulting and Logistics Company. Consulting is focused on providing world-class experience that can give leadership teams a decisive edge in today’s corporate battlefield. In addition, IA provides movie production consulting to add realism into tactical scenarios. The Logistics Branch facilitates the acquisition of resources for construction projects. Rodriguez can be reached at

The SCC Small Business Center

The SBC at Sandhills is part of the statewide Small Business Center Network. “We are here to help those like Frank Rodriguez who want to begin a business,” points out Williams. “We want to make it easier to establish a successful business in this area and to help the business owner succeed.”

The Center accomplishes its goals in part through free one-on-one counseling. In the last year, well over one hundred counseling sessions took place. “In these sessions, we tackle specific issues that prospective or current small business owners face,” Williams says. “We also keep a current library of resources for clients to borrow now conveniently intertwined in the Boyd Library amongst all the other resources available to the small business owner.”

The Small Business Center also offers free seminars on the Pinehurst campus and at other locations.

The public is invited to visit the Center in 101 Van Dusen Hall. For questions or more information, call (910) 695-3938 or email

For a complete listing of upcoming seminars, go to and click on the “Stay Informed, Click Here” link.


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