VEDI Inc partners with BFA Environmental to improve diversity and efficiency in Long Island water programs

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Veteran business development group partners with White House Champion of Change to increase water safety and veteran entrepreneurship

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“We look forward to working with BFA Environmental to prepare emerging veteran-owned businesses to be in the forefront of Long Island’s infrastructure and water restoration needs..." added Mereday

Veterans Entrepreneurial Development Initiatives, Inc (VEDI, Inc) and Barnes, Ferland and Associates, Inc (BFA Environmental) have established an alliance to empower diverse and aspiring Long Island entrepreneurs, especially veteran-owned and minority-owned, to increase their capabilities and access to contracting opportunities in the emerging water safety, infrastructure reinforcement and coastal protection industries. Long Island is home to the largest veteran population in New York State. Foreclosure and unemployment rates for veterans are often double the national average. Many older Long Island veterans are fighting eviction in silence while student veterans, who receive excellent educations on Long Island, are leaving in droves because jobs do not pay enough to sustain a family life.

“Who better to shore up Long Island’s roads and bridges and protect our water systems than veterans? Our talented young people and veterans are leaving in droves because there are no jobs or real business opportunities for them to stay,” noted Meta J. Mereday, VEDI Founder and advocate for Long Island veterans who are homeless and jobless in epidemic numbers here and nationwide. VEDI Inc, which is based on Long Island, has been in the forefront of paving the way for veteran businesses to grow and become true job creators to reduce the high veteran unemployment rate. “Current programs do not prepare veterans for jobs in high cost areas such as Long Island, so the thousands of jobs that traditional groups claim veterans received do not cover living expenses for veterans and their family members, thus the higher rates of foreclosure and unemployment. As we help grow veterans businesses, we provide real jobs and security for their comrades. It is not just about making sense for a photo op, but real dollars for a living.”

Patrick A. Barnes, P.G. a professional geologist and President/CEO of BFA Environmental, brings a distinguished resume to the alliance including expertise in storm damaged regions and being named one of the 2013 White House Champions of Change. BFA Environmental, which is an African-American owned multidisciplinary scientific consulting, civil/environmental engineering and professional surveying firm, has a history of “reaching back” to empower underrepresented constituencies to ensure diversity and inclusion and secure futures by helping the local community to restore and protect their natural resources, particularly water. “Coming back to Long Island where my wife and I grew up provides me with the opportunity to bring the resources and experiences that we gained following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike to Long Island residents who are still struggling from Superstorm Sandy and from toxic exposures,” added Barnes. “Working with the Corps of Army Engineers, we know that veterans have the discipline and commitment to get the job done and inspire others to follow. There is a lot of work that needs to be done and all hands should have the capabilities and opportunities to make it happen. Business development and community outreach go hand in hand to insure that diverse entrepreneurs have the tools to restore Long Island’s coasts, clean up toxic areas and maintain open communication to prevent future issues.” BFA Environmental, with offices in Orlando (FL) and New Orleans (LA) will establish an office on Long Island with VEDI and also work with Long Island Veterans Initiatives at Farmingdale to identify student veterans to begin the training and outreach. “Currently, the options for diversity are sorely limited,” stated Barnes. “So our goal is to ramp up as quickly as possible to ensure that we are in compliance and inclusive so that tax dollars are protected.” VEDI was established to collaborate with various organizations to create an effective national model to build programs that will grow veteran businesses and increase veteran employment. “We look forward to working with BFA Environmental to prepare emerging veteran-owned businesses to be in the forefront of Long Island’s infrastructure and water restoration needs and develop a proactive and effective hiring platform for local veterans,” added Mereday.

For more information, contact Meta J. Mereday, VEDI, Inc. at 917/886-7743, or Patrick A. Barnes, P.G. at 407-896-8608,


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