“It’s certainly an honor to receive that award,” Hayes said. “I try to do as much as I can to support veteran-owned businesses as well as veteran causes.”
A nine-and-a half-year Air Force veteran, Hayes said the discipline, patience, planning and problem-solving skills taught in the military aids veterans in the business world.
“My military experience has definitely been instrumental in the way I’ve been able to approach this business,” he said. “I know a lot of people look at the military and they think of the infantry and that everybody is out in the battlefield, but we have people that have some highly-specialized skills. We get first-class training on all of the modern equipment.”
Hayes also said teamwork, communication and relationship building are qualities veterans acquire through their military experience.
These qualities translate well when it comes to starting and maintaining a business.
“About 80 percent of our employees are veterans, and we continue to add people,” he said. “I feel like one of my initiatives is to reach back and to try to help employ veterans.”
His company, a provider of information technology services and solutions, has about 14 employees at its Roswell office. Initially providing technical support to small businesses around Atlanta, Exalt Integrated Technologies has grown throughout the years, changing focus to federal clients and government contracts.
The business also includes satellite offices in Washington, D.C., and Tampa, Fla.
Roswell businesswoman Beth Cayce, owner of Cara Vita Home Care, was also honored by the SBA’s Georgia District with the designation of Small Business Person of the Year.