Veteran-owned company will be stationed in Summit County
Bike-share operator to employ local veterans
When Jim Duffney, a first sergeant with the New Jersey National Guard and U.S. Army veteran, returned from back-to-back deployments abroad he was looking for a way to help military veterans at home.
“As a first sergeant, my number one priority is my men,” Duffney said in an interview with The Park Record. “When I started thinking about it, I hadn’t realized there were so many homeless veterans and that many people who needed help.”
In 2014, Duffney founded Corps Logistics, a New Jersey-based company that provides bike-share program implementation through a partnership with Bewegen Technologies, Inc., a bike-share operator.
Corps Logistics currently operates in Baltimore and will soon launch in Howard County, Maryland, and Summit County.
Summit County has entered into a contract with Bewegen Technologies, Inc., to administer an electric pedal-assisted bike-share system in Park City and the Snyderville Basin. Last year, the county was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Utah Transit Authority to establish the program.
Nearly 90 bikes will be docked at nine stations located in the Kimball Junction area, at Canyons Village at Park City Mountain Resort, Prospector Square and in other areas of Park City. The program is expected to launch June 28.
Corps Logistics employs veterans through partnerships with local resources or agencies to operate the bike-share stations and provide ongoing maintenance. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will provide Corps Logistics with a list of applicants in the Summit County area.
Caroline Rodriguez, Summit County’s transportation planning director, said the county “really liked the idea of employing veterans to do the logistics and on-the-ground operations.”
“I wouldn’t say we awarded Bewegen the contract just because of that, but that was a bonus,” Rodriguez said.
Corps Logistics will provide a team of local veterans to manage the bike-share stations and perform daily maintenance, among other duties. The county will supervise the program.
Duffney said between four and six people will be initially employed, with more added once the program expands.
“We will hire more people once the system grows. With some of these veterans, they can only work so many hours because they have a disability, so we will hire two and three people to fill one position. That means you can touch more people and help more people,” Duffney said. “That’s what we do in Baltimore and it has been a very effective model. It is just really, really refreshing to see these guys that just want a chance to be a part of something.”
Duffney said he will be in Summit County later this month to interview and screen applicants for the jobs that will be available once the bike-share launches. In Baltimore, the program mainly serves homeless vets. However, Duffney said the program in Summit County will be open to all veterans.
“Bike share is a vehicle to help people and the reason we are in it is to help veterans,” Duffney said. “All my people understand that and our mission statement is very clear and precise: to make a difference in the communities we work in.”
Summit County Council member Glenn Wright, a Vietnam War veteran and administrative officer of the Park City post of the American Legion, commended the Corps Logistics initiative to help local veterans. Few job-seeking resources are available within the state for veterans through private recruitment and special programs through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Certainly, in the greater Park City area, I’m sure there are some veterans who are looking for jobs and I think that could be a great opportunity, especially for some of the young troops just getting out of the service right now,” Wright said. “Some of the enlisted men who maybe only spent a few years in and weren’t career officers, they are coming out and they will be looking for jobs. In Park City, the jobs are pretty split and some available may not pay enough for our returnees.”
Braunyno Belo Ayotte, director of business development and marketing with Bewegen Technologies Inc., said Corps Logistics has been “very successful” in the areas it operates.
“I think those guys really take ownership of what they are doing and see it as an opportunity to change their life,” Ayotte said. “As far as operating, it has been very successful and for us, it is really something great.”
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The Coalville native doesn’t see any major roadblocks for this year’s fair, though presenting in front of the County Council is a little nerve wracking.