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2007 EBV graduate John Raftery guest of first lady during President's Joint Address to Congress on America's jobs and economy

September 09, 2011

Jaime Winne Alvarez
(315) 443-3834

John Raftery, a 2007 graduate of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) at Syracuse University, will join first lady Michelle Obama as her guest during President Barack Obama’s Joint Address to Congress Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. Raftery is one of 23 distinguished guests who will watch the address with Michelle Obama in the first lady’s box.

The first lady’s guests represent a wide variety of Americans, including business owners, veterans, students, construction workers and more. Among the group are three state and local government elected leaders: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

President Obama will lay out his plan for creating American jobs and growing the nation’s economy in a speech before this special joint session of Congress. The address will be broadcast on major news channels and will be aired in enhanced live stream with charts, graphs and quick stats at

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp, Raftery served with the 1st Marine Division and currently serves as the president and CEO of Patriot Contractors, a construction firm specializing in interior and exterior architectural specialties. A service-disabled veteran-owned company founded in 2007, Raftery has seen growth in revenues and employees each year of operation. Today, Patriot Contractors has 21 employees. In 2010, the company generated revenues hitting $2 million, and is on track to exceed $5 million in 2011.

Founded in 2007 at SU’s Whitman School of Management, and operated under the auspices of the University’s newly created Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), the EBV provides cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship and small business management to vets with disabilities, to assist them in pursuing the American dream of business ownership. Since its inception, the program has been offered without any cost to veterans disabled as a consequence of their military service. Designed to fully leverage the national resources of higher education in service to our country’s veteran and military family community, the IVMF, in partnership with community stakeholders, and the support of JPMorgan Chase, develops research and educational and employment-focused programs positioned to address the primary social and economic concerns of our nation’s vets and their families. 

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