Tony and Marcia Vola
Tell me a little bit about yourself and why you decided to join the military?
Being from Southern Iowa in the 60s, there were two things I knew: one, if you want to do anything in life, get out of Southern Iowa; two, I wanted to join the Air Force rather than the Army. I went to sign up early but the recruiter recommended that I finish my college degree first, so I did that and taught school for a year while waiting to get accepted for training school in the Air Force.
How long were you in the military and what branch did you serve in?
I served in the U.S Air Force for 21 years.
What are some of the top life lessons you learned while in the military?
It’s a big world and not everybody is like an American. Everyone has different backgrounds and traditions and we must learn to understand and respect them. Wherever you go in the world, people are people – they want a good life, enjoy their family and take care of kids.
How has your past experience from being active in the military helped you succeed as a business owner?
The military teaches you discipline, gives you confidence, gives you analytical thinking, and the ability to make decisions not too quickly but definitely not too late. It also gives you exposure to people. From the management side, I got exposed to how to attempt to get the best out of people. From a client perspective, it exposed me to a lot of different ways of life, a lot of thought processes, a lot of different backgrounds, and it made me comfortable talking to all individuals regardless of their background. It taught me empathy.
Why did you choose to open a Right at Home franchise, and what about business ownership appealed to you?
It took me about 10 years to get to my decision. When I got out of the military, the connation of a military background was negative. There were a lot of managers and leadership at private companies that didn’t understand the freedom modern military gave to leaders and how it could develop people. I wasn’t met with open arms at interviews. Also, I knew I didn’t want to get back into big bureaucracies.
Along the path I worked for a franchisor, which taught me a lot about the franchise side of the world. I saw what it took to develop a successful company from a franchise perspective, which led me to consider franchising. Then it boiled down to what franchise I would enjoy being in and the answer was what I am doing now. I wanted to find a franchisor willing to listen to franchisees, work with them and continue to evolve the franchise into the future, which is what I found with Right at Home. I get to meet people of different backgrounds, good people, people who have worked their entire life and need help now.
Do you work with many veteran clients? If so, do they have a compelling story we can share? Is there a special bond between the client and caregiver? Any caregivers who are Vets who are taking care of Clients who are Vets?
We have had Veteran clients in the past and currently have some younger Vietnam Veterans. We serve a lot of female clients, a number of which were married to Veterans. I also have a woman who works in my office who was in the Army Reserve and did a few years of active duty.