CHICAGO (WLS) --1871, in conjunction with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Pat Quinn and the Pat Tillman Foundation, will announce Friday that it is launching a veterans incubator called "The Bunker" to house veteran-owned technology companies beginning in fall 2014. The Bunker is part of the 25,000 square foot expansion, also set to open this fall.
"We owe these men and women a great debt for their sacrifices and services to our country," said 1871 CEO Howard Tullman. "At 1871, we want everything we do to make a difference, not just a living, and we hope in our way that we can help our vets move forward and make yet another important contribution to our economy."
The Bunker will be run by Todd Connor, an Operation Iraqi Freedom Navy veteran and entrepreneur who most recently led Chicago's military high schools program. It is the country's first veteran business accelerator, and will be veteran-operated as well as veteran-focused.
"Illinois' veterans are some of the most talented and skilled individuals in our state's workforce," said Gov. Quinn. "By supporting veteran-owned and -operated businesses, we can ensure that our servicemembers have what they need to continue contributing to our communities while driving our economy forward."
"We as a nation and a city have a special obligation to provide opportunities for success to our veterans once they return home," said Mayor Emanuel. "I applaud 1871 for making it a priority to promote and recruit them to be leaders in Chicago's highly-skilled tech workforce."
A formal announcement will be made at the annual luncheon for the Pat Tillman Foundation at noon on Friday.