Military Business

Military Affairs Council: The Greater Fayetteville Chamber’s Military Affairs Council bridges the gap between military and civilian businesses

By Eddie Velazquez, posted 3 months ago
The Military Affairs Council is working to bridge the gap between the military community and the business community through
partnerships, events and connections - Photo created with Canva. Logo provided by Military Affairs Council of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber.

The Military Affairs Council (MAC) of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce is building a bridge between the Cumberland County business 
community and the military installations that surround it. 
Nicole Winget, the council’s newly appointed board chair, said MAC advances those relationships by establishing mutual support.
“We are a Chamber committee that is dedicated to fostering relationships and advocating for policies across our businesses in the Fayetteville area and our military installation and service members and their families,” she shared. “The goal is to help businesses engage meaningfully in supporting our military. Then, in turn, the military supports our local businesses.”

Every day approximately 47,000 
military personnel and 10,618 civilian employees provide the talent needed to train, sustain and deploy the combat forces to America’s Crisis Response Contingency Corps and Special Operations Forces, according to the MAC’s website. That process largely runs through Fort Liberty. 
For Winget, having that added exposure and understanding of the scope of the local military community translates into a better understanding of the services and businesses available. 
“What we try to do is expose military members and their families to local businesses,” she said. “We do that in hopes that they will use those businesses and bring income to those businesses.”

Winget is a Navy reservist who deployed through Fort Liberty in 2015, the dean for the Adult and Online Division of Campbell University and a professor of homeland security and criminal justice at the university. To her, it is important that the community knows what military service members do.
“It is hard to really appreciate it until you’re in it,” she said. “I would love the community to know the impact that the service has on soldiers and their families. It’s not just all about the quick operations that get the news blurb on television. The community can show support throughout a military career and offer support to the service members’ families as well.”
That support, Winget added, can take the stress off of military members. 

“Having services and businesses 
that are trusted is key,” Winget said. 
“What happens when a spouse’s car breaks down while the soldier is deployed? Do they have a reputable business network that can help them take care of it? That can help reduce some of the distress from both the families and thus the military members.”
Part of that support system includes getting stakeholders and 
Chamber members, as well as leaders from Fort Liberty and Pope Army Airfield, in the same room.“We coordinate events to bring together our business people with military members in leadership,” Winget added.
The latest event open to Chamber members to help foster new business relationships is the MAC Spring Social slated for May 2 at 6:30 p.m. at The Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County on Hay Street.  

The event will feature guest speaker Peter Marksteiner, an experienced attorney who has also served as the circuit executive and clerk of court for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Marksteiner was also a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, where he most recently served as the director of civil law and litigation. There, he led a team of 287 lawyers and paraprofessionals, working in 38 locations around the country, and supporting a broad portfolio of judicial and administrative civil litigation practice areas.

“The event will mainly be a chance for MAC members to come and network. We have invited several members of the Fort Liberty leadership as well,” Winget said. “It also gives like-minded businesses a chance to network and help each other out.”

Winget said MAC plans to do four big events similar in scope to the Spring Social every year, sharing that: “Sometimes when faces are put together with names, it’s a lot easier to communicate.”

Events like the Spring Social also help the broader community understand the military’s role in certain operations, but also locally, Winget said. An example of this, she added, was a MAC event last fall attended by Campbell University’s Provost Michael Adams. There, Winget said, Adams got to interact with leadership from Fort Liberty. 

“When he got done, he said he was in awe of how much the soldiers at Fort Liberty do,” Winget noted. “Expanding that understanding across the business and military partnerships is key to us.”
Moving into 2024, Winget says she wants to establish a good cadence of events.
“We want to be able to set up future boards to grow a little bit each year,” Winget said. “I'd rather do a few things amazingly well than try to take on a ton of projects. I would like to double our membership before the end of this calendar year. That is a pretty solid goal.”


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