John Mikelson (BA ‘07, MA ‘08) retired from the Army in 2004, but he has never stopped helping veterans and service members get the support they need.
“My career was always about taking care of my troops,” Mikelson says. “The mission hasn’t changed. It’s just taken on a different scope.”
Mikelson was recognized as the 2023 Small Business Administration (SBA) Veterans Small Business Champion of the Year, an award that goes to “an individual who has fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of small business opportunities for veterans of the U.S. armed forces.” His organization, Midwest Military Outreach, provides information to service members, veterans, and their families.
“I’m very honored to be recognized in the business world for helping give veterans the chance to say they did it themselves, and made it on their own.”
John Mikelson, UI alumnus and veteran
Mikelson attended the University of Iowa, completing a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies (EPLS). Alongside his studies, he was involved in the UI Veterans Association, and he worked as the UI Student Veterans Center Coordinator.
“The UI Veterans Association was a great student organization, and we had a lot of fun,” Mikelson says.
After leaving the University in 2013, he helped start Midwest Military Outreach, a non-profit information and referral service. Here they provide education, employment, Veterans Administration (VA) assistance, and other resources to give service members a road map for moving forward with local resources in their communities.
“I hope to be the guy veterans continue to turn to for answers and connections,” Mikelson says. “Veterans are highly capable and motivated individuals just looking for a place to start a career and raise their families.”
Mikelson helps advance the business potential of veterans by connecting them with SBA small business loans and small business development centers. Mikelson works with people in Iowa and the broader Midwest. The organization also works closely with Home Base Iowa and helps disabled veterans apply for assistive technology loans through Able Up Iowa.
Mikelson is always looking for more ways to help, and he is happy to speak with groups about hiring, teaching, or working with veterans. Those interested can find Midwest Military Outreach on Facebook to learn more.
Visit the Veteran and Military Connected Community at Iowa web site and I-SERVE to learn more about services and support available on campus and in the UI College of Education.