Andrew Kossowski, owner of Veterans Metal in Largo, Florida, received the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2024 State of Florida Veteran Business Owner of the Year.

Kossowski served in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years. His finishing operation is called Veterans Metal because it is 100% veteran-owned and focused on hiring veterans. The business mainly focuses on its end customer, the U.S. Department of Defense.

A ceremony sponsored by Florida SBDC was May 15 at the University of South Florida. The 32nd annual National Small Business Week celebration was April 28 – May 4, 2024.  

Kossowski, the son of Polish and Cuban immigrants, began his career in the U.S. Air Force as part of manufacturing the C-17 and E-8C aircraft. After his service ended, he became the Vice President of Operations for Ericsson, a provider of information and communications technology services, where he led operations in 54 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Just prior to purchasing Veterans Metal in 2020, Kossowski was the Chief Information Officer for Airtel Africa in the 17 countries they operated in. He has a bachelor's degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a master’s degree from Boston University. He has been married to Sydney for 30 years and has three children and two grandchildren.

“National Small Business Week is the time of year when SBA celebrates the achievements and contributions of small businesses to our local, state, and national economies,” says Malcolm Richards, District Director. “These business owners have demonstrated the courage, tenacity, and innovation to build and grow companies that offer quality goods and services to the worldwide marketplace while simultaneously creating the jobs that strengthen our communities.”