Military Times’ 2017 List of Best Colleges for Military Veterans

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Military Veterans

The recipient of a master’s in engineering management from the University of Alabama, Mike Elmore is the CEO and president of Sun Mountain, a California-certified Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise that provides assistance to the state’s underground infrastructure construction firms and utility providers. A former engineer and captain with the United States Air Force, Mike Elmore is passionate about employment opportunities for veterans and, as such, over 60 percent of Sun Mountain’s staff have served in the military.

Each year, the Military Times releases its rankings of four-year colleges best suited for military veterans. Factors that determine the rankings include tuition costs as well as the presence of a veterans center and the implementation of the Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding, among others. The University of South Florida earned the No. 1 ranking on the 2017 list, as it met most of the ideal criteria, and had 1,588 veterans enrolled in classes as of 2015 as well as a 68 percent graduation rate among veterans.

Rutgers University ranked second with similar figures across the board, while Syracuse University ranked third. In 2015, Syracuse’s Whitman School of Management alone enrolled over 160 military personnel and veterans in a class of 898 and boasted a 100 percent course completion rate. Rounding out the top five was Armstrong State University and D’Youville College.


The California Symphony’s Music in the Schools Program

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Music in the Schools

A former captain with the United States Air Force, Mike Elmore serves as the principal, CEO, and president of Sun Mountain, LLC, a California-certified DVBE company based in Walnut Creek. Dedicated to helping his community, Mike Elmore supports such organizations and entities as the California Symphony.

Recognized for its high-quality concert programs, the California Symphony maintains several music education programs that are known across the country, including its Music in the Schools (MIS) program. This program has been operating since 1992 and primarily serves students living in Contra Costa County. Throughout the years, the organization has helped over 75,000 kids experience and learn about music through interactive performances.

The MIS program serves up to 3,500 students each year. Through the program, four ensembles visit participating schools and showcase different instrument groups found within the orchestra. These groups include brass, strings, woodwinds, and percussion. To augment this, teachers are also given student workbooks that are developed specifically for students between first and fifth grade. These workbooks supplement learning within the classroom and extend the MIS program beyond its ensemble visits.

Schools within Contra Costa County who want to participate in the MIS program can contact the operations and education director, Sunshine Deffner. The program strives to selects a different school within the county to participate in the program every year.

WWP Hosts Healthy Cooking Class

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Wounded Warrior Project

Operating out of Walnut Creek, California, Mike Elmore serves as owner and CEO of Sun Mountain, LLC, a company that provides professional and field services in the civil infrastructure and energy sectors. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Mike Elmore supports the efforts of the Wounded Warrior Project.

In partnership with Publix and through the Wounded Warrior Project’s Physical Health and Wellness initiative, veterans were recently treated to a free cooking class in order to help them learn how to prepare healthy foods at home. Teachers were on hand to educate the veterans about how to determine the number of calories in their food, as well as macronutrient and mineral levels they need to be aware of when choosing dishes.

Veterans on hand expressed appreciation for the class, citing it as an example of how they can make small yet meaningful changes to their lives in order to become healthier. The event also served as a bonding experience for these wounded vets, who sometimes struggle to maintain social bonds after returning to civilian life.

Wounded Warrior Project Holds San Antonio Seminar

Wounded Warrior Project pic
Wounded Warrior Project

Based in Walnut Creek, California, Mike Elmore is the owner and chief executive officer of Sun Mountain, LLC, a firm that specializes in civil infrastructure as well as energy services. Outside of his work, Mike Elmore is a committed philanthropist and supports many charitable organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) recently held a comprehensive seminar in San Antonio, Texas, aimed at helping injured veterans deal with some of the common issues that plague them. They attended training workshops on important topics, such as mental health and peer support.

The role of peer support is particularly vital for wounded veterans, who uniquely look to one another for encouragement and mentoring when dealing with the challenges of reintegration into civilian life. The strength of their military bonds serves as an ironclad support mechanism as they look to recover from both their physical and psychological injuries.

Through events such as the one in San Antonio, WWP is able to offer numerous services to injured veterans that help address their physical and mental health, as well as their vocational training and social support.

Role of a Construction Project Manager

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Construction Project Manager

Previously a civil engineer officer in the US Air Force, Mike Elmore founded Sun Mountain LLC, a California-based business committed to offering professional opportunities to US veterans. Mike Elmore’s company specializes in providing research, engineering, and infrastructure and operational security planning to construction firms. Another core competency of Sun Mountain’s team includes construction project management.

Construction project management follows the same phases of project management in other industries, but also requires extensive knowledge of the construction industry. Essentially, the job of a construction project manager involves ensuring that the project adheres to its timeline and budget. The project manager must also make sure that the construction work is done in line with relevant building codes.

Before starting any construction work, the construction project manager must review the proposed project to set out all phases of the work to be completed. The project manager must also analyze and mitigate risk in the project, from site conditions and worker safety to public regulations and environmental concerns.

When the building begins, the project manager remains on site to supervise construction workers, and is often involved in hiring and terminating workers and obtaining the tools and equipment needed to complete the project. The project must be reviewed on a daily basis to ensure it is running according to plan, as running past the deadline can incur hefty financial penalties. This requires the project manager to be adaptable so that he or she can make changes to the work plan to get the project back on track.

Annual Awards of the SAME Academy of Fellows

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Society of American Military Engineers

Before establishing Sun Mountain LLC, a company that provides professional services to the energy and civil infrastructure markets, Mike Elmore served in the US Air Force as a civil engineer officer, lieutenant, and captain. Mike Elmore maintains his dedication to the military by providing professional opportunities for veterans and through his involvement in the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME).

SAME dedicates itself to supporting national security by resolving challenges related to the country’s infrastructure. It provides training, education, and professional development opportunities to more than 30,000 members by hosting conferences and producing publications. Each year, SAME also recognizes three members for their contributions toward its mission through the SAME Academy of Fellows.

The SAME Academy of Fellows announces the winner of its Golden Eagle Award for Contributions to National Security and its Golden Eagle Award for Contributions to the A/E/C Profession during an annual award dinner, which is followed with reception that provides an opportunity for networking. Preceding the award dinner, SAME holds an Investiture Ceremony, during which the academy welcomes a new class of fellows and presents the Gerald C. Brown Mentoring Award to a member for his or her guidance of new fellows.

California Symphony Performs Beethoven’s 4th Symphony for First Time


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California Symphony

Since 2014, Mike Elmore has served as CEO and president of Sun Mountain, LLC, based in California. Outside of his professional life, Mike Elmore enjoys many styles of music including classical. Mike is a supporter of the California Symphony.

Under the hand of fourth-year music director Donato Cabrera, the California Symphony recently held its first-ever performance of Beethoven’s widely lauded Symphony No. 4. The ensemble also treated fans to a rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 23, which was elegantly performed by pianist Maria Radutu. The Romanian-Austrian pianist has appeared as a solo artist in many renowned venues across the globe, including the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein, the Great Hall of the Vienna Konzerthaus, and the Salle Gaveau in Paris.

The kickoff piece for the night was a number entitled “Peace Love Light YOUMEONE” by Christopher Theofanidis, a Grammy-nominated composer and former composer-in-residence of the California Symphony.

The ongoing 2016-2017 season marks a milestone for the California Symphony, as it celebrates 30 years of performing classical and American works for its patrons.