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Four veteran-owned companies in Williamson County are generating at least around a million dollars based on 2020 revenue reporting.

Some of the highest-grossing businesses owned by veterans in Williamson County include ASE Direct Inc., Helios Energy LLC., Big Dot Inc. and CD Steger Construction Inc., owned by Bo D. Clift, Christian Nelson, Timothy Cooper and Cliff Steger respectively. Each of these business owners rank among the venerable, American men and women honored on Veterans’ Day, yet they also represent the most successful class within that highly esteemed demographic.

Brentwood-based ASE Direct is a federal and commercial imaging solutions business that provides pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, information technology supplies, imaging appliances and office supplies. West Point graduate and U.S. Army Officer Bo Clift co-founded the company in December 2005 with his brother, Jud Clift. Closing in on 16 years of operation, the firm has transformed into a $28.6 million value added reseller in the imaging space as of 2020. The vendor serves educational institutions, Fortune 1,000 enterprises, government entities and healthcare organizations internationally.

A service-disabled veteran, Clift was injured on duty, began selling toner and other supplies with his brother out of a storage unit in Franklin and established a small business that grew into the ASE that now operates in over 60 sales, distribution, collections and service locations worldwide. ASE reports having generated $250 million in revenue to date from federal government contracts.

Based in Franklin, Helios Energy launched in 2014 to seize a share of the then-valuable, now-coveted market segment in clean energy solutions by helping clients mitigate their carbon footprints. Having operated myriad intelligence and signals intelligence assignments as both a Marine Corps enlistee and officer, Nelson co-founded Helios Energy with Nashville-based telecom doyen Aaron Roberts and built it into an approximately $5.7 million firm.

The son of an electric utility lineman, Nelson served for several years as the director of unit training management and the director of curriculum and instruction at Training and Education Command in Quantico, Va. He also co-developed and spearheaded the overhaul of the Marine Corps Training and Readiness Program. In Helios’s seven years — five of which have seen rapid growth — Nelson has received several awards from the Defense Department, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps among other organizations.

Spring Hill’s Big Dot is an HVAC and electrical company that provides lighting as a service and provides proprietary LED lighting products. Managing Partner Tim Cooper served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and for four years of that service, he operated as sergeant of Marines aviation logistics and retired in 2005 upon injury after 12 letters of accommodations, six letters of appreciations and a Good Conduct Medal. He co-founded Big Dot Lighting in 2015 and Big Dot Electrical in 2018.

Big Dot has since developed into a Tennessee Valley Authority preferred partner that generated about $3 million in revenue last year. The business advocates for the reduction of energy consumption via conversion to LED lighting and touts the successful cost mitigations of companies like Trevecca Nazarene University whose entire campus Big Dot converted in 2018.

CD Steger Construction, another Brentwood company, is a prolific general contractor and construction management firm. Its founder, Cliff D. Steger, is a combat veteran who flew U.S. Air Force missions in Vietnam and Desert Storm — spanning a 25-year career. As a Special Forces aircrewman, Steger is best known for having helped return hostages held in Iran during the 1970s. He incorporated his company in December 1994, and in 2020, it generated about $900,000 in revenue.

The company is currently contracted to develop the Kossie Gardner, Sr. Pocket Park on Jefferson Street in downtown Nashville. In 2017, the firm paved the Rolling Hill Mill surface parking lot for $1.39 million for a Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority project.