Anthony Cinquini wants what’s best for Americans. He helped protect their freedoms while in the military, and now he’s making dreams come true.
The Glendale resident and Air Force and Army veteran won a franchise of the home-based travel agency Dream Vacation, valued at $12,300. Cinquini is one of five winners of Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General.
Cinquini was one of 569 applicants to apply for this annual business plan contest, which was open to former members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard who are retired, off active duty and/or honorably discharged prior to the contest start date this past May, as well as community heroes such as first responders, educators and medical professionals who are U.S. residents.
He participated in a three-part application process that included creating a business plan, video essay and phone interviews.
“My travel agency’s mission is to inspire travel and deliver memorable vacation experiences to all customers, while saving them time and money,” Cinquini said.
“As a full-service travel adviser, I turn dreams into reality for my clients and I find fulfillment in delivering through my services the one thing that we all seek — happiness.”
Cinquini said he learned of the contest while researching franchises to buy into. He was impressed that Dream Vacation is the No. 1 franchise for veterans.
“It was an affordable, flexible, home-based franchise,” he said. “I went on the website and I was reading about it. I found out about the contest, and this was their 10th year. I looked at the requirements for it, and it entailed creating a business plan, a few interviews and creating a video. I decided to enter, and it just was an incredible journey.”
Cinquini began his military career shortly after graduating high school in Chicago. He spoke with an Air Force recruiter, who learned Cinquini is bilingual.
“I spoke Italian, so I signed up as a linguist,” he said. “I served from 1999 to 2003 as a Korean linguist. At the time, I thought I could choose a language, but that’s not the case.”
He had a break in service from 2003 to 2005, during which time he earned his bachelor’s degree. From 2005 to 2010, he served in the Army and attained his final rank of captain.
“I’ve been to about 15 countries,” he said. “I wish I could have traveled more. In the service, I wanted to serve, but I thought I’d be able to see different parts of the world. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
“My wife is from the Philippines, and she’s been able to travel to many different areas. My sister-in-law was a permanent resident in Singapore. She worked for a cruise line. I wanted to experience that with my family. I figured this is something I’m passionate about.”
His passport includes summer visits to Italy, from which his parents immigrated.
“A love for travel was something that was instilled in me,” he said. “I like learning about new cultures. It’s something I never thought would be possible — to turn my hobby into an actual occupation. It’s really a labor of love. I’m really excited to help others get what they want and find a dream vacation and memories and then be able to have that with my family.”
Dream Vacation / Anthony Cinquini