- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Announcing the 2011 Most Valuable Employers (MVE) for Military® winners
by Heidi Russell Rafferty, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Waste Management

Employers representing a wide range of industries and business sizes are honored.

Some of the sweetest words a military veteran can hear after leaving the service are: “We would like to make you an offer,” says Michael Stevens, a veteran and now a training instructor at Navy Federal Credit Union. But it’s rare that an employer backs up a “military-friendly” claim with action, Stevens says.

However, Stevens found that to be true of Navy Federal, which has a 77-year history of employing ex-military talent.

“Leaving military service is one of the most traumatic events in a warrior’s life. It does not matter if the military member is retiring after 30 years as a Senior Officer or completing an initial enlistment as a Third Class Petty Officer,” Stevens says. “It is a difficult thing to move from khakis to a suit, but Navy Federal and their philosophy has made it easy not only for me, but for countless other veterans that call Navy Federal home today or will in the future.”

Veterans would agree that’s pretty much what it takes for a business to be a “Most Valuable Employer.” So Civilian Job News has released its annual list of those that, as Stevens puts it, back up their military-friendly statement with deeds.

Here are 35 Most Valuable Employers for Military and how they’re reaching out to veterans and active Guard and Reserve members:

Most Valuable Employers for Military companies: A-D; F-P; S-W

Amazon: Amazon’s culture resonates with veterans, says Sarah Roberts, Military Relations Manager. “At Amazon, we’re customer-obsessed, and veterans know how to focus on completing a mission and serving their country,” she says. The company is hiring “military leaders” to fill positions as Area and Operations Managers within its North American Fulfillment Centers Operations. In the past year, Amazon has built a military talent program, including a team of dedicated military recruiters and a military brand. It hired more than 95 military leaders into various functions. Also, a bi-annual Military Leadership Conference in Seattle exposes military hires to the company while growing their leadership potential within their new career. (,,

The Exchange (The Army & Air Force Exchange Service): Military candidates are highly-desirable to the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, as they “have a familiarity with AAFES as a retailer, restaurant and services organization as well as our culture, customer expectations and lingo,” says Carol Chandler, Recruiting Manager. Career opportunities are in more than 3,100 facilities worldwide, more than 30 countries, five U.S. territories and 49 states. Recruiters hit military job fairs, outreach programs, functions and conferences. The Exchange also is a leading partner in the Army Spouse Employment Partnership, employing 5,602 military spouses. It offers several courses and on-the-job training opportunities. In addition, the Exchange’s Welcome Home initiatives include support of the Rest and Recuperation program. For the third year, the Exchange partnered with Drew Carey and “The Price is Right” to raise awareness of troop support programs. (

BNSF Railway: BNSF Railway has a long tradition of hiring veterans (3,100 since 2005, alone). It continues to solidify military relationships by averaging one military career event weekly to hire veterans and bolstering those employees serving overseas and their at-home families via support programs, says John Wesley, Manager of Military Staffing. One family program is the Holiday Express train. It provided rides to more than 2,400 members of military families during a two-week trip. In all, the BNSF Foundation donates $70,000 to organizations that offer support to military families in need. The railroad also fosters veterans’ careers. Since 2005, it has placed 500 vets in a high-profile, field-based operations management program, known as the Experienced First Line Supervisor program. BNSF sponsors apprenticeship/on-the-job training programs for service members, too. (

CACI International Inc: CACI services help federal clients provide for national security, improve communications and collaboration, secure the integrity of information systems and networks, enhance data collection and analysis and increase mission effectiveness. Veterans have the experience to make those missions successful, says Katie Moore, Employment Marketing Manager. Opportunities are across the United States, Western Europe, the Middle East and Korea. In addition to one dedicated military and one disabled veteran recruiter, every one of CACI’s 58 recruiters focuses on hiring veterans. CACI participated in 45 military job fairs in FY10. CACI also champions the hiring of disabled veterans through “Deploying Talent Creating Careers.” An internship provides on-the-job experience and training. All employees have access to CACI Virtual University and can complete relevant courses to advance skills. (

Capstone Corporation: Defense contractor Capstone’s workforce has grown from 200 employees to 525-plus in four years, says John J. McNally III, Senior Vice President, Growth. And, 71 percent of new employees are veterans or active National Guard or Reserve. The company specializes in military civil operations, missions systems support, and enterprise technical solutions, and 80-plus percent of its work supports defense and homeland security. Paul McKean, LTC (Ret.), Modeling and Simulation Specialist, says his “entire experience with the company has been superb and a model for how to treat employees.” Capstone will create at least 200 new positions in 2011. “Capstone is committed to hiring those great Americans who sacrifice so much to ensure a safer United States,” McNally says. (

CenterPoint Energy: CenterPoint Energy started its Military Recruiting Initiative in 2009. “The initiative has grown, and we have continued to gain recognition from the veteran and Reservist community for our dedication to hiring military,” says Angela Kohl, Military Recruiter. The company has also been featured in publications such as ‘The Texas Veterans 2011 Newsletter’ as a “military-friendly employer.” In 2010, the company hired 52 veterans. The company’s family environment was important to Jason Faber, an Army MSGT Reservist of 18 years who deployed to Iraq twice. Knowing that Faber and his family had no close relatives in Houston, the CenterPoint Energy team supported them with any and all needs when he was gone. He says the support gave him a sense of calmness, knowing his family was receiving special care. (

Chesapeake Energy Corporation: Experienced military professionals excel in field operations and drilling services because their experiences have been in similar working conditions, says Kelly Lawson, Human Resources Analyst. The company has two military-focused recruiting efforts, one for junior military officers with strong engineering backgrounds. “We have found that these individuals make excellent field production/operations employees,” Lawson says. The second is for entry-level drilling service employees. Chesapeake recently partnered with “Troops to Roughnecks” to recruit them. “Roughneck” is a slang term for anyone who works on a drilling rig. Approximately six percent of the company’s 2010 hires were military recruits. It added approximately 40 Junior Military Officers and 150 entry-level drilling service employees through the Troops to Roughnecks program during this time. (

Cintas Puyallup, WA: Cintas offers an industrial, hands-on, customer service environment and a culture of front-line leadership, says Kay Lucas, HR Manager. The company designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity, uniform programs, and also provides promotional and first aid-safety materials to more than 800,000 businesses. Open jobs are Service Sales Representative and Maintenance/Engineer. A dedicated military recruiter attends military job fairs. Last year, seven of 19 new hires were military. “I enjoy working for a company that cares about their employees as much as their customers and look forward to the career that I have chosen,” says Mike Rhodes, Tile and Carpet Assistant Technician. (

Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC): CTC is an independent, non-profit, applied R&D professional services organization. It provides management and technology-based solutions to the government and the private sector throughout the United States and Europe. “We find that military-experienced professionals are well-rounded individuals who tend to move quickly into leadership roles,” says Kristi J. Lisbon, Recruiter/Human Resources Representative II. Recruiters annually attend three military career events: Military Officers Association of America Career Exposition, Service Academy Career Conference and West Point Academy Career Fair. Recruiters also attend nationwide Transition Assistance Programs. To support the cutting-edge environment, CTC provides employees with many professional development opportunities. “It is our ability to offer them an opportunity to continue serving our country that is personally and professionally fulfilling,” Lisbon says. (

CSX Transportation: “Although the economy and job creation has been slow throughout the country, CSX has not slowed down on our dedication and recruiting of our veterans,” says Steve Toomey, Manager of Recruiting. CSX hired more than 450 Veterans in 2010, nearly 18 percent of all newly-hired employees. Recruiters attended more than 100 veteran-related job fairs in 2010. CSX is a career-oriented organization, Toomey says. Union employees attend safety and professional-related paid training and then on-the-job training. Managers get nine training months. CSX partners with the Wounded Warrior Project so that severely-wounded veterans can attend business classes for three months before becoming CSX interns. ( -- Also use 888 884 9417, a dedicated number for military.)

DaVita, Inc.: DaVita delivers dialysis services in more than 1,500 outpatient clinics. With 35,000 teammates, DaVita seeks top clinical and non-clinical talent at all levels, says Cori Keuler, Leadership Recruiter/Military Recruiting Champion. A significant percentage of the annual recruitment advertising budget goes toward military hiring. In 2011, Training magazine honored DaVita for the seventh straight year as the No. 1 national healthcare service provider for workforce training. “One thing I really love is the autonomy DaVita gives me. As long as corporate policies are followed, I can run my clinics in my own way,” says Jovan Hollins, Facility Administrator. “I communicate with a wide range of audiences and people. My Air Force experience made me very effective at this. It was a very seamless transition.” (

Dollar General: Dollar General is the nation’s largest small-box discount retailer, with 9,200 stores in 35 states and nine distribution centers, representing 87,904 employees. “Dollar General is a growing company. We will be adding 625 stores in 2011 and a new distribution center. We are always looking for top talent and experienced leaders who can contribute to this growth,” says Heather Robertson, Diversity Manager. Dollar General currently employs more than 3,000 veterans, active duty military and Guardsmen. It is a 2010 recipient of the Freedom Award and has recently signed a statement of support with the Employer Partnership for the Armed Forces. Last year, Dollar General, also established an employee resource group at the Store Support Center called SERVE: Service-minded Employees Reaching Veterans Everywhere. (

Most Valuable Employers for Military companies: A-D; F-P; S-W

Return to May/June 2011 Issue