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Most Valuable Employers for Military 2010
by Heidi Russell Rafferty, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Colorado Spring Utilities


How do you sort out employers who will not only value your military service and what that represents, but also provide the supportive work environment and career advancement opportunities to help you fulfill your dreams?


Civilian Job News releases its annual "Most Valuable Employers for Military" survey to aid your evaluation. We've highlighted 25 of the most outstanding companies for veterans.


Those who are working for these companies agree that they're on the right track. Marc E. Newsome, a signal maintainer for CSX Corp. in Selkirk, N.Y., says he has no regrets in his choice. "I was pleasantly surprised by the technology used by modern railroads. My signal supervisor and division engineer (both are former military) are a pleasure to work with. My fellow signal maintainers are all professionals who take pride in their jobs. The pay and opportunitiesfor advancement that CSX offers are rare in corporate America," he says.


Carlos DeLaGarza is a West Point graduate who started with Amazon as an area manager and leads one of Amazon's U.S. fulfillment centers as a site leader. "One of the great things about Amazon is that I've done a lot of things in 8 years. I have had an opportunity to learn a lot. I have held 8 to 10 different roles in eight years and enjoyed a lot of movement. I enjoy learning different things. It's an environment that allows people to grow professionally," he says.
Want to know more? Check out what these companies offer. You may find the perfect fit, too.

Amazon (Seattle, Wash.)
"Amazon's evolution from Web site to e-commerce partner to development platform is driven by the spirit of innovation that is part of our DNA," says Philip Dana, HR manager. The company seeks "the brightest minds" to solve complex technical and business problems. Amazon has more than 30 fulfillment centers worldwide. Amazon actively recruits candidates from around the world for its positions, participating in military job fairs and Transition/ACAP programs. Its bi-annual Military Leadership Conference in Seattle allows military hires to learn about the business while growing their leadership potential.

American Eurocopter Corp., an EADS North America Company (Columbus, Miss.)
Aircraft technicians of all levels are needed at American Eurocopter Corp., and military talent is sought for its "attendance, punctuality, quality of work and work performance," says Deborah Junkin, staffing manager. The company mines National Guard units and the Columbus local Air Force base for applicants, especially those who are acquainted with the UH-72A Lakota. Forty-six percent of the workforce is veteran. AE pays salary difference for missed hours for training and deployments and supports employees' deployments for up to five years. The company also hosts a Big Vet Day celebration.

Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES-Dallas, Texas)

Remember the Price is Right's Drew Carey pitching the public to help overseas service members with gift and phone cards? That was a partnership formed with AAFES, which provides merchandise and services in cooperation with Morale Welfare and Recreation programs on military installations. AAFES is a top recruiter of military service members, too: 372 Active Duty Military, 91 Disabled Retires, seven Disabled Vets, 358 Retired, 63 Retired Reserved and 1,107 Veterans were employed by AAFES in 2009. The company has career opportunities in more than 3,100 facilities worldwide. Those range from logistics and transportation, to warehouse, to industrial engineering, to retail and restaurant positions and even includes information technology.

BNSF Railway Company (Fort Worth, Texas)
BNSF actively seeks transitioning service members and matches them with career opportunities, says Matt Rose, BNSF chairman, president and CEO. The company operates one of the largest North American rail networks, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. Positions include operations, transportation, engineering, mechanical, finance, marketing, technology services, medical, law, human resources and more. BNSF has hired more than 3,100 veterans since 2005. "BNSF works hard to make the transition easy for veterans by providing extensive training on railroad culture, industry terminology, and company policies," says Jody Mills, a former U.S. Army Combat Engineer who is now BNSF's Assistant Road Master-Essex Montana North Division.

CACI International Inc. (Fairfax, Va.)

Veterans understand the needs facing clients of government contractor CACI. So they're prime job candidates, says Candice Bristow, Lead Workforce Functional Analyst. CACI is a 12,700-employee, $2.7 billion IT and professional services company. Clients are the DoD, Homeland Security and the intelligence community. Jobs are at 120 locations in the United States and other countries, including Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Positions include: intelligence analysts, acquisition management professionals, budget analysts, contract administrators, logisticians, business analysts, program managers, engineers, tactical law enforcement professionals, network engineers and other IT-related positions. In early 2009, CACI, as a member of the Coalition for Government Procurement, helped sponsor the Wounded Warrior Project kickoff event, which showcased the top programs. CACI also helps other companies start their own wounded warrior employment efforts.

Capstone Corp. (Alexandria, Va.)

Capstone has experienced over 400-percent growth in the past three years, bringing its current work force size to 540 employees. The organization will add another 100 in 2010, and more than 90 percent of new positions will require veterans, says Senior Vice President-Growth John J. McNally III,. Opportunities will be in: overseas, CONUS, Italy, Germany, Korea, Kuwait, the greater D.C. area, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Illinois and South Carolina. Jobs to be filled are for military planning, operations and analysis. "Many companies will talk a good game when it comes to hiring former or current military personnel. Capstone makes hiring current and military personnel a priority, and we have the numbers to back it up," McNally says.

CenterPoint Energy (Houston, Texas)

This energy company is targeting military-experienced talent to fill positions across five businesses: electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, interstate natural gas pipelines, field services, and competitive natural gas sales and services. Jobs include engineers, line mechanics, logistics, human resources, accounting and many other functions. The company began a Military Recruiting Initiative in 2009, so that veterans would start thinking of it as a prospective employer, says military recruiter Angela Kohl. It hired 71 veterans in 2009 and plans to increase that number in 2010. "We have seen the level of commitment military-experienced individuals have shown in serving their country, and that type of commitment is what we look for when hiring individuals," she says.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (Oklahoma City, Okla.)

This utility has two military-focused recruiting efforts. It seeks junior military officers with strong engineering backgrounds. And, it has a recent partnership with Troops to Roughnecks, for entry-level military professionals. "Roughneck" is slang for anyone on a drilling rig, says Kelly Lawson, HR analyst. Both initiatives have an extensive on-boarding program, she adds. Matt Anderson, field engineer, who exited the Navy in 2001, says Chesapeake employees have great camaraderie, just like in the military. "I was fortunate enough to find a company that not only embraces the same 'team first' approach, but is also an industry leader at the forefront of developing a more environmentally-friendly alternative energy source," he says.

Concurrent Technologies Corp. (Johnstown, Pa.)

Self-started, disciplined multi-taskers are in demand at CTC. This nonprofit conducts impartial, in-depth assessments and technical evaluations for both private business and the U.S. government. "By adding military-experienced individuals to our company, we continue to build our current relationships and forge new ones that enable us to enhance the operations of military installations around the world," says Nicole L. Little, HR representative. "History has proven that former military hires excel in our environment." The group has 34 U.S. and European offices. Positions range from engineering, to linguistics, to intelligence, to IT, to explosives professionals.

Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (New York, N.Y.)

For more than 180 years, Con Edison has been supplying the energy that powers New York. Today, it seeks military talent, as veterans have "proven to be an excellent fit within our corporate culture," says Joseph Masella, secretary. Jobs are across the entire company service area, including New York City and Westchester County. Positions needed are electrical technicians, engineers, bilingual customer service representatives, operating supervisors and operating mechanics. Training is immediate and continuous through Con Ed's Learning Center. Employees can also take advantage of a tuition aid program. "We also provide a high level of job security and the ability to network with other veterans throughout the company," Masella says. More than 7.2% of all management hires in 2009 were veterans and 6.8% of its active workforce is veterans.

Con-way Freight (Plainfield, Ind.)

Trucking company Con-way Freight is a DoD Freedom Award Winner and supports both the Guard and Reserve employees, says David Ellington, personnel supervisor. Currently, open positions are for drivers, management trainees, freight operations and supervisors. Also, the company will be looking for Field Management Trainee (FMT) each quarter for leadership personnel that are willing to be relocated throughout the company. "During the past year, our terminal participated in over six military job fairs, and soliciting over 1,000 military veterans in an eight-month period," says Ellington, adding that more than 10 percent of its 350 personnel are veterans.

CSX Corp. (Jacksonville, Fla.)

One of the nation's leading transportation companies, CSX will be adding former military in 283 locations throughout the eastern half of the United States, says Staffing & Administration Specialist Karen Hill. "Employees will also be hired in almost all areas of our organization, due to recent mandated federal regulations that call for additional control of our freight trains," she says. In 2009, CSX hired about 300 Veterans, nearly 30 percent of its new hire workforce. Positions include assistant signal workers, communication professionals, management trainees, diesel mechanics, electricians, track workers and welders. CSX has a full-time four-person military recruiting team, who target all military Transitional Assistance Programs (TAP) at more than 100 U.S.-based military facilities.

Dollar General Corp. (Goodlettsville, Tenn.)

As the nation's largest small-box discount retailer, Dollar General seeks candidates with leadership experience, a solid work ethic, loyalty and integrity, "all attributes that military candidates offer," says Lee Wood, senior manager of field HR. It has more than 8,700 locations in 35 states, a Store Support Center in Goodlettsville, Tenn., and nine distribution centers. Positions include IT project manager, human resources generalist, training and development positions, and real estate positions, along with distribution center openings. The company attends several military recruiting events and job fairs for the Guard and Reserves, such as the Oklahoma National Guard Yellow Ribbon job fair, as well as career fairs at bases such as Camp LeJuene and Ft. Bragg.

General Dynamics C4 Systems (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

Veterans' expertise is "invaluable" at GDC4S, which develops and integrates secure communication and information systems and technology. "The expertise and perspectives gained from these talented individuals is pervasive throughout myriad aspects of our business operations," says Recruiter Eddie Shapley. GDC4S was the first defense contractor to provide a scholarship to a wounded Navy Seal in partnership with the Sentinels of Freedom organization. Sentinels supports severely wounded vets. The company hires, trains and funds a Sentinel in a paid part-time or full-time internship. It also assists the Sentinel in achieving educational, on-the-job training and career goals. GDC4S also has donated to Sentinels of Freedom to support a redesigned Web site. The charity also became the recipient of a holiday donation program.

General Electric (Fairfield, Conn.)

One in 14 GE employees is a veteran, says Dave Ferguson, program manager of military staffing and recruiting. In 2009, GE hired veterans in more than 100 locations in the United States and expects to repeat that in 2010. GE has a two-year rotational program called Junior Officer Leadership Program (JOLP). The goal is to transition the Junior Officer from the military to the corporate world. The company's "GE Veterans Network" is an affinity group to help GE's veteran community recruit, retain and mentor veterans. GE is now hiring Junior Military Officers for nationwide Leadership Positions in Services/Maintenance, Supply Chain Management, Engineering/Technology and Financial Services. The company is also hiring former enlisted service members for Field Services and Financial Services Representatives in Billings, Mont.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Kettering, Ohio.

Northrop Grumman Corp. (El Segundo, Calif.)

There are a vast number of positions that veterans can fill at Northrop Grumman, says Talent Acquisition Branding & Communications Lead Laurie Palmquist. Projects include: global security, and systems for command and control, intelligence, defense, health information, advanced radar, civil government and public safety. Employees can also work on conventional and nuclear powered naval ships, satellites, system sustainment, logistics support and training and unmanned aerial vehicles. One unique recruiting effort is the Operation IMPACT (Injured Military Pursuing Assisted Career Transition) program, to recruit and aid injured veterans in their Northrop Grumman careers. The company also created VERITAS (Veterans, Employees and Reservists Inspired to Act), an Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Northrop Grumman. Many employees continue to support veterans through various non-profit donations and fundraisers, too.

Pratt & Whitney (Hartford, Conn.)

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.

SAYtr LLC (San Antonio, Texas)

SAYtr is a group of "transformation experts." They specialize in transition leadership for Department of Defense (DoD) changes such as the BRAC, installation consolidation, joint moves and mission realignments. It is also a woman-veteran-owned small business. "Speaking the language of the government is paramount to our success. Every member of our team is either a veteran or prior DoD civilian," says CEO Tamara D. Say. The small firm requires "a culture of excellence" and has a family atmosphere, so it tries to attract like-minded people, she adds. "Retention is even more important to us than recruiting: To that end, we take care of each other and share ideas on how to improve continually both as a business family and as individuals."

Schlumberger (Sugar Land, Texas)

There are plenty of opportunities with Schlumberger, the world's leading oilfield service provider: mechanical technicians (diesel engine techs), maintenance technicians, electronic technicians and field specialists (field site supervisors ). Recruiter Lonnie Thomas says of the 430 people recruited in North America during the past year, 219 were veterans. Positions require self-sufficiency and independence, and "military personnel are accustomed to making decisions and executing set plans," he says. "They understand that a job is not complete until the job is done right." Opportunities are in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, New York, West Virginia, California, North Dakota and Wyoming.

Southern Company (Atlanta, Ga.)

One of the largest electric generators in the nation, Southern Co. and its subsidiaries have been serving the Southeast for more than 100 years. Job openings are in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, and the company is hiring engineers, technicians, power plant operators (fossil and nuclear), line workers, nuclear training instructors, information technology specialists, diesel mechanics and nuclear security officers. Twenty-four percent of all new hires in 2009 were veterans, says Jerome Richard, programs strategist. The company actively reaches out to veterans too. It established an active veterans' affinity group for employees. As well, the company assisted families of employees and the 48th Brigade Combat Team while the solders served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Plus, it engages in supplier diversity initiatives to reach out to diverse suppliers in the veteran and service-disabled veteran communities.


Sprint (Overland, Kan.)

Sprint looks to veterans, Reserve service members, military spouses and family members to fill a wide range of opportunities in technology, management, retail and customer care. "This could include positions such as: customer assistance, service advocates, technical support representatives, retail sales consultants, logistics/procurement representatives, network operations specialists, network engineers, switch technicians and RF/field technicians, to name a few," says Jerri Cofran, manager of recruiting. Sprint supports veterans through its Employee Resource Group, Veterans and Employees helping others through Sprint (V.E.T.S.), which has more than 700 current members spanning 45 states, Germany and Puerto Rico. When employees are involuntarily called to active duty, Sprint pays the difference between Sprint base pay and military base pay for up to 10 days annually.

University of Phoenix (Phoenix, Ariz.)

A majority of veterans are hired within the University of Phoenix campus in Phoenix, Ariz. "But we do have veterans working in many of our other campuses throughout 40 states and in the company's subsidiaries such as Institute for Professional Development, College for Financial Planning, Western International University, Meritus University, Insight Schools and Apollo Global," says Public Relations Manager-Military Jackie Robinson,. The company has many different positions within Apollo Group where veterans currently are employed. A majority is enrollment counselors, academic counselors and financial counselors. "Many employees feel a sense of community in working with other veterans," she says. To recruit veterans, military education liaisons work with Education Offices on base, attend career fairs and job fairs and offer support on service installations.

URS Corp. (Germantown, Md.)

"Why do we hire military experienced talent? They know our business!" says Marian Hyder, vice president of talent management. URS is an engineering, construction and technical services organization. "We provide these services for the U.S. federal government, national governments of other countries, state and local government agencies in the United States and internationally, Fortune 500 companies and other multinational corporations," Hyder says. URS has contracts at numerous domestic and international locations. Jobs range from aviation maintenance, to logistics, to communications and electronics maintenance, to flight simulator instructors, Homeland Security specialists and even HR, including many others. In 2009, 47 percent of all hires were veterans, and Veterans make up 41 percent of the total workforce.

USAA (San Antonio, Texas)

Throughout its 87-year history, USAA has played an important role in helping military families with their financial security, providing them with insurance, investments and banking products as well as financial planning and advice. So it would follow that as an employer, USAA places high importance on veterans, says Military Talent Management Program Manager John DiPiero. The majority of available positions are in USAA's customer contact areas within banking, insurance and financial services. Other openings are in IT, marketing, program management and procurement. In 2010, USAA will also hire junior officers for its career Junior Military Officer Career Development Program (JMO CDP), as well as retired general/flag officers for executive level positions.

G4S Wackenhut (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) "G4S Wackenhut's primary source for the best people has consistently been the U.S. military," says Lee Achord, vice president of talent management and benefits administration. The company provides security solutions in more than 150 area and project offices. Positions are security officers, supervisors and managers. "Our elite Custom Protection Officer Division was designed with prior military experience in mind. It recognizes prior military service as a qualifier for employment, with Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) such as M.P., combat arms, security forces, special operations, or career military," Achord says. The company also has a history of winning awards for its continued commitment to military veterans. He adds, "We try to put programs in place that are in the interests of military members at every stage of their careers."


Walmart (Bentonville, Ark.) Military candidates come to the table with significant leadership training and experience. So they're the perfect candidates for Walmart, which needs leaders in its stores and distribution centers, says Jennifer Seidner, senior manager, talent acquisition. Positions include retail operations, asset protection, logistics and human resources. Military recruiting has become an integrated component of Walmart's talent strategy, Seidner says. The company's Developmental Store Manager program, sponsored by the chief operating officer, prepares military hires with no retail experience to become shift manager within a year timeframe. "We have hired over 230 participants in the last two years," she says. Walmart also has partnerships with the Army Reserve and Military Spouse Program to actively employ Reservists and spouses of military veterans.

 

Freelancer Heidi Russell Rafferty is a reporter with 19 years of experience who writes about employment and business issues.

 

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