Cover Story - UPS: A Path to the Private Sector
United Parcel Service (“UPS”) believes the military experiences of armed forces veterans can translate into avenues for growing careers. That’s why the company not only created tools to assist veterans but also established goals to hire and support veterans. [more]
Four years ago, UPS pledged to hire more than 50,000 veterans by 2018, and to perform 50,000 employee volunteer hours helping veterans and veterans’ service organizations. The company already has surpassed its goals–hiring more than 70,000 veterans and logging more than 150,000 volunteer hours, with more still planned.
UPS Global Air Freight operations manager Jordan Kellett, a former Coast Guard petty officer second class and boatswain mate, has benefitted from UPS’s commitment. Kellett joined UPS in 2011 as part of a team that supports the military, which allowed him to play to his strengths of anticipating customer needs. As he puts it, “[The role] was a great place to start, because I learned the basics of transportation logistics, UPS service offerings, operations, and the UPS logistics network (hub and spoke, etc.). I also gained new competencies in billing and accounting principles, and, most importantly, it was a great foundation from which to learn about our core principles and organizational culture.” Since joining UPS, Kellett has been promoted twice, but he still values the investment UPS made in him as a transitioning veteran in his entry-level position.
Jordan’s advice for veterans who are transitioning out of the military today is, “Network, network, network. Network before you need to! You never know where an opportunity may come from and you need to be out meeting people face to face.” When he was preparing to process out from the Coast Guard, Jordan recalls seeking out mentors with diverse backgrounds. “It’s not necessarily so important that a mentor has the same background as yours... just that you are open to see what you can learn and where it may take you.”
Lloyd Knight, who contributes the monthly VETLANTA columns for Real Hero Report, is a UPS Freight Forwarding Director, an Air Force veteran, and President of VETLANTA—a military veterans’ organization comprised of locally based companies, veteran business resource groups, academia, government organizations, and veteran-affiliated non-profits. Lloyd encourages transitioning service members to do the basic groundwork: have a good resume and ask others to review it. Several non-profits exist to help with resume writing, such as VETLANTA. A sound resume and solid interviewing skills will help transitioning veterans successfully articulate the contributions they can bring to an organization.
UPS recognizes and appreciates the values and strong work ethic that the men and women who serve in the military have to offer. In fact, one of the key reasons that so many veterans succeed at UPS is due to the similarity of values between UPS and the military. Both organizations emphasize service, safety, teamwork, mobility, diversity and promotion from within. The company’s modern-day commitment builds on its century-long support of America’s heroes. “UPS is not just military friendly, we’re military ready,” Myron Gray, President, U.S. operations, was quoted when asked about the company’s support of service men and women.
However, many outside the organization are not as familiar with the company’s legacy of service. Since its beginning more than 110 years ago, UPS has valued the leadership of those who have served our country. In fact, one of UPS’s founders, George Casey, served in the Navy during World War I as a petty officer third class, and three former UPS CEOs were veterans. Not so ironically, George’s Navy job title in those days was “storekeeper,” which in the modern Navy is a role known as a “logistics specialist.” Today, Senior Vice-president, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Norm Brothers, who now sits on the organization’s 10-member management committee, is one of the many veterans and National Guard and Reserve members who make up 7.5 percent of UPS’s U.S. workforce. Brothers served as a captain in the U.S. Army, where he was a military prosecutor in the Judge Advocate General‘s Corp.
UPS believes the leadership and problem-solving abilities our service men and women regularly demonstrate give organizations a competitive edge once the veteran transitions to a civilian career. UPS uses partnerships across all branches of the armed services and with various transition organizations to grow the number of veterans among our ranks.
For example, since 2008, UPS has been participating in the Air Force’s Education With Industry (EWI) program, a 10-month assignment that provides an active-duty Air Force officer with on-the-job education, experience, and exposure within a private sector company. Currently, UPS also participates in similar programs with the Army and the Navy, the Army’s Training With Industry (TWI) and the Navy’s Training With Industry (NWI). Both programs allow for 12-month assignments to provide an active-duty officer with on-the-job education, experience, and exposure within a private sector company.
UPS helps veterans who have more entrepreneurial goals as well. There are more than 325 of The UPS Store locations operated by veterans, and since the company rebranded the network in 2004, more than 200 franchises have been awarded to first-time veteran buyers through the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran) program, a cooperation of the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Corporation, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Our culture is somewhat military-minded in the way we promote from within, similar to the military,” said Matt Lavery, one of UPS’s talent acquisition directors. “We encourage diversity [and inclusion], promotion is based on merit, and our jobs tend to be well-defined. Much like any single job in the military, we are very focused on detail. All that may make it an easier transition [to come to UPS].”
To continue expanding ways in which the organization supports transitioning veterans, in 2015, UPS launched an expansive, free website, the Veteran Career Gateway, at UPSjobs.com/military, and the free UPS Military Transition mobile app to help other U.S. veterans and transitioning service members find civilian careers. Both the website and mobile app offer articles and videos with expert advice on networking, maximizing contact with recruiters, making the most of job fairs, tapping the power of social media, using discharge papers to improve resumes, writing cover letters, interviewing, and more—whether or not veterans are looking for work at UPS. The mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices and gives job seekers a powerful set of tools and a vast library of information for the job search process. The website also features links to additional job boards and fairs, training and educational programs, as well as a checklist of recommended goals to track progress, and tips on adjusting to the social, financial and emotional demands of post-transition life.
“UPS is serious about hiring veterans,” said Pat O’Leary, UPS’s Veteran Affairs Manager, based in Louisville, KY. O’Leary, who joined UPS in 1978 after leaving the Marine Corps said, “I’m proud of what UPS is doing for our veterans.” The free resources from UPS also include an interactive map of available UPS positions, a unique Military Skills Translator—a job-matching tool that guides users on which UPS openings may fit veterans, based on their military specialization—and a direct link to the job application process. By creating these easy-to-use tools, designed to speak to veterans in a language with which they are familiar, UPS is helping thousands more find the right career for them. And, UPS is even happier if the new “home” these veterans land is with UPS!
Photo Caption: Jordan Kellett, UPS Global Air Freight Operations Manager and Coast Guard veteran
The Greatest Air Force in the World
Times are a lot different since I enlisted. Our aircraft, technology, adversaries and threats to our nation are different; however, some things remain the same: the grit, determination and motivation of today’s Airmen to serve their country and fellow Americans. On September 18, 1947, the United States Air Force (“Air Force”) was born. The first Secretary of the Air Force, Stuart Symington, was sworn in, and that was the creation of what is now the greatest Air Force in the world. For 70 years, the Air Force has been breaking barriers. [more]
The Air Force was not the first to use aircraft in combat. That is credited to the Italians, in 1911. However, today, the United States has the most technologically advanced Air Force in the world. We were not the first to drop a bomb from an aircraft. That also is credited to the Italians in 1911, but there were legions of bombers, including those from the U.S that defeated the Nazis and the Japanese in World War II.
The Air Force was not the first to fly jet aircraft. The Germans tested and deployed a jet aircraft in World War II. But shortly after the war, on October 14, 1947, Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager became the first human to fly faster than the speed of sound in the Bell X-1 aircraft. We were not the first to launch a satellite in space. That was accomplished by Russia in 1955. However, today, the Air Force employs a constellation of satellites and GPS systems around the globe.
We were not the first to put a human in orbit. Again, that was Russia in 1961. But through the Air Force Man-In-Space Soonest program, Neal Armstrong became the first man on the moon.
Although Turkey was the first to have a female combat pilot in 1913, there are scores of women serving next to their brethren as combat and transportation pilots; they are veterans and are among the highest in leadership in the Air Force.
The Air Force was not the first to break the race barrier, but today our Airmen are from the most diverse backgrounds and cultures. As you can see, our Air Force may not have been the first, but we certainly are the best.
We answer the call of our nation, whether it’s war or humanitarian relief. Since the end of World War II, our ground forces have not been threatened by enemy air because we have kept the skies free and maintained air superiority.
But not all battles require an enemy. During the Berlin Airlift, our aircraft transported 2.4 million tons of food and supplies to East Germany. We have provided earthquake, hurricane and tsunami relief, and have performed non-combatant evacuation operations when needed.
There are many reasons why we serve.
Staff Sgt. Esther Blake, after her eldest son was shot down while flying a B-17 and reported missing during World War II, became the first woman to enlist in the Air Force after serving four years in the Women’s Army Corps. Blake wanted to free male soldiers from doing desk jobs so they could go into combat and bring her sons home faster.
Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro, a tactical air control party specialist, suffered severe burns to 80 percent of his body. He became the first Airman to re-enlist after becoming eligible for a medical retirement. After receiving the Pat Tillman Award for Service and thanking his teammates, his nurses and his family for their support, he said with characteristic humility and humor, “Thank you for letting this guy who just had a bad day at work feel like someone special tonight.”
Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director, Air Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, grew up in an Air Force family. Her father, who retired as a technical sergeant, served as an inspiration for her. In an interview, she mentioned, “I just wanted to be just like my dad, not that I knew what he did.”
None of us woke up this morning to accomplish some outstanding feat; we just came to work today to do our jobs, to serve.
Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, the first to be appointed General of the Air Force, a five-star rank, said, “Our Air Force belongs to those who come from ranks of labor, management, the farms, the stores, the professions and colleges and legislative halls… Air Power will always be the business of every American Citizen”
Photo Caption: Col. Patrick Campbell served as keynote speaker at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce First Monday Breakfast on September 11, 2017.
Witness to War Foundation
The Witness to War Foundation (the “Foundation” or “Witness to War”) is a non-profit organization based in Peachtree Corners, which focuses on recording the oral histories of combat veterans through video interviews. The goal of the Foundation is to capture as many firsthand accounts of combat veteran memories as practicable. Founded in 2001, with the interviewing of WWII veterans, the Foundation now also has captured the stories of veterans who served in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Desert Storm (Iraq), Panama, Grenada, and other U.S.-involved conflicts. [more]
The Foundation is striving to answer the question, “What was it like to be there?” and is hoping to provide a lasting legacy for those who have sacrificed so much to preserve our freedoms. The Foundation wants to capture these memories so they can serve as historical records of past wars, long after our veterans have left us, not only for their families, but also for the general public. The mission is simple. Preserve the stories for the veterans and their families; Honor the veterans for their service and sacrifice; and Educate the general public about military service and what it means to America. This service is provided at no cost to any veteran, which includes providing DVD copies to them and their families.
Witness to War was founded by local entrepreneur, Tom Beaty, at the same time he was starting his management consulting firm, Insight Sourcing Group (www.InsightSourcing.com). A student of military history, Tom recognized the need for preserving the stories of our veterans, especially those from WWII, while there was still time to do so. The rapidly decreasing population of WWII veterans spurred Tom to begin the Foundation with little to no video experience of his own, because he felt the need was so important. Starting out by interviewing members of the Atlanta WWII Roundtable (www.AtlantaWWIIRoundtable.org), Tom eventually started interviewing veterans from all around the Atlanta area, and before long, across the entire Southeast. Now, 16 years later, the Foundation is managed by a full-time Director, Emily Carley, and full-time interviewer, Martin Madert. To date, more than 2,200 interviews have been conducted with veterans across the entire country. Witness to War will interview any veteran who has served overseas in wartime.
In 2006, Witness to War developed a website (www.WitnessToWar.org) with the mission to bring all of this captured footage to the public in an edited, consumable format. Interviews are broken down into two to ten minute vignettes, categorized by war, branch of service, perspective, type of experience, and theater of operation. Witness to War also has captured the stories of those who were not combat veterans themselves, but who have lived through the trials of war, such as Holocaust and internment camp survivors, civilians of war-torn countries, and those who took care of the wounded. The website now boasts more than 5,000 individual stories pulled from the full length interviews, and new content is added on a daily basis through the help of a three-person, part-time editing team.
If you asked anyone on the Witness to War team why they feel that this program is so vitally important, no one could sum it up quite as well as early participant and Witness to War champion (to whom the group’s logo is dedicated) John Souther, who served with the 1st Armored Division in WWII. During his interview he said, “I had good men, best of American soldiers. Trained to fight. Never give you any trouble, never any trouble. Every man did his job. We owe our life to the ingenuity of the American G.I. Good men.”
Honoring, thanking, and creating a sense of appreciation for our nation’s veterans has become the mission of everyone within the Foundation. So, if you, or someone you know, would like to share stories with Witness to War, please contact Martin Madert at (770) 628-0024 or email Emily Carley at email@example.com for further information.
Caption: Jon Keen, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Afghanistan