USBLN’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program – Service Disabled Veterans Certification

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“Learning as We Grow: SDV-DOBES talk about  early inspiration and their journeys as entrepreneurs”

We will take a look at what made these three entrepreneurs start their business, what has kept it going and where they gain inspiration to continue on their paths forward. What their successes are and what certification means to them.

Why did you go into business for yourself?

Dennis: After 40 years of being working for large corporation and few start-ups, I decided to capitalize on my years of experience/training by starting a company with a focus on high technology solutions.

Gary: As a Service-Disabled Veteran, I had a difficult time gaining employment after my time in the military. Many employers had preconceived notions and prejudices against my “disabled” status. I went into business for myself to provide for my family.

Mark: I have always wanted to be my own boss and control my career.  Not as soon as I had hoped; but was able to launch JEMNI in 2008 when I turned 50 years old.  The company I worked for (Ergotron) was sold in 2010 and this allowed me to commit fulltime to growing JEMNI Inc.

Michael: I started AE Works because I thought we could do things a little differently and bring purpose to our work. My time in the Navy provided countless examples of leadership and showed me the value of acting with integrity. The Navy instilled in me a belief system that everything in the world, including business, is about people. Business is about culture, teamwork, and camaraderie. We always knew from the captain why we were doing something. The values we shared gave meaning to our service and cohesion to our crew. The leaders I served with during my time on submarines considered their shipmates in everything they did.

What was your thought behind the industry/niche you chose? 

Gary: I noticed firsthand the lack of opportunities for employment across the disabled community. By utilizing the human capital management industry, I was able to help others that were in a similar position.

Michael: A former punk rock guitarist and self-described electronics geek, I was always interested in figuring out how things worked. Atage10, I installed an FM radio modulator in my mom’s ‘78 Dodge Charger to learn how the radio systems worked and to give my family something to listen to other than AM. I continued this passion and my learning in power and systems aboard fast-attack submarines as a nuclear-trained power-plant operator.

After the Navy, I transferred my skills to pursuing an education in power and lighting systems. I graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in architectural engineering. As an electrical engineer by trade, I started AE Works offering only electrical engineering services. Gradually, I added other services, including architecture, other engineering disciplines, interior design and most recently security risk management and construction related services. AE Works was founded to provide an integrated service delivery to benefit our clients with innovative, creative and collaborative solutions to complex problems.

Dennis: The growth industry of High Tech and Telecommunication industry continue to innovate and have great needs for our services.

Mark: My career provided me an opportunity to become an expert in Distribution and Logistics.   I’m an Engineer by formal training and this was a way to connect my manufacturing expertise along with my Distribution / Logistics expertise.

What is your company’s mission?

Dennis: Tech True Up pairs technology with business needs and aligns our engineering expertise with the client’s organization and business processes. This approach enables Tech True Up to deliver solutions that solve real business problems to meet the client’s business goals. Our experienced staff hold a broad range of certifications across industry and functional areas and has in-depth experience working in a variety of roles with diverse organizations.

Mark: JEMNI Inc. is the leading small business to business packaging and print solutions provider

Gary: Amerit Consulting provides staffing solutions and guidance that power progressive companies to the next level. Our goal is to enable businesses to capitalize on Veteran-partner incentives to create an elite workforce of high-quality talent. Amerit strives to be the largest disabled Veteran owned business in the country by utilizing transparency, empowerment and philanthropic endeavors.

Michael: The mission of AE Works is to transform the lives of people and organizations by creating stunningly beautiful, highly functional, and safer spaces. We do this by integrating the practices of architecture, engineering, and security risk management to develop innovative, creative, and collaborative solutions to complex problems. Partnering with our clients and communities, AE Works continually seeks to be an active participant in efforts to improve our world. We do this by working beyond our professional practice and engaging as stakeholders in change movements we believe in. Collectively, thru practice and participation, AE Workers are on a mission to achieve our vision of a world where everyone is relevant.

What is your motivation–gets you up every morning and keeps you focused as a business owner?

Michael: Value innovation. Evolving our service offering and value proposition to enable the missions of our clients.

Mark: Competing and winning against large companies on value.  When we win, we create job opportunities.

Dennis: The excitement of developing and delivering high tech solutions that drive revenue and developing business opportunities that allow veterans to transfer their skills into meaningful and interesting civilian careers.

Gary: I love to negotiate ideas and processes with other CEO’s so that I can better understand the totality of a company’s needs and then provide them with the best contract solution. In doing so, I am able to provide wonderful jobs for my employees.

What has been your biggest challenge/risk? And did it work out?

Dennis: Establishing a sustainable revenue base which in turn afforded Tech True Up to develop a growth platform.

Mark: Getting access to procurement folks that understand that you can compete on value and win against the larger corporations.  Supplier diversity professionals have been good to work with; providing support inside a corporation to give JEMNI an opportunity.  If we can be invited to participate in our core competences, we will win.

Yes, it worked out! JEMNI has experienced double digit sales growth the past few years

Michael: Staffing is an important area of risk. Hiring the right staff and then making sure they are in the right position to maximizes their happiness while also effectively delivering to clients is critical to maximizing success. As AE Works, has matured from startup to emerging firm to an established firm, now experiencing our largest growth period yet, we know our chances for success lie in the people we employ.

Gary: Establishing a solid relationship with our banks in order to ensure we have loans to meet overhead has been a challenge. It took years of accountability to establish our reputation and establish a solid relationship with our banks.

What has been your biggest investment in your business- and was it worth it?

Dennis: The foundation of Tech True Up is our Workforce Services (staffing, recruiting, call center) required significant up front funding and time to ensure that our company is sustainable. This investment has allowed Tech True Up to establish a business presence and growth outlook.

Michael: People matter. That mantra is central to everything that AE Works does. We believe that great work starts with great people who flourish in the care of leadership and opportunity to do what it is that they are passionate about. Many people have helped build the firm and make it AE Works the company it is today. Celebrating our tenth anniversary this year, we continue to grow our impact. Our investment in people enables this growth and innovation while strengthening our culture and firm values.

Gary: The biggest investment to my business was putting my home and entire life savings on the line to fund our start-up needs. After years of hard work and perseverance, I can definitely say that yes, it was worth it.

Mark: Of course, people will always be a huge investment in a small business along with IT infrastructure.  Yes, anytime we can add employment opportunities, it gives you a larger sense of accomplishment.  You’re changing lives in a small way.

Why was it important to apply for and maintain national certification through USBLN?

Mark: It’s critical to have a national organization certification.  It provides “one voice” to support and help create awareness for Disability–Owned Business Enterprise’s (DOBE) through the DSDP program.  Still today; as we speak, very few companies nationwide include certified DOBE’s into supplier diversity programs.  Not because they don’t want to but because most companies are unaware of this business certification program.  The 3rd party certification program demonstrates to corporations that you meet the standards for this certification.

Michael: US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) maintains a growing and diverse network of corporate partners. Certification is important to us for many reasons. Our USBLN certification enables connections to nurture new opportunities that in turn support diversification of our portfolio.

Dennis: USBLN helps us drive our performance by leveraging disability inclusion.

Gary: The USBLN provides another outreach and peer association opportunities on a larger scale in addition to our military affiliations.

What is the single most important bit of advice you would give to a disability entrepreneur who is just starting out?

Michael: Clarity of values is something that often gets overlooked, but has tremendous impact on business success. Development of a strong value system helps with everything from internal culture and employee satisfaction to communication of your value proposition in the market to create opportunities for growth.

Dennis: Knowing and recognizing opportunities is not enough. We must all apply our training, years of experience, insight and goal setting. Willing is not enough, we all must stay current, build a network of professional/partners and have a must do attitude.

Gary: Drop the first three letters of the word disability and think of yourself as having abilities for employment and you will overcome all obstacles for a successful career.

Mark: Be patient, continue to focus on your company’s value proposition, and network.    You will win business, if you can keep your team motivated.

What makes you stand apart from your competition?

Dennis:  Experience, certification and offering business solutions in a timely manner.

Gary: At Amerit, we desire to exceed the expectations of our clients. Our practice of taking time to properly vet a potential employee for a staffing assignment really gives us the advantage opposed to our competition. We strive to not just find a candidate but to find the best candidate that will match the client’s needs as well as the employees. Standing by our work and our reputation is what keeps our employee satisfaction rate in the 90th percentile.

Mark: JEMNI competes on value.  We have multi-location capability and can provide a national distribution foot print with local expertise.

Michael: Every organization uses human and eco capital to develop technical capital. At AE Works, we seek to create all three at the same time. This methodology is rooted in a belief that the results of our efforts should do the same for our Clients. Great architecture is technical, human, and ecologically conscious. How we work is synonymous with what we produce.

Did you have a mentor or someone you leaned on for advice? If so, who?

Michael: From friends and colleagues to clients and resources like the SBA, industry and professional organizations, I’ve asked many people for advice throughout the years and on many different topics. The important thing is to reach out and ask for advice. You may hear something you don’t like, but those are the moments that help you learn and grow as an entrepreneur.

Dennis: Yes, AT&T provided Tech True Up with the opportunity to participate in their “Operations Hand Salute” mentoring program.

Mark: My father, he always had an open ear to listen and provide guidance.

Gary: Not at first. As the company grew my two partners became my co-advisors.

What are three words that best describes you?

Dennis: “Can do attitude”.

Gary: Decisive. Honest. Caring.

Mark: Committed, Disciplined, Passionate Leader

Michael: Authentic. Learner. Serial Entrepreneur.


Gary Herbold – Founder and CEO, Amerit Consulting

Amerit Consulting was founded in 2002 to provide quality management, process optimization and cost management consulting services to Fortune 500 companies. Our deep expertise in human capital management has fueled our expansion into direct hire placements, temporary staffing, contract placements and additional staffing and consulting services that propel our clients’ businesses forward. Our innovative consulting and staffing services place quality candidates in top positions as we consistently strive to exceed expectations.  Gary Herbold is a two-time Purple Heart awarded Service-Disabled Veteran himself, he is passionate about providing mentorship and encouragement to other disabled Veterans.

Amerit Consulting is SDVOB and a USBLN certified SDV-DOBE, located in San Ramon, CA. To learn more, click here: http://www.ameritconsulting.com


Mark Ellson – President and CEO, JEMNI

Mark has a long and distinguished career of providing products and services to fortune 500 Utility and Medical companies.  His background includes more than twenty years of progressive senior leadership in fortune 500 and large private manufacturing companies. His engineering, manufacturing and operational experience has focused on significantly improving sales and operational performance, reducing operating costs, leading and managing product introduction, and improving customer value.  Providing consulting services and products to the utility industry has given him the experience and insight to meet complicated customer requirements.

Mark is an Army Combat Veteran.  In addition, he is also a National Board member for the Elite SDVOB network.  Disabled Veteran businesses helping other Vets help themselves. He has an engineering degree from Iowa State University and a Master’s of Business Administration with a minor in Finance from.

JEMNI is an SDVOB and a certified USBLN SDV-DOBE located in Woodbury, MN. To learn more about JEMNI, click here: http://jemnitechnology.com


Dennis Parker – President and Founder, TechTrueUp

TechTrueUp is a service delivery organization with core competencies in Network Service Orchestration (NSO), Cloud, Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Software Defined Network (SDN), Real-Time BSS and Network Security. As well as providing Telecom/IT professional services, recruiting and staffing services to some of the largest telecommunication clients in the world. TechTrueUp is dedicated to providing outstanding personalized and effective staffing services, ensuring that you get the right person for your position every time.

As a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), our focus is to provide, hire, or train veterans to meet the demands of your business goals.

TechTrueUp also has a US-based Veteran Contact Center/ Support Center operation that delivers innovative, quality-driven, solutions, across all industry segments. To learn more about TechTrueUp click here: https://www.techtrueup.com


Founder and President: Michael Cherlock

The mission of AE Works is to transform the lives of people and organizations by creating stunningly beautiful, highly functional, and safer spaces.  We do this by integrating the practices of architecture, engineering, and security risk management to develop innovative, creative, and collaborative solutions to complex problems.  Partnering with our clients and communities, AE Works continually seeks to be an active participant in efforts to improve our world.  We do this by working beyond our professional practice and engaging as stakeholders in change movements we believe in.

AE Works in located in Pittsburgh, PA and is a SDVOB and a USBLN Certified SDV-DOBE™. To learn more about AE Works, click here: http://ae-works.com

Inside the Specially Adapted Home Wayfair Furnished for a Veteran with a Disability and His Family

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Disabled veteran and family stand outside their new home

When John and Brittany Curtin got married in 2015, they never dreamed they’d be living where they are today.

The couple met at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland back in 2011— Brittany was a volunteer with the Red Cross and John was in outpatient treatment for injuries he sustained while deployed in Afghanistan.

A Marine Lance Corporal, John joined the Marines at 19. He lost both of his legs and severely damaging his right arm when his foot triggered an IED one month into his deployment. He now gets around with the help of prosthetic legs or a wheelchair.

As difficult as John’s injuries were to adapt to, he and Brittany, both 29, live their lives today with incredible ease. For that, they thank two organizations: Homes For Our Troops and Wayfair, who have provided them with a specially-adapted — and fully furnished — home of their dreams, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Homes For Our Troops is a non-profit organization that donates custom houses to veterans with disabilities, allowing them freedom in their homes as thanks for their service abroad. The organization teamed up with online furniture marketplace Wayfair to completely overhaul the Curtins’ home this past June, customizing it to both John’s accessibility needs and the pair’s personal style.

“We feel so unbelievably blessed,” Brittany tells PEOPLE of the experience. “Just for our day to day, our routine has entirely changed. Because John isn’t so taxed just doing small things, he’s able to do so much more both inside and outside the house.”

“It’s been an absolutely life changing experience,” John agrees. “It’s just transformed my life completely. When Brittany and I were first living in Virginia together we lived in a little 700-square-foot apartment, and we couldn’t even pass each other in the hallway because my wheelchair took up the whole space. So the ease of living is just unreal compared to those experiences.”

Not only is the 2,800-square-foot home and surrounding property entirely complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and wheelchair-accessible, but a variety of gadgets inside the home are designed to help John complete daily tasks with ease.

For example, extendable shelves in the kitchen and closets can be pulled down to be at John’s eye level, and a track chair in the backyard allows him to move around the property — which has paved and graded paths — and do yard work.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Make Your Next Job Fair Be Your Last

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veteran standing outside convention center wearing a suit carrying a briefcase

Job fairs are a great opportunity to network and be proactive in the employment process. In order to make the most of these opportunities, set realistic expectations for what you hope to achieve.

Prepare for the job fair like you would for an interview, have a plan for when you arrive, make a good impression with the recruiters, and be sure to follow up with any connections you make.

Here are some other ways to make the most of your next job fair:

•    Research: The week prior to a job fair, find out which companies are participating and learn more about them. What are some interesting things the company is currently working on? Does the company have new leadership or a new product? These tidbits can be used as conversation starters that will impress a recruiter and possibly open the door to a new opportunity for you.

•    Dress for an interview: Job fairs typically involve on-the-spot interviews, so present yourself as you would for any other kind of interview. A suit is most appropriate, even if you’re applying for a technical job. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

•    Prepare: For your top employment choices, consider preparing folders that include your resume, cover letter, recommendations and appropriate work samples.

•    Carry plenty of business cards: Give the business cards to recruiters and other job seekers you meet. They need not be expensive or fancy. A simple design will do. Make sure they contain your name and contact information: phone number, email and address.

•    Organize: You may want to carry a portfolio or clipboard to easily manage and collect information. Be sure to have a pen for taking notes.

•    Relax, breathe and smile: Do your best to make a strong first impression.

•    Walk around: Get the lay of the land, see where your top companies are located and plan your connection strategy.

•    Network: Talk to other job seekers and ask questions. Find out what types of positions they’re seeking, and tell them a little about yourself. You never know who they might know, or if you might be able to help them with an introduction. Don’t hesitate to exchange information if you make a connection.

•    Visit booths: You may want to start by practicing your personal pitch with recruiters who represent companies that may not be your top choice. Have a list of companies you really want to visit and check them off as you go. This will keep you from introducing yourself to the same recruiter twice by accident. Listen to the “interviews” in front of you to get an idea what to expect and develop questions based on what you hear.

Speaking to recruiters
•    Connect: Make eye contact, smile, state your name and shake her or his hand. Use a prepared elevator speech—a 10-second summary of your bio, your skills and your achievements. Make sure to rehearse the speech until it becomes comfortable.

•    Listen: Pay attention, respond to questions and ask for more information. When appropriate, hand your resume to the recruiter and pause for them to do a quick review. Be prepared for questions about specific examples of your experience.

•    Keep it brief: Recruiters are typically swamped, so be mindful that your conversation may be limited to a few minutes. If appropriate, ask questions about next steps, applicant qualifications or any suggestions they may have for you.

•    Get recruiter contact information: Request a business card, and if one is not available, ask the recruiter for their email address. Conclude the conversation by thanking them for their time.

•    Step aside: Make time to write conversation notes before you move on to the next recruiter. If the previous recruiter mentioned she went to Florida State, capture that information. If she told you the company will hire for your desired position soon, write it down. Summarize your job fair experiences immediately in order to take full advantage of the event.

•    Call or email: After a few days, call or send an email, thanking the recruiters for their time and the information they provided. If you send an email to the recruiter who mentioned she went to Florida State, it is appropriate to write, “I’m the administrative assistant at the job fair who discussed Florida State with you.” That reminder could help her recall the conversation. Just taking the time to follow up will separate you from many job fair attendees.

•    Stay in contact: If the recruiter responds back to you, stay in contact. Keep an eye open for articles about their organization or industry and don’t hesitate to forward them on with a note. If you see the perfect job for you in their organization, and you’re qualified, apply for the position and then email the recruiter and let him or her know you applied.

•    Build your network: If you connected with other job seekers and traded contact information, you should follow up with them as well. You never know when they might have a job prospect for you, or vice versa.

If you need information or personalized assistance with your employment search, or have questions about education opportunities, visit the Military OneSource SECO page, or call 800-342-9647 to talk with a career coach.

Daymond John — Turning Heroes into CEOs

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Daymond John speaking into microphone on stage

The Shark Tank’s Daymond John encourages veteran entrepreneurs to make waves in business.

By Lori Denman

Entrepreneur extraordinaire Daymond John has cast a pretty large net in the realm of business.

John, otherwise known as, “The People’s Shark,” is a busy man—leading his multi-million dollar FUBU clothing line and hosting the popular reality ABC hit, “Shark Tank,” that’s celebrating its 11th season.

But he never hesitates to take time to help a promising entrepreneur—particularly those who have served our country. “I’m working with veterans as much as I can,” he said.

John is in his third year of partnering with Bob Evans Farms to host an entrepreneurial contest called “Heroes to CEOs.” Finalists receive a free trip to New York City for a personalized, 45-minute session with John to help them perfect a pitch that could win them a $30,000 grant for their business.

John says the same traits that make veterans successful in combat—courage, teamwork, overcoming challenging obstacles, taking inventory of a situation—also apply in the boardroom. A veteran’s large network of supportive comrades is a further advantage, he added.

“I call it OPM, or other people’s manufacturing, mind power or marketing,” he said. “Meaning if you want to start up a business, make a list of friends and acquaintances who can assist in the mission. Soak up their knowledge and insight.”

Still, there’s a few personality traits characteristic of the military that may actually hinder a veteran entrepreneur, according to John in a recent interview for The Motley Fool.

Shark Tank panel seated together
Panel: (L-R) Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin OLeary, and Daymond John of Tribeca Talks: Ten Years of Shark Tank poses for a portrait. MATT DOYLE/GETTY IMAGES

“Vets were brought up to think about everybody else and stand in the line of fire. They don’t always put their needs first.”

There’s been more than a few veterans who have heeded John’s advice. Last month, Jonathan Norton, founder and CEO of Peak Safety Systems, was voted the winner of the third annual “Heroes to CEOs” program. A former Army Ranger, Norton invented the RopeSafe Edge protection system—life-saving equipment for military, first responders, and rope access professionals.

Norton says his company was born out of personal experience. ““I witnessed a student nearly fall to his death while he was repelling because the edge protector that we were using failed,” he said in a recent interview on cheddar.com.

“It was a scary moment and created a lot of fear, doubt and uncertainty. But it inspired me to find a solution. That was the impetus for developing the product.”

Although RopeSafe just launched, Norton has successfully sold to several areas throughout the U.S., including FDNY, NYPD, Dallas SWAT and more. Even a window washing company in Rochester, New York.

Daymond John books on display at book signing
Books on display during Daymond John book signing ” Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life”. JOHNNY LOUIS/GETTY IMAGES

When asked about entrepreneurial qualities he acquired during his time in the military, Norton says, “In spite of the hardships or the bumps in the road, it’s really about commitment to the mission and knowing I am serving a bigger purpose.”

John says he was blown away with Norton’s creativity, innovation and solid business plan. “He really rose to the top as an exceptional leader who is ready to take his business to the next level.

With several successful ventures under his belt over the last 30 years, John says he’s often asked what advice he gives veterans and others who wish to start their own business.

“I would say don’t mortgage your house for 100K,” he joked recently on Ladders.com, citing his own personal experience as John did indeed get his start by mortgaging his mother’s house.

After that, John started his successful clothing line but considers the risky move very lucky, adding, “It turned out for all the better, but knowing what I know now, I was very close to losing the house and everything we had.”

Daymond John standing wearing a gray suit
Photo: ADRIAN EDWARDS/GETTY IMAGES

His top 5 tips to veterans wanting to start a business as well as other entrepreneurs on Shark Tank:

  1. Set goals to know where you’re headed

By age 16, John had told himself he’d be a millionaire by age 30. But when he turned 22, he was broke and struggling to make a buck by buying and selling cars.

“I didn’t know how to properly execute goal-setting. It’s not just visualizing of a number or a certain age,” said John.

When the idea for FUBU came along, he decided to reshape the goal he set for himself. Instead of committing to making a million dollars by age 30, John instead made it his goal to outfit the hip-hop culture. Designing a clothing line became less about earning money and more about dedicating himself to a community — one that he thought would turn into future consumers.

“My goal became doing the best I can for the company I love,” John said.

  1. Homework — you still have to do it

After sneaking his way into a menswear conference in Las Vegas, John proudly showed off early prototypes of T-shirts emblazoned with the logo of his budding company, FUBU, an acronym that means “For Us, By Us.” He secured $300,000 worth of orders, and after his mother took out an equity line on their house in Queens, he took $100,000 to outfit a factory to get production going.

Just one problem: He hadn’t done any research on what it would cost to start a clothing line and get production going. In the process, he nearly lost his mom’s house and ended FUBU before it got off the ground.

Knowing what you need to launch a venture is something John stresses to the hopefuls who appear before him on Shark Tank. He has to see that an entrepreneur looking for funding has done their work to know what their market is and who their competitors are — and that they’ve used that knowledge to not only start driving sales but also improve on their track record.

  1. Adore what you do, and success will follow

A true entrepreneur must love what they’re doing—a seemingly trite lesson that John said is crucial for any successful entrepreneur. It’s passion for a project that will allow a person to push past failures and feeling burned out.

“Do what you love, and success will follow. Money may follow; but I can’t promise that it will,” he said. “But money’s more likely to follow when you’re doing something you love, because you’ll do it for 10 years or 20 years.”

  1. Remember, you — not just your business — are a brand

These days it’s easy to manufacture a personality using social media. But building a business is as much about how you carry yourself as it is about meeting quarterly sales figures or developing new products.

“Be very honest with yourself, especially today with social media. At any given time, your employees can see you,” John said. “So you have to know what the DNA of the brand is. It only takes your employees two weeks to treat your customers the same way they’re being treated.”

  1. Keep swimming, no matter what

John’s final point makes use of what he calls the power of positive thinking. Even as FUBU grew into a bigger company, he maintained a “healthy paranoia” about running a clothing company.

“I always said fashion brands are hot for five years and then they’re gone,” he said.

But keeping a persevering attitude spurred him to come up with solutions to problems instead of giving up. As John wrote in his book, The Power of Broke: “You have to be relentless, nimble, moving ever forward. No matter what.”

How Should I Answer This?

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Woman being interviewed sitting at a desk with potential employer

Interview tips for veterans entering the civilian workforce

Like many other service members leaving active duty service, I found preparing for the civilian workforce frustrating. Crafting your military service into a resume and preparing for an interview is daunting. One of the most common questions that I receive is, “How should I answer interview questions?” But it is just as important to think about what questions you will ask the employer.

Interviewing is a two-way dialogue. Yes, your potential employer will ask questions to learn more about you and the skills you bring to the table. It is great to leverage tools, such as the STAR technique (i.e., situation, task, action, result), which will help you practice translating your military experience and assist with preparing a clear and concise response to your interviewer.

While you are preparing to answer questions, it is equally important you prepare relevant questions to learn more about your potential employer, supervisor and the position to ensure that the opportunity is a good fit for your career aspirations. The best approach to asking fact-finding questions is to keep them focused, open ended and not too broad. Just remember to stay away from questions that yield yes or no responses. If you are unsure about what to ask in an interview, below are some key examples that will help you showcase you are the perfect hire.

At the beginning of an interview, an employer often asks to learn more about you and what you are seeking in a job. This question is an opportunity to set the tone of the interview and to showcase what you want to highlight about yourself. As you conclude your answer, use the opportunity to learn more about what the interviewer is seeking.

Perhaps, “I was excited to meet with you today. Could you tell me a bit more about you’re looking for?” This question accomplishes a few things. First, it prevents you from talking too much. When job candidates are not being interrupted—and are possibly nervous—they tend to ramble.

Asking a question can give you a break and allows the employer to talk. This strategy can also help establish a trend of productive back-and-forth dialogue. Another question to ask at the beginning of the interview is, “Could you explain the roles and responsibilities of this position in more detail?” When the employer answers this question, ask if him or her could prioritize the duties for you as well. This way, when the employer asks you to articulate what you’ve done in your previous roles, you can highlight how your previous experience aligns with the position in front of you.

Next, consider drafting questions that can help you learn more about the organizational culture, day-to-day jobs, responsibilities, education, skills and experience requirements, as well as soft skills or character traits the employer is seeking. The employer will be analyzing you on competency and culture fit, looking skills, education, personality, and desire to do the job well. At the same time, you should be looking to determine whether you want to work for the company, and whether the opportunity is one you can perform.

To help your thought process, it can be beneficial to ask questions about the goals or objectives for the position:
—How does the employer determine success in this role?
—What obstacles might you encounter to accomplishing those goals?
—Are the goals realistic?
—What resources are available to achieve the goals?

Remember, an interview is an exchange of information. Asking thoughtful questions is a great way to determine whether you really want the job. Good luck!

Author-Pamela Johnson
Pamela Johnson is the Veterans and Military Families Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International.

Source: goodwill.org

Beacon Roofing Supply Launches Beacon of Hope Contest for Military Veterans

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picture of two men working on a new roof

Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. announced the launch of its first annual contest, through which Beacon will award deserving veteran homeowners new roofs. The contest is open to all military veterans who received honorable or general discharges. There will be a total of five that will be chosen.

“The Beacon of Hope contest is one way we can give back to the men and women who have given so much to our country,” said Eric Swank, Beacon’s Chief Operating Officer. “It is an honor and privilege to provide a safe roof that they can be proud of and that will protect their family and their belongings.”

From now through September 20, 2019, the public can nominate a deserving U.S. veteran at go.becn.com/beaconofhope Nominations must include a photo and short bio of the veteran, which includes their military branch, years of service and why the nominee is deserving of a new roof.

Ten finalists will be announced in September, and the public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite finalists. Beacon will announce the winners and runners-up on Veterans Day.

To learn more about the Beacon of Hope contest and read the official contest rules, visit go.becn.com/beaconofhope.

About Beacon Roofing Supply

Founded in 1928, Beacon Roofing Supply is the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials and complementary building products in North America, operating over 500 branches throughout all 50 states in the U.S. and 6 provinces in Canada. Beacon serves an extensive base of over 100,000 customers, utilizing its vast branch network and diverse service offerings to provide high-quality products and support throughout the entire business lifecycle. Beacon also offers its own private label brand, TRI-BUILT, and has a proprietary digital account management suite, Beacon Pro+, which allows customers to manage their businesses online. A Fortune 500 company, Beacon’s stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol BECN. To learn more about Beacon and its brands, please visit becn.com.

The Making of a Grandmaster

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The Grandmaster stands with medals around his neck and the American Flag in the backgrounf

By Annie Nelson

From mastering orthopedic surgery to becoming a nationally recognized Grandmaster in Martial Arts, this son of a Marine and twin of a fellow soldier, has gone from Army Chief Warrant 2 to Doctor left that successful career all behind to follow his true passion, the world of mixed martial arts.

Most veterans think one huge career transition in life is plenty; however, this man gave up the comfort and success of being a surgeon to fulfill the dream of his heart and soul. That transition proved to be the best yet! Enjoy getting to know Dr. Barry Broughton as much as I did when he sat down to tell me about his journey.

Tell me a bit about your military service.

I enlisted in the U.S. Army a couple of years after high school to take advantage of the Veterans Education Assistance Program. After Basic Training, AIT (Advanced Individual Training) as a Combat Medic, and Airborne School, I was able to squeeze in college courses, emergency medical technician and paramedic courses between deployments and training exercises at my first duty assignment in Germany. I was fortunate enough to attend numerous leadership schools such as PLDC (Primary Leadership Development Course), BNCOC (Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course), and Warrant Officer Candidate School, and was selected to attend the Army Physician Assistant program that was affiliated with the University of Oklahoma at the time. After graduation from PA School, I served as a Battalion Medical Officer for Field Artillery and Armor Battalions. I left the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 after nine years of active duty service.

After leaving active duty, I had the amazing opportunity to continue to serve the military as a Department of the Army civilian while completing a two-year Orthopedic Surgery Training program at Evans Army Community Hospital at Ft. Carson, CO. I remained on staff in the Orthopedic Surgery Department for nine years before going into private practice.

You have a twin who also served, did you both know you wanted to serve growing up?

I can’t speak for my brother, but I don’t recall a specific desire to serve in the military while growing up. Even though my father served in the Marine Corp and was on Iwo Jima during WWII, and all my uncles had also served during WWII, it wasn’t something that my father spoke of. I didn’t realize it was a viable option until after being out of high school for a couple of years. My brother and I were both Eagle Scouts as teenagers, so I had a cursory understanding of serving others, leadership and serving something bigger than one’s self. But for me, it wasn’t until a mutual friend introduced me to a Corpsman in the Navy, who was home on leave, that I made the connection between getting an education while in the military and simultaneously serving our country. However, after attending Basic Training, AIT, jump school, and getting to my first duty assignment, I really began to understand what selfless service was about. At that point, obtaining an education became secondary to serving my country.

After serving you went into the medical field, was that always your plan?

No, not always. I wanted to be a professional martial artist. After watching the television series Kung Fu and the movie Billy Jack when I was ten or eleven years-old I was intrigued by the characters of Kwai Chang Caine and Billy Jack. I wanted to acquire that same duality of peace and power in my own life that the two of them possessed.

At nineteen, shortly after obtaining my first Black Belt, I expressed my desire to become a professional martial artist. Unfortunately, my dream was trampled into submission by those claiming it was impossible to make a living teaching Martial Arts.

I’d had a keen interest in the sciences while in high school, but I didn’t have the finances or family support to attend college at that time. After the serendipitous encounter with my Corpsman friend I enlisted in the Army three months later. What was initially intended to be a three-year enlistment began my twenty-five-year journey in healthcare and medicine. I continued in medicine because of the opportunities for training and more education. From Combat Medic to Paramedic, to Physician Assistant, to Orthopedic Surgery, PhD, and Integrative/Naturopathic Physician; it just seemed like the correct logical progression at the time.

At what point did you know you were leaving medicine for your true heart’s desire?

I had continued my martial arts training and was teaching intermittently for many years while in medicine. As the years rolled by and I put on my white lab coat day-after-day, it was slowly sucking the life out of me. It’s like getting on the wrong train; the longer that you are on the train the faster it gets moving, and the harder it is to jump off. But my time in the dojo teaching martial arts would reenergize and revitalize me. Even after the most long and arduous days of surgery and seeing patients at the office, when I was teaching martial arts in the evening, I felt alive, vibrant, and in my own element. It’s not that I disliked practicing medicine; I really enjoyed helping people, it just didn’t fulfill me. It was a job; not my passion. It’s difficult doing something that you are good at but not passionate about.

I’m a Martial Artist, and it’s who I’ve always been. Eleven years ago, I finally took the leap. I closed Barry Broughton Coaching a student at BKBHOFmy practice to focus on teaching full-time.

Previously, I was at a point in my life where I didn’t have the support network that I now have. I wouldn’t have been able to invest the demanding hours and travel schedule that has allowed me the level of success that I have now experienced in the martial arts industry if it weren’t for my amazing wife, my instructor staff, team members, Black Belts, and friends.

Have you ever regretted leaving your role as a successful doctor?

No, not really. That is the most common question that I get asked when people find out about my previous career. Even after 11 years of not practicing I still get phone calls at the dojo where former patients have hunted me down to ask for advice. I like having helped people, but I don’t miss the daily grind of medicine and the administrative component that accompanies patient care. On rare occasions I miss the technical aspects of doing orthopedic surgery or reducing a gnarly fracture or dislocation. But I think that is most likely because I’m a “hands-on” kind of guy. That’s probably why I have an affinity for jujitsu related martial arts. But I have never regretted taking the leap to become a full time professional martial artist.

What was your greatest challenge in stepping out and following your dreams?

Convincing others that I wasn’t crazy and going through a midlife crisis! Many of my family and friends thought it was too risky.

For good or bad, I tend to do everything in an all-or-nothing fashion. I burned my bridges by allowing my State and National Certifications, and DEA Licensures to expire, knowing that it would be extremely difficult to retake the licensing and certification exams. In hindsight, it was probably meant to be as symbolic to others as I had intended to be for me. By not having the mental safety net of knowing I had medical career to fall back on, I was forced to make my dream become a reality.

What has been your greatest reward?

That’s an easy one. Seeing lives changed! Whether I’m teaching an AKT Combatives Jujitsu class, a weekend self-defense and personal protection seminar, a Police Defensive Tactics course, or a leadership workshop, my objective is always to use the physical techniques of kicks, punches, throws, joint locks, and submissions as the medium to instill the intangibles of improved self-confidence, self-discipline, self-respect, goal setting, and the ability to overcome obstacles.

I’ve had a lot of personal successes and have coached Sport Jujitsu Regional, National and World Champions, but my greatest reward is empowering others to step into their own destiny. Investing in the lives of those who don’t necessarily see the potential for their own success motivates, drives and inspires me.

I feel that I am making a more significant impact in people’s lives now than I ever did while in the medical profession.

What advice would you give others who are in a career, but it is not their true passion?

That’s a tough call because there are so many variables that can prevent someone from leaving a career and converting their passion into their livelihood. I suspect that it was easier for me because I was already self-employed. To start, I’d suggest doing your research and due diligence. Is your passion something that others would want, and would pay for? Get the education and training needed. Do the hard part and learn the business side of your passion. Find a couple of good mentors who will hold you accountable. Start off by working your passion on a part time basis. As it grows, be willing to work two full time jobs as you make your transition. Understand that all passions cannot easily be converted into careers, and that’s okay. Above all, surround yourself with a good support network and team who will not only cheer for your successes but will also call your bluff when you need it.

What does the future hold for you and AKT Combatives Jujitsu?

Wow! Where do I start? I currently own two academies in New York with instructor staff at both locations. I am actively mentoring my Black Belt students who have an entrepreneurial spirit in preparing them open their own AKT Combatives Academies.

I’ve written a bestselling book, Beyond Self-Defense: AKT Combatives Reality-Based Personal Protection and am currently working on several follow-up books and instructional video projects. I have the privilege of traveling around the country teaching AKT Combatives Jujitsu, Self-Defense and Personal Protection, Workplace Violence Prevention, Police Defensive Tactics, and Sport Jujitsu seminars. We are also currently preparing Team AKT members for the upcoming 2019 World Sport Jujitsu Championships.

How can people follow Barry Broughton?

You can follow me on Facebook.com/BarryBroughtonAKTjujitsu, on Instagram @BarryABroughton, or at my website at AKTcombatives.com.

Comcast NBCUniversal Expands Military Hiring Goal

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group of diverse employees seated in a row of chairs talking amongst each other

Comcast NBCUniversal will hire an additional 11,000 veterans, military spouses, and National Guard and Reserve members, bringing its total to 21,000 military hires by the end of 2021.

Comcast’s previous commitment, made in 2015, was to hire 10,000 military community members by the end of 2017, which it exceeded.

“Comcast NBCUniversal has greatly benefitted since we began our focus on hiring members of the military community in 2010, and we are pleased with our progress. We now have thousands of military employees across the country who have translated their valuable experiences in the armed forces to our workforce,” said Dave Watson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable. “We are so thankful that these individuals chose to serve our country, and we are proud to call them teammates as they now help to serve our customers and make a meaningful difference in our company.”

Comcast NBCUniversal has an expansive program to support veterans who have recently transitioned into the workforce, including peer-to-peer mentorship with other veteran employees, digital and in-person professional development opportunities designed specifically for veteran and military spouse employees, and opportunities to stay engaged with the military through volunteering with local veteran-serving organizations. The company also has an 8,400-member strong VetNet employee resource group dedicated to supporting our military workforce.

“I’m incredibly proud that the entire Comcast NBCUniversal family embraced our commitment, showing our support for the military community through not only our hiring efforts, but also through support of veteran-serving non-profit organizations and work with veteran-owned businesses,” said Brigadier General (Ret.) Carol Eggert, Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal.

The company announced that its Internet Essentials program expanded eligibility to low-income veterans, nearly one million of whom live within the Comcast’s service area. The expansion will be furthered through new nationwide partnerships with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the PsychArmor Institute, two of America’s leading veteran-serving non-profit organizations that will help support the creation of veteran-specific digital skills training videos and supplementary materials, which will be made available online and delivered in classrooms at Comcast-sponsored computer labs in 10 markets. The goal is to connect more low-income veterans to Internet resources, including: online social support networks, health benefits, access to colleges and scholarship programs, digital and technical skills training programs, as well as news, games, and entertainment.

Additionally, this year, the company became a founding partner of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign, which is raising awareness of military spouse unemployment and encouraging employers to make military spouse hiring commitments, ultimately resulting in a combined 100,000 military spouses hired by the end of 2021. Military spouses are still unemployed at a rate of 16 percent, over four times the rate of their civilian counterparts, and Comcast NBCUniversal is committed to helping to close that gap and hiring these talented individuals who have already given so much to our country.

Source: Comcast Corporation

Ford, ROUSH Unveil One-of-a-Kind ‘Old Crow’ Mustang GT to be Auctioned for EAA Aviation Programs at AirVenture 2019

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Ford and Roush Performance today unveil the 2019 “Old Crow” Mustang GT, a charity collaboration project which pays homage to World War II triple ace pilot Colonel Bud Anderson of the U.S. Army Air Force and the legendary P-51 Mustang fighter planes he flew in combat – nicknamed “Old Crow.”

This one-of-one Mustang will be auctioned at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2019 AirVenture air show on July 25 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. All proceeds will be donated to support EAA’s youth and adult aviation programs, many of which help prepare the next generation of America’s great pilots.

Built by Roush Performance, the “Old Crow” Mustang GT features a custom paint scheme and badging replicating Col. Anderson’s iconic P-51 Mustang fighter plane. A custom Roush grille with P-51 Mustang badge adorns the front, the words “Old Crow” are written on the hood and an authentic Eighth Air Force emblem badge adorns the decklid panel.

Performance in the “Old Crow” Mustang GT comes by way of a Ford and Roush Performance TVS R2650 supercharger, which boosts the 5.0-liter V8 engine to 710 horsepower and 610 lb.-ft. of torque. Other performance upgrades include a Roush Performance cold air induction system and X pipe, plus a custom active exhaust system from Ford Performance.

The “Old Crow” Mustang uses Ford’s MagneRide® damping system and puts power to the ground through a set of custom 20-inch lightweight Roush wheels wrapped in 275/35R Continental ExtremeContact sport tires.

Exterior enhancements include Roush rear fascia aerofoils, Ford Performance front racing spoiler, 2020 Mustang Shelby® GT500® rear spoiler, custom heat extractors on the hood and blue rainbow tinted exhaust tips that emulate the exhaust on the P-51 Mustang planes.

Inside the cabin, a fully custom, aircraft-inspired interior features unique military-themed green leather and canvas and red shifter nob and door handles. “P-51” is written on the passenger-side dashboard. The vehicle includes Sparco four-point harness as well as aluminum rear seat-delete.

“Heroes like Col. Bud Anderson have become true living legends in the 75 years since the Allied invasion of Normandy,” said Craig Metros, Ford design director. “Ford is proud to team up with Roush Performance to honor Col. Anderson and all of the brave servicemen and servicewomen who risked their lives during World War II, all while raising funds for the Experimental Aircraft Association, which helps make flying more accessible to America’s youth.”

Col. Anderson achieved more than 16 aerial victories in Europe during World War II. He flew 116 combat missions, including a six-hour mission on D-Day. He was never struck by enemy fire or forced to withdraw from an aerial engagement during his career. Col. Anderson’s service earned him more than 25 decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal.

Roush Enterprises founder and aviation enthusiast Jack Roush, Sr. honored Col. Anderson in 1994 by fully re-creating an authentic P-51 Mustang aircraft with the same badging and paint scheme as the Anderson’s “Old Crow” Mustang plane.

“It is truly special to have the opportunity to honor a great American hero and a truly great friend of mine such as Col. Bud Anderson,” said Roush, Sr.. “My father instilled in me a love of aviation and a deep respect for the brave pilots and airmen of World War II. Building this incredible ‘Old Crow’ Mustang, especially to support the next generation of America’s pilots, has been a very rewarding opportunity and one that we’re proud to share with the world.”

The “Old Crow” Mustang GT will be displayed during EAA’s AirVenture show from July 22-28. EAA AirVenture guests can get an up-close look before the car is auctioned on July 25 at the annual EAA AirVenture auction – The Gathering.

EAA AirVenture attracts more than 600,000 aviation enthusiasts to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin every year. Ford has supported EAA AirVenture for 21 years, building and donating 11 custom-designed vehicles to help raise more than $3.5 million to date.

These include the 2018 Eagle Squadron Mustang, 2016 “Ole Yeller” Mustang and 2015 Mustang Apollo Edition. Ford’s highest-selling vehicle auctioned at AirVenture is the 2008 Mustang AV8R, which sold for $500,000.

“Ford and Roush Performance are helping build the next generation of aviation through their support of EAA, AirVenture and The Gathering,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board. “This project not only will be a highlight of The Gathering; its impact will help EAA reach those who are pursuing their own dreams of flight.”

Bidding at “The Gathering” auction is open to all interested parties. Bids can be made in person or remotely online.

To learn more about the “Old Crow” Mustang GT and Roush Performance’s full line of vehicles and performance products, visit www.ROUSHperformance.com/. Further information on Ford Motor Company is available at www.Ford.com/. For bidding information on “Old Crow,” call 920.426.6573.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 196,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.Corporate.Ford.com.

About ROUSH Performance
ROUSH Performance was founded in 1995 by motorsports legend Jack Roush, the winningest name in racing.  Combining performance engineering with entrepreneurship, ROUSH began selling designs he had created for his own team to the wider world of motorsports. Based out of Plymouth Township, Michigan, ROUSH Performance, a division of Roush Enterprises, designs, engineers and manufactures completely assembled pre-titled vehicles, aftermarket performance parts, and superchargers for the global performance enthusiast market. For more on ROUSH please call 1.800.59.ROUSH or visit www.ROUSHperformance.com.

About EAA
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, embodies The Spirit of Aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 220,000 members and 900 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to EAA.org

Calling All Veterans: Veteran Shark Tank Embarks on National Search for Winning Business Concept

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Shark Tank Veterans poster with image of judges for the competition

Veteran Shark Tank is going national. The annual program to find the best Veteran business concept is expanding to four cities before finalists convene in Philadelphia for the ultimate showdown.

Veteran entrepreneurs in Chicago, Atlanta, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. will have the opportunity to pitch their business idea during regional qualifiers this summer. The selected Veterans will then go head-to-head during the finals in Philadelphia in December. This competition will ultimately award one winner $50,000 to pursue their dream business. The winner will also gain access to a vast Veteran network as they create or expand their business.

Jerry Flanagan, an Army Veteran and the co-founder and CEO of JDog Brands, a Veteran and military family owned franchise organization, has been selected as a VIP judge again this year. He was a Veteran Shark Tank contestant in 2014 and served as a mentor the following three years. Jerry will sit among other celebrity guest judges from the Veteran business community.

“I understand what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur because I lived it by building JDog Brands. I’ve also been a part of every aspect of the Veteran Shark Tank competition, so I know exactly what to look for in a winner,” said Flanagan. “As Veterans, we inherently have the drive, determination, and perseverance to put a plan into action and make it successful. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of capital to help a concept flourish, and this committee is searching for one Veteran to give a jump start.”

The Veteran Shark Tank was created in 2012 as a way to promote and assist Veterans who are starting or growing their own businesses. The event has grown over the years, with sponsors, candidates and attendees coming from all over the country for the finals held in Philadelphia.

Eligible Veterans must submit a business plan as part of the application. If applicants make it through the first round, they will present their plan to 3-5 judges at the regional qualifiers. The winner in each city will then present to a panel of VIP judges in front of a live audience in Philadelphia. The panel will include Flanagan; Lieutenant Colonel Justin Constantine, a Marine Corps Veteran and Veteran employment expert; Mark Rockefeller, an Air Force Veteran and co-founder and CEO of StreetShares; and Erica Webster, an Army Veteran and the founder and CEO of Dub Fitness.

To determine eligibility and requirements, and to apply for the regional qualifiers in Chicago (August 12), Atlanta (August 19), San Diego (August 26), and Washington, D.C. (September 8), please visit www.veteransharktank.com.

About JDog Brands

JDog Brands is the umbrella for an array of home and commercial services franchise organizations owned and operated by Veterans and Military family members. Its first two divisions are JDog Junk Removal & Hauling and JDog Carpet Cleaning. Over the next 10 years, JDog Brands will introduce 10 new service divisions and open 5,000 new franchises nationwide. For more information, visit jdogbrands.com.

Military Background the Foundation for Success

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Soldire stands in uniform next to rock called The Rock

It is no secret that companies benefit from a diverse mix of employees, including those who have served our country. We at ON Semiconductor are fortunate to employ many of our active and retired service men and women across the country.

One of these amazing individuals is retired Lieutenant Colonel Darren P. Hooks, based at our corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. Our diversity and inclusion initiative wanted to take some time to ask Lt. Col. Hooks about his time in the military and how it helped him transition to civilian life.

 

Diversity and Inclusion Initiative (D&I):

What branch of the military did you serve in and for how long?

Darren Hooks (DH): I was in the United States Air Force for over 24 years and retired as Lt. Col.

D&I: Why did you join?

DH: My love for structure, discipline and service motivated me to join. This originated from my passion and progression within the Boy Scouts of America.

D&I: Why did you choose the U.S. Air Force?

DH: The U.S. Air Force chose me. Starting with the Boy Scouts, I transitioned to Army Junior ROTC in high school where I eventually progressed to the highest rank of Battalion Commander. During enrollment in college, I also intended to continue participation in the Army ROTC. During freshman registration, outside on a hot and humid Alabama summer day, both Army and Air Force ROTC recruiters were set up side by side. Strategically, only the Air Force ROTC recruiters offered free hot dogs, sodas and chips. That is how the Air Force chose me.

D&I: Do you come from a military family?

DH: I am the first and only (within a family of 10) to join the U.S. military.

D&I: What was your job/assignment?

DH: Throughout my extensive military service, I served in multiple career fields that include civil engineering, communications, and command and control squadrons.

D&I: Where are some of the places you were deployed?

DH: Military deployments to Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Lt. Colonel Hooks poses in uniform in front of Helicopter

D&I: Once your service ended, what were your next steps? Did you work or go back to school?

DH: Following military retirement, I focused solely on my career with ON Semiconductor.

D&I: What led you to ON Semiconductor and what do you do now?

DH: Motorola recruited me right out of Tuskegee University. I started at Motorola Government Electronics Group before going to Intel Corporation for a period, before returning to ON Semiconductor (formerly Motorola) for a 16-year tenure as a project/program manager.

D&I: How did your military experience influence your career? Do you see connections between your time in the military and your time with ON Semiconductor?

DH: The military instilled within me structure, discipline and teamwork. I credit the military as the foundation of my success at ON Semiconductor. Our company and coworkers supported me tremendously during my multiple military deployments and made coming back to civilian life easier than it might have been otherwise.

D&I: Looking back on your military service, do you consider it to have had a positive impact on your life?

DH: Yes. The military has taught me immeasurable life lessons, and I would not change it for the world.