Kirstie Ennis: Going “Full Throttle”

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Kirstie Ennis

By Brady Rhoades

Veteran Kirstie Ennis is one of the best Paralympian snowboarders in the world, and she’s also eying the seven great summits, recently climbing 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and 16,024-foot Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. On one leg.

As a Marine Corps sergeant. in Afghanistan—a helicopter door gunner—she wrecked a leg when the helicopter she was in crashed. That leg was amputated above the knee in 2015.

Her jaw was destroyed, she lost teeth, she injured discs in her spine, and she suffered facial lacerations, traumatic brain injury, and PTSD.

In the process of undergoing more than 40 surgeries, she came to a realization, acquiring a come-to-terms toughness and wisdom that would help motivate her to train as a snowboarder for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang County, in the Gangwon region of South Korea.

And to attempt to conquer the tallest peaks on all seven continents.

Countless times a day, she repeats one of her mantras: Stop worrying about what you lost. Look at what you’ve got. Or: What counts is what’s behind your rib cage and six inches between your ears.

She’s only 26, but her near-death experience offered an invaluable lesson on how precious time is.

“I go full throttle,” she said. “I come up with obnoxious goals and I go after them.”

It’s hard to believe that this fifth-gear athlete chasing Paralympian goals—and literally ascending historic heights for an above-the-knee-amputee mountain climber—spent months in hospital beds, nearly lifeless, filled with doubt, enveloped in depression. She wondered how she’d ever get around, go on. What would she do? Would she ever wear a dress again? Would anyone ever be attracted to her?

Idle time can be a wounded warrior’s worst enemy. Fathers can be their best friends.

“Dad said, ‘People in the Middle East couldn’t kill you, and now you’re going to collapse?'” she recalls. “The light went on and I said, ‘I made it home. Nobody owes me a damn thing.'”

Kirstie Ennis

Ennis had to mine for the toughness that is at her core, but her sense of humor? That comes effortlessly.

The same year her leg was amputated, she participated in the Walking with the Wounded event, in which wounded warriors trek 1,000 miles, ending at Buckingham Palace in London. Ennis left dozens of dog tags bearing the names of fallen comrades along the way. She also met Prince Harry, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Prince Harry, not one to shirk his duties, logged many miles during the event. At one point, he turned to Ennis and complained that his knee ached.

“I looked over and was like, ‘That’s (expletive) cute, really,’” Ennis said. Prince Harry cracked up.

Ennis and Prince Harry became fast friends. At the conclusion of her walk, she presented the final dog tag to him.

Their embrace was photographed and zoomed across the wires, making her a celebrity in a matter of minutes.

For her service to the country, Ennis has earned the NATO Medal, Combat Action Wings with three gold stars, National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan National Campaign Medal, two Letters of Appreciation, Certificate of Commendation, and a Certificate of Appreciation.

But who says you can’t be uber-tough and sexy?

ESPN called, asking her to grace the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s 2017 Body Issue, with rather risqué photos of her on the inside pages. They wanted her to climb Joshua Tree, sans clothes.

She had her doubts. But Ennis tends to run toward challenges, toward fear.

“I thought about it and considered the demographic and the people Kirstie Ennisthat would see it, and I realized that it wasn’t about me anymore,” she said. “Any man, woman, or child facing some sort of adversity has the potential to be inspired by these pictures of someone who has only been missing her leg for a few years go out and do things she wasn’t doing with two legs.”

Ennis appeared in the Body Issue, along with other great athletes, such as Javier Baez (baseball), A.J. Andrews (softball), and Malakai Fekitoa (rugby).

The daughter of two Marines, Ennis enlisted out of Florida when she was 17 years old, in 2008. She served for four years as a helicopter door gunner and airframes mechanic when disaster struck on June 23, 2012.

While on her second deployment in Afghanistan, Ennis’ CH-53D helicopter crashed in the Helmand Province.

Badly injured, she fought to remain on active duty but was medically retired in 2014. After her below-the-knee amputation on November 23, 2015, Ennis contracted the antibiotic-resistant MRSA and, because of a resulting infection, doctors were forced to remove her knee a month later.

“A below-the-knee amputation is night-and-day from above-the-knee,” she said. “You have to relearn everything. You’re basically a toddler.”

When she was told that surgeons would have to perform above-the-knee surgery, she said she “lost it.” She cried. She wailed.

“It’s one curveball after another,” she said.

She still struggles, emotionally. “I’d be lying if I said it’s easy,” she said.

Two years after her life-altering surgery, she’s adapted, and she’s developed coping skills, which is a critical component of recovery.

Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.

Set lofty goals.

Stay busy.

And true to her military training, be of service to others.

“When I’m having a bad day, I help someone who’s missing three limbs,” she said. “There’s this common misconception about what strength is. In the grand scheme of things, we’re in this together. You have to realize that you have to turn to somebody.”

Some of her best days involving helping other wounded warriors—whether it be through her notoriety as a star Paralympian or simply visiting a hospital.

“I know I’m on a platform,” she said. “I want to inspire people to reach their potential.”

She recalls a wounded warrior uttering eight words that she’ll never forget and that make her journey—as harrowing as it has been—worth it.

“You inspired me to walk another 10 steps,” the woman said.

 

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.

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

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.

12 Tips for Effectively Managing Veterans in the Workplace

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manager sitting at a desk talking with an employee

By Preston Ingalls

As both a veteran and an employer of veterans for more than four decades, I have learned a great deal about managing those who served our nation.

For example, there are some techniques that employers should consider to aid success in hiring and sustaining this group. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 21 million men and women, or 9 percent of the civilian population age 18 and over, are veterans. That is roughly 1 in 10. Of course, this includes those who served in WWII, Korea and in nonconflict times.

As a veteran, finding decent employment is not a given just because he/she served his/her country. Among men age 25 to 34, Gulf War-era II veterans had a higher unemployment rate (7.5%) than did nonveterans (6.3%). In 2014, BLS reported that among women, the unemployment rate for Gulf War-era II veterans (8.5%) was much higher than the rate for nonveterans (5.9%). Additionally, 35- to 44-year-old female veterans had a rate of 9 percent, which is almost double the rate of 4.8 percent for their nonveteran counterparts. According to Stars and Stripes newspaper, nearly two-thirds of new veterans say they faced a difficult transition to civilian life. The simple fact is that hiring veterans makes sense because of the qualities they bring to the table that can be hard to find in other candidates.

Why Veterans Struggle to Find Jobs

One reason that veterans continue to struggle to find jobs is that those without military experience have no reference point as to how military experience translates to a potential job need. Unfortunately, many veterans haven’t learned how to translate their experiences into comparable civilian applications. When employers are unclear about the conversion of skills and experiences, they may revert back to a more comfortable position of passing over a veteran prospect. Employers should keep an open mind and make it clear on job postings and websites what they are looking for. It may simply be an issue of skills translation. Another issue is that veterans are often stereotyped by many civilian employers. Several years ago, 46 percent of human resource professionals surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cited posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health issues as major challenges and barriers in considering employees with military experience.

The reality is that PTSD is shared by about one-fifth of current veterans, and the highest rate for veterans of any era was Vietnam-era veterans, at 30 percent. Regardless of these low percentages, the most important fact is that PTSD is often treatable with medication. The SRHM study found that many HR employees believe that veterans, who are used to following orders, cannot take initiative and are too rigid. This is absolutely false. While it’s true that veterans are conditioned to take orders, they are also trained to think on their feet when orders are not always there. Considerable training is focused on this ability to make quick decisions after gathering as much information as possible in a short amount of time.

Another concern, especially for reservists and National Guardsmen, is redeployment or activation. Employers are concerned that redeployments will result in the loss of the time and training investment of veterans. While the risk does exist, since 38 percent of the military component includes these units, it is certainly one than can be accommodated. As a nation, we have an obligation to support our military. They weren’t asked if they believed in the mission or in the values they were defending. They stepped forth so others would not have to do so.

Managing Veterans

Now that they have performed their duties to their country and have returned, we should make every effort to thank them for their service. So what do you need to consider when managing them?

  1. Get rid of the stereotypes. Judge your vet on how he/she performs, not on some preconceived notion on how you think he/she is programmed to act.
  2. Clarify the mission. Veterans were taught to focus on the mission first. Therefore, take time to clarify what the mission is for your veteran employees. It may seem obvious to you, but to someone with a great respect for the value of mission clarification, spelling out what you are doing and why you are doing it.
  3. Show the procedures. Veterans are used to seeing standard operating procedures or protocols, and understand the value of a documented process. If you have one, share it with them. If you don’t, challenge them to help develop a job aid or checklist to ensure repetition. They will respect the sequence of tasks.
  4. Provide autonomy. Once they understand what is needed and how to do something. don’t micromanage them. Challenge them with some degree of authority and responsibility.
  5. Pair up with mentors. Often, military members were assigned to a more senior person for on-the-job training (OJT). They will respect a mentor arrangement for oversight and advice. This gives them a go-to person for when they have questions and ensures they are acclimating into the organization.
  6. Explain budgets. Many military members didn’t have individual contributions or budgetary limits, nor did they really face profit and loss responsibility. It is worth the time and effort to explain costs, revenues and margins so that they understand the sensitivity toward costs in the civilian professions.
  7. Encourage socialization. The vet will see far more value in social activities with fellow workers than most other employees because they have lived in close proximity quarters and socialized with the people they worked with before coming to your company. Finding ways to get them involved in social activities could have an impact on their morale and their sense of camaraderie. This may include after-work or weekend get-togethers or company parties.
  8. Set roles and expectations. A vet knows he/she is expected to perform certain tasks. Take the time to clarify what the tasks are and how to perform them well. Explain how he/she will be measured for performance and expected outcomes.
  9. Explain context and culture. Don’t assume your vet is accustomed to the nuances of office culture. Most veterans find it difficult to get used to the office environment, even if they worked in an office atmosphere in the military. Civilian culture, the sense of urgency and the mission priority are all different, and they need to learn to adapt.
  10. Engage them. They will rarely leave their company, but may leave their supervisor. Stay in touch with them. How are they doing? Are they getting what they need to be successful? Are they adapting to the culture? Are they being recognized for their accomplishments? Is anyone listening to their ideas and suggestions?
  11. Focus on leadership. In the military, it is obvious what the pecking order is and who reports to whom. The insignia is a display of that. In civilian life, that is not the case. Take the time to explain the hierarchy.
  12. Lead by example. Veterans will have a higher expectation for leadership than most civilians. Most military leaders have received considerable training and coaching. Therefore, they are often more effective than many of their civilian counterparts. Veterans are used to being led by strong, decisive leaders who care for their people and focus on their mission.

Leadership is a skill and a character quality that most veterans possess by nature of their participation in military service. They have led troops from the early days of their military lives. This aspect will put additional attention and pressure on the civilian leaders to worker harder at leading, instead of just being the boss.

Source: This article was originally published in Construction Business Owner magazine. Visit constructionbusinessowner.com to read more.

Looking for Your Civilian Career?

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Consider a career in hospitality or another of our top industry choices. From hotel managers to chefs to truck drivers, the hospitality and leisure industry adds more than $3.4 trillion to the global economy every year, according to siteminder.com. If you’d enjoy a job that could take you from being a server in a restaurant to the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company, a career in the hospitality and leisure industry might be perfect for you.

Restaurant General Manager

Average salary: $52,030

Employment is projected to grow 9% by 2026

Restaurant general managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure it is profitable.

Hotel Manager

Average salary: $51,800

Employment is projected to grow 4% by 2026

Hotel managers ensure that guests on vacation or business travel have a pleasant experience at a hotel, motel, or other types of establishment with accommodations. They also ensure that the establishment is run efficiently and profitably.

Flight Attendant

Average salary: $50,500

Employment is projected to grow 10% by 2026

Flight attendants provide routine services and respond to emergencies to ensure the safety and comfort of airline passengers while aboard planes.

Event Manager

Average salary: $48,290

Employment is projected to grow 11% by 2026

Event managers coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Executive Chef

Average salary: $45,950

Employment is projected to grow 10% by 2026

Executive chefs oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.

Not seeing your dream job on the list of hospitality jobs? Check out some of our other top industry picks for starting your civilian career.

Other Industry Stats:

Healthcare is expected to provide 2.4 million new jobs by 2026

About 7.7 million people hold jobs related to the trucking industry

Other Top Industries for Veterans

While the latest statistics show the leisure and hospitality industry generally has the highest monthly job openings rate, other professional and business services offer plenty of opportunities as well. These openings are measured by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), a monthly survey conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to help measure job vacancies.

Healthcare

Average salary: $64,770

Employment is projected to grow 18% by 2026

If a job in the medical field interests you, you’ll find many opportunities in healthcare. From assisted living facilities to the operating room, professionals in the healthcare field are in high demand. For example, with a master’s degree, you can become a genetic counselor and earn about $57,000 a year. Respiratory therapists earn about $55,000 a year and require an associate’s degree or higher. Demand for these healthcare specialists is expected to rise 19 percent by 2020.

Transportation

Average salary: $31,600

Employment is projected to grow 6% by 2026

The transportation industry industries providing transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing and storage for goods, scenic and sightseeing transportation, and support activities related to modes of transportation. Establishments in these industries use transportation equipment or transportation-related facilities as a productive asset. The type of equipment depends on the mode of transportation—air, rail, water, road, or pipeline.

Trucking

Average salary: $42,480

Employment is projected to grow 6% by 2026

Companies in trucking provide over-the-road transportation of cargo using trucks and tractor trailers. The industry is divided into general freight trucking and specialized freight trucking, depending on the equipment used, type of load carried, scheduling, terminal, and other networking services. General freight transportation establishments handle a wide variety of general commodities, usually palletized, and transported in a container or van trailer.

Source: bls.gov

Helping Others See the World

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Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins is the owner of Js Travel Consultants LLC in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the past 26 years, he has been learning, innovating and successfully filling the needs and goals of employers, team members and travel partners.

Beginning his travel career with World Connections Travel in Clearwater, Florida, and presently operating Js Travel Consultants in Las Vegas, Higgins says it’s been a great adventure. From the first interaction developing resort programs to generation leisure and meeting segments of all types, And he’s enjoyed his journey, every step of the way.

Higgins spoke to U.S. Veterans Magazine about establishing a business after his military service.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

As I progressed in my career, I had many different challenges and success. I made the decision to open my own business after working for my last two companies, from which I was laid off, followed by a reduction in force. At that point, I said “No more.” I didn’t want to go into work each day looking over my shoulder and wondering about my future there.

I have many friends in the Industry who said I should start my own business, that I would be good at it. It took a while to think about it, but I’m glad I did. Celebrating our fifth anniversary in business this year was one of the greatest achievements in my professional career.

What resources did you use when you were just starting up?

I took the public approach and started with SCORE Las Vegas, the Small Business Development Center and Diversify Nevada. The mentors and advice were awesome, cost was less and it was much easier.

What lessons did you take from the military that helped you in running your own business?

Attention to detail, focus, discipline and structure. Those qualities have allowed me to be more creative and know that I can accomplish my goals with fun and professionalism.

What advice would you give other veterans who want to open their own businesses?

It’s scary and a big commitment; but once you get past your initial fears and get rolling, it’s very satisfying and rewarding. When you get up in the morning and see the boss in the mirror, you smile! Don’t be afraid of the responsibilities that come with running your own business—this is what you were trained for.

Being a certified veteran owned small business can open a lot of doors for you. People recognize your honor, commitment, and integrity. Clients will work more with people they trust more often than those they don’t.

Higgins has 27 years of experience and a lot of common sense. Working in Las Vegas—one of the most competitive markets on the planet—“You need to combine not only who you know; but what you know,” he says. Visit jstravelconsultants.com for more information.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award of $48.1 Million In Grants for Workforce Reintegration of Homeless Veterans

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Homeless Veteran on the street in the cold

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta today announced the awarding of 149 Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants totaling $48.1 million. This funding will provide workforce reintegration services for more than over 18,000 homeless veterans.

The Department will award funds on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, tribal governments, and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training as well as job search and placement assistance.

This year’s HRVP awards provide 51 first-year grants totaling $16.9 million. Previous awardees will receive first- and second-option year grants totaling $31.2 million.

Grantees in the HVRP program will network and coordinate their efforts with other federal programs such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program.

More information on the Department’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans is available at www.dol.gov/vets. For questions about these grant awards, please contact the Department’s Kia Mason at (202) 693-2606 and for more information about the Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) please visit www.veterans.gov or follow on twitter @VETS_DOL.

For a full list of HVRP grant recipients click here.

The Gary Sinise Foundation Honors U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary Linfoot with a Custom Smart Home

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Gary Linfoot with his wife in front of his new smart home

After serving 11 years with the U.S. Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary Linfoot’s Iraq tour was cut short on May 31, 2008, when his helicopter experienced a catastrophic mechanical failure that resulted in a crash landing.

Linfoot broke his L1 vertebrae in the crash, leaving him paralyzed below the waist. Despite his injuries, he returned to duty just three months later as the Officer in Charge of the only Special Operations Aquatic Training Facility, before retiring as a Master Aviator in 2010.

When the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) program heard of Linfoot’s story and excellent service record, they decided to honor his sacrifice by building his family a brand new smart home in Adams, Tennessee, complete with automation technologies by Nortek Security & Control.

Lance Wascom, Managing Partner of ELAN dealer AVLX, designed and installed the home’s technology infrastructure. “After speaking with Gary, we agreed that remote access and simplicity of operation were the most important features,” Wascom said. “Using the ELAN Control System, along with connected technologies from Nortek Security & Control, we were able to design and install an intelligent home system that’s super easy to use while offering major benefits and almost limitless expandability for future needs.”

An ELAN gSC10 home controller integrates the home’s technologies, from heating and cooling to multi-room distributed audio and video. Mr. and Mrs. Linfoot can control the system from a variety of new ELAN interfaces, including an ELAN Intelligent Touch panel enabled with face recognition from Nortek Security & Control’s IntelliVisionâ. When CW5 Linfoot approaches the Intelligent Touch Panel, it recognizes his face, presents a personalized menu of control options, sets his preferred lighting and his favorite Pandoraâ station. Additional control is enabled through three ELAN HR30 touchscreen remotes and the ELAN app on their mobile devices. The mobile app offers full control from anywhere, which adds peace of mind by allowing live viewing of the home’s eight ELAN surveillance cameras and security system, even remote locking/unlocking of the electronic door locks.

“Access and security monitoring are at the top of the list for daily needs,” Wascom said. “The front and back doors both feature motorized Z-Wave door locks that are controlled through ELAN, so they can unlock or lock the house right from the app. We also integrated the garage door and a front door video station, so the couple has a complete view of the home’s current status and can easily see when someone is at their front door, even if they are halfway around the world.”

AVLX made sure to use the newest ELAN Intelligent Touch Panels so that the family can takeGary Linfoot in his new Smart Home advantage of the company’s new facial recognition capabilities, which enables door access and custom automation actions without any input from the user. All U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Linfoot needs to do is position his face in front of the panel, and a variety of customized actions will take place; the lights will turn on and his favorite Pandora station will begin to play.

In addition to the many touchscreen interfaces, AVLX used ELAN’s new Amazon Alexa integration to create scenes using simple spoken phrases such as “Alexa, good morning”, which turns on specific lights, turns on the living room TV to a particular preset station, and sets the volume. A whole-home Lutron lighting system, coupled with three rooms of Lutron motorized shades, all controlled through ELAN, makes lighting management as easy as a few taps on a touchscreen. With these systems integrated, Linfoot doesn’t have to move back and forth between rooms to adjust the lights, and can even turn them off from his wheelchair or couch when he wants to watch a movie.

When they relax in front of the main TV in the living room, the Linfoots are treated to the ultimate in audio clarity and performance, thanks to the 5.1 Sunfire surround system that includes five Cinema Ribbon speakers and an HRS-8 subwoofer. The home features five distinct audio zones that can each be individually controlled for volume and content, and are virtually invisible thanks to SpeakerCraft Aim8 in-ceiling speakers. An ELAN S86A handles audio distribution and amplification. Four TVs receive content through the ELAN multi-zone video system, with sources that include two DirecTV receivers and an Apple TV.

CW5 Linfoot needs his home’s technologies to perform day in and day out, so AVLX used a Furman® F-1500 power conditioner and UPS to protect from power surges and ensure optimal voltage delivery to each piece of rack equipment. AVLX also integrated the home’s HVAC system using two ELAN thermostats and four temperature sensors that provide instant access and climate scheduling options.

“The usability of Gary’s home depends on the reliability of all these systems working together, so it’s critical that we protect the expensive equipment and minimize any chance of failure,” Wascom said. “Gary made an incredible sacrifice for our country, and the entire AVLX team is proud to help increase his independence and improve his daily life.”

Gary Linfoot Smart Home ElanAccording to Scott Schaeperkoetter, Director of Operations for the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, “Through the generosity of our donors and installation partners, we have given CW5 Linfoot and his wife a transformative home that simplifies everyday tasks and suits Gary’s specific needs. We’re proud that our work is improve Gary’s daily life and helping a decorated veteran regain independence in his home.”

About ELAN

ELAN, part of Nortek Security & Control, develops an award-winning line of whole-house entertainment and control solutions distributed through a comprehensive channel of select dealers throughout the United States, Canada, and countries worldwide. The ELAN 8 update was honored with the “2017 Human Interface Product of the Year” award. The new ELAN Intelligent Touch Panels add face recognition and voice control for a truly intelligent home experience. To learn more, visit elanhomesystems.com.

About Nortek Security & Control

Nortek Security & Control LLC (NSC) is a global leader in smart connected devices and systems for residential, security, access control, and digital health markets. NSC and its partners have deployed more than 5 million connected systems and over 25 million security and home control sensors and peripherals. Through its family of brands including 2GIG®, ELAN®, Linear®, GoControl®, Mighty Mule® and Numera®, NSC designs solutions for national telecoms, big box retailers, OEM partners, service providers, security dealers, technology integrators and consumers.

Headquartered in Carlsbad, California, NSC has over 50 years of innovation and is dedicated to addressing the lifestyle and business needs of millions of customers every day. For further information, visit nortekcontrol.com.

After Careers With U.S. Armed Forces And Fema This Couple Opens Their Own Business

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McDuffie,Sharron, Rodney, Lee's Summit, MO

After Rodney and Sharron McDuffie retired from long and successful careers that included both the U.S. Armed Forces and the U.S. Government, the Raymore couple was looking for an attractive business opportunity to bolster their pension income.

So on April 15, Rodney, “61 years young,” and Sharron, “59 years younger,” as they note, officially opened for business as franchise owners with Floor Coverings International, whose representatives visit customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Lee’s Summit serves customers throughout greater Kansas City.

Sharron retired after 30 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she was a Technological Hazards Specialist assigned to several nuclear power plants throughout Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Rodney retired from the U.S. Navy with 25 years as a Yeoman Administrator before joining the Department of Immigration, where he spent more than a decade before retiring as an Immigration Supervisor this past February. “We had started talking about what we would be doing in life with retirement approaching and looking forward to living the lifestyle we were comfortable in after more than 30 years working for the government,” Sharron said. “And we were not sure that once we retired on a government pension, if it would be enough. We are still pretty young and in good health, so we started looking for a business we could purchase that also offered plenty of flexibility, such as being able to work from home when we wanted to.”

In Floor Coverings International, the McDuffies found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

The McDuffies are also very excited about having the opportunity for their children to play a role in the business. Their oldest son, who just earned his master’s degree in Public Affairs, is “more excited than my husband and myself,” said Sharron, while their youngest son, who just graduated from high school, is looking forward to joining one of their flooring installation teams where he will gain the necessary experience to later become a Project Manager or Design Associate. A daughter, currently a middle school biology teacher, might join the business as an office manager or Design Associate while her husband is assisting with local marketing. “Since we have been up and running, the whole family is seeing what a great opportunity it is by joining or just participating in this family business,” Sharron said.

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Stars & Stripes Plush Puppy to Support Disabled American Veterans Now Available at Raising Cane’s for Limited Time

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Picture of plush puppy with patriotic outfit including stars and stripes

BATON ROUGE (June 24, 2019) – Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, named after its founder’s beloved yellow lab, “Raising Cane,” has launched a nationwide campaign to support Patriot PAWS Service Dogs – a Rockwall, Texas-based non-profit that trains and provides the highest quality service dogs at no cost to disabled American Veterans and others with mobile disabilities.

Now through July 7, Raising Cane’s invites customers to purchase a limited-edition Stars & Stripes Plush Puppy for $8.99, plus tax, while supplies last. The Stars & Stripes Plush Puppy will benefit Patriot PAWS Service Dogs.

“I’m proud to support our veterans through Patriot PAWS who serves those who served,” said Raising Cane’s Founder & CEO Todd Graves. “Their service dogs make a significant difference in the lives of American heroes; these specially trained dogs help restore Veterans’ physical and emotional independence.”

“We are beyond grateful for the support of organizations like Raising Cane’s,” said Patriot PAWS Founder Lori Stevens. “We receive hundreds of calls each month from disabled veterans asking for a service dog, and campaigns like this are essential in helping us accomplish our mission to provide highly trained service dogs at no cost to American veterans.”

More than 400 Raising Cane’s restaurants across the country will be selling the Stars & Stripes Plush Puppy. To learn more about Raising Cane’s Stars & Stripes Plush Puppy and previous Plush Puppy campaigns throughout the years, visit raisingcanes.com/plushpuppy and for the location nearest you, visit raisingcanes.com/locations.

ABOUT RAISING CANE’S®:

With 440 restaurants in 27 US states and 6 countries, Raising Cane’s is actively involved in all communities it serves, supporting tens of thousands of black lab posing with patrioticwith plush puppyorganizations; The company centers on its six areas of focus: education, feeding the hungry, pet welfare, business development and entrepreneurship, active lifestyles and “everything else!”

Founded by Todd Graves in 1996 and named for his yellow Labrador, Raising Cane’s is the fastest-growing restaurant concept over $1 Billion in sales in the US. The company consistently ranks among the top restaurants for Overall Customer Satisfaction and was named recently named “Family Favorite Restaurant Chain” by Restaurant Business magazine. Raising Cane’s has also been named a Top 10 brand for craveability and was recently recognized as having the Most Loyal Guests – known as “Caniacs” – in the fast-casual segment in Technomic’s 2018 Consumers’ Choice Awards. Raising Cane’s was raked by Glassdoor as one of the top 100 places to work in the United States, voted on by our Crewmembers two years in a row.

More information is available at raisingcanes.com.