Caponera Earns Military Excellence Award at Recruit Training Command

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CAPONERA.MEA

GREAT LAKES (NNS)—Seaman Recruit Martine Caponera, Division 405, graduated as the top Sailor from Recruit Training Command, earning the Military Excellence Award on Oct. 12.

Caponera, from Fountain Valley, California, was inspired to join the Navy after volunteering with Compass 31, an organization based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that works to bring females out of human trafficking. “I joined the Navy to be a part of the greater cause in helping those in need,” Caponera said. “I witnessed so much pain and suffering, and the Navy provides me the opportunity to finish nursing school and go forth and help those people as well as others all around the world.”

Caponera, 22, is a 2014 graduate of Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, California. She was employed as a restaurant manager in Newport Beach, California. Caponera is assigned the rate of Fire Controlman.

The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award is the top award presented to the No. 1 recruit of their graduating training group. The MEA is awarded to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing and teamwork. The award placed her at the pinnacle of today’s newest Sailors. Caponera is awarded a flag letter of commendation.

Caponera said her selection as the MEA was humbling.

“There are so many brilliant, talented Sailors, not only in my division, but throughout all the training groups that I am proud to serve with,” she said. “Coming in the first day of boot camp, I had very little knowledge of the military or the customs of the military, so winning this award shows me how far I have come and how much my hard work has paid off.”

Caponera credited her Recruit Division Commanders, Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Robert Zahrn, Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Adam Gonzales, and Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Heather Townsend for their leadership and guidance.

“My RDCs have portrayed such incredible examples of how a Sailor should conduct themselves, always showing examples of honor, courage, and commitment,” she said. “(Chief) Gonzales’ dedication to what he does has shown me that I can do anything. His pride in being a part of this incredible organization motivates me every day and the training tools he has provided me will continue to help me succeed in the fleet.”

Caponera also said her mother has been a constant source of inspiration.

“My main sources of motivation here at boot camp were my RDCs and my mom,” she said. “As I have changed my majors and my mind over the years, my mom has been steadfast by my side, always encouraging me to do what I am passionate about. I would not be where I am today without her support.”

Caponera said the transition from civilian to basically-trained Sailor was her biggest challenge at boot camp.

“It was the culture shock of never being around the military sector before, then fully immersing myself in it through boot camp,” she said. “I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and studying every night until I was completely confident in my knowledge and ability to navigate military life.”

After graduation, Caponera will attend “A” School at Great Lakes. Fire Controlman provide system employment recommendations; perform organizational and intermediate maintenance on digital computer equipment, subsystems, and systems; operate and maintain combat and weapons direction systems, surface to air and surface to surface missile systems, and gun fire control systems at the organizational and intermediate level.

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 30,0000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

For more news from Recruit Training Command, visit navy.mil/local/rtc/.

2GIG and ELAN Smart Home Gifted by the Gary Sinise Foundation Provides U.S. Army CPT Jake Murphy with the Control He Needs

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Disabled Veteran with his family standing outside their smart home

While on a mission in Afghanistan on July 23, 2011, a pressure plate improvised explosive device detonated beneath U.S. Army Captain Jake Murphy, immediately taking his left foot and causing an anoxic brain injury that put him into a coma.

Against all odds, Murphy emerged from his coma four weeks later and was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he eventually lost both of his legs.

Recognizing Cpt. Murphy’s immense bravery, the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence, Supporting Empowerment) program provided him and his family a specially adapted smart home with technologies by Nortek Security & Control in an effort to help improve and simplify everyday life for the family of four.

“When designing this home for Captain Murphy and his family, simplicity was key,” said Jason Hanifan of Comware AV, the ELAN dealer that designed the home technology solution. “With that in mind, we personalized the ELAN Control System to make it easy for the whole family to control all the integrated technologies in the 3,598 square foot home.”

Comware AV built the system with an ELAN gSC10 as the main system controller, with an ELAN S1616A providing audio distribution and a 8×8 HDBaseT™ Matrix for video. The Murphy family can manage their home’s security, audio, video, Lutron® lighting, fans and shades, plus thermostats, and door locks through ELAN HR30 remotes in the family room and master bedroom, ELAN 7” Touch Panels in the kitchen and master bedroom, as well as through the ELAN app on their smart devices and with voice control through ELAN’s Amazon Alexa® integration.

With security being essential to the family, Hanifan and his team installed a 2GIG security system with over 40 sensors wirelessly connected to a 2GIG GC3 panel, which is integrated into the ELAN control system. According to Hanifan, “In addition to the intrusion sensors, we added 2GIG Glass Break Detectors to monitor for the sound of breaking glass in the home, 2GIG Motion Detectors, ten 2GIG Smoke Detectors, plus Carbon Monoxide Detectors.”

Murphy and his family can easily review the status of their home’s doors and windows before leaving the house or turning in for the night, using the GC3 panel, two 2GIG SP1 secondary touchscreens or any of their ELAN interfaces. If a door is left open, the 2GIG system will annunciate exactly which doors or window are open, and where. For further security, an ELAN network video recorder captures video from six ELAN surveillance cameras, all which can be managed from within the ELAN app.

To simplify the home control, Hanifan and the Comware AV team personalized automated scenes, such as “good night,” which automatically locks the doors and adjusts the lights, or “away” which automatically locks the doors, turn off the lights and sets the thermostats to a certain energy-saving level. “By initiating the ‘relax’ scene, the lights will switch to their designated level and the TV will go on,” said Hanifan. “With ELAN, the scene options are endless, which is ideal for Captain Murphy and his family. For example, when he wakes up in the morning he simply needs to say ‘good morning’ and everything will adjust to his desired settings. It’s that easy.”

For the Murphy family, music and entertainment are important aspects of home life. The Comware AV team installed 18 SpeakerCraft AIM282 speakers to maximize audio performance, and added a 1,000-watt Sunfire HRS10 subwoofer so the family can really “feel” the entertainment in the media room.

To ensure that all of the home’s technology receives uncompromised power for optimal operation, the system components plug into a Panamax M4315-PRO power conditioner with BlueBOLT® remote power management, while a Panamax MB-1500 battery backup guarantee protects the system in case of a power outage.

According to Scott Schaeperkoetter, Director of Operations for the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program, the smart home system has completely transformed everyday life for the Murphy family. “We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the lives of these veterans and with Nortek Security & Control’s line of smart home and security solutions, we’re able to completely customize the smart home technology in each home to fit the individual needs of the veteran and their family,” he said. “We’re honored to be able to support their journey to regain their independence.”

About ELAN
ELAN®, from 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, and continues to expand its intuitive functionality with security, climate, surveillance and video distribution products and integrations. To learn more, visit www.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 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 security dealers, technology integrators, national telecoms, big box retailers, OEM partners, service providers, 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.

Emmanuel Kelly, formerly of X Factor, to open for Snoop Dogg at Salute The Troops Music and Comedy Festival

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Emmanuel Kelly- performing onstage with Chris Martin

Salute The Troops Music and Comedy Festival announced today that Emmanuel Kelly will perform at the Fox Theatre in Pomona, CA on Saturday, March 23rd in direct support of Snoop Dogg. Emmanuel was born in Iraq, is a child of war and was rescued by US Service Members.

He has performed on the X Factor and has most recently been on tour with Coldplay and has recorded tracks with Imagine Dragons.

Emmanuel was born with severely underdeveloped limbs due to chemical warfare in his community. In 2000, he was adopted by humanitarian Moria Kelly and moved to Australia where over the next several years, he had eight life-altering surgeries. Through rehabilitation, Emmanuel learned how to walk, drive a car, dress himself and more.

Read more about Emmanuel’s story via Billboard: billboard.com/meet-emmanuel-kelly

After being discovered on X Factor and fulfilling his goal of becoming the first “differently-abled pop star” Emmanuel is passionate about raising money for disadvantaged, differently-abled children, and cancer research. Emmanuel has now performed in front of audiences of up to 100,000 in venues like the Sydney Opera House, and MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

On the addition of Emmanuel to the Salute The Troops roster, co-founder of the festival, Nate Parienti said this: “This really adds a unique twist to our event and crystallizes the message of Service members, activist artists, veterans, children of war and the general public coming together to heal through music and comedy.”

Watch Emmanuel’s X-Factor performance: youtube.com/watch?v=IY37l4PDsao

About Salute The Troops:

Salute The Troops Music And Comedy Festival was founded by Nate Parienti and co-founded with John Wertz (USMC 2001-2006) of Semper Fi Productions. Salute The Troops will take place at iconic Goldenvoice venues, The Fox Theatre and the Glass House from Friday, March 22nd – Sunday, March 24th in downtown Pomona, CA. The event is aimed at raising awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress and the epidemic suicide rates among returning soldiers and veterans. Two-day tickets are on sale now at SaluteTheTroops.com

Attracting and Sourcing Veterans—Help for corporations looking for the right veteran for the job

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recruiting and sourcing veterans

By Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

Some organizations, such as TriWest, GAE, and the Combined Insurance Company of America, appoint a key veteran staff member to lead efforts in recruiting high-potential veteran candidates transitioning from military service to the private sector. This person understands military and corporate culture and can help HR and hiring managers understand military culture and service.

However, general recruiting efforts may not reach prospective employees with disabilities, so advertising with disability organizations, vocational rehabilitation programs, and disability-related job fairs are good ways to reach potential employees with disabilities.

Another means for attracting veterans is to develop marketing materials that help translate and transfer military skills/experience into civilian job responsibilities. Organizations that have focused veteran recruiting strategies leverage military classification codes in their application materials and jobs postings. These codes specify an individual’s job and rank, and often include additional qualifications, such as languages or specialized training.

Numerous organizations offer specialized websites for veterans, including AT&T, Amazon, Disney, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Sodexo, T-Mobile, and Walmart Inc. Military recruitment channels, career fairs, and other similar events are additional avenues where businesses can share their employment opportunities and veterans can explore whether there’s a match with their skills and experience. Businesses can showcase their job opportunities along with the benefits of joining their organization, while veterans have the opportunity to demonstrate they are some of the most qualified talent in the nation.

Partnerships with business and trade associations represent another important channel for recruiting veteran talent, as well as a means for communicating the value of veterans in the workforce. Leveraging community collaboration and networking with other firms are excellent means for sourcing veterans. Encouraging inter- and intra-industry collaboration to identify and utilize the most comprehensive military skills translators creates more effective placement. The 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of 41 companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 veterans by 2020, is an example of private-sector collaboration contributing to improved recruiting practices and outcomes.

JPMorgan Chase has instituted a “High-Touch Gold Desk,” where recruiters respond to any veteran applicant within five days of receiving the individual’s application for employment. This high-touch approach is positioned to support veterans in finding the right opportunity at JPMorgan Chase, based on the applicant’s experiences and qualifications. In addition, this personal response to each and every applicant has the benefit of helping the company’s HR staff become better educated as to how military skills and experiences correlate to the firm’s different work roles. The program functions by utilizing integrated, regional teams that map veteran applications against available positions at the firm. Using those maps, the teams are able to identify positions across the firm that best match the veteran’s skills profile. This results in a process that aligns the veteran with an opportunity where he or she is most likely to find success and also facilitates an approach to recruitment and hiring that looks across lines of business, as opposed to within a given organizational silo.

Other examples of focused military recruiting are at BAE and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. BAE provides career pathways for wounded warriors through its Warrior Integration Program (WIP), which is specifically designed to identify, hire, and develop qualified wounded veterans into valuable employees. Lockheed participates in the Army Partnership for Youth Success Program (PaYS), which allows those who serve our country to plan in advance to explore private-sector job opportunities. The program gives new soldiers the opportunity to select a job with a PaYS partner during the time of enlistment. After the position has been selected, a Statement of Understanding is signed, and the PaYS employer/partner promises to interview the returning solider, as long as he or she receives an honorable discharge, is otherwise qualified, and a job vacancy exists.

Many companies, including Walmart, leverage campus recruiting and veteran service organizations, such as the Student Veterans of American (SVA). Ernst & Young organizes veteran internship fairs at schools, while AT&T leverages internships that provide veterans job shadowing opportunities.

Following are other resources positioned to support employers with veteran-focused recruiting and onboarding initiatives.

U.S. DOL Vet Employment (VETS)

VETS proudly serves veterans and service members by providing resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to obtain careers, employment opportunities, and employment rights, as well as information on transition programs. VETS offers a multitude of resources for veterans looking for jobs.

Joining Forces

Joining Forces is a great resource and offers some of the nation’s top job resources for veterans and employers, such as access to the Veterans Job Bank, links to employment tools, like My Next Move for Veterans, and many more.

Virtual Career Fair for Veterans

This event includes military-friendly employers that represent thousands of available job opportunities for veterans.

U.S. Veterans Pipeline

An effort of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the U.S. Veterans Pipeline is a talent networking and career management platform that allows users to connect directly to peers, companies, jobs, schools, education programs, and more.

Gold Card Initiative

This joint initiative between DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and VETS provides post-9/11 era veterans with intensive and follow-up services, necessary for success in today’s job market. Eligible veterans can present their Gold Card at any One-Stop Career Center to obtain enhanced intensive services that include up to six months of follow-up, job readiness assessment, referral to job banks, and much more.

100,000 Jobs Mission

JPMorgan Chase and the other founding corporation/coalition members are committed to working together, sharing best recruiting and employment practices, and reporting hiring results.

Hero Health Hire

This initiative is a gathering place where business leaders, government officials, and concerned citizens can learn, share information, and commit to helping our nation’s disabled veterans find and retain meaningful employment. This initiative provides information, tools, and guidance for recruiting, hiring, training, and supporting disabled veterans in the workplace.

Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA (Hire Heroes) is dedicated to creating job opportunities for U.S. military veterans and their spouses through personalized employment training and corporate engagement.

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

Offers virtual and in-person meetings or webinars, helping military spouses with resumes, employment resources, training to update skill sets, and assistance in finding employment resources in their current location or the area to which they’re relocating.

Source: toolkit.vets.syr.edu

Army Harnessing Power of AI to Build Smarter Robots

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Army_Robots

By David Vergun, Army News Service

It’s time for robots to replace soldiers for certain specialized tasks involving “dull, dirty or dangerous work and to reduce their cognitive load,” said Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins.

So the Army is now investing $30 million to harness the power of big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to create unmanned ground and aerial vehicles, such as future vertical lift and the next generation combat vehicle, said Wins, who is the commander of U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM).
 
PHOTO CAPTION: Rear Adm. Michael P. Ryan, the U.S. Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for Capability (2nd from right) and Capt. Mark J. Shepard, commander of the USCG’s National Strike Force (right) hear about the array of robots the PEO CS&CSS Robot Logistics Support Center manages. The RLSC transferred 18 robots from its life cycle management team to the USCG for use in the fleet’s Strike Force Teams in May. The RLSC will also provide training and support for all 18 systems. CREDIT: MICHAEL J. MALIK
 
First, RDECOM, which is a subordinate command of Army Materiel Command, will instead fall under Army Futures Command once it is stood up this year, he said. This will allow AFC to enlist the talent and resources of some 10,000 engineers and scientists in RDECOM, along with its vast network of partnerships throughout industry and academia.

Besides investing in this new, enabling technology, the Army has taken two other significant steps toward enhancing robotics, he said.

Second, RDECOM has entered the Department of Defense’s Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, code-named Project Maven, he said.

Project Maven was stood up to “integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning more effectively,” according to an April 26, 2017, memorandum from then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, announcing its establishment.

“Although we have taken tentative steps to explore the potential of artificial intelligence, big data and deep learning, I remain convinced that we need to do much more, and move faster …” the memo states.

The project is divided into two phases, he said. Research in phase one involves developing computer decision algorithms to help analyze full-motion video input. Phase two consists of improving on the first phase by broadening the scope, scale and speed of the process to analyze data more quickly and comprehensively.

Although this all sounds simple, it’s really not, he said.

“To maximize big data, you need a very, very, very robust high-performance computing capability, focused on being able to deal with the volume of information, harness the speed by which data can be generated, and be able to deal with the diversity of data to make it meaningful and informative for the user and then having the ability to trust the information and verify and validate that data and then make it useful,” he said.

Why invest in this?

“The operational risk is if we don’t pursue these, we will continue to plow down the road of the status quo,” he said. “That means while we’re not taking advantage of these technologies, our adversaries will. And, we will continue to put soldiers in harm’s way when this meaningful technology might allow soldier s to avoid coming to harm.

Besides powering robots, the Army has other areas of interest for AI, machine learning and big-data analytics, said Brig. Gen. Rodney Fogg, commandant, U.S. Army Quartermaster School.

AI, big data and machine learning could utterly transform mission command, he said. The technology is already there to do it, and it’s very likely that will happen in five to 10 years.

Fogg provided an example of what the technology could do for mission command during a battle.

Imagine an operations officer at a command post directing a battle, he said. With an AI system in place, the soldier could voice-activate a smart computer by saying “logistics updates.”

An AI-driven system would then quickly respond with an update on quantities and types of ammunition on hand, fuel, maintenance required and medical readiness across the brigade, he said, to include sustainment estimates for the next 48 hours.

The computer would also inform the soldier when the next resupply mission will arrive and what it is carrying, he said.

All of this would be possible with powerful software, sensors in vehicles monitoring fuel level and maintenance requirements and relaying it wirelessly to the soldier in a useful and easy-to-understand, secure format, he said.

Lt. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee, G-4, said that the Army has already begun to leverage big data in useful ways.

“Last year, we successfully finished fielding the first increment of the Global Combat Support System—Army,” he said. “Now, we are working to bring in aviation units, and provide business intelligence capabilities through the employment of big data. This will move us close to our goal of total asset visibility.”

GCSS-Army does things like track supplies, spare parts, organizational equipment, maintenance, total cost of ownership and other financial transactions related to logistics for all Army units.

“We have changed the way we manage our supply chain,” he continued. “We’re giving units repair parts that we have concluded will be the parts most needed in austere and high op-tempo environments.

“The goal is to have these parts mobile so our units can move in one lift. We are already finding it is saving money. We are filling more of what is demanded. And we are repairing weapons systems faster. All of this has already improved readiness in our formations,” he concluded.

Retired Lt. Col. Jennifer Chronis, general manager, DoD Amazon Web Services, added that soldiers are already harnessing the power of big data through cloud services, utilizing computing storage and power right to the forward edge of the battlefield.

The cloud offers secure data transfer and storage, she said. It is being used by Army cyber protection teams and others to analyze data 500 times faster than before, she said, adding that their analysis has resulted in identifying 60 malicious activities recently.

Source: army.mil

Stuck on Writing a Resume? Follow these tips

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Resume Tips

By Erik Bowitz

Veterans face a particularly tough challenge compared to most unemployed people when it comes to resume writing and marketing themselves for job openings.

While difficult, translating a military resume into a civilian resume is far from impossible, and if anyone can take on the challenge, it’s an American veteran. Experience as a veteran will be an advantage in today’s competitive job market. Below are just a few tips that will hopefully aid in your resume writing process and give you a bump-up on the competition.

1 Choose a mission, set an objective.

The biggest mistake all job seekers make is using one generic resume for every job they apply to. This is a tactically faulted approach, as each position will most likely be seeking a slightly different job candidate. For this reason, your resume should be specifically targeted to each job position. Don’t be a generalist but a master of what is being sought by the employer.

Include a career objective at the beginning of your resume in which you clearly define your goal and the position being sought. Using one generic career objective for all jobs applied to will ensure you won’t stand out for any.

2 Remember, Civilians Don’t Speak Jargon

Most employers will not understand even some of the most basic of military lingo, including acronyms or systems knowledge specific to military application. This may come as a challenge, but translation will be needed from military jargon to layman acceptable generalist terminology. Resumes containing a lot of military terminology will cause HR managers’ eyes to glaze over because they do not understand it. Instead, convert terms for specific applications into broad terms for generic application.

Did you use a proprietary munitions inventory tracking and monitoring system called SCORPINX-57XP? Well, that bullet point should instead read something like, “proficient in inventory and inventory tracking systems.”

3 Match Your Skillset

Pick your battles whenever you can. By applying to jobs you are unqualified for, you are only wasting time and energy. Instead, apply to jobs you stand a good chance at landing because of your experience and skills. For example, you will have a difficult time landing a marketing job with a mechanical background. Instead, search for jobs using keywords, such as “mechanical,” “mechanics,” and “mechanical engineering.”

If you still have your heart set on marketing, find a technical school near your community and enroll. You can pursue an associate degree in fewer than two-years, and schools offering general marketing programs are a dime a dozen.

4 Toot Your Own Horn

As mentioned above, it is important to frame your resume with a civilian reader’s perspective in mind, as that will be necessary to communicate skills, experience, and goals you wish to achieve. However, display your military experience prominently on your resume, as it’s full of golden HR “keywords,” such as:

  • Leadership skills
  • Independent thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Applied teamwork skills
  • Professional dedication

Having served in the armed forces, you are by default highly valuable with critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. By accompanying your military experience with these skills, you validate your claims, something that many civilian applicants will struggle to do.

5 Triple-Check Fundamentals and Numerically Quantify

As many times as resume consultants warn against it, job applicants consistently include grammatical errors or spelling mistakes on their cover letters and resumes alike. Running a document through spell-check is not sufficient; proofreading requires human eyes. If you don’t have a friend or family member with grammar skills up to the challenge of reviewing your resume, consider contacting an old English teacher.

Finally, throughout your resume, whenever possible, numerically quantify your achievements. For example, if you led a group of soldiers, state how many, written in numerical form as in “100” instead of “one hundred.” Numerals pop out to HR types and make resumes look more qualified.

Also, add ultimate qualifications by including military honors and any medals earned, as this is definitely one area where civilians will not be able to compete with you.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

7 Reasons You Should Consider an MBA

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Veteran MBA degree

By Kara Sherrer

Transitioning from the military to civilian life can be challenging, and veterans all approach this life change differently. Some go into military contracting, while others immediately get a job on the civilian side.

Still, others decide to return to school after the military, and getting an MBA can be a great way for veterans to prepare themselves for a new career.

To get the full picture of how an MBA benefits veterans, Vanderbilt University sat down with Christie St-John, Director of Admissions for the MBA program at Vanderbilt Business and the admissions representative for all Armed Forces candidates. She shares the top ways that business school helps veterans.

1  Career Switching Support

Most veterans leave the military with a strong background in operations work. While many veterans can and do get a civilian position working in operations, others want to switch into a different function entirely. An MBA program’s breadth helps veterans ease into a wide variety of industries and makes it easier to start a different career path.

“An MBA gives veterans skills that they can use in many different jobs, and their transition will better, smoother, and financially enhanced with an MBA,” St-John said.

2  Bigger Starting Salaries

Getting an MBA generally results in a higher starting salary for military veterans; for perspective, the average base salary for a Class of 2017 MBA graduate at Vanderbilt Business was $113,205, plus a $25,232 signing bonus. An MBA also improves the probability of future promotions. When asked how she convinces veterans of the value of an MBA, St-John says, “I would probably go to them and say, ‘This will be your starting salary if you start a job right now, and this will be your starting salary if you graduate with an MBA.’ That, and the enhanced network, usually does it.”

3  Larger Professional Network

Going to business school will greatly expand your network beyond current and former military personnel. You’ll connect with professionals across a variety of functions and industries. Through the recruiting process, you’ll also learn how to network with people, a critical skill for navigating the civilian business world. “They don’t have to network in the service. The next promotion is offered if you are qualified, so you don’t have to make sure you socialize with the head of the unit,” St-John explains.

4  Career Resources

Business schools are invested in helping students succeed: after all, it doesn’t help anyone if students drop out or don’t get a job. “[One veteran told me,] ‘In the [military] academies, they’re trying to get you out. Business schools actually want to keep you in,’” St-John recalls, with a laugh. Business schools offer career support services, such as the Career Management Center at Vanderbilt Business, to help all students narrow down possible options, update their resumés, and prepare for interviews.

5  Veterans Clubs

In addition to career management services, many schools offer veteran clubs that give members a place to network with fellow military personnel and get advice on specific recruiting challenges for veterans. For example, “the Armed Forces Club will help [veterans] translate their military resume into a civilian resume,” St-John explains.

6  Financial Aid

Depending on the length and nature of the military officer’s service, several sources of financial support are available. Both the G.I. Bill and the Yellow Ribbon program are possible funding sources for veterans. Outside scholarships, such as those provided by the Pat Tillman Foundation, may also be an option.

7  Many Job Opportunities

Lots of civilian companies are actively looking to hire veterans for their leadership and teamwork experience and their ability to work under pressure. Veterans with MBAs are very desirable candidates for certain industries, including the high-stakes world of investment banking. “Most of the companies we work with have a specific division that is looking for military candidates,” St-John said. “[Companies want veterans] because they know they’re going to be very mature, focused, and disciplined, and they’re obviously excellent at working in teams.”

If you’re a current or former member of the Armed Forces contemplating your next move, reach out to Christie St-John to learn more about the Vanderbilt Business MBA program.

Source: business.vanderbilt.edu

Understanding Veteran-Owned Business Certifications

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Terms like 8a, SDVOSB, VOSB, and CVE can be confusing for many veterans related to what they might be eligible to use and what the status means to their company.

Why should I get a Veteran certification?

If you are selling to the government or if you are selling to major companies that do business with the government, a Veteran certification gives you more tools in your marketing toolbox—it may give you leverage in some contract bidding. Each year, the federal government is required to buy a certain percentage of their purchases from small businesses and businesses that have minority or presumed disadvantaged status.

Sometimes the government reaches its goals through bid preferences. In a bid preference, if a non-certified company and a certified company both bid $100,000, the certified preference company bid might be viewed as $95,000, thereby giving them the winning bid.

In other cases, the procuring agent might decide that only a certain classification of businesses could bid on a particular contract. This is referred to as a “set aside” solicitation. In the set aside scenario, a procurement officer may decide to only open the bidding process to a minority or preference class of business. Any company that did not have the required certification would not be able to bid on the project. One limitation to this setting is that if there are not at least two businesses of this classification bidding, the bid may have to be reissued and opened to a wider group. In some cases, a procurement officer may be able to justify a sole source contract, but that is the exception, not the rule.

What are the types of Veterans certifications available?

Currently, the federal Veteran status certifications and the agencies that confirm them are:

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) 8a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small business (SDVOSB). The SBA 8a SDVOSB requires an application process to validate the certified status. For the certified SBA’s 8a SDVOSB, only Veterans who are service-connected disabled Veterans can apply.
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB). This status is self-certified by the business owner in the System for Award Management (SAM) Website.
  • Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). This status is self-certified by the business owner in the SAM Website.
  • Veteran Administration (VA) Certified Veteran Enterprise (CVE) Veteran Owned Small Business. The VA CVE is primarily used for the VA’s Vets First program. It is not a substitute for the SBA 8a certification.
  • VA CVE SDVOSB. As noted above, the CVE is mainly for doing business with the VA.

Am I Eligible?

The question of eligibility is where things get to be a little murky at first. Any Veteran, honorably discharged from military service can self-certify as a VOSB in SAM if they meet the following conditions:

  • The Veteran or Veterans must own a minimum of 51 percent of the business.
  • The Veteran or Veterans owning the business must show control of the day-to-day operations of the business and must be the highest-ranking officer of the company. In some cases, where a Veteran is severely disabled, some of that operational control may be handled by a spouse or other family member.
  • To qualify for the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), the disability must be a service connected disability and must be shown on the DD214 document issued when discharged from the service.

For the three certifications issued by the SBA or the VA, the same requirements listed above apply, but must all be supported by documentation to prove ownership and control. Although the documentation may at times seem cumbersome, it is used to verify that the business is indeed owned and operated by the Veteran. This protects the true Veteran-owned businesses and allows them to compete competitively.

Source: Florida SBDC at University of South Florida

U-Haul Helps Veteran Family on Military Makeover with Montel

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U-Haul® puts its 74-year commitment to honoring veterans in the spotlight on “Military Makeover with Montel” during the show’s new season on the Lifetime channel.

U-Haul, founded by a WWII Navy veteran and his wife in 1945, signed on as a Military Makeover sponsor for the Aaron Middleton family throughout a six-part mini-series that documents the transformation of their St. Petersburg home.

The emotional first episode can be streamed at militarymakeover.tv and re-airs at 7:30 a.m. ET on March 7. Emmy Award-winning talk show host Montel Williams, having served 22 years in the military between the Marines and Navy, headlines the program.

“Military Makeover with Montel” TV Schedule (all airings at 7:30 a.m. ET on Lifetime)

Episode 1 March 7; available now at militarymakeover.tv
Episode 2 March 15 & 21
Episode 3 March 22 & 28
Episode 4 April 5 & 11
Episode 5 April 19 & 25
Episode 6 April 26 & May 2

 
A rich veteran history, coupled with an ongoing commitment to hiring and honoring vets, spurred the decision for U-Haul to sponsor a Military Makeover family.

“Veterans laid the foundation for U-Haul after WWII, serving as many of the Company’s first Team Members and initial customers after returning home from war and looking to move their families to a better life,” stated U-Haul employment manager Tony Hinojosa, a 22-year Army veteran active duty who appears on the show.

The Military Makeover team utilizes several popular U-Haul products and services while organizing and renovating the family’s home:

  • U-Box® portable moving and storage containers, which serve as on-site driveway storage at the Middleton house and also as long-term storage in secure U-Box warehouses. U-Box containers have 257 cubic feet of space and one-ton capacity, and can be shipped almost anywhere in the world.
  • Moving Help®, an online marketplace where customers shop and compare local Moving Helpers® who provide labor services such as loading and unloading, packing and unpacking, cleaning, and U-Box pick-up and delivery.
  • The Ready-To-Go Box®, one of the Company’s newest ecofriendly products – a durable plastic, space-saving box rented by the week at rates comparable to buying cardboard boxes.

“The opportunity to help the Middleton family, after all they’ve been through, is truly our privilege,” Hinojosa added. “It’s great to see how our products are being used to create a more seamless, convenient home makeover process.”

U-Haul has been honored repeatedly as a leading veteran-friendly employer and actively recruits veterans for their skills, work ethic and results-oriented approach.

U-Haul is committed to honoring veterans through its assistance to veteran organizations and causes; participation in national Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades; dedication to preserving Pearl Harbor and paying homage to its fallen; and sponsorship of The Tribute Journey with Gold Star Mother and artist Kathryn Cross. U-Haul is the national sponsor of nonprofit Humble Design®, which assists single-parent and veteran families escaping homelessness by providing donated furnishings and decorating services to turn empty new residences into dignified homes.

Visit myuhaulstory.com and search “veterans” to learn more.

About U-Haul

Since 1945, U-Haul has been the No. 1 choice of do-it-yourself movers, with a network of more than 21,000 locations across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. U-Haul Truck Share 24/7® now offers customers access to U-Haul trucks every hour of every day through the self-service options on their internet-connected mobile devices. U-Haul customers’ patronage has enabled the U-Haul fleet to grow to 161,000 trucks, 118,000 trailers and 42,000 towing devices. U-Haul offers nearly 632,000 rooms and 55.2 million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed facilities throughout North America. U-Haul is the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket industry and is the largest retailer of propane in the U.S.

Marine Serves Up Success One Slice at a Time

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Mountain Mikes Pizza

Mountain Mike’s Pizza is committed to serving “pizza the way it oughta be!®.” Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, Mountain Mike’s is a family-style pizza chain with more than 200 franchised restaurants in California and the West.

Marine veteran John Maddox owns nine of these franchises throughout the Central Valley region of California, the most locations of any franchisee in the system.

He spoke to U.S. Veterans Magazine about his transition from the Marines to business ownership and how his military experience serves him in his current role.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

My father also served in the armed forces and I was an Army brat, so my family moved around a lot. I was born in Oklahoma and lived in multiple cities across the U.S., and even internationally in Germany. We finally settled in Northern California when I was a teenager. Following my high school graduation, I attended college near home at San Jose State and majored in aeronautics. While pursuing my university education, I worked at McDonald’s in a management position, and really fell in love with the industry. I enjoyed interacting with customers and forged lasting relationships with several colleagues who eventually helped guide me in my early days as a franchisee.

I flew helicopters for the Marine Corps and gained a lot of invaluable experience, but as with any military lifestyle, I continued to move quite a bit and didn’t see as much of my family as I would have liked. When my service with the Marine Corps concluded in 1992, I wanted my next step to be something that would keep my family in one place for a while. I decided to pursue a career in an industry in which I had experience, felt comfortable and was passionate about: food service. It was all about establishing roots in a community on both a personal and professional level.

John Maddox
John Maddox, Mountain Mike’s Pizza

As I began looking at my options, I got in contact with a former colleague who had found success as a franchisee in the pizza industry. I did my research and considered many different types of business opportunities and franchise concepts, ultimately landing on Mountain Mike’s. I was attracted to the brand for many reasons—the first being that my family and I really enjoyed the pizza. In terms of quality and flavor, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that does it better, and I felt very good about that. Also, Mountain Mike’s Pizza had a great reputation in Northern California, with plenty of room for growth, compelling average unit volume, and a history of being an active part of the communities it served. I know I made the right choice, because this continues to be true today. Their established business model and supportive corporate team provided the necessary tools for me and other franchisees to succeed, and I have been lucky to continue growing with the brand as both a franchisee and an area developer.

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

One of the major things I took from the military is to value the process of training. As a Marine Corps officer, it’s important to train others, and train others how to train others. I also learned the importance of leadership by example. When we first opened, I was in the store from open to close every day for three months straight. It’s important for your employees to know that you’re willing to put the work in and go the extra mile, because they will work hard if you do. Another thing officers in every branch of the military are good at is delegating; hire good people who know how to get the job done, and get out of their way. Lastly, in the military, you learn how to make decisions—hard decisions. You have to be strong enough to tell people “no,” which is an essential skill for any business owner.

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

I would tell other veterans looking to get into franchising to do their homework. This is something you’ll be doing every single day, so take the time to research your options and choose something you’ll enjoy. It was important to me to work with a concept that offered a high-quality, delicious product, and Mountain Mike’s Pizza has continued to show a commitment to delivering nothing but the best over the past 40 years.

Also, build a business plan and make sure the numbers work before diving in and signing on the dotted line. It could be one of the most successful franchises out there, but as a business owner you have to understand and be comfortable with the financial risk and time commitment involved with building a successful business. Not only did Mountain Mike’s Pizza offer a superior product to similar brands in the industry, they are all about serving and supporting their communities, which was important to my family and me. We continue to uphold this core value by making it a priority to be very active with local schools, community groups, youth clubs and sports leagues, charities and more. We’re committed to putting in the work and investing in our communities because we care about our customers. The benefit is that we’ve built a large and loyal customer base organically.

I went from being an officer in the Marine Corps to making pizzas, and although it was really hard work, it has paid off. Not only do I truly enjoy the restaurant industry and love building relationships with customers, some of whom have become close personal friends, but I’ve also seen a positive return on investment since starting my journey with Mountain Mike’s Pizza. The company is in a growth phase, and I plan to take advantage of the opportunities available to continue growing with the brand.

For more information, visit mountainmikespizza.com.

Explosive: Former Theater Major, Now Navy Bomb Squad Leader, is Real-Life Action Hero

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When Hollywood makes movies featuring female soldiers and sailors, those characters typically have some improbable combination of strength, intelligence, grace and courage. Throw in a quirky backstory – She studied theatre! She plays clarinet! – and you have the makings of a perfect, albeit unrealistic, female military action hero.

But these women do exist. America’s Navy is filled with them, and few have a more interesting story than Ensign Brianne “Brie” Coger, a 10-year Navy veteran who was one of just 12 female enlisted Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technicians in the entire fleet before earning her commission in 2018.

EODs are part of the Navy’s elite Special Warfare community. This is the territory of Navy SEALs – exceptional men and women who have the intelligence, physical fitness, and drive to rise to the top. It’s work that demands a state of mind marked by extreme courage and capability under fire.

Quirky background

Coger grew up in Staten Island, New York. She excelled in sports, particularly swimming, and still holds some swimming records at her high school. A talented musician, she also played clarinet with the school orchestra and marching band. Later, at the University of Miami (Fla.), she studied theater and dreamed of becoming a Hollywood stunt woman.

150427-N-CW570-324 GULF OF AQABA, Jordan (April 27, 2015) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Brie Coger and Lt. Sean Kim assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1, enter the water for a pier survey near the Royal Jordanian Naval Force Base in Aqaba in preparation for Eager Lion 2015. Eager Lion is a recurring multinational exercise designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships, increase interoperability between partner nations, and enhance regional security and stability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez/ Released)

Coger spent two challenging years after college working odd jobs back home in New York, trying to pursue an acting career. When the opportunities fizzled, Coger looked for a different kind of challenge and found it in the Navy.

Nothing typical

“What I love about EOD is that there is no typical day,” she said. “Whether we’re going out to do some diving and an underwater detonation, or we have to go to a remote location in the mountains to do some IED training, or just working a chemical or biological problem in a laboratory situation – there’s nothing typical about any of that, and that’s exactly what I needed in my life.”

EODs are the world’s ultimate bomb squad, trained to disarm conventional bombs, mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and chemical – even nuclear – weapons. They perform some of the most harrowing, dangerous work on earth to keep others from harm’s way — but that was precisely what appealed to Coger.

“I was really drawn to EOD because I wanted to be part of a protective force,” she said. “You still get to do all the cool stuff, but an EOD doesn’t go out and cause trouble; they’re there to make the situation better. That really spoke to me.”

Forging ahead

Coger says she’s never felt that her gender was an issue in her Navy career. In fact, she has enjoyed tremendous success in a relatively short time, rising to chief petty officer – a senior enlisted rate – in just eight years before being selected for officer training in 2017. After more than a decade as an enlisted Sailor, Coger earned her commission in 2018 after completing Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. Coger has since graduated from the exclusive Navy Dive School in Florida and is now in San Diego getting ready to deploy. Her first assignment as a new officer? Leading a platoon of EOD Techs – the same people she worked with as an enlisted sailor.

“People think that joining the military means giving up things, but I’ve never seen it like that,” she said. “You aren’t losing something; you are gaining opportunities. The biggest thing that has helped me in my career is saying yes; embracing whatever’s out there and keeping my eyes and ears open to what’s possible.”

Forge your own path. Go to Navy.com