Marine Serves Up Success One Slice at a Time

LinkedIn
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.

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

LinkedIn
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

LinkedIn

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

Five Utah sisters take five different military paths

LinkedIn
Five Military enlisted Sisters pose in a row

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Tiara Puro was 17 years old when her father handed her a recruiting brochure for the Utah Army National Guard. She remembered a feeling of excitement as she flipped through the pamphlet, especially when she read about the education benefits.

She had been trying to figure out a way to pay for college and the Utah National Guard was offering the equivalent of a full-ride scholarship for six years of service.

“When I enlisted, it was peacetime,” Tiara said. “There was nothing going on, and it was actually why I felt so comfortable agreeing to enlist. What’s six years of enlistment during peacetime, especially if I get a college degree out of it?”

Tiara enlisted in 1999 as a paralegal specialist. Once a month, she drove to the armory in Vernal to train with the 1457th Engineer Battalion as part of the Delayed Entry Program, until she finished high school. A week after graduating from high school, she shipped to Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Tiara is the oldest of five sisters. Her four younger sisters are Tambra, Tayva, and the twins, Taryn and Ty’ lene. They all grew up in Roosevelt and graduated from Union High School. Their parents met on the University of Utah ballroom dance team. All five sisters grew up singing and dancing. Four of the five sisters have placed in the Miss Duchesne County and Miss Uintah Basin pageants.

While large, musically inclined families are not uncommon in Utah, the Puro sisters are unique in that they are all currently serving in the military, with decorated careers spanning the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

“I don’t think anyone of us thought that we would serve in the military,” Tiara said.

Tambra was 14 years old and a freshman in high school when Tiara left for basic. “It was a little scary, a little nerve-racking to think about her going off and doing all those things,” Tambra recalled. “But I just thought, wow, that’s pretty awesome.”

A few months later, Tiara returned from Basic Combat Training. The experience had changed her.

“I came home super excited about being in the military and what that meant,” Tiara said.

As she described the experience to her family, Tambra thought, “That will never happen in my life. It’s not something I’m interested in. Who wants to be yelled at by drill sergeants and do push-ups? I can’t even do a push-up, let alone pass a PT test. So, no thank you. I’ll do something else.”

Even at 12 years old, Tambra knew she wanted to do something important with her life.

“At the time, I was really interested in being a nurse, so I went and asked the hospital if I could volunteer.”

She was the youngest volunteer the hospital had ever seen. She formed a group of young hospital volunteers called the Junior Pink Ladies. As a sophomore in high school, she started working on her Associate of Science Degree in Pre-Health Sciences.

“Caring for others is a common thread in my life,” Tambra said. “That’s really what I’m passionate about.”

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Tiara was at the University of Utah, enjoying her education benefits. She didn’t have class until later in the day and decided to sleep in. She woke up to the phone ringing. Her dad was on the other end of the line. He said, “You need to turn on your TV.”

Tiara was confused. “What are you talking about?”

He said, “Don’t ask any questions. Just turn on the TV.”

Something in his tone had unsettled her. She went into the living room of her college apartment and switched on the TV. She watched the second plane collide with the south tower of the World Trade Center.

“I knew in that moment my life would never be the same,” she said.

Tiara told her dad she loved him, but she needed to go. She hung up and immediately called her unit to know what she could do to help.

The 2002 Winter Olympics came only a few short months after 9/11. Approximately 2,400 athletes from more than 80 different countries and even more spectators were headed to Utah. Under the looming shadow of terrorism, the burden of law enforcement augmentation fell to the Utah National Guard. Some 4,500 Guard members were called up to provide security for the Games, and Tiara was among them.

Tambra was a high school senior on the first anniversary of 9/11. “I woke up that morning, turned on the TV and President Bush was giving a speech,” she said.

The Statue of Liberty stood over President George W. Bush’s right shoulder as he addressed the crowd and the cameras in the New York harbor: “September 11, 2001, will always be a fixed point in the life of America,” he said. “The loss of so many lives left us to examine our own. Each of us was reminded that we are here only for a time. And these counted days should be filled with things that last and matter: love for our families, love for our neighbors and for our country, gratitude for life and to the giver of life.”

His words caused Tambra to reflect. She listened to the speech as she was getting ready for school and thought to herself, “Where am I going in life? How will I pay for things? What’s my next step, my next move?”

“For members of our military,” Bush continued, “it’s been a year of sacrifice and service far from home.”

Continue on to Army.mil to read the complete article.

Military Background the Foundation for Success

LinkedIn
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.

Sailor Spotlight! Gunner’s Mate 3rd class Class Brandon Sturhann

LinkedIn
Gunner's Mate Brandon Sturhann sits aboard the USNS Carson City in the Atlantic Ocean maning awatch with machine gun

Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Brandon Sturhann, from Newport Beach, California, assigned to the Embarked Security Team deployed from Task Force 68, mans a .50-caliber machine gun as he stands watch aboard the Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7), as the ship transits the Atlantic Ocean in support of its 2019 Africa Partnership Station (APS) deployment, July 3, 2019.

As part of the U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) APS mission, Carson City will visit five Gulf of Guinea nations to work alongside partners to provide host nation-identified, needs-based assistance such as medical services, small boat repair and maintenance, maritime law enforcement, and the completion of community building projects.

APS is NAVAF’s flagship maritime security cooperation program focusing on maritime safety and security through increased maritime awareness, response capabilities, and infrastructure.

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara Eshleman/Released)

Mark Your Calendars: LA Fleet Week at the LA Waterfront Returns Labor Day Weekend

LinkedIn
Fleet week celebration at the harbor

Plans for the fourth annual LA Fleet Week on the LA Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles are shaping up for Labor Day Weekend.

The multi-day celebration of our nation’s Sea Services spearheaded by the LA Fleet Week Foundation  and Port of Los Angeles kicks off Friday, Aug. 30th and will feature even more fun and new adventures that the whole family can enjoy—and for free!

Back by popular demand will be the signature LA Fleet Week public ship tours, where visitors can see active U.S. military ships up-close and have the unique experience of interacting with active US Navy and Coast Guard personnel in their working environment. This year, all public ship tours over the Labor Day Weekend will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no pre-booked online reservations required.

In addition to the aerial flyovers and the many military displays and demonstrations that have wowed crowds in the past, this year’s event will also feature live jumps from the Leap Frogs, U.S. Navy Parachute Team, which will jettison into the event from military aircraft above. Also new this year will be an obstacle course competition between teams from across Southern California. A high school robotics competition will return for its second year on the roster of weekend activities.

LA Fleet Week fan favorites will also return, including the Galley Wars culinary competition presented by Princess Cruises, a kids’ STEM Expo sponsored by Boeing, a First Responders Village, a Veteran’s Village sponsored by Wells Fargo and other family-friendly exhibitions. Sign-ups for the 11th Annual 5.3-mile “Conquer the Bridge” Labor Day morning race over the Vincent Thomas Bridge are also available here.

Rounding out the weekend will be live entertainment on the Main Stage throughout the four-day event. Popular big-name bands and evening headline acts are slated to be announced later this month.

About LA Fleet Week®

LA Fleet Week® is a multi-day celebration of our nation’s Sea Services that takes place on the LA Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles. Now in its fourth year, the event has become a Southern California end-of-summer tradition over Labor Day Weekend that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

LA Fleet Week is organized by the LA Fleet Week Foundation, in partnership with the Port of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles. Other LA Fleet Week 2019 sponsors include the Ahmanson Foundation, Ambassador Frank Baxter / Alliance Alice Baxter Ready School, Anchor Brewing Company, Annenberg Foundation, AT&T, Blue Shield of California, Boeing, Chevrolet, Clear Channel, Collier Walsh Nakazawa LLP, Delta Airlines, Humana, KRLA, LA County Veteran Peer Access Network, LA Department of Water and Power, Marathon Petroleum, Outfront Media, Paramount Pictures, PepsiCo, Phillips 66, Princess Cruises, Providence Little Company of Mary, Qualcomm, Rancho LPG, Sailor Jerry Rum, Verizon, Wells Fargo, West Coast Beverage, and Westrec Marinas. For sponsorship information and opportunities call 310-971-4461.

For the latest updates on LA Fleet Week 2019, sign up for news announcements at LAFleetWeek.com, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @LAFleetWeek, or locate us using the official hashtag: #LAFleetWeek.

From the Offensive Line to the Front Lines

LinkedIn
two footballs lined up against each other on the playing field

By Sgt. Steven Lopez

In 2011, Daryn Colledge was celebrating alongside his teammates. His team, the Green Bay Packers, had just defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, winning Super Bowl XLV. It was his final season with the Packers. The offensive guard has since become a different kind of guard.

In March 2016, after nine seasons in the NFL (with the Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins), Colledge enlisted in the Army National Guard. He found that being a Soldier would afford him the hands-on, active, team environment he was used to … and craved.

Now, you can find him on the back of a HH-60M Blackhawk Helicopter assisting combat medical specialists in transporting patients to safety.

Spc. Daryn Colledge, a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter repairer, assigned to 1st Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment (Attack Reconnaissance Battalion), Task Force Panther, of the Idaho National Guard, volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan as part of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. He serves as part of a medical evacuation crew—a mission that goes into harm’s way to save complete strangers when called upon, while on an airframe with no weapon systems.

“I wanted this mission, because I believe in this mission,” said Colledge. “I wanted to be a part of the mission that might get those unfortunate injured ones back home, help save lives and help bring some of them back to their families.”

Many things influenced Colledge’s decision to join the Idaho National Guard, such as his family’s military past and a brother who currently serves. Colledge stated that the National Guard provided the opportunities he sought after while serving. His passion for aviation drove him to choose to become a Blackhawk helicopter repairer.

“Joining the Army National Guard was a two part choice,” explained Colledge. “First, I wanted to remain in Boise, Idaho, and second, as a private pilot in my civilian life, I wanted to continue to fly in my Army career.”

After multiple flights and several qualification tests, he later became a Blackhawk crew chief; a job with more responsibilities yet filled with excitement and new opportunities for Colledge.

“I could have gone the Army pilot route, but the crew chief side is too interesting for me,” said

 Army soldier in uniform at his command post
Spc. Daryn Colledge, a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter repairer, assigned to 1st Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment (Attack Reconnaissance Battalion), Task Force Panther, of the Idaho National Guard, assigned to 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), prepares for a training flight at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. SGT. STEVEN E. LOPEZ

Colledge. “Crew chiefs have the chance to wear so many hats: mechanic, door gunner, assistant to the medics, conduct hoist operations and sling load operations. The constant change is a great challenge and keeps you working and honing your skills.”

As a Blackhawk crew chief, Colledge was presented with the opportunity to join a medical evacuation crew while on a deployment to Afghanistan.

“His desire to serve was clear,” said Capt. Robert Rose, Company G, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Forward Support Medical Platoon Leader MEDEVAC Detachment Officer in Charge. “His intent was never to seek glory through our mission, but rather to be in a position to help others.”

Colledge joined the MEDEVAC crew and rapidly became someone to emulate because of the teamwork and motivation he brought along with him.

“One of things that comes naturally to Colledge is his ability to motivate and inspire others,” said 1st Lt. Morgan Hill, Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th General Support Aviation Battalion (MEDEVAC) / Detachment Commander. “He’s a team player and thrives on working toward a common purpose.”

Colledge not only performed his duties as a crew chief, but also was able to lead his crewmates by example. As a former professional athlete, Colledge brought the insight of how to maintain optimal physical readiness, which is one of the most important aspects of being a Soldier.

“One of his most notable accomplishments, besides his great work as a crew chief, was building a workout program that others in the unit could participate in as a group,” said Hill. “He was able to motivate his peers and superiors alike to stay physically fit and healthy throughout the deployment, even in austere environments, which was huge for maintaining unit morale.”

Colledge emphasized the fact that teamwork in the Army versus teamwork in sports actually tends to have many similarities, especially when it comes to being deployed.

“The close proximity to each other, the bonds built over a common goal, the joint struggles, working through things as a team,” said Colledge. “You create a bond, a relationship that you do not share with those who were not there. Those bonds can last a lifetime.”

Although Colledge established himself to be a proficient Soldier, crew chief and teammate at the beginning, there could have been some challenges in leading an individual with his unique background.

“Spc. Colledge doesn’t hide his previous career, but he also doesn’t flaunt it,” said Rose. “He is much more humble than I initially imagined when I heard that I would be leading a Super Bowl winning former NFL player.”

“Ultimately, I was more concerned with the fact that he was a competent crew chief who was willing to learn and contribute to the team as a whole,” said Hill. “He never made anything about himself at any time, and he always put the unit and its Soldiers first.”

From Super Bowl champion to flying in the skies of Afghanistan, Colledge’s journey is a unique experience. Some might wonder why someone in his position would take on this challenge, volunteering years of his life to serve his country.

“Selfless service defines who Colledge is, he did not need to enlist,” said Hill. “He chose to serve for no other reason than to serve and give back.”

“Outside of deployment, to help and support the city and state that supported me through my days in college has been a special opportunity for me,” said Colledge. “I would have not been able to pay for college on my own, and the chance to give back and serve that same community means the world to me.”

Source: army.mil

Looking for Your Civilian Career?

LinkedIn

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

LinkedIn
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

LinkedIn
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.