Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s Life of Service Started with Dad, Military

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By Brady Rhoades

When you think of Chesley Sullenberger, III—Capt. Sully or just plain Sully to the public—his improbable landing of an engines-dead US Airways airplane on the Hudson River comes to mind.

Perhaps you picture 155 survivors getting hoisted to safety off the wings of Flight 1549.

The word “hero” is bandied about—an ice-in-his-veins, former fighter pilot in the U.S. military saving the day.

And then Capt. Sully states: “It took me 40 years to become an overnight success. All my life, I was preparing myself for some kind of challenge.”

Legend, meet reality.

And, you know what? Reality surpasses legend.

Because it took decades of education, toil, training, more learning, more work, and more practice for Capt. Sully to help save all those lives and pull off what’s known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

It also took humility. Few remember that Capt. Sully was the last one off the plane.

“As soon as we landed, I knew my responsibilities were not over,” he said. “Four hours later, I learned that everyone had been saved. Only then were my professional obligations fulfilled.”

Capt. Sully, who speaks in the measured, modest tone of a seasoned veteran, said the Miracle on the Hudson was a team effort.

“I think the fact that this group of people—first responders, crew, passengers—all felt the same common humanity and rose to the occasion, that is the essential lesson here, a hopeful one.”

During speeches, Capt. Sully emphasizes teamwork, and often singles out co-pilot Jeff Skiles.

On January 15, 2009, Capt. Sully, a former fighter pilot for the U.S. Air Force, took off from LaGuardia Airport. Minutes into the flight, the plane struck a gaggle of geese northeast of the George Washington Bridge. All engine power was lost, leaving Flight 1549 powerless.

Technically.

All this occurred at about 2,800 feet and 4.5 miles from LaGuardia. Passengers and crew heard loud bangs and saw flames from the engines, followed by silence and the stench of fuel.

Realizing that both engines had shut down, Capt. Sully took control while Skiles worked a checklist for engine restart.

What was Capt. Sully’s first task? Calming his mind and body, which, naturally, had been thrust into full alarm. This had to be tended to so that he could make sound decisions and physically finesse the plane to safety.

How does one get a racing mind and pounding heart under control?

The pilot’s military training kicked in, for one. It took him about five seconds to gather himself and lock into the nerve-wracking responsibility at hand, he said.

All that preparation had paid off.

Capt. Sully had precious little time to make a life-or-death decision. Namely, to go back to LaGuardia or …

He decided to land on the icy Hudson.

His famous words to the crew and passengers: “Brace for impact.”

And then the so-called miracle happened. But it wasn’t a miracle. It was the result of Sully’s training and leadership, and of the dedication and teamwork of the crew and passengers. It was a testament to the old saying, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

The country—suffering through war and economic hardship—cheered. Viewers stayed glued to their TV sets as reams of passengers, standing on the wings of the bobbing plane, were helped to safety.

Precisely when we needed it, we had a hero.

Sully receives award
Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John F. Regni presents the 2009 Col. James Jabara award to 1973 graduate and classmate Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger during a parade held in his honor April 15. Assisting is William “T” Thompson, chief executive officer for the Association of Graduates

Chesley Sullenberger, III was born in Denison, Texas, on January 23, 1951.

As a boy, he watched planes fly across the seemingly-endless southern sky; he was fascinated.

A passion for flying, and a commitment to leadership and safety, took root early on.

He learned from his father—a World War II veteran—“to do what veterans do. To serve.”

Sully Air Force
Former airline pilot, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, puts on his G-suit before his flight with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds at Travis Air Force Base in May.

Sullenberger continues to support the military and veterans’ causes.

“A tiny fraction of our population is doing the heavy lifting,” he said. “They’re choosing to serve, to delay their own gratification, to put themselves at risk, to do for others what they cannot and will not do for themselves. That selfless act needs to be cherished… And not just with thank you’s in airports.”

Cherishing our military men and women means equipping them properly, he said, and helping those who return from duty with ailments.

”It’s a national disgrace that the rate of suicide among veterans is so high. We need to do a better job.”

Sullenberger enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1969, and graduated as an officer in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree. He also holds master’s degrees from Purdue University and the University of Northern Colorado.

Sullenberger served as a fighter pilot for the U.S. Air Force from 1973 to 1980, flying Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom II jets. He was a flight leader and a training officer and attained the rank of captain while building up experience overseas and at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

An elite pilot, Sullenberger was the mission commander for Red Flag exercises, in which pilots receive advanced aerial combat training. He was also a member of an aircraft accident investigation board.

In 1980, Sullenberger joined Pacific Southwest Airlines as a commercial pilot (Pacific Southwest was acquired in 1988 by what would become US Airways). Over his years as a professional pilot, he was an instructor, as well as an Air Line Pilots Association safety chairman and accident investigator.

About a year after the Hudson landing, Capt. Sully retired.

He now concentrates on running his safety consulting business, Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., which was founded in 2007 and focuses on management, safety, and performance.

He has helped develop new protocols for airline safety, and served as the co-chairman, along with Skiles, of the EAA’s Young Eagles youth introduction-to-aviation program from 2009 to 2013.

In 2009, HarperCollins published Capt. Sully’s memoir, Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters. In 2012, he published “Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage From America’s Leaders.”

In 2011, he became a CBS News contributor as the network’s Aviation and Safety Expert, a role which he holds today.

He also serves on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee for Automation in Transportation.

Much of his time is spent speaking in the United States and abroad about flight safety issues.

He’s delivered more than 200 keynote addresses to date, and often speaks for large corporations such as Dupont, Chevron, and AT&T, specializing in topics such as leadership, crisis management, and overcoming obstacles.

Sully, a movie about Capt. Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks in the title role, was released in September 2016.

That’s another thing. When you say “Sully,” millions of people think of Tom Hanks, who said he was honored to portray Capt. Sully.

It’s worth noting that at the time of the Hudson landing, Capt. Sully was a 57-year-old pilot who’d sustained a pay cut because airlines’ revenues were slowing and, some argue, pilots were under-valued.

These days, Capt. Sully’s life is

Tom Hanks, Chesley Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart
(left to right) Tom Hanks, Chesley Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart attending a special screening of
Sully at the BFI IMAX in London.

about what he learned long ago, from his father and from his military commanders: service. Hard work. Discipline. Values. Believing in a better world, a better future.

That means lobbying for pilots. It means pushing for greater safety measures in an industry that’s already pretty darn safe. That’s a through-line throughout Capt. Sully’s life of service: safety. Trust in our institutions. Touchstones in this grand experiment called America.

“My military training and service, especially the flight training, helped me to really realize the importance of adhering to core values and having the discipline to approach every job I’ve had with a professional attitude,” Capt. Sully said. “The discipline of the military helped me to have a discipline. Not just think of a job but a calling… Our society at large really needs people with these core values.”

That’s why veterans are worthy of hiring, in a variety of fields.

“They are a valuable resource and it’s a national treasure to have people with those skills and attitudes,” Capt Sully said.

He knows, because he’s one of them.

And it doesn’t matter if you call them miracle-makers or simply state that they’re prepared.

The results are in: Veterans make our world safer, better.

Separation Health Assessment Part A now required on claims from transitioning service members

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Soldier working with laptop in headquarters building

If you are a transitioning service member applying for VA disability compensation under the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) or the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) program, there are some changes coming that you should know about. 

Starting April 1, you will be required to complete and submit the Part A Self-Assessment of a new Separation Health Assessment (SHA) with your BDD or IDES application.

The SHA is a single separation examination which supports both the VA disability compensation process and the Department of Defense (DoD) separation/retirement process.

The SHA examination documents any medical concerns identified during your military career, assists with identifying future illnesses, and reduces redundant examinations between both agencies.

The SHA is divided into three Parts:

  • Part A – medical history questionnaire. You must complete Part A prior to attending your clinical assessment;
  • Part B – clinical assessment. This is where the examiner will review your Part A and your Service Treatment Records (STRs), provide an examination, and then deliver a clinical assessment;
  • Part C – this is reserved for DoD reviewer purposes only. DoD is expected to fully begin using the SHA later this year.

The SHA Part A questionnaire will provide VA examiners a history of the service member’s medical conditions and will assist with conducting a more thorough and better-quality examination. A link to the Part A questionnaire will be placed on the VA Form 21-526-EZ Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefit, under the eligibility criteria for the BDD program, and on the VA BDD and IDES Fact Sheets. A direct link to Part A is also available here.

BDD claimants who submit applications online can upload the completed Part A with their STRs under the evidence section. After VA receives and reviews the application, STRs, and completed Part A Self-Assessment, an SHA examination will be requested. The SHA clinical assessment will be conducted by one of VA’s contracted examiners or a local VA health care examiner. All evidence submitted by the service member will be made available electronically to the examiner.

The new SHA is a multi-year collaborative effort between both agencies to improve the separation examination process for service members exiting the military.

For further information on the BDD and IDES programs, please visit our website at Pre-Discharge Claim | Veterans Affairs.

Source: VA

Tips for Every Stage of the Interview Process

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man and woman in job interview seated facing each other

Interviewing is a critical part of the job selection process and allows you to discuss your experience, education and training.

It is also a chance for you to gain a better understanding of the organization and the position. As important as resumes and applications are, it is essential to remember that hiring managers are the ones who do the hiring, and this is your chance to connect with them.

The job interview is a two-way discussion between you and the interviewer. The interviewer is attempting to determine if you have the skills the position requires, and you are trying to decide whether you will accept the position if the job is offered. Both of you are trying to gain as much information as possible to make an informed decision.

Preparing for the Interview:

  • Research the position and organization (e.g., mission, goals, etc.) prior to the interview. Familiarize yourself with the duties, responsibilities and requirements of the position. Don’t assume you know everything about the organization, even if you have experience with the organization. Always do your research.
  • Review your application and resume and be prepared to support past accomplishments with specific information targeted towards the position requirements. Be sure that you focus on your paid and non-paid experience. Consider that the interviewer doesn’t know everything about you.
  • Practice interviewing. Take the time to research and review typical interview questions to help give you a framework for your responses.
  • Be flexible with scheduling and allow sufficient time for the interview. Be sure to ask for specifics regarding the time, location, point of contact (POC) and any other logistical details.
  • Ask whether there will be one or multiple interviewers.

During the Interview:

  • Plan to arrive early. Check with the POC regarding appropriate arrival times, check-in procedures and logistics. Keep in mind that security/access requirements and time to get on the site may vary by location. Remember, you get one chance to make a first impression.
  • Be prepared to summarize your experience in about 30 seconds and describe what you bring to the position.
  • Listen carefully to each question asked. Answer questions as directly as possible. Focus on your achievements relevant to the position using examples of how your knowledge, skills and abilities fit the job. Be sure to ask the interviewer to restate a question if further clarification is needed.
  • Remain positive and avoid negative comments about past employers.
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of voice. Remain engaged by giving your full attention to the interviewer.
  • Take limited notes, if desired.
  • Be sure to ask any final questions about the organization or the position. Also, ask about the next steps in the selection process, including timeframes. Request POC information should you have any follow-up questions.
  • Reinforce your interest in the position and thank the interviewer(s) for the opportunity to interview.

Note: Conversations regarding salary, benefits and other human resources (HR) matters should be addressed with the servicing HR POC listed on the job opportunity announcement.

After the Interview:

  • Provide any additional requested information as soon as possible.
  • Be patient. Remember, the hiring process takes time. You can follow up with your POC if you have not been contacted within the established timeframe.

The hiring official is looking for the right person with the right skills to fill the vacant position. During the interview, it is up to you to demonstrate that you are that person.

Remember, you will not get a job offer for every interview you attend, which is okay. Just keep your head up and know that you are qualified and will find your future career.

Source: Department of Labor

It’s Time to Serve Our Veterans

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James Banks of SHRM standing behind chair

By Kimberly Gladden-Eversley

It takes unprecedented bravery to serve in the U.S. military. It also takes courage to walk away from the commitment to sacrifice, service and the only life you may have ever known. Transitioning into the civilian world means removing the camouflage uniform to enter the uncertainties of the civilian workforce. Fighting for freedom, with the opportunity to finally experience freedom, makes this transition sound like a moment of a lifetime. Instead, for many of our active-duty members, this transition is quite daunting.

As countless programs surface in support of veteran transitions, vets continue to face exasperating fear. According to military-transition.org, 48% of veterans found their transition from the military community into the civilian workforce more difficult than expected, 52% found their transition confusing, and 76% found it extremely stressful. Thankfully, veterans who have successfully transitioned have not ended their commitment to serve their country.

James L. Banks, (pictured) a veteran who serves as SHRM’s (Society for Human Resource Management) General Counsel, key lawyer and legal advisor, continues to offer his unwavering dedication to serve without a uniform. During SHRM’s Diversity and Inclusion conference, Banks shared his expertise on transitioning vets and accessibility. “When you want to get out of the military, you’re back in your home, but you feel like you’re not…because so many people around you don’t quite get it,” said James L. Banks. “What you’ve been through and what your perspective is, and what you can bring to the table in this new civilian environment,” he continued.

Military members are not walking away empty-handed; they walk away with valuable skills that can enhance the civilian workplace. “When I was on active duty, it was only afterward that I began to understand the analytical abilities and skills that I picked up,” said Banks. “I can tell you from having both been in the military and lots of different jobs in the civilian sector, how much we would pay to have an employee go through leadership, training, management and develop those skills,” he continued. “Like almost everybody coming out of the military already has… you’ve been practicing every single day…we would spend good money, in the civilian world to put somebody through that.

SHRM has created a military job translator that will interpret veteran service skills for job opportunities nationwide. Active-duty members can translate the skills they’ve gathered during their mission-based commitment to the armed forces easier now than ever before. This tool also provides a candidate database for employers who are looking for qualified veterans actively searching for jobs. “We’ve got lots of excellent toolboxes that will help employers in that regard; the SHRM foundation is sort of leading the effort in that,” said Banks. “One of which is as simple as…a translator for military specialties… it will also help to identify some of the soft skills that that person has,” he continued.

Internships and various informal job opportunities are also available to military personnel as they complete their final years of service. Providing opportunities for active-duty and civilian employers to collaborate, bridge the gap, increase familiarity and ease the transition. Although entering the unknown is part of the challenge, Banks suggests changing the focus and lens through which employers and military members see themselves as the greater obstacle to overcome.

The military community has received continuous praise for their hard skills, but it’s time to recognize their exceptional soft skills too. “They look at a military infantry officer; what can he do here at this company?” said Banks. “What he can do is lead your workforce and manage your workforce in a way that you’ve been spending thousands of dollars to send frontline leaders to courses and classes about how to lead,” he continued.

Removing barriers to improve accessibility takes recognizing the skills and values only a veteran who has carried the country on their shoulders can possess. “I think of the…barrier to access as sort of a thin curtain in front of all of these great abilities and talents…so our job is to understand that thin curtain is there and find a way to move it to the side,” said Banks. “When you’ve gone through training that is required for any length of any tour of duty…you can do almost anything, there’s nothing that’s beyond you, there’s no limit.”

Photo Credit: KIMBERLY GLADDEN-EVERSLEY

How to Grow a Robust Business Portfolio Based on Military Principles

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scholtzskys restaurant with trees in background

By Cary Albert

For many, returning to civilian life after serving your country poses significant challenges. A sense of confusion, frustration or uncertainty about your next career move is not uncommon.

Entrepreneurship, however, proves to be a great option because many of the military principles you learn while serving translate to successful business ownership.

After serving four years in the United States Air Force, I transitioned to a standard 9-5 job with Honeywell Test Instruments Division as a calibration technician for electronic equipment — something I felt comfortable and confident in from my military experience. From there, I started my own firm, growing it to a multi-million-dollar business before selling. Through this journey, I began to see and understand the parallels between military principles and entrepreneurship and was ready for my next venture.

That’s when I found franchising. Not only does this provide the opportunity to achieve the American Dream in the form of business ownership, but you’re also handed a proven playbook to success. Similar to military life, follow the playbook and conquer the mission.

Over the past nearly three decades, I’ve grown my franchise business portfolio to include 25+ Schlotzsky’s restaurants, one of Focus Brands’ iconic brands, while also building a retail empire.

Serving your country provides countless life lessons, and in return, there is a vast opportunity to launch your entrepreneurial chapter of life — from VA loans, SBA 504 loans and VetFran discounts, that in the case of Schlotzsky’s offers $15,000 off the initial franchise fee and more.

Take the leap — lean into the resources available to you and rely on military principles to guide you toward success.

Embrace Your Team as Your Greatest Asset

Cary Albert headshot
Franchisee Cary Albert of Schlotzsky’s Restaurants

Whether in the Air Force or business, you must understand the value of your people — your team. In the military, you surround yourself with a strong squadron you trust with your life. In business, you must surround yourself with team members you trust in making key decisions and acting on them successfully. Build your team with that mentality — when you have a specialist in each role, collectively, you become an accountable team all aligned on the same mission, ultimately becoming an unstoppable force. Understand this and commit to investing in your team.

Break Down Obstacles

When an obstacle is too big, it can be overwhelming. A useful technique I learned during my time in the Air Force is to break up each milestone, so it becomes more manageable — win battles, not the war (i.e., payroll, overhead, vendor partnerships, etc.). Once you have a set of manageable pieces, you can tackle each one individually. You may already know what tools you need to apply or what solutions to avoid because they are not appropriate. Only once you understand the obstacle in its entirety can you determine the best course of action.

Follow Instructions & Routine Process

Without this, you can’t scale. Every Soldier (or Airman) gets the same training so that if something breaks down, you can easily detect it at the highest level. Now, from how we identify sites, to hiring staff, to getting clients in the door — it’s all about keeping those systems dialed in so we can see where we’re successful and where we’re missing opportunities.

Practice Self-Discipline

Veterans bring a sense of resourcefulness, boldness and leadership not seen in employees with civilian backgrounds. They’ve been faced with the challenge of getting a job done without access to the resources that would ideally be available. Veterans also bring to the table a keen ability to be self-disciplined, stick through challenging tasks and see them through to completion.

Understand Leadership is Earned by Working Hard

From basic training to rising in the military ranks, veterans understand the value and payoff of hard work. You learn, you train, you succeed. In basic training, I was given the opportunity to be the Dorm Chief Leader, my first true leadership experience. It was in this role I gained confidence, learned how to earn respect, lead fairly and work together to achieve greatness. The same lessons apply to business. Work hard, gain accolades and opportunities, grow support from your team and they’ll want to perform at their highest level too. It was through this hard work that I was able to go from Dorm Chief Leader in Basic Training to Airman of the Year at Plattsburgh AFB in 1988.

With the right mentality and the right resources, franchise entrepreneurship is absolutely attainable for determined military veterans.

Be sure to do your research and align with a brand you are passionate about — whether that falls in a particular industry or is one that honors and celebrates the military community. When I found Schlotzsky’s, I saw great growth potential. Now, it’s immensely rewarding to see the brand’s commitment to supporting U.S. military members and their families through its Hometown Heart philanthropic platform and partnership with Blue Star Families.

Identify your goals, set a focused strategy and execute — soon, you’ll be well on your way to entrepreneurship.

Cary Albert and his wife Jacquelyn have been franchisees of Schlotzsky’s since 1994. With 26 locations in operation, the Alberts and their impressive team (now 500+ strong) believe the sky is the limit with this brand as they continue to grow their robust multi-brand franchise business portfolio.

Introducing the Veteran Small Business Certification Program

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black businesman holding paperwork wearing red tie gray suit

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will now handle all veteran-owned small business and service-disabled veteran-owned small business certifications instead of the VA.

The change took place on the first of this year and does not affect businesses that are already certified. The Veteran Small Business Certification Program will be the Agency’s primary vehicle for handling certification for veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) — important classifications that enable those businesses to qualify for sole-source and set-aside federal contracting awards.

“As we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week, I am proud that the SBA is designing its new Veteran Small Business Certification Program to be the gold standard in customer experience and support to ensure we grow our base of veteran federal contractors,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the SBA, “Adding this certification to SBA’s portfolio of capital, bonding and contracting programs will enable us to better serve our veteran entrepreneurs and help them grow their businesses through federal procurement opportunities.”

Administrator Guzman also shared much-anticipated news that she intends to grant a one-time, one-year extension to current veteran-owned small businesses verified by the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of the transfer date.

On that one-year extension, Administrator Guzman added, “Our team is committed to supporting a smooth and seamless transition for our veteran customers and will be providing a one-time, one-year certification extension for VA certified veteran-owned firms, making it as easy as we can for them to continue their entrepreneurial journey.”

“The decision to extend the certification will make a real difference for our nation’s veteran business owners as we move forward with transitioning this certification from the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Larry Stubblefield, Associate Administrator for the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development. “In addition to supporting a smooth transition for currently certified firms, we will be able to focus on certifying new entrants and growing our base of certified firms.”

“We have been working closely with the SBA for a long time supporting the transfer of this certification program to the SBA and are glad to see it come to fruition,” said Chairman Jay Bowen, Veterans Employment and Education Commission at the American Legion. “We know that the veteran community will be well-served by this move and that the SBA will make the transition from the VA as smooth as possible. The announcement of the one-year extension for both veteran and service-disabled veteran small business owners further demonstrate the SBA’s dedication to helping the veteran small business community succeed and thrive.”

“National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) is pleased to see veteran certification moving to the SBA and being applied across all the federal government agencies,” said Scott Jensen, executive director at the NVSBC. We applaud the SBA’s leadership in driving a process focused on success and supporting veteran-owned businesses and are excited to see the implementation. We also applaud the Administrator’s decision to extend existing certifications for one year. This decision will provide valuable relief to those already certified during a year of increased demand as other companies pursue the mandatory certification requirement.”

“As a voice for disabled American veterans, we are thrilled to hear of the SBA’s commitment to the veteran community through the new certification program,” said Dan Clare, chief communications and outreach officer at Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a nonprofit charity that provides more than a million veterans and their families support each year by empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. “Service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) will positively benefit from the one-year extension of existing certifications, and for self-certified firms to be able to continue to compete for designated set-asides during the grace period. I am confident that both DAV and the SBA will support SDVOSBs through the transition and certification when the time comes.”

The certification period will extend to four years on a one-time basis for firms verified by VA as of January 1, 2023.

Updates in the new program will include:

  • Firms verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1, 2023, will be automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period.
  • All firms verified by VA as of the January 1, 2023, transfer date will receive a one-year extension to their eligibility giving veterans an extra year to get recertified under the new SBA system.
  • The extension will allow SBA to process applications from new entrants into the program and grow the base of certified firms.

New applicants certified by SBA after January 1, 2023, will receive the standard three-year certification period.

Along with the recertification extension, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act grants a one-year grace period for self-certified SDVOSBs until January 1, 2024.

  • During the grace period, businesses have one year to file an application for SDVOSB certification and may continue to rely on their self-certification to compete for non-VA SDVOSB set-asides.
  • Self-certified SDVOSBs that apply before the expiration of the one-year grace period will maintain eligibility until the SBA makes a final eligibility decision.

Beginning January 1, 2024, both veteran and service-disabled veteran small business owners will need to be certified to compete for federal contracting set-asides, unless an application from a self-certified firm is pending an SBA decision.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

Leveraging Honor and Respect to Improve Recruitment and Retention

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Larry Broughton in business suit arms folded and smiling

By Larry Broughton

Leaders struggle with securing, maintaining and exporting one product more than any other: respect. This is due in no small part to our current cultural mindset, which is counter industrious.

Our media declares the “little guy,” the marginalized majority, to be the constant victim of tyrannical bosses, teachers, owners and basically anyone else in a leadership role. The modern American distrusts leadership, at best, and resents leadership, at worst. So, how does a leader actually recruit, retain and lead people who consider themselves victims? The answer is found in the core values of honor and respect. Leaders, not employees, are responsible for setting the standard and the pace of the values.

In setting the standard, leaders must recognize and respect the time, energy and effort of those around them. This requires listening, thinking and approaching people as if they are just that — people. Most bad leadership comes from a soured mindset toward followership. Many in management positions have had enough of trying to be kind, supportive and considerate; eventually, they just want results: productivity, plain and simple. The problem with that mindset is evident: people are not cogs in the machines of a leader’s choosing. They are individuals with strengths and weaknesses, good days and bad, dreams and limitations. They cannot be demoted to the level of a cog — that logic is just as faulty as the aforementioned “little guy syndrome.”

Those in management and leadership positions must look at their followers and realize their own job is to optimize their employees’ potential to succeed, not simply fume as they seem to maximize their ability to fail. Many resistant followers have never shared respect with a leader in their lifetime and are not properly equipped to start any time soon. This is the first challenge of leadership: see “employees” as “team members” and draw the potential out of them. Do this by taking the first step. Establishing a standard of respect will not only enable your followers to fulfill their potential, but it will also cause the majority of them to respond in kind.

Regarding pace, leaders have to acknowledge that the process of gaining, sustaining and expanding respect and converting that into a productive and tenured team member is usually lengthy and arduous. To unwrap a pessimistic employee from their cynical cocoon is no small feat. Again, the antidote is simple, free and readily available: respect. It begins at the top and works its way down, not the other way around.

Leadership requires us to control the flow of respect and to drive it into every hour and corner of our organization. Once it does, it breeds a culture of honor, and anyone who enters it will either rise due to its effects or leave quickly. Many leaders will see this step as futile and counterintuitive. “Employees respect me because I am the boss. If they earn my respect, then so be it.” That mindset may have worked well enough in generations past; however, modern followers do not subscribe to this logic, so it simply won’t work today. Respect them first and farthest; then coach them up or coach them out if they do not meet the standard. By taking the first and farthest step, a good leader will completely eliminate excuses and tolerable failures — followers, will either meet the pace of respect set by the leader or find another placement.

Many view leadership as passionless and visionless. They see managers as the ultimate cogs in an even larger machine. To reverse this mindset, leaders must seek to see the value of every team member and offer honor, respect and understanding even before it’s deserved or earned. Some followers will buck this treatment and run — their presence is undesirable anyway. Some will respond almost instantly with loyalty and trust — these people were most likely conditioned for work by whoever reared them and will make excellent team members. Most will come around slowly but treat their leaders more fairly because they recognize the goodwill the leader has extended them first. This style of leadership does require considerable effort at first; nevertheless, working smarter and accomplishing more is certainly preferable to leading a group of maligned, untrusting misfits to merely adequate performance.

Now, take rapid action and go do something significant today.

Larry Broughton is a former U.S. Army Green Beret, best-selling author, award-winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker and leadership mentor. TheLarryBroughton.com

Photo credit: Westover Photography

The “Stable Job” Myth

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veteran standing outside convention center wearing a suit carrying a briefcase

By Paul Peng

We all want predictability and stability in our lives; who doesn’t? The sad truth is that we are not living in the post-boom period of World War II, where individuals can work in the same job for 40 years and then retire with a company-sponsored pension and a Rolex.

In our modern-day environment, we live in a fast-paced society where corporate job security is a thing of the past. There is no such thing as a “stable job” in corporate America; here’s why.

Placing Your Faith in Your Employer

Let’s get something straight right out of the gate. Businesses are just that, businesses. They are run by people that must juggle all the complexities of the entrepreneurial machine and the mistakes (sometimes massive ones) that the owners and C-suite executives can make. You may have done nothing wrong but may be laid off out of necessity due to poor decision(s) made by your employer. Remember that the number one goal is the survival of the company, not the people that work for them.

Tenure Doesn’t Mean What It Used To

Tenure in corporate America is essentially dead. Why? Tenured employees are usually the highest paid, and during recessions, employers start asking if the salary they are paying these tenured employees is worth it. Are these employees still providing good value for the money they are being paid? Or can I bring in a younger, higher-energy but perhaps an inexperienced person with half the salary and train them up? According to an article published by Indeed in February of 2021, one of the most common tenure traps is performance complacency, meaning you do just enough to get by, and the quality of your work diminishes. So, reinventing yourself or being consistently engaged with the company’s goals will help you get away from the chopping block.

Job Insecurity

We have all been there. If your company is acquired by another, depending on your position, your role (especially in mid to upper management) may be eliminated as new companies generally like to bring on their own people. Or perhaps your boss with whom you have a good working relationship leaves, thus taking away any protection you had, leaving you vulnerable to a new boss. Don’t you just love office politics?

Adapt or Die

In the era of employment fluidity, our natural ability to respond to our changing environment allows us to succeed. You must be aware of making the necessary adjustments. Start with the mindset that you are a free agent. By promoting yourself and making yourself more valuable to your employer and potential future opportunities, you may find yourself in a better position with a higher salary. Another tip is to become an expert in the next wave of technology. As we continue to evolve as a civilization, staying current with the latest technology trends can only help you.

So, get after it!

Tips for Transitioning to a Fulfilling Civilian Career

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Todd Stiles talking with soldiers next to semi truck

By Todd Skiles

My service in the military was rewarding and invaluable to my development not only as a professional but as a man and an American. It gave me life lessons, a support system and an inner strength that few experiences could replicate.

Returning from active duty can feel a bit like starting back at square one. But if you understand how your time in the military sets you ahead of the pack, you can go from strength to strength in your transition to civilian life. In the corporate world, veterans have the skills that are needed across different fields and industries.

When I first stepped into a management trainee role with Ryder System, Inc., I never expected it would evolve into a successful career in logistics and transportation solutions spanning decades at the company. Over the years, I’ve learned tips and strategies that I believe each transitioning serviceman or -woman can use to set them on the path to success.

Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable

No plan survives first contact with the enemy. But in civilian life, no plan survives the opportunities and challenges of finding a job, a house, a car or obtaining further education. That’s why preparation — learning about your options and taking stock of your military career — can position you to handle whatever life throws at you.

Before you even begin to think about signing your discharge papers, you should familiarize yourself with the vast array of resources for transitioning servicemen and -women. One example is the Transition Assistance Program the Department of Veterans Affairs offers. Your post-military support system is extensive. From the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program to the hundreds of private sector initiatives that recruit and train veterans to the totality of your VA education and training benefits, understanding your unique opportunities is the first step toward success.

Ryder’s Pathway Home program is another great example: The 12-week technician training course gives participating soldiers hands-on diesel technician training during their final days of service. Service members who complete the program are offered employment.

Next, you should take the time to lay out everything you’ve accomplished in your service career — basic training, any courses and certificates, your awards or recognition, plus any deployments or missions you’ve been a part of. It may be helpful to put each experience on its own notecard. On the back, write the names of commanders or teammates you worked alongside, their contact information and a list of the skills or qualities you demonstrated in that experience.

Taking stock of your service career can help you determine your strengths, weaknesses, interests and skills. It may also help you understand where you can provide unique value in the civilian workforce. Most importantly, it may help you tell your story to prospective employers. Watch how quickly your cover letters write themselves!

Know your worth and your values

As you begin your job search, do not underestimate the qualities you convey through your military service. Even values as fundamental as honor and trustworthiness can be worth their weight in gold to prospective employers. In my role in sales and solutions, for instance, my military service translated to confidence in my ability to engage with people honestly, in good faith and with my full commitment to their success.

With sought-after attributes like loyalty, dependability, leadership, teamwork, attention to deadlines and detail, and the ability to make critical decisions under pressure, employers recognize that veterans are an immense asset to their teams. And for veterans, I also think it’s essential to search for and find the right culture that values the same things we value.

My military training served as a springboard in my development as a leader, enabling me to rise through sales and sales leadership positions within Ryder over the past 34 years. Today, I report directly to the president of our division and our chief sales officer with sales goals of just under half a billion dollars and a team of 100 sales professionals and support staff in three countries.

The key is understanding your unique value and the tangible and intangible skills you can leverage in the next phase of your life. That’s why I always urge veterans to think outside the borders of their military occupational specialty (MOS) beyond their direct experience and help their prospective employer understand their immeasurable worth as part of their team.

The only easy day was yesterday

Taking that first job, that first class, that first mentorship opportunity after your service can be daunting. Will the opportunity meet your expectations? Will people relate to you?

The unity and camaraderie of military service do not have to end when you step into civilian life: I encourage you to seek out opportunities where you can have a shared sense of purpose with your team and your employer. Many companies have veterans-only resource groups, trainee classes, as well as group chats and Slack channels where you can ask questions and get advice. Ryder, for instance, has a Veteran Buddy program that pairs veterans already employed at the company with new veteran hires. This adds a layer of support that can help ease the onboarding process and transition to civilian life.

When I was 26 and serving in Desert Storm as a company commander in a war zone, I was ordered to pull together resources from all five units in my battalion and lead a convoy of over 200 transportation assets through Iraq. Although I look more like a PowerPoint Ranger these days, traveling between warehouses, customer locations and Ryder logistics centers, my fundamental mission to serve people hasn’t wavered. You may find that you, too, can carry that purpose into civilian life.

Todd Skiles is the Senior Vice President of Sales for Supply Chain Solutions (SCS) and Dedicated Transportation Solutions (DTS) at Ryder System, Inc., focused on matching Ryder’s solutions with the real and vital needs of customers. Todd is responsible for overseeing the sales and solutions team for SCS and DTS. Under his leadership, sales revenue has grown by more than 130% and sales productivity has doubled.

OPERATION H.I.T.–Heroes in Transition

LinkedIn
operation hit logo with eagle and flag

There are thousands of people leaving active duty every month, and those people are looking for a new career that allows them to fulfill their own purpose.

The Data Center industry is projecting a shortage of over 250,000 professionals by 2025.

The MISSION of Operation HIT is to bring the transitioning veterans that are looking for a new purpose together with the data center companies that have demands for selfless leaders to contribute to culture and execution.

When we can align talented veterans with businesses that see their value, we can solve the threat of labor shortages in the data center industry while simultaneously reducing the suicide rate among veterans by giving them meaningful careers that have significance and purpose.

 

 

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Top Questions to Expect in a Job Interview

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hiring manager shaking hands with a newly hired veteran

Job interviews consist of two types of questions — questions about you and questions about what you know. The latter type, knowledge questions, are usually related to the particular requirements of the job you’re applying for and are very specific. Here are the top questions to expect:

Tell me about yourself.

This may be your best opportunity to highlight what you believe are your most important characteristics related to the job. Maybe you have a passion for a particular part of the position. For example, “In my previous role as a customer service representative, I enjoyed helping people solve their problems.” Or maybe you were recognized for a special talent. For example, “I won several awards for training new employees at my last job.”

You may also consider explaining large resume gaps when responding to this question. If you’ve decided to disclose your disability during the interview, you can explain medical leave. You can also use this as a chance to talk about any hobbies or volunteer work you pursued during the employment gap that helped you build your skills and gain experience.

Why are you interested in this position?

Before your interview, learning more about the company or the job is prudent. Is there something about the job requirements that you think is a good fit for your strengths? Maybe your skill set aligns well with the job tasks or company goals. Perhaps it’s their reputation for how well they treat their employees. Answering this question with facts about the company or the job tells the interviewer that you care enough to have done your homework.

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

Talking about your assets can be tricky. Make sure you’ve thought about how your strengths will relate to the job requirements and come up with an example of how you’ve used your skills.

If the interviewer asks about a weakness, indicate that you’ve thought about that question and identify a particular trait that will not affect the job position. For example, if you’re applying for a programming position, acknowledging that you aren’t a skilled public speaker may not hurt your chances if the job doesn’t require public speaking. It is also good to mention what you are doing to address your weakness or provide an example of how you learned from it.

Why are you the best person for this position?

As you prepare for the interview, reread the job description to see how your skills match the job requirements and responsibilities. During the interview, discuss how you’ve used the same skills in previous jobs or had similar duties during training, volunteer work or internships. As you detail why your background is a good match for the position, explain what excites you about the job and how you think you can make a difference for the company.

Can you tell me about a time when you faced a challenge and how you handled it?

Many employers use this question to seek concrete examples of skills and experiences that relate directly to the position. This type of question is based on the idea that your success in the past is a good gauge of your success in the future.

It may be hard to answer a question like this “on the spot,” so take some time before your interview to prepare. Think of an actual situation you faced that had a successful outcome. Describe the situation and give details on what you did and why. Then describe how it turned out. You may even want to add what you learned from the experience and how you might apply that to future challenges.

Do you have any questions for me?

It’s always a good idea to have a few questions prepared to ask the interviewer. It allows you to learn more about the position and responsibilities, the person interviewing you and the company. It also shows the interviewer that you’re enthusiastic about the job. However, this is not the time to ask about salary or benefits. Instead, ask questions about the company or position to demonstrate your interest.

Keep in mind that an interview helps hiring managers determine that your skills and experience match well with the responsibilities of the job, but also that your personality would fit well with the other employees on the team. Preparing to answer questions about yourself and your professional experience may help you feel confident and leave a lasting impression during your next interview.

Consider practicing your responses with family members and friends. Going over your answers with someone else may help you find a more conversational tone and cadence, which can help you relax when answering questions during an interview.

Source: Ticket to Work

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