MFG Veterans

Expand all | Collapse all

Introduce Yourself Here!

  • 1.  Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-06-2018 18:52

    Hello everyone!  

    I hope you're excited for our new online platform to collaborate with our peers and colleagues on MFG Veterans! 

    A part of this group, we have veterans, individuals from manufacturing companies, community leaders, educators, and more. The common thread? We are keenly aware of the importance of veterans in manufacturing, preparing them for future careers, and helping them develop and grow in their current ones. 

    This year, The Manufacturing Institute launched the Heroes MAKE America program and are proud to say we've successfully implemented our first class at Fort Riley and will be expanding the program across the U.S. This platform will serve as a great way to connect veterans in the workforce, veterans looking to enter the workforce, and manufacturers!  

    While some of you may know one another, there are still plenty of new names to learn. So, I would love for us to introduce ourselves! Share your name, company/organization, and why you're passionate about advancing veterans in manufacturing.  

    I'll kick us off: My name is Amy Thomas. I am Senior Director of Programs and Development at The Manufacturing Institute, and lead the Institute's Heroes MAKE America program. For those who aren't familiar, Heroes MAKE America is a career skills training program that gives manufacturers direct access to industry-credentialed and qualified veteran candidates. I've been inspired by what I've seen from the Heroes MAKE America program thus far, and I can't wait to share and see the amazing progress our students will make in their future manufacturing careers.  

    Your turn! 

    -Amy 



    ------------------------------
    Amy Thomas
    Senior Director
    The Manufacturing Institute
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-06-2018 18:56

    Hello all, 


    My name is Carolyn Lee. I am Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute, and I am
    excited to be on this platform with you all to discuss a topic that is critical to manufacturing and our workforce. I have had the pleasure of leading the Institute this year, and I feel that this new community will bring people together to further prepare veterans for a smooth transition into manufacturing careers, as well as make connections across industry sectors. The platform is also designed to help develop existing talent and help current workers grow. As Amy said, at the Institute we're dedicated to preparing veterans for careers in manufacturing. With more than 364,000 open manufacturing jobs today, we know that manufacturers are facing a skills gap, and our nation's transitioning service members could be the solution. 


    I look forward to the continued discussion in this community, and please reach out to me or my team with any questions. 
     


    Carolyn 
     



    ------------------------------
    Carolyn Lee
    Executive Director
    The Manufacturing Institute
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-06-2018 19:07
    My name is Mitchell Foley, and I am Fort Riley SFL-TAP Transition Service Specialist. Soldiers that are in transition have several obstacles to overcome as they separate. 1st Pay, the average pay upon separation is $12.25 per hour nationwide, 2nd Jobs, on average a veteran will have 5 jobs within the 1st 5 years after separation, 3rd Education, 87% of the separating veterans only have a High School diploma, 4th Relocation, most veterans relocate back home and don't have solid jobs available due to the location. The Heroes MAKE America program focuses 1st on Education getting the service members certified and licensed to work in the manufacturing field, 2nd Pay, the average starting wage with these certifications several dollars more per hour, 3rd Jobs the nation has been working with numerous companies to bring manufacturing back to the US and this course will provide that skilled labor force for this to occur, 4th Relocation, employment assistance is being provided to assist graduates with locating employment near their destination. Heroes MAKE America will positively assist veterans in employment, assist employers locating skilled labor force, reduce unemployment claims, and increase America's economy.  

    ------------------------------
    Mitchell Foley
    Transition Service Specialist
    Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program
    Fort Riley KS
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 09:53
    Hello! I am Whitney Wilkinson, talent acquisition manager at Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa and I am inspired by the impact this program and platform will have! I am excited to follow Mitchell's journey and hope to partner with the many others he represents. There are thousands of rewarding, challenging, growth-filled career opportunities in manufacturing and we are proud of our 3,000 team members around the world who get tough work done everyday. Thankful for this community as a place to share ideas and connect!

    ------------------------------
    Whitney Wilkinson

    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 11:40
    First, I offer many thanks, congratulations, and commendations to all of you that have worked hard to make this program and site happen.  This has great potential to be invaluable to both veterans and the manufacturing industry.

    As a veteran myself, I think this would have been an excellent resource if it were available for me years ago.

    For service-members and veterans that might ask, "What's so great about manufacturing?" I offer you this:  there is a very similar pride in manufacturing that you may have also felt alongside your teammates after enduring long, cold, wet, field training exercises and operations.  Nobody sits back and says, "Remember those days when we were warm and comfortable?"  Every war story starts by describing the (shared) misery, the accomplishments, and those with whom we served.  Manufacturing is somewhat similar.  While it can be dirty (and this is why it is often considered inglorious) and strenuous at times, you work as a team and you get the opportunity to see directly the fruits of your efforts and your accomplishments.  Like military service, manufacturing is both a physical and mental endeavor that yields tangible and measurable results and there is pride in applying that "Made in America" sticker on finished parts that you, along with your team, crafted from raw material and know is among the best in quality.  It's a rewarding feeling seeing your product in action and knowing "I did that."

    If anybody has questions about balancing and developing a manufacturing career--especially one in metals fabrication--along with continued military service in a reserve component, I may be able to help you out.

    Best of luck to all and thank you for all you've done.

    ------------------------------
    Justin Meinhardt
    Manufacturing Engineer
    Noble Industries
    Noblesville IN
    812-639-0012
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 10:25
    Edited by Nina Baker 03-07-2018 10:36
    Hello All!

    It's nice to see so much support for our veterans. My son served in the Army out of Ft. Riley and was honorably discharged a year ago. I am really glad to see that Mitchell Foley is working with  MFG Veterans to educate those departing the military on the options in manufacturing during their transition, especially since many of them are well suited for a career in mfg with the experience they gain from their service.

    Many find themselves in low paying jobs that don't utilize their skills and would benefit from a job in mfg. Although my son is using the GI Bill to get a bachelor's degree, many find spending 4 years on degree daunting and training them for a well paying job in the manufacturing industry is a great way to provide them with a good paying job that also has opportunities to advance in the future.

    Veterans are good about keeping in touch with each other through forums and social media - I think this should be an integral part in advertising MFG Veterans to those that have already left the service. Amy, I would be more than happy to help in your efforts to publicize this great program.

    Thanks to all who support our veterans and especially to those who are veterans and their families.

    ------------------------------
    Nina Baker
    Tribute, inc.
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 09:23
    ​The Ft Riley SFL-TAP program is honored that the NAM chose us to launch the Heroes Make America Career Skills Program. The News, businesses and even our President have been working hard to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and what a great way to do this by training our separating service members while they are on active duty and assist them in their employment search upon existing. Thanks Amy for all you are doing for this program.

    ------------------------------
    Mitchell Foley
    Transition Service Specialist
    Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program
    Fort Riley KS
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 09:33
    Good Morning Everyone,

    My Name Is Joshua Gibbs and I am the COO for JEM Engineering.  When I came across what Amy is trying to accomplish with this program on LinkedIn I knew I had to be involved.  I am here at any capacity that is needed from being a Veteran to being a hiring manager for manufacturing to helping with any thing else needed.  Please feel free to contact me for any help.   Thank You

    ------------------------------
    Joshua Gibbs
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 10:24

    My name is Rachelle Wolford and I am the Career Skills Program Installation Administrator at Fort Riley. It has been my utmost pleasure to work with Amy Thomas, and the rest of the amazing staff at MI and NAM, to create an opportunity for our transitioning Service Members to funnel themselves into amazing careers in the manufacturing industry. I consider it an honor to talk with soldiers each day about this program in an effort to set them up for post-military success!

    In my current role, and as a military spouse, I see on a daily basis the struggles that our veterans face when it comes to translating their military skills into civilian sector jobs. Veterans have a deep sense of responsibility and reliability which is a highly desired quality. As an individual who has been in charge of hiring, I can train someone who is willing to come to work and learn and that is what our Veterans are willing to do. For me, I think that what is desirable about the manufacturing industry, but what people seem to be unaware of, is the plethora of opportunities and specialized areas in manufacturing. Soldiers can go thru the Heroes MAKE America program to get entry level manufacturing certifications but when you couple that with the skills that they acquire in the military, the world really is their oyster. 

     



    ------------------------------
    Rachelle Wolford
    CAREER SKILLS PROGRAM INSTALLATION ADMINISTRATOR
    Fort Riley Soldier for Life
    Fort Riley KS
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 13:14
    ​My name is Traci Earls, I am the General Manager at a Cargill grind facility in Butler, Wisconsin. I am also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard. I have been in manufacturing for over 20 years and in the military for over 26 years. I am very passionate about bridging the gap between manufacturing and the military. I personally have seen the benefits of hiring veterans as well as lived the transition from military to manufacturing. As a General Manager, I understand how important it is to hire disciplined, loyal and skilled leaders into manufacturing. As a soldier, I know these talents can be found in our Armed Forces. I am looking forward to networking and learning from others through this forum.

    ------------------------------
    Traci Earls
    Cargill
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 15:53
    Hi there friends! I am so thrilled to be a part of this program. My name is Brandie McPherson and I am the Director of Investor Relations for The Kansas Chamber. We proudly support The Manufacturing Institute and the Heroes MAKE America program. As we work to develop and implement our Vision 2025 Action Plan for Kansas, we recognize now more than ever the dire need for strong workforce development programs across our state. Being able to support veterans in their transition into civilian employment while meeting the workforce needs of businesses in Kansas is a win-win for everyone. I look forward to getting to know all of you and collaborating in our various communities with state and city leaders, business leaders, veterans, educational institutions, NAM, The Manufacturing Institute and  everyone else who is helping to make our Kansas communities great.
    Cheers!
    Brandie

    ------------------------------
    Brandie McPherson
    Director of Investor Relations
    The Kansas Chamber
    835 SW Topeka Blvd. - Topeka,KS
    785.357.6321
    [email protected]
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-08-2018 14:51

    Despite thirty-three years of service to our nation which included multiple combat and peacekeeping tours, one of the most difficult periods in my life was my transition into the private sector.  I was woefully unprepared for my transition, and began wildly shooting resumes down range hoping to hit an unseen target … and received no downrange feedback to aid in my blind, Kentucky-windage-like approach.  It wasn't until I put structure to my problem and began using military problem-solving tools that my performance and results improved.  Only after properly preparing for combat did I achieve success in my transition "battle." I knew if I won my transition battle, that I had to turn around and help the next transitioning military veteran. So, I captured my lessons learned with the intention of reducing the transition challenges for other military veterans.  The Warrior Ethos, which define my values, is the driving force behind my desire to coach and mentor veterans and the cause for my passion to promote veterans in manufacturing.
     I7BuuqhySUaMhxkIk3Cj_Unknown.png
    I have been involved with the Heroes MAKE America program since its initiation. I see this as a terrific program for two principal reasons:  it will simplify transition by preparing military veterans to enter a manufacturing career field; and, it exposes manufacturers to the military veteran and their strong skills.  You see, over 93.5% of all Americans never served in the military.  These citizens only see the military as the best fighting force in the world; which it is.  But, the personnel who serve in our military are extremely talented and imbued with strong values.  These talents and virtues make our military veterans fantastic employees.  Already, the current cohort of military veterans are creating the Next Greatest Generation in our nation. Add in the superb training presented in the Heroes Make America program, and these veteran professionals will become the future leaders in the Manufacturing sector.

    John



    ------------------------------
    John Buckley
    Military Relations Manager
    Koch Industries, Inc.
    Wichita KS
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-09-2018 15:45
    Hi team!

    I'm the Brand Marketing Manager for Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions in good ole' Austin, Tx. We're very much looking forward to this community and ways to contribute to the GREAT MFG Veterans community!

    About DMS
    Recruitment for DMS 




    ------------------------------
    Kendra Adams
    Brand Marketing Manager
    Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions
    Austin TX
    512-599-8975
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-12-2018 09:21

    My name is Chris Bowers. I am the Military Transitions Coordinator at Washburn University. There is great potential for setting up soldiers, separating from active duty, with success in civilian life. I hope to be an asset in helping those soldiers.






  • 15.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-12-2018 16:34
    Thanks Amy for kicking off this great resource!

    My name is Troy Vandenberg, and I'm the Military Talent Acquisition Manager for Smithfield Foods.  I'm a Navy veteran where I spent 10 years in the nuclear power field, transitioning out of the Navy in 2012.  In the five years since I have worked in military transition staffing and managed operations for a staffing firm before joining Smithfield Foods in May of 2017.

    Though my day job is finding veterans careers at Smithfield Foods (shameless plug: www.smithfieldfoods.com/veterans), I enjoy being utilized as a resource for transition advice and to help our veterans understand the inner-workings of a global food manufacturing company, and how those careers may be different from other opportunities out there.

    If I could give any one piece of advice, it would be to pursue passion.  Though I was trained in submarine maintenance and obtained my master's degree in Systems Engineering, I find myself in a far different career path today, because I focused on what would make me happy - not what I had been doing.  There will be few other options in your life to make a change like you make during your transition, take the opportunity to take advantage of that.


    All the best,

    Troy D. Vandenberg
    Military Talent Acquisition Manager

    (757) 357-8513 tel
    (757) 357-1369 fax
    (757) 375-6823 mobile
    [email protected]

    Smithfield Foods
    111 Commerce Street
    Smithfield, VA 23430
    www.smithfieldfoods.com

     

      Search for Exciting Smithfield Careers

     



    ------------------------------
    Troy Vandenberg
    Military Talent Acquisition Manager
    Smithfield Foods
    Smithfield VA
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-14-2018 13:14

    My name is David Johnston and I am a Business Improvement Manager at Arconic. At Arconic, we are committed to helping veterans prepare for success in their civilian careers; we are present across the United States at military recruiting fairs and transitioning summits; we direct support to military spouses; make available community volunteering opportunities that extend veterans' service into their communities; and engage newly hired vets in special onboarding experiences. Our aim is to make the best possible use of their skills and create an environment of inclusivity. We support an employee resource group for veterans and non-veteran allies at our locations around the world. In military terms, the veterans ERG is a "force multiplier" for Arconic. We are proud to support the Institute's Heroes MAKE America program, and I am excited to take part in the important discussions in this group. 

     



    ------------------------------
    David Johnston
    Arconic
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 04-18-2018 18:10
    I first want to thank Amy for this great opportunity. It may seem a little odd but, manufacturing is my passion, and this course was almost made for me. My name is Charles Granger I'm a mortarman and have been in the Army for just over 8 years. When i get out I plan on moving back to my home town of Kansas City, just down the road from me here in Fort Riley Kansas. I enjoy every aspect of manufacturing and I can't wait to start my new career in that field. I'm glad to be here with the Manufacturing Institute community. I'm sure I'll have a ton of question and I look forward to meeting some of you someday.

    ------------------------------
    SSG Charles Granger
    US Army
    Fort Riley Kansas
    904-236-8804
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 04-24-2018 22:37
    I am one of the HMA students of class two.  Seventeen years in the Air Force.  During that time I was a Cyber Operations Journeyman and Supervisor.  Basically I did a lot of maintaining computers and servers, user computer accounts, printers and anything they wanted to throw at me.  I like to thank Amy for convincing me to entering the program with her limited presentation time.

    I have experience in training new individuals with a training program and setting up new servers usually at the same time.  The military has taught us to use multiple hats at the same time and to work with teams to accomplish many things.

    ------------------------------
    Pascual Guad
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 04-25-2018 10:25
    ​Pascual, you are already on the path to success by being a part of the HMA program. I wish this was available when I was transitioning out. You have several skillsets that will be very marketable in the civilian sector, some you aren't even aware of yet! I am currently a Lieutenant Colonel serving in the KS Army National Guard and am also a General Manager for a manufacturing facility in WI. I work for Cargill, who is a very veteran friendly company who was just recently recognized by the Secretary of Defense with the Freedom Award. I am very passionate about helping my fellow veterans in their transition as well as finding great talent for Cargill. Good luck!

    ------------------------------
    Traci Earls
    Cargill
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 04-25-2018 10:35
    ​Charles - it's great to see such passion for manufacturing! Being an Army soldier myself, manufacturing was the perfect fit for me. I try to pay it forward by reaching out to veterans and help to find them a home in Cargill, who was recently awarded the Freedom Award by the Secretary of Defense for their amazing support to our veterans. My son is also a mortarman so I am very aware of the leadership, teamwork, problem solving, and loyality you will bring to the table. Good luck to you!

    ------------------------------
    Traci Earls
    Cargill
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 04-25-2018 17:15
    Edited by Charles Granger 04-25-2018 17:18
    Traci- thanks for the kind words. I have researched Cargill and I really like the company, more specifically the Kansas City location. Animal nutrition is vary important and play a big role in keeping them healthy. Being a mortarman is not easy but it has given me the great opportunity to use my mind to plan and troubleshoot. Tell you son I said thank you for his service.

    ------------------------------
    SSG Charles Granger
    Supervisor
    US Army
    Fort Riley Kansas
    904-236-8804
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 04-25-2018 11:09
    Charles -

    It has been such a pleasure getting to know you over the last 6-7 months. I know that no matter which company you go to work for, you will be an immense asset. This is attributed to not only your hard/technical skills but because of the personality and culture that you will bring to any environment. I cannot wait to see where this takes you!

    ------------------------------
    Rachelle Wolford
    CAREER SKILLS PROGRAM INSTALLATION ADMINISTRATOR
    Fort Riley Soldier for Life
    Fort Riley KS
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 04-25-2018 19:11
    Rachelle- Thank you so much for helping me get in the Heroes MAKE America program. I feel like it was made for me. I know I where ever I go they will get 100% from me. My goal is for the first employee out of the army I want to be my last. I know its a long shot with more than 70% of veterans don't stay with there first employee. Its going to be a great ride!

    ------------------------------
    SSG Charles Granger
    Supervisor
    US Army
    Fort Riley Kansas
    904-236-8804
    ------------------------------