Hiring Veterans: A Marketing Trend Or A Smart Move?



by Kevin Harrington

Pick up the newspaper or turn on the TV and you’re sure to see an ad, article or report of another company that’s focused on hiring veterans. I wonder if they’re paying tribute to our soldiers, or making a smart business decision?
My father served our country and I was proud of that fact. However, beyond my pride, I knew there was something different in my dad that I believe made him a better businessman. I watched him grow his business, and I started working for him at the ripe age of eleven. And I started at the bottom and worked my way up until I reached my point of success. After I lost my father, I began to reflect on what characteristics he possessed that made him such a successful businessman.
Having served in the military was one. So I wanted to learn more about how veterans are transitioning today, and how that process has changed over time. I recently had the opportunity to visit with Scott Mann, a retired Army Green Beret Special Forces Operator who spent 23 years in the military. When I asked him to talk about what it took these days to successfully transition out of the military, the conversation unfolded very quickly.

Scott began to explain that many veterans would make great entrepreneurs, or managers because of their transferable skill set. I learned that Green Berets are often dropped into foreign territory and asked to figure out how to get in without any resources other than themselves. For him, as a Green Beret, he was accustomed to being extremely adaptable, and possessed ingenuity as well as an innovative mindset.
He told me that unfortunately nowadays the military is stretched really thin, which means that transitioning veterans only have about ten days of assistance or advance notice prior to their transitioning back into civilian society. Although this may seem like enough time for many, consider that a Green Beret trains for over six years just so that he could take the test that would allow him to become a Special Forces operator. Ten days is just not much time compared to all of the extensive training they’ve undergone.
He then went on to explain how he has been instrumental in creating the Next Ridgeline program, which is designed to bridge the existing gap between military transitioning and the corporate sector. Their goal is to assist veterans in understanding how to transfer their current military skill set so they can successfully penetrate the business world.
In fact, many veterans are prime candidates for entrepreneurship. Why? Well, I think that a great entrepreneur needs to have the ability to communicate well, follow guidelines, create structure, and have enough self-awareness to understand one’s purpose. Most importantly, they need to have the ability to be a self-starter.
“Another set of skills that I found valuable, are creative problem solving. As an entrepreneur myself now, I’m always leveraging this skill. I also understand the value of organizational skills, a strong work ethic and one of the keys is tenacity. I believe veterans have a strong ability to stick with something and see it through to the end, which as an entrepreneur is critical,” said Scott Mann.
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