Meet 5 Corporate Leaders Who Believe In The Power Of Hiring Veterans

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DoD photo

Hiring veterans isn’t just about supporting the men and women who served our country — it’s also a business decision. Today’s military requires fast, flexible thinking, and an emphasis on problem solving, and when they leave the service, they take those skillsets with them.


It’s not just the specialized skills that troops learn in the armed forces that make them valuable investments; the very nature of their military service gives them attributes unlike those that people can gain anywhere else. Smart business leaders recognize this quality in service members and that’s why they make veteran hiring a top priority in their hiring strategy.

At Hirepurpose, we work with leaders of some of the biggest corporate companies in America who want to make veterans part of their workforce. We asked five of them about the power of hiring veterans. Here’s what they said.

Larry De Shon, CEO at Avis Budget Group

“At Avis Budget Group, we’re proud to point out that our founder, Warren Avis, was an Army Air Corps pilot and that our association with the armed forces has been and continues to be strong. We also take great pride in hiring veterans. In 2016, we were again recognized as a Military Friendly Employer and continue to be a partner with the Veteran Jobs Mission, a coalition of employers committed to hiring U.S. military veterans. Veterans make excellent employees; their experience in the military is easily transferable to the business world. They receive the finest training in a wide variety of fields and learn about dedication, teamwork, respect, hard work and leadership, and have a commitment to duty, honor and country. This in turn makes veterans ideally suited for many of the career openings we have at Avis Budget Group.”

Lowell McAdam, CEO at Verizon

"As a leading global communications technology company, Verizon is always looking for strong leaders to help us stay competitive in the marketplace. With their superb training, discipline and experience supporting our country, our more than 10,000 veterans contribute their skills across our entire business to help us to be the best in the industry. As a US Navy veteran, many of the lessons learned helped shape me as a leader and I’m proud to stand with the thousands of Verizon employees who’ve served both our country and our company with integrity and honor.”

Nina Leigh KruegerWhitney Curtis

Nina Leigh Krueger, President, Nestlé Purina, U.S.

“Support for the military is deeply rooted in our history. Nestlé Purina’s founder, William H. Danforth, served as a YMCA secretary for the troops of the 3rd Army Division in France during World War I. He challenged associates on the homefront to emulate military values by approaching their daily responsibilities with courage and daring. He believed that these traits not only made America great, but Purina great as well. Since our founding, we have employed combat veterans and those who have served during peacetime stateside and around the world. Our Veterans Committee, week-long Veterans Day celebrations, challenge coin program, and associate spotlights are just some of the ways today we honor the several hundred separated service members, reservists, and veteran associates who are contributing great work at all levels of the organization in our factories and at corporate headquarters. Their discipline, leadership, loyalty and skills make us better. Through Nestlé’s Project Opportunity initiative, of which key components involve veteran outreach and work readiness programs, we are inspired to attract and retain more of these contributors and amplify the incredible work they do every day.”

Jay Debertin, President and CEO of CHS

“When companies hire military veterans, we all benefit. This is especially true for CHS. The farmers who own us and the employees who make up our organization live and work in the same small towns in rural America where many who serve in the military call home. Military veterans bring to CHS a strong work ethic, commitment, initiative and ability to flourish in situations where decisions have to be made in the face of limited information and time. In addition, offering those veterans an opportunity to be hired at CHS upholds a greater commitment to those who serve our country. We’re honored to have many who have served in our ranks.”

Judy Marks, President, Otis Elevator Co.

“At Otis Elevator, we move more than 2 billion people every day and operate in more than 70 countries around the world through our 68,000 employees. In such a globally dispersed company, it is essential to have strong leaders on the ground who are empowered to make the best decisions for our customers and our company. These leaders must have a bias for action, be a talent attractor, and both work and lead across cultures and geographies. I believe this skill set strongly aligns with the key qualities found in veterans from the U.S. military and we have had great success in hiring and developing veterans at Otis. If you like a fast pace, global markets, and a culture where your talent determines how far you go, then come help us move the world forward at Otis.”

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Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.

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Marine Maj. Jose Anzaldua's commemorative 1911 pistol

(Sig Sauer)

Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.

Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:

Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.

In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.

On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.

Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.

After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.

Sig Sauer presented the commemorative 1911 pistol to Anzaldua in a private ceremony at the gunmaker's headquarters in Newington, New Hampshire. The pistol's unique features include:

  • 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
  • Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
  • Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
  • Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
  • Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.

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