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Putting people above pay: How an Army officer continues to serve others with Abbott
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Abbott. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Abbott is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
Leaving military service is a daunting task. For Desert Storm veteran Ronald Burke, that was certainly the case. However, Burke managed to ease the process by finding a company that allowed him to continue his passion – helping others. That connection gave clarity and purpose to his transition from the Army to working for Abbott Laboratories.
Burke's military lineage is strong. His father and step-father both served; his mother worked for the Navy, and his son is currently serving in the Air Force. After his youth at Travis Air Force Base, answering the call to serve was second nature to Burke. While attending college at California State University, Long Beach, he got his chance through the Army ROTC program. Upon graduation, Burke joined the Army Corps of Engineers. He held various jobs, from platoon leader to general's aide, during his three years active duty and five years in the Army Reserve. Throughout his time in the Army, one theme took priority: service to others. Burke spent his final years with the Army in Germany. From there he decided it was time to transition to the civilian world.
Transitioning out of the military brings challenges for every veteran. Transitioning out while stationed in a foreign country is even more demanding. Burke had been living outside of the United States for three years and felt out of touch. "I had a new family to take care of," he said. "I didn't know what I was going to do." His initial instinct was to take any job he could find, in order to take care of his family, and worry about the rest later.
Luckily for Burke, he partnered with a transition organization assisted veterans seeking employment outside the military. That group helped Burke identify companies that hired military veterans. While at a jobs conference, Burke learned about Abbott and was immediately intrigued. "Abbott is a diversified healthcare company focused on various industries," he said. "Abbott covers diagnostics, nutrition, and medical devices."
Ronald Burke(Courtesy of Ronald Burke)
The company's goal - to help people live their best life through good health - resonated with Burke. He quickly recognized that Abbott would be a perfect fit. "They were doing something different, cutting-edge," he said. He knew people who were directly benefiting from Abbott's products, including – friends, family members and fellow veterans. Burke saw a connection between the Army and Abbott. Both enabled him to serve others, to help others improve their lives, and to put others ahead of himself.
Despite being passionate about his prospects with Abbott, Burke faced challenges during his transition. "The learning curve was steep," he said. "Once I got hired, I had to know all about the company, know all about their product line, and know how to sell their products." It was a stressful time. However, Burke was quick to identify the keys to his success. He focused on preparing ahead of time and "doing the homework." Finding a mentor was a huge piece of the puzzle. "People want to help," he explained, "even if they are not military themselves." Many industry leaders like to give back through mentorship, and Burke took advantage of that to help him prepare. "It is often more about who you know than what you know," he said.
Another key factor was Burke's military training. During his time in the Army, he honed his leadership skills which allowed him to quickly emerge as a leader in his sales district. The Army also taught creativity; "In the military, you often lack the resources needed, and you must figure out how to do the job with what you have," he said. That skill allowed Burke to think outside the box at Abbott and come up with creative solutions that differed from his peers'. His favorite parallel between his time in the Army and his time with Abbott is the ability to care for others. "My job with Abbott is more about helping people through superior products than about a sales number," Burke said. From his early days to his current role in sales for Abbott diagnostics business, Burke continues the mission of serving others that he began in the Army so many years ago.
Abbott has emerged as a desirable employer for veterans, both through word-of-mouth referrals and a strong employee referral system. The company partners with a number of local organizations to seek out veteran employees. Internally, Abbott boasts an innovative Employee Veteran Network, of which Burke recently became the national chair. The network focuses on retaining Abbott employees by helping members communicate and network within the industry, identify their individual strengths, and hone their long-term professional goals.
Burke considers Abbott a perfect employer for veterans. "Abbott has been around for over 130 years, just like the military," he said. "For a company to last that long, they must be doing something right." Abbott's products also have a direct impact on military families. "From products being used by soldiers in the field to medical devices helping families at home, there is a strong link between Abbott and the military," Burke explained. That connection translates to a heavy veteran presence at Abbott - and a workplace that empowers veterans to thrive through shared values.
Leaving the military is not an easy task, but if you find a company that shares your goals, the transition is that much easier. Ronald Burke was fortunate enough to do just that, and has spent 26 years serving others through his career with Abbott. This shared sense of purpose translates to success for this Army veteran, and countless others who have answered the call to work for Abbott.
This post is sponsored by Abbott
North Korea threatens to resume nuclear weapons and ICBM tests if US-South Korea military exercises proceed
SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States looks set to break a promise not to hold military exercises with South Korea, putting talks aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons at risk, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The United States' pattern of "unilaterally reneging on its commitments" is leading Pyongyang to reconsider its own commitments to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the ministry said in a pair of statements released through state news agency KCNA.
Customs and Border Patrol denied a Marine vet entry into the US for his a scheduled citizenship interview
A deported Marine Corps veteran who has been unable to come back to the U.S. for more than a decade was denied entry to the country Monday morning when he asked to be let in for a scheduled citizenship interview.
Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for "parole" to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for "humanitarian or significant public benefit" reasons.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.
U.S. Special Operations Command may be on the verge of making the dream of flying infantry soldiers a reality, but the French may very well beat them to it.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron shared an unusual video showing a man on a flying platform — widely characterized as a "hoverboard" — maneuvering through the skies above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris armed with what appears to be a dummy firearm.
The video was accompanied with a simple message of "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante," which translates to "proud of our army, modern and innovative," suggesting that the French Armed Forces may be eyeing the unusual vehicle for potential military applications.
A lawmaker wants to know if the Pentagon ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with bioweapons
If you've ever wondered if the Pentagon has ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with biological weapons, you're not alone.
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) authored an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Defense Department Inspector General's Office to find out if the U.S. military experimented with using ticks and other insects as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.
If such experiments took place, the amendment would require the inspector general's office to tell lawmakers if any of the ticks or other bugs "were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design."