Editor’s Note: The following story highlights a veteran at DuPont committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. DuPont is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn More.

When the Twin Towers came down, lives changed around the world. For Ed Maldonado, only a sophomore in high school, it was a pivotal moment that affected the trajectory of his life. From the war in Iraq to his work at DuPont, Maldonado has spent his life in service. It has shaped his person and defined his path to success and fulfillment.

Maldonado served in the Marine Corps for eight years. He credits the Corps with developing the man he is today. “When I first joined the Marines, I was very self-conscious,” Maldonado explained. “Over time, the Marine Corps molded me into a strong, confident person.” The Marine Corps taught him many valuable lessons, most importantly how to endure tough times.

While serving with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine in Iraq, Maldonado’s team came under fire. During the attack, one of Maldonado’s fellow Sergeants was injured. In that moment, Maldonado courageously fought to drive back the insurgents in order to get everyone to safety. Maldonado’s service to his fellow Marines was apparent. The team’s valiant efforts earned them a life-sized exhibit depicting their experience at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia. Maldonado and his teammates will forever serve as an example of courage and bravery for future generations.

Maldonado valued his time in the military but found himself ready for civilian life. He used his G.I. Bill to attend college at Rutgers University, majoring in Business Marketing and Political Science. Still feeling the urge to serve, Maldonado decided to launch a campaign for a State Assembly seat in New Jersey. While his efforts were unsuccessful in the end, Maldonado’s determination earned him valuable experience that he used going forward.

After college, Maldonado secured a job working as a military recruiter for the Verizon Corporation. “I loved developing programs for veterans,” he explained. “It was a great experience.” After his two-year contract was up, Maldonado was disappointed to have to look elsewhere. This turn of events turned out to be a great development, but not one without bumps in the road.

Armed with important knowledge he’d learned along the way, Maldonado began his job search in earnest. He was proactive; he perfected his resume and signed up for online job notifications for all positions he was interested in. Still, he struggled. “I applied to 100+ jobs before getting a call back,” Maldonado shared. “It was brutal.”

His luck changed when a recruiter for DuPont contacted him via LinkedIn. Maldonado knew that DuPont was a big company with a lot of opportunities; he also knew that DuPont had strong ties to the military, dating all the way back to the company’s founding. “DuPont started by making gunpowder,” Maldonado said. “Today they supply the military with Kevlar.” He was intrigued by the military connection and liked what he saw in DuPont. One month later he started his new career as Talent Acquisition Military Program Leader.

His new job gave Maldonado an opportunity to serve once again – this time by serving other veterans. “My main responsibility is to develop and implement strategic recruiting programs focused on Military Veterans and their Spouses,” explained Maldonado. “I connect with outside organizations to learn more about veteran resources which could be beneficial to our employees. For example, the red cross.” Maldonado is on the front lines of bringing veteran talent to DuPont and also supporting the veteran talent that is already there. He has forged partnership with various organizations, from Student Veterans of America to Hiring Our Heroes to the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network, all with the goal of attracting the very best veteran and military spouse talent.

Maldonado is a member of two Employee Resource Groups at DuPont, a Veteran’s Network ERG and an ERG for Veterans with Disabilities. The groups offer support for veteran employees and aid in recruitment of other veterans through local outreach. The ERG members serve as models for future DuPont employees. Maldonado is a leader within both groups; he continues to serve others by sharing his experiences and advocating for awareness of and support for veteran issues. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, from DuPont’s headquarters Maldonado told his story to DuPont employees. “I get to speak globally about issues veterans face in today’s world,” he shared. “It is a very rewarding job.”

Beyond the ERGs, Maldonado has used the company’s Talent Acquisition Meetings to carve out time for military outreach. “I spend about 15 minutes of each meeting talking to DuPont recruiters and the Talent Acquisitions team about the military,” Maldonado said. “I teach them about military rank, structure, different jobs, specific qualifications of veterans, and more.” Maldonado ensures that all DuPont employees can appreciate the unique talents veteran employees bring to the table. Under Maldonado’s watch, veteran retention is increasing. The company currently boasts a 98% veteran retention rate; the initiatives in place are clearly paying off.

Maldonado admires the people-first culture at DuPont, one they have proven through the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world grapples with how to tackle the pandemic, DuPont has stepped up to serve the greater good. The company launched the #TyvekTogether initiative, aimed at increasing production of protective Tyvek PPE materials. Further, DuPont Tyvek supports in-hospital decontamination of used N95 respirator masks. Many DuPont employees, like Maldonado, are currently working from home. However, when they resume on-site work, DuPont is prepared to keep them safe. “Each employee gets a personal PPE box with all the protective gear they will need,” he explained. “It shows how much the company wants to take care of the employees.”

Maldonado sees DuPont as a great fit for veterans for many reasons. “DuPont completely values its employees and what veterans bring to the table,” explained Maldonado. “They trust employees to make the best decisions for the company.” Maldonado appreciates the relaxed and friendly culture of DuPont and welcomes the ability for upward mobility. “If you are willing to work hard and learn new things, you will grow at DuPont.”

For Maldonado, there is no place he’d rather be than DuPont. He found a company that values its employees and empowers him to do the same. From the Marine Corps to DuPont, Maldonado’s life has revolved around a mission of service. Only time will tell where he goes from here.

This article was sponsored by DuPont