How This Army Vet Is Helping Penske Increase Its Focus On Hiring Veterans

career
Courtesy of Sean Wilkins

“My first day of ROTC at the University of New Hampshire was Sept. 11, 2001,” Sean Wilkins said. “I was scared. I had no idea what was going to happen.” Wilkins, who served in the U.S. Army for eight years, learned several valuable lessons about himself in that time, and about his passion for helping others.


 His hope to join the military started at a young age, as it does for so many. Wilkins and his brother played army as kids, and his interest continued well into high school. He was close to enlisting in the Marine Corps when his mother talked him into going to college, something he hadn’t considered before. After applying to three schools, Wilkins decided on the University of New Hampshire, since they offered him a scholarship.

 Wilkins commissioned as a chemical officer upon graduation and then moved into human resources, where he thoroughly enjoyed taking care of soldiers so they could focus on the mission. When it came time to transition, like so many others, he didn’t want his next career to be anything like his last one. Initially, he avoided HR, but eventually, his desire to help people drew him back.

 “I started as a human resources generalist, but found my passion within the talent acquisition field,” he said. “Then I led recruiting at some mortgage companies before I got connected with Penske.”

The right person for the job

Sean WilkinsCourtesy of Sean Wilkins

Wilkins heard about a new role at Penske through his network, which led him to become the first military recruiting manager at the transportation company.

“When Penske was looking to fill this position, I was immediately attracted to it for two reasons,” he said. “One was that it was in Texas, and the location was appealing. The other was the way this position was the perfect intersection of everything I was passionate about, recruiting and veterans.” Wilkins believes that every veteran has a responsibility to reach back from their successful position and help other veterans.

 Penske had an informal process for hiring and retaining veterans before creating this position, but now with a designated person to lead the way, there will be more programs, opportunities, and relationships. Building on previously established partnerships with organizations, Wilkins and his team are also working to connect with local installations and their transition services.

“We have veterans on the recruiting team and several retired officers in key operations positions,” he said. “We are able to connect veterans who already work here to those who are new hires, and provide them with a system of support through this part of their transition.”

A company that fits you, as a person

No one understands the difficulty of transition better than a veteran. That made this position the perfect fit for Wilkins.

“When I left the military, I thought it would be easier than it was,” he said. He was a little behind the curve when it came to interviewing, resume-building, networking, and even selling himself as a person. And, he admitted, he took for granted what he thought his worth was in the civilian world. “As a senior captain, with two deployments, who managed a staff of up to 35 people, I felt like I had a lot to offer,” Wilkins said.

But it wasn’t as easy as he had thought it would be.

“The loss of identity was hard,” he said. “The change from being around soldiers 24/7 to having to figure out who I was now, that was a huge challenge.”

But having a support system was what got him through. It took him time to reflect and figure out who he was and who he wanted to be. He now takes that experience and shares it with other veterans looking to start a career with Penske Logistics and Penske Truck Leasing, helping them know they aren’t alone in the process.

“Penske is a great place to transition to after the military,” Wilkins said. “We are a values-based organization, just like the military. Penske is a company that is truly dedicated to employing veterans.”

“From the support and training offered to the career growth that is available, but most of all it’s just a great place to work, a perfect fit for veterans looking to further their career and work with some great people while doing so.”

Cmdr. Randolph Chestang, reads his orders during a change of command ceremony in which he relieved Cmdr. Mark E. Postill as Commanding Officer of Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3 held onboard Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach Feb. 8, 2018. Chestang was relieved of command in February 2019. (U.S. Navy/Nelson Doromal)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The commanding officer of one of the Navy's coastal riverine squadrons has been fired, service officials announced Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Construction crews staged material needed for the Santa Teresa Border Wall Replacement project near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Mani Albrecht)

With a legal fight challenge mounting from state governments over the Trump administration's use of a national emergency to construct at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president has kicked his push for the barrier into high gear.

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted a time-lapse video of wall construction in New Mexico; the next day, he proclaimed that "THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW"

But there's a big problem: The footage, which was filmed more than five months ago on Sep. 18, 2018, isn't really new wall construction at all, and certainly not part of the ongoing construction of "the wall" that Trump has been haggling with Congress over.

Read More Show Less
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton

A group comprised of former U.S. military veterans and security contractors who were detained in Haiti on weapons charges has been brought back to the United States and arrested upon landing, The Miami-Herald reported.

The men — five Americans, two Serbs, and one Haitian — were stopped at a Port-au-Prince police checkpoint on Sunday while riding in two vehicles without license plates, according to police. When questioned, the heavily-armed men allegedly told police they were on a "government mission" before being taken into custody.

Read More Show Less
Army Sgt. Jeremy Seals died on Oct. 31, 2018, following a protracted battle with stomach cancer. His widow, Cheryl Seals is mounting a lawsuit alleging that military care providers missed her husband's cancer. Task & Purpose photo illustration by Aaron Provost

The widow of a soldier whose stomach cancer was allegedly overlooked by Army doctors for four years is mounting a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military, but due to a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, her case will likely be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.

Read More Show Less
The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)

In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.

Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.

And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.

Read More Show Less