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

Sean Wilkins
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.”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Read More Show Less

That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

Read More Show Less

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.

Read More Show Less

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.

Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.

Read More Show Less