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Navy Russian linguist finds her fit at Republic Services
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Republic Services which is committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace. Republic Services is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn More.
Hard-working high school student Amy Tregre was expected to go to college. But beneath the surface of her advanced placement classes, extracurricular activities and sports involvement lay fathoms of uncertainty, and she didn't have the resources to waste time waffling between college majors. One thing she was certain of, though: she wanted to travel. So, she joined the Navy in 1999, enlisting as a cryptologic technician interpretive, to learn a language, see the world and fund her eventual higher education.
After a year learning Russian at the intensive Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Tregre was assigned to Naval Air Facility Misawa in Japan, where she spent the rest of her enlistment working with, and eventually leading, an eight-person joint forces team.
"It was intriguing work when something happened, [but] it could be a little bit slow at times," says Tregre. She notes that she loved working within her supportive, tight-knit team, and "knowing I was contributing to something bigger. It was a unique kind of job role for sure."
Tregre's high-achieving streak continued to shine in the Navy. She made E-5 in just four years; organized balls, fundraisers, and volunteer opportunities as the co-chair of the Morale Committee; earned Blue Jacket Sailor of the Quarter twice; and earned Blue Jacket Sailor of the Year once. She even took additional classes to learn Japanese and explored the country with fellow service members who became lifelong friends.
"I thrived. I loved it. And I was very seriously considering re-enlisting, but part of why I was in was to travel and explore different places, and the opportunities that were available to me became pretty limited and stateside," Tregre recalls. "It was really a matter of weighing my priorities, and I decided that I wanted to go continue my education."
Finding another team
Tregre relied on the GI Bill to complete a bachelor's degree. After receiving her degree in secondary education, Tregre taught high school English for six years before returning to school to complete a master's degree in educational technology. For her master's program, she was able to use the Post 911 GI Bill funding for support. Following graduation, she moved through several jobs searching for the right fit: she created online lessons for Shutterfly's Classroom Pilot Program, produced training manuals and videos for Technology Based Learning and Research at Arizona State University, and developed digital staff trainings for the University of Phoenix. But something was missing.
In 2016, a former professor told Tregre about a position he had accepted at Republic Services, and her interest was piqued. She applied for a job as a senior instructional design specialist, and soon found herself working in the fast-paced, small-team environment she had been searching for.
"That pace of work and really relying on a team to accomplish the goal was different than the work I'd done before," Tregre recalls. "At Republic, I had a team to work with and I had to rely on that team and they had to rely on me … and so that really kind of harkened back, to me, to that same sense of team I had when I was in the military."
Tregre now serves as Republic's senior manager of learning solutions, which involves meeting with Republic employees who are experts in a variety of roles throughout the company to gather information for learning interventions to support their goals and initiatives. eLearning is only a part of her role at the company. She and her team develop and design a variety of complex learning modules to help both new and current employees develop the skills they need to be successful. They also produce videos, job aids, and other unique learning resources that are delivered to employees through a variety of channels.
"It's really great knowing that I'm working with those experts ... to put together material and help other people do their job easier, more efficiently, more aligned with the rest of the company," Tregre says.
A passion project finally unveiled
On Nov. 11, 2019, from the podium of the Republic Services' Veterans Day Celebration at the company's Phoenix headquarters, CEO Don Slager announced the launch of a military business resource group called V.A.L.O.R. (Veterans Advocacy, Learning, Outreach and Recruiting).
But the announcement wasn't news to Tregre, who leads V.A.L.O.R.'s learning development team. Long before the group's announcement, Tregre had been working with a team of other service members and learning solutions staff at Republic to plan V.A.L.O.R.'s development strategy. Tregre says they plan to create resources designed to help service members transition into the civilian workforce, as well as help managers understand "how to better onboard and support a new military member or how to recognize the value that a service member or spouse might bring to the organization."
She says a part of the educational portion of V.A.L.O.R. was inspired by the military's sponsor program, in which service members transitioning to a new duty station are assigned a sponsor who helps them learn what life is like at their new home base. To Tregre's delight, about 220 Republic employees signed up for V.A.L.O.R. on the day of its unveiling and the group currently has 330 members. The new members completed a survey, and their answers will help the V.A.L.O.R. team determine what services and resources to focus on in the future.
"They're just so excited to have this connection. I think people are so ready and wanting to support the military veteran community across the organization," Tregre says. "I'm excited about the groundwork that we have in place, and the sense of commitment to getting it right and making it something that is lasting and durable and expansive throughout the company."
A Commitment to Hiring Heroes
The V.A.L.O.R. group is the newest part of Republic's commitment to hiring and retaining military service members. They offer pay benefits for reservists, allow job seekers to search openings based on their MOS, and work with several military hiring organizations to recruit veterans, reservists, and military spouses.
"We value the unique perspectives veterans bring to our company through their military skillsets, leadership, accountability and attention to detail," the company writes on their website. "V.A.L.O.R. supports these [hiring] efforts and offers our employees the opportunity to meet and connect with veterans and colleagues nationwide to learn from each other, participate in community outreach programs that benefit veterans, and support the development and recruitment of those transitioning from military service."
Tregre agrees that veterans make valuable additions to Republic Services' diverse team.
"That sense of collaboration, of teamwork — because every part of our organization relies on the team — I think that's a great value that military members bring to our organization," Tregre says, as well as "a certain mental toughness and resolve to accomplish a goal, a drive for that mission, for doing it well and with precision."
Tregre hopes that V.A.L.O.R. will help new veteran employees have as satisfying an experience at Republic Services as she has had.
"I've really felt supported and I've grown a lot," she reflects. "It's been a very positive experience."
This post was sponsored by Republic Services
Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.
"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.
Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.
Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.