Navy Russian linguist finds her fit at Republic Services

Hard-working high school student Amy Tregre was expected to go to college. Instead, she joined the Navy in 1999, enlisting...

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, 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 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