FASTPORT Trucking Track Sponsors J.B. Hunt and Ryder Among Leading Employers of Veterans Honored at Hiring Our Heroes Awards Gala


FASTPORT CEO Bill McLennan and other esteemed U.S. Marines attended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes’ 5th annual Lee Anderson Awards Dinner on November 10th to support leading employers of Veterans who were honored during the event, including Trucking Track Sponsors J.B. Hunt and Ryder System, Inc.

To recognize the finalists and award recipients from all six categories, Hiring Our Heroes highlighted how each company and individual’s efforts to improve the military-civilian career transition for service members, Veterans, and spouses have worked together to empower our military as they search for new professions. In addition to thanking the honorees for their meaningful work affecting the military community, the gala provided a platform for industry leaders to discuss how to continue to improve this important work in the future.

“We are proud and gratified that two Trucking Track Sponsors are having their efforts recognized on a national scale,” said Bill McLennan, FASTPORT CEO. “J.B. Hunt and Ryder are invaluable employers on the Trucking Track Mentoring Program who have helped connect thousands of military service members, Veterans, and spouses with lasting careers through their leadership on the Trucking Track and their other company-wide efforts.”

The Trucking Track Mentoring Program launched in 2014 as a partnership between Hiring Our Heroes and FASTPORT to connect Veterans with expert mentors who provide access to great careers. Twelve carriers participate on and help shape the program, and it also had direct input from Soldier for Life and the Transition Assistance Program leaders during its initial stages to ensure the program had the most productive and last impact for transitioning service men and women. In just one year, the Trucking Track has introduced over 8,000 Veterans to employment mentors and processed 27,000 online quick applications.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue acknowledged how important successful public-private partnerships like the Trucking Track are for the military community and applauded the efforts displayed by the finalists and winners during his featured presentation. “One of the most important ways our nation can honor the service and sacrifice of our military personnel,” asserted Donohue, “is by ensuring that they have meaningful employment when they transition into civilian life.”

Thomas Donohue, President and CEO of U.S. Chamber of Commerce (left) and Eric Eversole, a Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President of Hiring Our Heroes (right)

Thomas Donohue, President and CEO of U.S. Chamber of Commerce (left) and Eric Eversole, a Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President of Hiring Our Heroes (right)

“It is amazing to see how much progress has been made in veteran and military spouse employment since this awards gala began five years ago – and tonight’s finalists and winners have played an important role in that progress,” said Eric Eversole, a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes. “Both internally at their companies and externally throughout their industries, they have set a high standard for all to follow.”

Michael Raley, Ryder’s Recruiting Manager and Retired U.S. Navy Veteran emphasized why it is so important to support and attract Veterans to the trucking industry: “Veterans possess many of the invaluable skills and qualities we look for at Ryder. It is extremely important to us that transitioning service men and women are made aware of all the opportunities available to them as they ease back into civilian life, and we are proud of the work we have done—and continue to do—to help our Veterans find real economic opportunities after their military service."

J.B. Hunt’s Military Recruiting Manager Dave Harrison added, "J.B. Hunt is dedicated to supporting and empowering Veterans and transitioning Military Service Members by providing a fast-track to a meaningful career in the transportation industry. We continue the traditions and leadership originally implemented by our founder, Veteran Johnnie Bryant Hunt, by demonstrating industry-leading methods in finding, hiring and supporting our Military service members.”

“We are honored to be named as a Finalist for the Steve Robinson Post 9/11 Veteran Employment Award by Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” Harrison continued. “However, we are even more humbled and  honored to provide a meaningful career opportunity for our Veterans and Service Members who have  sacrificed so much for our country and will continue being committed to Veteran hiring."

To learn more about each award presented at the Hiring Our Heroes Gala and to see all finalists and recipients that are ensuring our service members have real economic opportunities after their transition into civilian life, read below:

  • Lee Anderson Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award is awarded to a company that has shown overall excellence in hiring and retaining Veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses
    • Finalists: Comcast NBCUniversal; Hospital Corporation of America (HCA); Union Pacific Railroad
    • Winner: Hospital Corporation of America (HCA)


  • Steve Robinson Post-9/11 Veteran Employment Award is awarded to a company that has displayed effective and sustained efforts to enhance the ability of post-9/11 Veterans and transitioning service members to find meaningful employment:


  • Don Weber Wounded Veteran and Military Caregiver Employment Award is awarded for demonstrated leadership in addressing the unique challenges and demands for wounded, ill, and injured Veterans as well as military caregivers in their search for meaningful employment:


  • Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring Award is awarded for a consolidated to to hire, mentor, and support military spouses as they search for meaningful employment:
    • Finalists: First Command Financial Services; Prudential Financial; United Services Automobile Association (USAA)
    • Winner: Prudential Financial


  • Capital One Award for Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment, awarded to a business with demonstrated leadership in hiring Veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses:
    • Finalists: Afterburner Inc.; Camo2Commerce; Greencastle Associates Consulting
    • Winner: Camo2Commerce


  • Colonel Michael Endres Leadership Award for Individual Excellence in Veteran Employment is awarded to an individual who has proven leadership in providing employment opportunities for Veterans, transitioning service members, and spouses:
    • Finalists: Mike Kelly, Assistant Vice President for Military Advocacy, USAA; Keith Nattrass, GM Military & Veteran Affairs, Global Diversity, General Motors; Blayne Smith, Executive Director, Team Red, White & Blue; Kris Urbauer, Program Manager for Military Recruiting, General Electric.
    • Winner: Keith Nattrass, GM Military & Veteran Affairs

The finalists and recipients for the awards were competitively judged by the Hiring Our Heroes Awards Committee, which based the judging on criteria such as innovative recruiting and retention strategies, military community engagement and leadership, and ongoing commitments to hire Veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses.