As the Mid-America Trucking Show wound down, the focus on military employment ramped up. On Friday morning, a record shattering number of employers gathered to publicly pledge their employment support of the Guard and Reserve. Minutes later, the Acting Secretary of the Army, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Kentucky State ESGR, and FASTPORT President joined Eric Harley on Red Eye Radio to emphasize the importance of Veteran hiring in the trucking industry to thousands of listeners.
To listen to the interviews in their entirety, simply click on the image at the top of the blog. Or, read below for interview highlights:
“The statement here today in Louisville has been that these Veterans are civic assets, that these Veterans are not victims. We are hiring them because, first, it’s good for business and, secondly, because it’s the right thing to do.
Everyone that serves in our U.S. Army is either a high school graduate or [has] a GED...They are leaders of character. They pass drug tests because we have it mandated. Lastly, they know what it’s like to be part of a team and have a love of country stamped on their heart. They believe in the ethics of duty, honor, country. Whether they serve for 3 years in the Army or 30 years, everyone transitions out at some point.
The trucking industry [is stepping] forward time and time again to hire these men and women who have served their country, who have been overseas and been away from their families. Now they’re back and they’re joining teams in the trucking industry and they’re leading by example, and that’s what’s so encouraging about this Signing Statement today.”
“[ESGR] is get out there and help employers understand two things: One is that when you hire a Guardsmen, Reservist, or Veteran you’re probably getting a better employee, somebody who wants to be part of the team. They understand service, and they understand responsibility...But the other thing is that we want employers to understand that when they hire a Guardsmen or a Reservist and they support them, they are part of the team that defends this country, and that’s a model that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
And so we ask employers to sign these Statements of Support as an acknowledgement of, ‘Yeah, I’m joining that team.’...It’s incredible how willing [employers] are to reach out and grab these folks because they know it’s a good deal for them and it’s a great deal for the country.
“Employers in the trucking industry have set the standard. They seem to get it intuitively...what they’ve already figured out and hopefully more employers will figure out as time goes by is that these kids that are serving today, that are coming out of service, in my view they are the greatest generation...I couldn’t say enough good things about them or about the trucking industry and what FASTPORT has done. This is just incredible.”
“I’m here today on behalf of Governor Bevan who is a Veteran as well as his Lieutenant Governor, and they both strongly support putting Veterans to work. They are very grateful for the fact that FASTPORT is having this meeting here and giving them the opportunity to do that.
As the Commissioner of Veteran Affairs, I’m very interested in the same things, not only with Veterans but with those currently serving who will be Veterans. So it’s a dual role for me with ESGR and serving as Commissioner. It gives me the opportunity to interface with Veterans and active duty members from all branches, and it’s a wonderful opportunity.
We very much support what FASTPORT is doing here and are very appreciative of the operation in holding the ceremony and signing and the interaction with the active duty forces right here close to Fort Knox as well as the National Guard and Reserve individuals that we service daily.”
“We know that Soldiers have the attributes to be a success in our industry. The skills translate well. What we used to say about these trucking companies and all the great employers in our industry is that we’re ‘military friendly’, but what we’re finding now is that it’s all about readiness.
Not only can we say that we have employers who are military friendly, we can say that we have companies that are Veteran-ready, and that’s very important. They are creating cultures internally, people from management level down who can relate to the Soldiers coming out. The most critical role in our industry is the driver, but the people that have to support that driver are starting to be hired. The values of people coming out that have been military recruiters are becoming [trucking] recruiters at this level, operations people. The fact is that anybody coming out of the military is going to be successful in trucking because they already work for the largest logistics operation in the world, and that’s the U.S. military.”
“As someone who observes someone on a regular basis and observes them on a regular basis, you know who these people are, you know what they’re made of, and this industry I think has been great about getting the ball rolling in this direction, but this [MATS event] really is moving that at a very big momentum, taking it to a newer level having the Department of Defense involved. That is something that is again historic to say, ‘Look, we are reaching out to this group of individuals, these Veterans, and we have a place for you here if you want it.’”