Finding a Home: Veterans Continuing Service at Gray
Recent numbers show there are more than 20 million living U.S. veterans who have served in a branch of the armed service. Every year, thousands of those veterans say goodbye to active duty and transition into civilian life.
They come from military roles that may not perfectly translate into the civilian world, yet due to their vast experience, they possess a set of invaluable skills and professional traits that are an asset to any team they join. In addition to being our nation’s heroes, military servicemen and women bring a wealth of professional traits to any organization seeking talent.
These veterans have laid down years of their lives, sacrificing time and memories with family and friends, all for our nation’s freedom. Through blood, sweat, and tears, these men and women have endured years of grueling trainings exercises, missions, and challenges, that aided in developing a diverse skillset along the way, one built on a foundation of leadership, loyalty, and adaptability. As they transition into this new stage of life, they look for an opportunity to apply these skills in new ways.
Veterans are an asset to businesses of all shapes and sizes. In fact, a recent CareerBuilder survey found that 47% of employers say they pay more attention to resumes and applications from veterans. The skills, discipline, and work ethic these former service members bring to the table cannot be manufactured or taught in a classroom; they are only learned through training and hands-on experience. As an active recruiter of men and women transitioning out of the military, Gray appreciates the opportunity to welcome service members to the team and apply their unique skillset in a civilian role.
At Gray, we are proud to employ 71 veterans. And while we might not have tanks or uniforms, it is the values that our veterans share with the organization that make them a perfect fit. Our core values, extensive training programs, and comprehensive benefits are comparable to those received in service.
“In the Army, we were taught never give up, never accept defeat. If you fall, you get back up, and you always remain ready for the next assignment,” says Shawna Palmer, compliance coordinator at Gray and former Private in the U.S. Army.
From humble beginnings, working on small construction projects, to where the business is today, Gray has experienced trials and tribulations along the way and was given plenty of opportunities to accept defeat. However, this same military mentality of perseverance and persistence, looking ahead to the next challenge, has kept the organization moving forward and has brought it to where it is today.
“‘Adapt and overcome’ is what we say! I personally have been exposed to countless different cultures from around the world, lived in five different states, and spent the better portion of three years overseas in foreign countries,” says Jami Killinger, project manager at Gray and former Gunner Mate in the U.S. Navy.
Adapting is just part of the job description for someone in the military and the same could be said, in a slightly different form of course, for those working at Gray. From working on multiple projects, to running back and forth to internal meetings, and keeping customers satisfied, things at Gray are constantly changing and moving. This fast-paced business environment can be intimidating, and to some, even overwhelming. Each project and jobsite presents its own set of unique challenges that team members must overcome and our Veterans serve as a strong presence and provide stability in those environments.
“Every project we do at Gray is unique. Adaptability has given me the sense of comfort to not fear traveling alone to an unknown location to visit with a customer,” says Killinger.
Feeling Like Family
“I’m not just a coworker at Gray, I’m family,” says Palmer.
Gray is more than just a business; it is a family. What began as a small family has grown to include more than 1,000 team members who are an extension of that family. For veterans, being a family with your peers is instinctual.
“In the military, your unit becomes your family, and you always have each other’s back,” says Palmer. “In the civilian world, it’s hard to find a job where you have the same support and mentality. At Gray, you have that. Here, you are family from the moment you step in the door.”
The ties and relationships that are created and cultivated are more than just a typical work family; they go far beyond standard and positively impact the lives of everyone involved.
A Dedication to Show Appreciation
David Crickard, an assistant project manager and U.S. Marine, reenlisted into the reserves while working at Gray and was activated for a 12-month combat deployment in Afghanistan back in 2010. After returning from deployment, Crickard dedicated a flag that flew over his patrol base to the Gray brothers and company at Gray’s Annual Meeting.
“I want to thank Gray for supporting me and my family while I was deployed. I rested better knowing if my wife needed something, my Gray family would be there to help,” says Crickard
That flag now hangs in the Lexington office on the second floor to serve as a constant reminder of those who have dedicated their lives in service of this great country.
Deep Respect and Honor
Gray has a deep respect for our nation’s heroes, and we are honored to have veterans on our team. The skills, values, and hard work instilled in these individuals are truly irreplaceable. While eternally grateful for their military service and sacrifice, we are delighted to have veterans join our family. For more information on joining the Gray Family, visit gray.com/careers.