Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Orion International Exceeds $100K Fundraising Goal for Veteran Partner Organizations

Orion International’s Veteran Low to High Challenge is coming to a close, with $108,665 raised through individual and corporate donations for our partner Veteran Organizations – Operation Military Embrace, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, and Warrior Hike.

In addition to the funds donated by Individual and Corporate Donors, we held a 5K Run / Walk Race in each of the cities in which we have an Orion office – Austin, TX; Cincinnati, OH; Raleigh, NC; Virginia Beach, VA; and San Diego, CA. In total, these 5Ks raised over $60K, with almost 1,000 runners participating!

Through the generosity of the donations, we were able to present a check of $25K to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation at their annual gala, hosted in Riverside, CT last month. Read more about the gala’s events here.

From left: Orion team members Jay Diller, Molly Moore, Kayla Burns, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation scholarship recipient Jacob Centeno Healy, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation Executive Director John Coogan, Orion team members Meredith Guenther, Todd Phillips

The culminating event of the Veteran Low to High Challenge occurred in October, when a team of Orion Employees, Veterans, Partners, and Corporate Sponsors hiked from the lowest point in Death Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney. Read the full week’s events of the hike here.

Orion International is proud to be able to give back to organizations that make a real difference in the lives of military members. We would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all our sponsors who made the Veteran Low to High Challenge possible. Your contributions have made a difference for Veterans and their families.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Veterans & Military Spouses Attend Free Project Management Training

Twenty-seven veterans and military spouses gathered on November 15 in Washington, D.C., to attend the Veteran and Military Spouse Project Management Training hosted by Bank of America, Easter Seals Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services, Orion International, and Efiia Cares. This no-cost intensive project management (PM) training and career transition program is designed to help veterans and military spouses compete for higher paying, executive management track positions that lead to long-term professional success.

Held in the offices of Bank of America, the class was attended by students who came ready to learn the fundamentals of project management, industry standards, and best practices based on real projects. The students participated in classroom instruction, group exercises, presentations, resume writing, practice interviews, and training on management tools.

As with past training sessions, this event was a success with students gaining valuable knowledge. Course evaluation survey results reflect that students felt the course was highly effective, and all would recommend the course. Among the feedback received on the course was:
  • Amazing class. I learned a lot of information to help me with my job search.”
  • Having just completed the HCC PMP series, this training really brought it home.” 
  • Great course!  Loved it and learned a lot.”
  • I was really impressed.”

The next class will be held January/February 2015 and is for veterans, military spouses, and active duty military scheduled for separation in 2015 with little or no project management experience. For more information about this program, please visit us online or complete this form to request registration information when it is available. If you have questions, please email Kelly O'Connor.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Orion International’s Final 5K in San Diego for the Veteran Low to High Challenge

Orion International’s San Diego office wrapped up the final Veteran Low to High Challenge – Warrior Tribute 5K to benefit our partner Veteran organizations last month. The office raised a total of $14,837 to date, and expects that number to rise over the $15,000 mark over the coming weeks. Over 200 runners participated in the event.

Highlights from the event included Medal of Honor recipient John Baca kicking off the race as the official starter and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton signing autographs and posing for photos with race participants. The San Diego Padres’ mascot, the Swinging Friar, and the Pad Squad were also in attendance, posing for photos and helping to motivate the crowd prior to the start of the race.

Representing one of our partner Veteran organizations, Operation Military Embrace, Sgt. Eric Morante participated in the 5K. Seven years ago, while with Fox Company 2/7 in Iraq, Eric and his squad were hit by a suicide bomber.

Also in attendance was Chelsea Healy, sister to scholarship recipient Jacob Centeno Healy, who spoke on behalf of her family and the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, another of our partner Veteran organizations. Jacob and Chelsea lost their father, Senior Chief SEAL Dan Healy, during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan.

After the race, race sponsor Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Company – Liberty Station hosted an after party to celebrate the 239th birthday of the Marine Corps.

Orion International and the San Diego office would like to thank everyone involved in making the Warrior Tribute 5K a success, including Benchmark Mortgage, San Diego Harley-Davidson, SpaceX, NRG Home, JLL, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge – San Diego County Chapter, Mossy Automotive, Mimi’s Kitchen, San Diego Padres, Hooters, Digital Art Supplies, Custom Logos, Road ID, and Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Company – Liberty Station. We appreciate your support!

It is our goal to raise $100K+ for our partner Veteran organizations through the Veteran Low to High Challenge and through 5K Run / Walk Races in each of the cities in which we have an Orion office – Austin, TX; Cincinnati, OH; Raleigh, NC; Virginia Beach, VA; and San Diego, CA.

With the completion of the 5K races, we have raised a total of $54,706 for our partner Veteran organizations, with 995 runners participating! Thank you to all those who participated and donated!

We will be accepting donations for the Veteran Low to High Challenge through December 15, 2014. Learn more and donate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Veteran Spotlight: Jesse Flowers

This week’s Veteran Spotlight focuses on Jesse Flowers, an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Identifier turned Consultant with Kurt Salmon, a global management and strategy consulting firm. Jesse began his career in September 2014 and says he couldn’t be happier with his time there so far. He sat down with us to tell us about his new career.

There are three aspects of his successful transition to a civilian career with Kurt Salmon that Jesse attributes to his military background. First is his ability to learn large amounts of new material quickly and translate that knowledge into executable skills. Second is leadership, both internal (team leadership) and external (presentation to clients and meeting/presentation guidance skills). Finally is the ability to improvise and adapt.

His new employer must also appreciate these skills, as Jesse has found Kurt Salmon to be very military friendly, with several of the senior partners being veterans.  “The integration into the company is quite simple, but requires you to be a self-starter and have a proactive mindset to managing your career. There is a lot of learning on the job, so if you work here you have to be willing to ‘drink from a fire hose.’” Jesse explains, “The caliber of people that Kurt Salmon hires is very high, so there is no room for a lax work ethic.”

Now that Jesse is working at Kurt Salmon, he has to be an expert in whatever area to which he is assigned. “This means that your high level company clients look to you for expert advice.  This places a burden on you and your team to truly BE the expert.  This overall theme encourages a culture dedicated to ongoing training and learning events,” says Jesse. His military skills are an obvious fit for this type of work that calls for a strong leader who is able to adapt to changing conditions and make informed decisions.

To learn more about how your company can recruit talented veteran candidates for your open positions, please click here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Veteran Spotlight: Denise Greenfield

From sunny Tampa, FL, to chilly Northern Norway to the deserts of the Middle East, Denise Greenfield has served her country in a variety of places as a Marine Corps Signals Intelligence Officer. Denise also has a varied educational background, with a degree from Virginia Tech in International Studies, a Master’s Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Systems Engineering, and, most recently, a PhD in English Literature from the University of Southampton.

When it came time for Denise to transition out of the Marine Corps, she contacted Orion International and was happy to learn that they were holding their first Pittsburgh, PA, hiring conference (Denise’s preferred city) in a few months. At the conference, she interviewed with PNC. Soon after, she found herself at PNC headquarters, where she spent three hours interviewing with five different individuals. She was offered a job about a week later. “All in all, it was an exceptionally smooth process,” recalls Denise.

Denise is a Training Project Manager at PNC in the Leadership Institute and finds it very rewarding to have an impact on leadership development programs across the organization. She is part of a team that develops and improves the tools and resources that help leaders in the organization tap into the many ways they can enhance their skills, increase their knowledge, and, ultimately, shape their future.

“There is a very tactical element to the work I do on a daily basis, but there is also a strategic component in that we support the business needs and strategies of all segments of the bank through performance improvement and training intervention,” explains Denise, “As a member of the Leadership Institute, I get the benefit of interacting with all areas of the bank on major projects and initiatives that impact a single line of business or in many cases, multiple/major business segment(s) within that line of business. It is very rewarding to see how our relationship with corporate training partners ensures that an overarching strategy, philosophy and values are continually being met.”

Denise’s background in the Marine Corps prepared her more than she thought it would for her new career. “I am part of a high-performing team, just as I was throughout my Marine Corps career, and the skills I developed in the military allowed me to jump right into a new career and hit the ground running,” Denise says.  She goes on to tell us that the research and analytical skills she gained in the intelligence field have proven very useful, just as have more general, but extremely important, leadership skills.

Denise explains that PNC is a fantastic company that values its veteran employees: “It’s been really nice to be a part of an organization that recognizes talent, values diversity, promotes inclusivity, and understands the importance of having a good work-life balance.” Most recently, PNC won the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the US Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserves.

The bank also has a robust and very active Military Employee Business Resource Group (MEBRG) that works with deploying service members and their families. It also assists military members to successfully transition to the workforce by offering mentoring and onboarding services while encouraging employees to refer veterans for employment at PNC.

Denise is also enjoying working in a city where there is always a lot going on. “The building in which I work is close to the sporting venues so it’s easy to catch a hockey, baseball, and/or football game every once in a while!” she says.

We asked Denise what advice she has for hiring managers looking to recruit veterans. “I would (strongly) argue that military veterans possess a variety of valuable skills for which companies are actively searching: project management, leadership, complex problem solving, mission focus, accountability, discipline, teamwork, and performance in high-stress environments, to name but a few. These skills translate extremely well to fill the needs of corporate America,” contends Denise.

Thank you, Denise, for sharing your transition experience, describing your career, and giving such great advice! Congratulations on your career. We are excited to see yet another veteran carving out a great civilian career and influencing change at her company.

Want to know more about how you can utilize Orion’s services to recruit talented veterans, click here. And don’t forget to check out our other Veteran Spotlights for even more inspiration.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Orion International Attends Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation Gala

Orion International attended the 6th Annual Greenwich Event College for their Children, a Salute to America’s Special Operations Forces Gala hosted by the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation in Riverside, CT, on Saturday, November 15th.

The gala was hosted by Colonel (Ret) Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient, with a presentation of the Patriot Award by Fallen Patriots scholarship recipient Jacob Centeno Healy, who lost his father, Senior Chief SEAL Dan Healy, during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, which has since been told in the book and film Lone Survivor. Learn more about Jacob's story.

Jacob Centeno Healy, featured speaker and Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation scholarship recipient

The recipient of this year’s Patriot Award was Admiral William H. McRaven, Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Admiral McRaven previously served from June 2008 to August 2011 as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and from June 2006 to March 2008 as Commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as COMSOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC), where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.

Admiral William McRaven, recipient of the Patriot Award

The gala also featured dinner and a live auction, with $2,617,104 raised to help support fallen military members and their children through the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.

From left: Orion team members Jay Diller, Molly Moore, Kayla Burns, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation scholarship recipient Jacob Centeno Healy, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation Executive Director John Coogan, Orion team members Meredith Guenther, Todd Phillips

Due to all of the generous donations made in support of the Veteran Low to High Challenge and its Partner Veteran Organizations, Orion International proudly presented a check for $25,000 to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation during the gala.

Orion Account Executive Jay Diller (right), with Wes Greene, son of LTC David Greene, killed in action. Wes and his sister, Jenna, along with their mother shared a table with Orion team members during the gala. Wes and his sister are both currently enrolled in college due to the assistance of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, and have attended the annual gala for the past four years.

Orion International is proud to be able to give back to a foundation that makes a real difference in the lives of military families. If you would like to help others like Jacob, Wes, and Jenna, please donate here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Veteran Spotlight: Cris Philyaw

Hire a Hero recently sat down with Cris Philyaw, a former Navy Nuclear ELT, whom Orion matched with a career at a leading space transport company in 2012. Cris is still with the company and explains how his civilian career literally brought tears to his eyes.

Cris joined the Navy in November 1999 and left for boot camp on June 6, 2000, while still 17. In September 2012, he separated from the Navy. After learning about an exciting career opportunity with a company that designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft through his Orion recruiter in May 2012, he knew he wanted to work there.

Cris’ recruiter helped him to tweak his resume to reflect his extensive technical background, and he was given a phone interview. He followed that up with an on-site interview in July 2012. By the beginning of August, he was given an offer, which he ultimately accepted and started his new career on September 10, 2012.

Cris says that his transition to the civilian workplace was smoother than he expected.  “It helps that about 60% of our full-time employees where I work are veterans. With so many of us understanding where someone fresh out is coming from, there's support on every stand and in every group,” explains Cris,“We are family here, and we celebrate our successes as such and feel the pain of drawbacks and setbacks just like you do at home.” And Cris has found that his employer cares about their employees and their families. After having his first child this past June, he received flowers and gifts for his daughter from the CEO and President.

It’s not all flowers and gifts, as they do sometimes have to battle the elements, because, as Cris says, “You just can't test a rocket or one of its engines indoors!” But, at the end of the day, he explains, “You're working for a company that will put humans on Mars and is helping to revolutionize the commercial space industry.”

Now, for the tears: Cris and many other Orion alumni at the company describe the same sentiment: There's nothing more rewarding than seeing all of the hours, blood, and sweat spent on getting a rocket certified for flight come to fruition, as you watch that flight launch and make mission. “The first rocket I worked on was Flight 6, which was our first 1.1 flight; and I would be lying if I did not have tears of joy flowing down my face. Between the cheers and tears, you cannot beat the feeling of watching your hard work released in over 1 million pounds of thrust, rocketing towards the vastly untouched frontier of space,” recalls Cris.

The rocket and space industry is a very small industry with only a handful of companies with launch capabilities. Because of this, Cris says, it is very difficult to prepare yourself for the specific job tasks that will be required. However, he says his background in Nuclear Power played a major role in his success thus far.

“You have to be quick on your feet, have the ability to learn fast and on the job, and are responsible for the safe operation, repair, and maintenance of not only the test article but the stand and supporting equipment that allow us to test our rockets,” explains Cris, “You can teach anyone to turn a wrench, but you have to be able to think ahead and be ready for the next series of events, while taking in to account how the work you are performing or will be performing affects the rocket and the safety of those working on it.”

Cris is more than satisfied with his career choice. He has a challenging job, in a family oriented environment, working on equipment and hardware very few people get the opportunity or privilege to experience.  And Cris adds, “Aside from having great benefits, you get to see your hard work place a satellite in a geosynchronous orbit or supply the ISS with much needed provisions and experiments. You get to be a part of the reusable rocket development and on the leading edge of the return of human spaceflight to American soil. We take pride in our work and what we do, and we love our job. What more could you want?”

Click here to learn more about how you can recruit veterans like Cris for your company.