Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fortune 500 Companies Find Value in Veterans

Just about everyone is familiar with the Fortune 500, the annual ranking of top American companies in terms of gross revenue. What you may not be familiar with is the role that veterans play in companies at the top of the list.

Coming in at #1, the most profitable company last year was ExxonMobil. Up from the number two spot with profits in excess of $45 billion, Exxon has actively sought to hire veterans to fill a wide range of positions ranging from Machinists and Maintenance Mechanics, to Foremen and Supervisors, to Engineers and Project Managers.

Second on the list is the retail chain Wal-Mart. Although down from their previous number one spot, they still managed to rake in more than $13 billion in profit last year. Wal-Mart places great importance on hiring veterans. Steve Ruggiero, a combat veteran, became a Developmental Store Co-Manager with Wal-Mart after serving for six years as an Army officer where he was Company Commander and an Instructor. And, although this former Army officer had not considered working in retail before discovering the Wal-Mart opportunity, the job description certainly met all of the criteria he was looking for in a new career.

“I am in a strong management role, there is plenty of opportunity for upward mobility, the company is strong and has a great culture, the compensation is great, and I am working in my location of choice,” explains Ruggiero. Ruggiero is one of many veterans that Wal-Mart has utilized to fill Store Manager positions throughout the country.


Up from number five, ConocoPhillips ranked as number four this year. As a Commander in the Navy, George Rissky, found that his new position as a Standardization Engineer “draws upon all the skills I developed in the Navy, particularly my leadership and coordination of functional teams, as well as my analytical and engineering background.” Rissky’s nine years of leadership experience in the Navy where he served as an Executive Officer, Director of Effects and Analysis, and Director of Warfare Requirements made him an excellent fit for the ConocoPhillips position he currently holds.


Rissky is pleased with his new career and sees great potential for growth with Conoco. “The position is exactly what I was looking for – an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a company that offers me challenging work with growth opportunities for the future. This job is one where my abilities will be appreciated and have an immediate, positive impact,” says Rissky.


Rounding out the top five is General Electric. Posting profits in excess of $17 billion, GE frequently looks to veterans for quality employees. One such success story is Navy Petty Officer First Class Joseph Palmer who now works for GE Energy. Palmer believes that his position as a Field Engineer for electrical distribution systems is exactly what he was looking for, and is a direct translation of his military experience into a civilian job. While in the Navy, Palmer served as an Electrical Assistant, Performance Monitoring Team Pearl Harbor, and as an Electrical Division Team Member on the USS Ohio Submarine.

General Electric is so dedicated to the hiring of veterans that they have created the Junior Officer Leadership Program (JOLP). In this program, veterans perform three eight-month rotations in several different business areas in GE Infrastructure's Energy, Aviation, and Oil & Gas teams. GE offers this program to veterans with a technical degree, a highly competitive undergraduate grade point average, broad responsibility and leadership experiences and at least four years of commissioned service. These veterans start their careers in a two-year cross-functional rotational training program, which includes both on-the-job and formal classroom training.


More and more veterans are making the transition from military leadership to corporate leadership, enabling change and growth at America's top companies and throughout the nation. Click here to read more about the Fortune 500.

2 comments:

  1. Allison, thanks for the article. It is not surprising that companies are recognizing the talented leaders that today's military is producing.

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