Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Veteran Spotlight: Will Simmons

Will Simmons, a former Air Force Office of Special Investigations Captain, was placed with Actavis, a leading generic pharmaceutical company, in November 2009. One year after he started with them, Simmons was promoted from low-man-on-the-totem-pole to the Senior MRF Supervisor. “According to my immediate boss and the director, this promotion was based on my attention to detail, ability to execute under stress, and my ability to connect with the personnel that worked for (and with) me, thus producing excellent results,” explains Simmons.

Simmons says his employer recognized his ability to connect with people. This was an important skill to them, as Simmons works in a union environment that had some issues with disconnect in regards to the operator and management level. “Just as I did when assuming a new command or new reports in the military, I sat down with them as a group and went over my expectations but then took the time to meet with each one of them to go over where they felt their strengths were, what weaknesses (in both themselves and the organization) they saw, and where there was room for improvement,” explains Simmons, “I gathered all this information and then met with them again as a group to go over (with no attribution) some of the information that was brought to my attention. As a group, we went over the information that had been presented.”

And while this may sound like common sense, this approach truly made the difference for Simmons and his team. “I was able to connect with my subordinates on a different level so that while still maintaining the boundary between subordinate and supervisor, I was able to learn how each person worked and what motivated them as such. I truly believe that my experience in the military enabled me to do this in the corporate setting, thereby allowing us to meet or exceed all of our goals,” recalls Simmons.

Simmons also attributes his ability to think clearly and make decisions under stress to his military background. In a manufacturing environment that operates 24/7/365, decisions often have to be made in a few seconds and can be the difference between a successful production campaign or an unsuccessful one. Simmons’ experience, particularly overseas in a combat environment, greatly aided his ability to filter out the “white noise”, as he calls it, and make a quick decision.

Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet hopes employers will take note of Simmons’ success and the fact that it is typical of many veterans in the civilian workplace. Implementing time and battle-tested strategies in a civilian environment provides a fresh approach to many issues facing employers, just as Simmons was able to develop a solution to an issue at his workplace. We wish Simmons continued luck in his career.

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