Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Orion 25th Anniversary Spotlight: Founding Partner Randy Nelson


Randy in the early '90s
Randy Nelson, one of the five founding partners of Orion, is a former Navy Submarine Officer. He served within the Navy Nuclear Program from 1983 to 1989, spending three of those years aboard the USS JAMES MADISON (SSBN-627)(BLUE CREW). 

After separating from the Navy in 1989, Randy began a recruiting career with the same military recruiting firm as Bill Laughlin and Jim Tully. It was their shared vision of creating a military recruiting company that was different and better than anything in the industry that led to the creation of Orion International. He now serves on Orion’s Board of Directors. 

We asked Randy to share his memories and advice below as Orion celebrates its 25-year anniversary.

What was the most fulfilling part of starting Orion? Knowing we could make a difference for both clients and candidates leaving the service, in a way that was different and better than other firms.

What were the circumstances and how did you feel making your first hire?  My first candidate hired  was Jonathan Fulton at Alcoa. I was relieved and ecstatic, and I remember his name 25 years later!

Do you have a veteran you placed that sticks out in your mind? We have had so many success stories over the past 25 years that it is hard to name just one. Marvin Hamilton would be one to mention—he rose very high in Target executive ranks.

What has your career path been since moving on from Orion? I remain on the Board of Directors, so I never really left. I built NSTAR Global Services into a leading semiconductor services company from 2002-2010 and recently published my first book, The Second Decision; The Qualified Entrepreneur. My current business is Gold Dolphins, LLC -- an executive coaching, public speaking, and consulting firm for entrepreneurs and leaders.

Randy today
What advice do you have for other would-be veteran entrepreneurs? I have had the honor of speaking at two vetpreneur events recently, Patriot Boot Camp and VetStart (which was started by a former Orion employee). I told them to be very proud of their service, take advantage of their strengths (honesty, strong work ethic, integrity, loyalty, teamwork), and build a differentiated company, not just another company that does the same thing everybody else does. I also told them to work with mentors who can help along the way, people who have been there and done that and can act as a sounding board and advisor.

What advice do you have for us as we head in to Orion’s 26th year?
Be very proud of what we have done and what you will continue to do at Orion. Remain the industry leader, and continue to take great care of our customers and our candidates. Keep the passionate service and hard work going!


Thank you, Randy, for giving us some insight into the early days of Orion! Your decision to take a chance and start a business 25 years ago has led to a company that has proudly served more than 36,000 veterans today.

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