Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.
It is the person of the heart which holds the heart of others.
The hearts of Sisters, Brothers, Fathers, the hearts of our Dear Mothers.
They go and battle for who they love,
The Whats, the Whys, and those above.
They take the chance to lose their life
To say good bye to man and wife….
To leave their Mom’s and Dad’s at home
To know they may be left to roam:
To roam the fields of death’s despair;
To walk the land mines on the dare.
That they will live to see sunset,
As they sweat to pay the debt.
A debt for freedom in our land,
A payment made, which goes in hand
Of every person you can count;
Americans which will amount,
To people reading this right now;
To people whom might disavow,
The right to fight for freedom’s dreams:
The right for living to extremes.
It makes no difference who you are…
The what, or why you might disbar,
Those which live a different life,
A soldier’s life’s to play the fife.
A fife, which whistle’s Man’s belief
Where safety is a true relief;
Equalities abound to share;
To live a life without a care.
And so we thank you on this day.
For your courage lights the way
For us to speak what’s on our mind
To exercise a truth that shined,
Upon our flag, we’ve come to share.
Our Stars and Stripes forever bear…
Commandments which allow us to,
Salute in faith, Red, White and Blue.
Top photo: Washington, D.C., March 25, 2016: Lone red carnation and American flag at Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Bigstock Photo.
The entire world watched our recent Presidential election and we were reminded again and again that our freedoms come at a cost to those who bravely serve in our armed forces. Memorial Day in May celebrates those who have died while serving our country; Veteran’s Day celebrates the service of all military veterans, so we have the opportunity to reach out to honor and help our living veterans to thank them for all they have done.
Woman Around Town ran a three-part series, Veterans at Work – Winning on the Home Front, interviewing three officials who assist veterans in the transition from the battlefield to the workplace. If you missed one in the series, you can click here to read the stories:
In addition, we have a list of websites for organizations whose aim is to assist our returning warriors. Whether you make a donation or volunteer with one of these groups, you will be giving back to a group that has given so much.
Before we observe Veteran’s Day on November 11, Woman Around Town continues a series by career expert Jason Veduccio interviewing experts who help returning warriors re-enter the workplace. This week, Jason talks with Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Joseph C. Barto III (Retired) who is the Founder and President of TMG (Training Modernization Group) that offers customized solutions to top international corporations looking to increase productivity and performance.
Part II – Helping Vets Help America’s Businesses
Veterans already in the workplace are in the best position to help their fellow veterans, but they cannot do it alone. Corporate America must pitch in to help. The result would be a win-win: corporations will benefit from employing veterans who are highly trained, loyal, dedicated, driven, courageous, and adept at problem-solving, while the veterans will find meaningful, well-paying jobs that can help them transition back into civilian life.
That message was emphasized during my conversation with LTC Joseph C. Barto III, a gentleman with as much confidence as cordiality. He spoke to me by phone during a break in his hectic schedule, and though he hadn’t any previous knowledge of my questions, his answers were focused and genuine and he spoke with the essence of a man who knew exactly what it was he wanted to say. (Please see below for a more complete bio of LTC Barto.)
When did you first consider a life or work in the military?
I was an Army brat in Atlanta who happened to be a pretty good basketball player. I was recruited by the United States Military Academy at West Point and attended where I was in the first recruiting class for a new young head coach there named Mike Krzyzewski. (Krzyzewski is the now legendary coach of the Duke basketball team.)
When did you begin to think that helping Veteran’s find work was something that needed someone’s attention?
When I was a kid I asked my Dad about his life after World War II when he had returned from the European Theater. He said that he went home to Bethlehem, PA after he was discharged and went to Bethlehem Steel and asked for a job. They told him to come back the next day ready to work—good enough for our country good enough for us. I thought to myself, that’s how it should be now – and not because it’s right, but because if these corporations understand the value of an employee who has served in the armed forces, then it simply becomes a good business decision.
What were some challenges you saw in Veteran’s finding work?
Vets have come to expect good 1st Line Leadership, to be taught what they are expected to do for the very beginning, to feel like they are a part of a team they can be loyal to, to see a future with the business, and to have at least the salary they had in the service with full benefits. Many companies will not or can not provide this environment which makes this about our businesses more than about the Vets.
Were there many groups out there helping in this area?
Yes, there are and some are great. The issue is that many are focused on the Veteran’s themselves, by tutoring them on resumes, showing them how to dress, even teaching them more skills, and in reality we should be focused on the companies. They must pull the Vets into the business as opposed to pushing Vets into the workforce and hope something good happens.
What types of companies are you speaking of?
In some ways all of them but more strategically, 80% of businesses are hiring very few employees each year, maybe one or two, while the larger corporations, those with 1,000 or more employees, they usually have more extensive yearly hiring commitments. The key is identifying those smaller businesses who want to hire and retain Vest but they just don’t know how.
What are some things that TMG is doing to help?
TMG serves corporations with the best solutions for Leader Performance and Workforce Productivity systems. Through TMG we have developed a Vet Pipeline system that we customize to specific company circumstances. We branded it Vet-STRONG. The Vet-STRONG system is designed to help companies across America successfully recruit and retain military Veterans.
What are some of the qualities of the Vet-STRONG Initiative?
We offer a process to hiring and retaining Veterans that focuses on training the company to see the value in this type of employee. After a company has shown interest they complete a Vet Ready Self-Assessment (VRA) to determine if they want to move from being Vet Friendly to Vet STRONG. After TMG conducts a VRA on-site, and analysis is used to design a more focused model, at that point TMG customizes a Vet Pipeline for said company’s Vet-Strong program. After a pilot period TMG hands off the Vet-STRONG Program to the company who now has a valuable channel for finding and retaining these employees.
How do you classify these companies?
We do it by size, from small, medium to large and then enterprise-size companies which tend to hire 500+ people per year.
What types of things do you think companies would benefit from knowing about Veterans?
The first thing I tell them is that companies in the private sector really have no understanding of what a Veteran even is, for instance there are so many different kinds, with different skill sets and yet for many, they all are seen as this one grouping of “Veterans”. Vet is a really big word. Secondly I tell them about the military’s recruiting system and how our system already disqualified only 1 out of 4 youths between the ages of 17-24 so you should take advantage of the quality young people available. Lastly I try to explain a bit about the lives of these Veterans: how they may have moved 3 or 4 times in just a few years, or how they might have spent over half their time overseas, or that many are used to promotions and value the responsibility that comes with it. It is through an understanding these nuances that can help make the relationship more organic.
Is there anything people reading this can do to help?
Well first of all yes we can all do something. Spreading the word is a start. But it’s not helping people like me. It’s about helping these Veterans and at the same time, corporate America. If we could get people on board to train companies, better describe the challenges of the workforce to Veteran’s, and finally reach out to more Veterans in a more consistent manner, we would make a lot of head way. And if corporate America is out there listening, please contact someone to learn about these incredible people who can help make your company better. Hire and Retain a Vet… it will be the best business decision you will ever make.
Read the first part of Jason’s series, an interview with Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Eric Furey (Retired), who helps finds veterans looking for work, mostly in the defense industry as contractors.
If you would like to contact LTC Barto please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded.
LTC Joseph C. Barto III (Retired) has created and led TMG, Inc. to consistent, near perfect business performance since it’s founding as Training Modernization Group in July 2002. A values-driven Program Management Services company, TMG’s high level of performance has been recognized by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009 for Excellence in Practice with partners across America. TMG analyzes, designs, develops, pilots, implements and transitions Leader Performance and Workforce Productivity systems for companies such as Northrop Grumman, ESCO, Ball Metal Beverage Packaging, BAE Systems Ship Repair, Liebherr Mining Equipment, Lifetouch Studios, Aera Energy, L3 Communications, and North Florida Shipyards.
A retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, Barto graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Armor at the United States Military Academy in 1978 where he was an Army basketball player for Coach Mike Krzyzewski. During Operation Desert Shield and Storm he was the Chief of Operations for the 25,000 soldier 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the Executive Office for Task Force 2-4 CAV which led the division into the Euphrates River Valley attacking the Iraqi Republican Guards. He is the author of Task Force 2-4 CAV: First In — Last Out, a study of leadership in the most challenging, stressful, and demanding leadership environment—combat. He was a Special Assistant to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and the primary author of the June 1996 Joint Training Manual.
He holds a Master Degree in Public Administration (Organizational Theory and Leadership) from James Madison University, was a Charter member of the United States Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, serves on the Southeast Region Board of Directors for the Association of Manufacturing Excellence and is a long time Director of the New Horizons Regional Education Center Foundation. He is on the Steering Committee for the Hampton Roads Quality Management Council and the Chair, Workforce Development Committee of the Virginia Offshore Wind Coalition.
In 2008, Barto was diagnosed with vocal chord cancer and with the help of his family, his medical team and his college friend and basketball teammate, Krzyzewski, he is now cancer free. He has been married to Tricia for 34 years, and they have four sons of which the two oldest and Tricia are a core part of the family business.
Three weeks before we observe Veteran’s Day, Woman Around Town launches a three-part series by career expert Jason Veduccio interviewing experts who help returning warriors re-enter the workplace. This week, Jason talks with Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Eric Furey (Retired) who spends his personal time assisting fellow veterans looking for work, mostly in the defense industry as contractors. These assignments allow veterans to use the knowledge they gained fighting a war to assist companies who produce defense-related products or provide personnel services.
Part I – Helping Vets Find Jobs as Contractors
Americans cherish freedom and understand that the country’s all-volunteer armed forces deserve credit and loyalty for protecting those freedoms. During their service time, soldiers may be in charge of scores of people, handle millions of dollars worth of equipment, and devise complicated strategies for multiple teams around the globe. Yet many will return home and have difficulty finding work.
Veterans already in the workplace are in the best position to help their fellow veterans, but they cannot do it alone. Corporate America must pitch in to help. The result would be a win-win: corporations will benefit from employing veterans who are highly trained, dedicated, driven, and adept at problem-solving, while the veterans will find meaningful, well-paying jobs that can help them transition back into civilian life.
I spoke with LTC Eric Furey of Virginia, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel (Green Beret) who served as a Red Team Leader, as part of the first Red Team to deploy with the Special Operations to Afghanistan from July 2008 to January 2009. These days LTC Furey puts his abilities to good use away from the battlefield, working in his spare time helping veterans find work mostly as contractors within the defense industry. I spoke with LTC Furey on the phone recently as he was driving through Virginia, where he now finds himself working for a defense contractor. (Please see below for a more complete bio of LTC Furey.)
Where did the idea of hiring veterans as contractors come from?
When the draft was discontinued after Vietnam and the military became more sophisticated, it also became leaner and as such many specialized jobs that before went to military personnel started getting contract workers to perform them.
Who were these contractors?
Many were veterans since they knew the terrain and the way in which these jobs needed to be done. They also understand how demanding this work can be.
Do you find that many want to do this work or is it more that they lack opportunity here at home?
It’s both really. There are some that go to these places on tours of duty and really integrate with the culture as part of their mission and then after their tour they want to return, to be with their colleagues helping in some way, with their family of military brothers. Others are not able to find work back home in the U. S. and they are forced to take these jobs to support families in the U.S.
Do you have success in finding them work?
The success rate really depends on the individual’s personal motivation. But I tend to see the gamut of people who may have suffered traumatic war injuries or Post Traumatic Stress and so they can get discouraged as well, and what’s worse is many have found that when they return many people have made promises that they just don’t keep.
Do you work within a corporate structure or on your own?
I work on my own in my spare time. I simply help them network. I started just because I wanted to help veterans. It wasn’t this organized effort on my part it just came to me when a friend or colleague needed help; it was just doing it one by one. It’s about helping people just like someone would who works in publishing or construction, where you might see someone you think is talented or needs a break and you just help by making some calls or finding them the right people to talk to.
Have you ever thought to start an organization?
Yes, but there are already many out there. For me I want to hook up veterans with other veterans with similar needs so they can inspire each other, even beyond getting them jobs. Imagine if we could pair veterans that are doing well with children who are in trouble and let them push and inspire each other.
Are there any organizations or people helping that we should know of?
There are all kinds of people helping. There are many organizations out there doing great work. And some individuals too. You never know who is doing what because many do it quietly. Did you know that Martha Raye a.k.a. Colonel Maggie was a Nurse, Entertainer and Honorary Green Beret out in the field during her visits to Vietnam with the U.S.Special Forces? People are out there doing incredible things that we just don’t know about. (Professional Golfer) Phil Mickelson does incredible things behind the scenes for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. At the Fort Bragg, N.C. Airborne & Special Operations Museum (above) you would see all that John Wayne did including helping to fund the Green Beret statue of “Bronze Bruce” (the Special Warfare Memorial Statue) dedicated in 1969. But then there are people who aren’t celebrities and who do things all the time. Much of it is done quietly.
What is demand like for these contractors?
People don’t realize that even when we are not at war; it doesn’t mean we are at peace. And that means we need not just the military but also these contractors that support them. So there are always needs for workers, but when the military makes cuts, usually these jobs are among the first to go.
How much can a contractor make?
The contractors who go overseas to combat zones can make six figures, which might sound like a lot, and is a lot for someone who may not have attended college, but these jobs are demanding and highly dangerous. And the time hired is limited so they need to stash away much of this money because there is no long-term guarantee. The problem is that the government’s spending is elastic and it expands and shrinks depending on what engagements we are involved with, but these workers have lives and families and want some sense of security.
Do you help any particular branch of the military of all personnel?
Sometimes each branch likes to work with like-branches, such as the Special Forces Association and the Green Beret Foundation, but for me I like to just help anyone who wore a uniform.
How long are these contracts?
Contracts are usually for a year. The problem is there is if a contractor gets hurt they do not have access to the same resources as those in uniform unless it is life or death. And contracts can be harder to come by as the military downsizes in order to be more efficient.
If there are some veterans out there interested in this type of work or better yet, some companies looking to hire veterans can they contact you?
Absolutely. I hope more companies outside of the defense industry will step up and many are to see that these veterans are superb workers and leaders, able to learn complicated operations. Veterans also happen to be among the most loyal workers you will ever hire.
If you would like to contact LTC Furey please send your request to email@example.com and it will be forwarded.
Lieutenant Colonel Eric Furey (Retired)
When he was ten, LTC Furey’s father took him to the Savoy in downtown Boston to see The Green Beret, a film starring John Wayne. He doesn’t remember exactly what he said after the viewing but he knew that it had changed his life. After high school he decided he wanted to be a United States fighter pilot. From there he attended Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont. After a brief stint as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, LTC Furey received a direct commission from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1984 whereupon he fulfilled his dream of becoming a Green Beret in 1985. By 1999, he was recalled to active duty to teach as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Northeastern University. However, shortly after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, he led a Massachusetts National Guard team dedicated to responding to potential domestic attacks involving chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in the New England area. Thereafter he would serve the next eight years serving in every aspect of the Global War in terror to include a deployment to Kosovo as an Infantry Battalion Commander.
In 2008 he became part of the first Red Team to deploy with Special Operations to Afghanistan where Red Teaming brings external creative and critical thinking into the strategic and operational military decision making process. Red Teamers offer alternative perspectives, play the role of devil’s advocates and assist key leaders in preventing problems in planning associated with cognitive biases such as tunnel vision, group think, and cultural missteps, all techniques that LTC Furey says work just as effectively in the private sector when leveraged as a corporate executive decision tool.
With his fellow Red Teamers and essential input from U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment – Alphas, better known by the moniker ODA’s, stationed along the Afghanistan and Pakistan border, LTC Furey developed the concept and wrote the plan for the Tribal Engagement Initiative, utilizing aspects from the unwritten, ancient, Pashtun tribal ethical code called Pashtunwali. Their initiative would become the genesis for subsequent local engagement activities in Afghanistan.