Military Veterans

In 1999, when Evan Goss was 18, he sensed his future would no longer include college. He decided to serve his country instead and joined the U.S. Air Force.

 

A month after graduating high school, he was on a plane bound for San Antonio, Texas and bootcamp. Evan couldn’t have known that his military career would last over two decades or that he would earn several awards while traversing the Middle East.

 

“Probably the most memorable award was the first achievement medal I earned,” Evan says. “It was right after 9/11 and the day before my first wedding anniversary. I was sent to Qatar, where we built a base from the ground up. Al Udeid, it would be called. It wound up supporting over 10,000 people and today is considered the hub for the U.S. military in the Middle East.”

Four Medals, Eight Deployments, and Back on American Soil

And that was just the beginning. Evan would serve eight deployments in support of several operations, including Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom’s Sentinel. Between 2001 and 2018, he would rise up the ranks—from airman to staff sergeant, then technical sergeant to master sergeant. All told, his awards would include the Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), the Air Force Commendation Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Achievement Medal (with two oak leaf clusters). He would be stationed and deployed throughout the U.S. and the Middle East, with his final assignment landing him at Los Angeles Air Force Base (LAAFB).

 

“My last assignment, in 2017, had me stationed at Los Angeles Air Force Base,” says Evan. “When I first got there, I worked in operations with General Manager Jose Perez from PRIDE Industries. A little over a year later, after I was deployed to Kuwait for six months, I came back and worked with the Engineering Department, where Program Integrator Beth Farm told me how much PRIDE Industries could use me.”

“Integrity First.” Evan Brings the Air Force’s Values to His Job at PRIDE Industries

Like the transition from high school into the military, Evan’s transition out of the military and into employment with PRIDE Industries moved fast.

 

“I went straight into the position as a building information and geographic systems (BIM/GIS) manager,” said Evan, noting a key difference he’d observed between PRIDE Industries and other military contractors he’d encountered over the years. “With other contractors I’d dealt with, it was always about getting more money from our government—which bothered me. But PRIDE Industries isn’t like that. It’s a company with a good moral standing.”

 

As “Integrity First” is the first of the Air Force’s core values, it makes sense that a good moral standing would resonate with Evan. So do the Air Force’s other two core values: “Service Before Self” and “Excellence in All We Do.” In fact, according to LAAFB leadership, Evan has brought these values into all aspects of his work with PRIDE Industries—going above and beyond to serve both customers and fellow employees.

 

“When Evan first found out that the CADD digital as-built system was not up to industry standard, he corrected it himself,” said Chris Paek, PRIDE Industries’ General Manager at LAAFB. “He did that even though doing so was not part of the contract.”

 

And Evan’s hands-on approach didn’t stop there. He also conducted all of the physical labor work of scanning necessary drawings, including creating accommodations for his employees with disabilities.

 

And all of this was in addition to Evan’s numerous other achievements that first year, which included overseeing two technical programs simultaneously.

 

Eighteen-year-old Evan’s decision to join the U.S. Air Force was a great gain for them and now is ours.

Are you a veteran?

At PRIDE Industries, U.S. veterans will find a team that welcomes and supports them as they develop their future careers.
Evan Goss

“With other contractors I’d dealt with, it was always about getting more money from our government—which bothered me. But PRIDE Industries isn’t like that. It’s a company with a good moral standing.”

“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be in the U.S. Army,” says James Stender, Sergeant First Class, retired.

 

Like James, plenty of children think about joining the military when they grow up. However, upon becoming adults, less than one-half of one percent of the U.S. population enlists. Yet, in 1967, a young James did just that.

 

First stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, he began an enduring military career that would see him all the way from the rank of Private to Sergeant First Class. When he got started at Fort Bliss, James trained on a vehicle that he would often use in his later career: The history-making M42 Duster—a twin 40mm gun tank known for its rapid, tremendous firepower.

The “Duster” Tank—Not Just Fearsome, but also Loud

“My unit was stationed in Okinawa,” says James. “The minute Russian planes made their way into our airspace, we’d go on alert and get ready to encounter them if needed. Having the batteries ready would normally be enough to deter them, but they were always trying to see how far they could get without a response—shooting at them was always an option, though it was a last resort. We also continually practiced shooting at drones. At 240 rounds per minute, it didn’t take long to down one.”

 

So powerful were the Dusters that the Viet Cong called them “Fire Dragons”—largely, according to ArmyHistory.org, “because their high volume of fire and tracer ammunition gave the appearance of a dragon’s breath.” And not only were they a fearsome sight, but they were also loud.

 

“They had an open turret,” says James. “So, we were right alongside the guns.”

 

It was in this vehicle, repeatedly exposed to the sound of gunfire, where James developed hearing loss. Over time, this injury would result in a permanent hearing disability, but that wouldn’t stop him from continuing to serve. James continued his military career after his time in Japan. Returning to Fort Ord in the United States, he served as a drill sergeant and a training Noncommissioned Officer in Charge until, amid base closures and cutbacks, he retired from the military in 1992. As a civilian, he worked as the manager of a body shop and at a Chevrolet dealership until the economic downturn of 2008 prompted layoffs, and he found himself unemployed.

After Hearing Loss, Serendipity Brings James to PRIDE Industries

“It was serendipitous timing,” says James. “While job hunting, I saw a sign for PRIDE Industries. I just walked in and handed the receptionist my résumé. It turned out they needed someone with managerial skills, so I was interviewed and hired on the spot.”

 

On November 17, 2010, James was hired as a rehabilitation specialist working in our Fairfield, Calif. location. Since then, he has been promoted three times and is now the custodial supervisor for the entire U.S. Forestry contract at Mare Island in Vallejo, Calif.

A Personable Leader

Leading by example, James has proven to his team that people of all abilities can progress in the workforce through perseverance, commitment, respect, and reliability. Not only is his work ethic impeccable, but he is also a personable leader—taking the time to learn each of his team member’s strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, James strives to be a helpful mentor to the people who report to him, which recently led to the promotion of one of his mentees.

 

Years have passed since James Stender, the boy, first knew he wanted to be in the U.S. Army. Time has sped along since his days as a young man alongside the Duster’s guns. And, since 2010, we have been honored to have him on our team.

Are you a veteran?

At PRIDE Industries, U.S. veterans will find a team that welcomes and supports them as they develop their future careers.
James Stender

“While job hunting, I saw a sign for PRIDE Industries. I just walked in and handed the receptionist my résumé.”

In 1989, when Maggie De Jesus was a 20-year-old college student, a U.S. Army recruiter at her church told her about the military’s student loan repayment program. “He asked me to come into his office and take an aptitude test,” says Maggie. “The next thing I knew, I was at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and, two weeks later, at boot camp.”

 

So began Maggie’s military career.

Lessons Learned in the Military Carry Forward

“At first, my transition into the military was difficult,” says Maggie. “I hadn’t been involved in ROTC in high school, nor had anyone in my immediate family been a military servicemember. I hadn’t been exposed to that lifestyle.” But, soon enough, Maggie found herself acclimated to Army life. After completing basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey (now Joint Base McGuire–Dix– Lakehurst), she was stationed at Fort Sheridan, Illinois and, later, in Germany at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “Basic training prepared me for all elements of service: physical, mental, and emotional,” says Maggie. “It also gave me the tools necessary to serve my country in the roles assigned to me.”

 

And serve, she did. After boot camp, Maggie was assigned to a dental field unit where she served as a personnel administration specialist. There she honed strengths and acquired abilities that, otherwise, she would not have. But the lessons learned while in the military often came at a cost. Maggie and her unit were deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where she acquired Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

Maggie left the Army in 1997 when her contract obligation ended. By then, she was married with two children and wanted to focus on her family and her life as a civilian. But the latter, which included re-entering the workforce, proved challenging. “It took some time to adjust to civilian life,” Maggie says. “I had to figure out where I fit in and how my skills translated in the workforce.” Eventually, she did just that—to such a degree that she found and held a 20-year position working for the City of Tampa, where she was finally able to finish college and earn a Bachelor of Science degree.

Continuing to Serve Veterans at PRIDE Industries

Then, in 2016, after moving to California, Maggie was referred to PRIDE Industries by another employee who thought she’d be a great fit for an open position. Ultimately landing that job, she has worked in the Risk Management Division ever since, where she loves the interaction with other employees. “I get to help our inside customers as well as our outside customers,” she says. “I’m also the Vice Chair of PRIDE Industries’ Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG). I really enjoy serving our veterans and creating opportunities for recognition, support, and mentorship.”

 

Asked what advice she would give to other veterans transitioning to civilian life, Maggie stresses that they give themselves time and ask for help when needed. She’s also quick to note, “The Veterans Administration Medical Center has a lot of resources to help veterans.”

 

When asked about her proudest moment in the military, Maggie emphasizes her role as a woman veteran. “I’m proud to have served my country for eight years,” she says. “And I’m especially proud to be a woman veteran. I emphasize that because, to this day, when people see my Army apparel or stickers, they assume my husband is the veteran.”

 

According to a 2015 report published by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, women have been formally included in the United States Armed forces since 1901. Informally, they have served “since the inception of our nation’s military.” At the time of the report’s publication, 200,692 women were active in the U.S. Armed Forces, and, since then, the numbers have grown.

 

Maggie has traveled a long road from that day at church in 1989. We at PRIDE Industries are grateful for her service and the journey that led her here.

Are you a veteran?

At PRIDE Industries, U.S. veterans will find a team that welcomes and supports them as they develop their future careers.
Maggie De Jesus

“Basic training prepared me for all elements of service: physical, mental, and emotional.”

Eytan Wallace of FOX 40 News in Sacramento presented a report on Granite Data Solutions in McClellan Park, which deals with IT lifecycle hardware management. Business owner Rick Goodwin, who became disabled while in the U.S. Army, makes it a priority to hire fellow veterans.

 

The business also has a food packaging operation that hires many workers with developmental disabilities through their partnership with PRIDE Industries. Manager Rhea Lloyd describes the workers as “some of the most professional, dedicated, loyal crews” that she has ever met.

Roseville-based PRIDE Industries partners with Granite Data Solutions and many other companies to help people with disabilities find jobs.

 

“Everybody wins with an inclusive workforce like the one at Granite Data Solutions: veterans, people with disabilities, people of all abilities working together,” said Kat Maudru, the public relations manager at PRIDE Industries. “The benefits are 10 fold, 100 fold.”

 

Each time workers look up, they see flags representing the various branches of the U.S. military. Of course, the American flag is raised even higher. Goodwin said he hopes it brings each of his employees a sense of honor.

 

“I do have a special spot for all veterans. I always will,” he said.

 

If you know anyone who could be a good fit for this line of work, you’re asked to call PRIDE Industries’ I-AM-ABLE help line for veterans and disabled veterans at 1-844-426-2253.

Media Contact
Kat Maudru

PRIDE Industries is a social enterprise delivering business excellence to public and private organizations nationwide.

The social enterprise has been recognized for recruiting, hiring, and retaining veterans.

Roseville, Calif., (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh recognized PRIDE Industries as the recipient of the 2021 HIRE Vets Medallion Gold Award during a Veterans Day virtual ceremony presented by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Medallion Program is the only federal award that recognizes employers who successfully recruit, hire, and retain veterans. It was made possible by the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act (HIRE Vets Act), which was passed by Congress in 2017.

 

“PRIDE Industries is honored to be recognized as a U.S. Department of Labor HIRE Vets Medallion Gold Award recipient,” said Jeff Dern, President and CEO of PRIDE Industries. “We continue to strengthen our longstanding relationship with veterans, Wounded Warriors, and our many veteran referral partners. This award further validates our unwavering commitment to employing and assisting the men and women who have so bravely served our country.”

 

PRIDE Industries joins companies from 49 states, plus the District of Columbia, who have shown a commitment to hiring veterans and ensuring they have a long-term career plan that allows them to leverage the diverse skills they acquired through their military service. Recipients of the 2021 HIRE Vets Medallion Award meet rigorous employment and veteran integration assistance criteria. Companies are judged by their veteran hiring and retention percentages, veteran-specific resources, leadership programming for veterans, dedicated human resource efforts, and pay compensation and tuition assistance programs for veterans.

 

PRIDE Industries recognizes that the experience veterans gain serving our country makes them valuable employees. The company provides job readiness, coaching, and employment placement assistance to hundreds of military veterans every year. Its many resources for veterans include a new I-AM-ABLE employment helpline [(844) 426-2253], a dedicated Veterans Liaison, and a Military Skills Translator tool that helps veterans match their skills and talent to a civilian career. In addition, PRIDE Industries can help veterans access paid internships, as well as mentoring and training programs. And to help other companies increase their hiring of diverse candidates, including veterans, last year the company launched its Inclusive Talent Solutions service.

 

“Veterans represent one of our nation’s richest talent groups, and this award really belongs to them,” said Dern. “These dedicated men and women not only volunteered to serve our country, but now continue to contribute by working in the civilian sector of our economy.

About PRIDE Industries

PRIDE Industries delivers business excellence with a positive social impact. A social enterprise, we provide facilities operations and maintenance services, custodial services, contract manufacturing, supply chain management, packaging and fulfillment services, and staffing and recruitment services to private and public organizations nationwide. Founded in 1966, PRIDE Industries’ mission is to create employment for people with disabilities. Through personalized employment services, we help individuals realize their true potential and lead more independent lives. PRIDE Industries proves the value of its inclusive workforce model through operational success across multiple industries every day. Learn more at https://PRIDEIndustries.com.

About the HIRE Vets Medallion Program

The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is earned by businesses that demonstrate unparalleled commitment toattracting, hiring, and retaining veterans. The 2022 HIRE Vets Medallion Award application period will open to employers on Jan. 31, 2022. For more information about the program and the application process, visit HIREVets.gov.

Are you a veteran?

Contact our Veterans Employment Advantage Program for support.
Media Contact
Kat Maudru

PRIDE Industries is a social enterprise delivering business excellence to public and private organizations nationwide.

PRIDE Industries is honored to be recognized by U.S. Veterans Magazine as a “2021 Best of the Best Top Veteran Friendly Companies.” We proudly support members of our nation’s military and work to employ veterans in meaningful careers.

PRIDE Industries was also mentioned in an article on September 13, 2021 on ClearanceJobs.com

 
 

Are you a veteran?

Contact our Veterans Employment Advantage Program for support.
Media Contact
Kat Maudru

PRIDE Industries is a social enterprise delivering business excellence to public and private organizations nationwide.