This is the third installment of ECC‘s salute to veterans who serve the Carolinas in the energy workforce. Veterans are highly desired in energy. “Many of the electric companies and contractors are involved in military recruiting. Some even hire a military recruiters,” said Rosa Schmidt, the Troops to Energy Jobs contact for the Center for Energy Workforce Development.
Troops to Energy Jobs reports, “With many of the nation’s energy workforce either retiring or otherwise departing their jobs during the next five years, the energy industry is working now to develop programs to attract and train new workers for energy-related generation, transmission, and distribution careers.”
Building bridges between the military and industry takes effort. For instance, said Rosa, “We have a duty to clarify what credentials really are required for employment in our industry. We must remove the language barrier between the military, education, and industry that often makes it very difficult to translate military experience and training into terms that companies understand.”
Rosa explained, for instance, that someone trained as a tank commander will have skills in computing, mechanics, and project management – all three are needed to efficiently command a tank and its crew, and all are critical in the electric industry. Rosa adds that it is about more than skills, “Companies must recognize that it is not just about those transitioning from the military now, but also about older veterans, the Guard, and the military reserves.” Utilities and other energy-oriented companies look at ways to get veterans on board, make a successful entry into the organizations, and keep them there.
So let’s meet some more Carolina veterans who keep our energy secure and online.
Bennie Anderson is the Senior Corporate Military Recruiter, Lead Military and Veteran Sourcing Talent Acquisition at Duke Energy. He is U.S. Army, Retired Command Sergeant Major. “I’m an Army Veteran with a passion for helping others,” he said. “Transitioning from the military to the private sector can be challenging. I have 24-plus years of recruiting experience and am here to help you find your next career opportunity at Duke Energy.”
In his most recent military assignment, Bennie directed recruiting operations in the State of North Carolina, leading groups in Fayetteville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Greenville, and Wilmington. He maintained community partnerships through regional community advisory councils consisting of educators, government and business leaders. As part of his military assignment, Bennie managed high school, college and university campus programs.
What is it about veterans as employees? Bennie said, “The military talent and characteristic traits align with the culture and values of Duke Energy. Veterans understand the critical role of safety, compliance, and selfless service in the workplace. Therefore, Veterans are a great fit with Duke Energy . We care about the safety of our employees and we value our customers.”
ECC asked Bennie what his military experience brings to his work: “The ability to understand the value proposition of organizational structure. Team development and resiliency experience makes me a more productive employee in the corporate sector.”
Emily Simon is in Hydro East Civil Technical Support for Duke Energy. “I am the Subject Matter Expert for all Civil and Hoist needs within 18 Hydro stations in the Carolinas. I handle any and all questions when it comes to concrete, steel, gates, cranes, and hoists for the station personnel. I also serve as Project Manager for O&M (Operations & Maintenance) projects that are bigger than the station can handle.” Emily is also a Project Manager for O&M projects that are primarily civil-related.
Emily served in the Marine Corps from 1999 to 2004. “I was a Calibration Technician for AV8B Harriers in Yuma, Arizona. I spent over a year in school so all of my fleet time was in Arizona.” Emily is a UNC Charlotte graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
Brandon Hiatt is operations vice president at Pike Electric. You may have seen Pike trucks on the road. It provides construction, repair and engineering services for power lines and substations, and also has a growing portfolio of turnkey and renewable projects. Pike works nationwide and is based in North Carolina. Brandon served 7-½ years as a Field Artillery officer in Washington, Oklahoma, and Germany. He earned a bronze star for combat action in Iraq, and developed and lead NATO training with German and U.S. forces.
Watch for our fourth blog in the series that looks at Carolina veterans who serve us in the power industry. Next time, a deep dive into one veteran’s background. Our first blog is here; our second blog is here.