On November 11, Veterans Day, Americans will celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans.
More than 10,000 veterans currently work at GE, and more than 70 of those veterans are deployed around the globe right now serving in the National Guard and Reserves.
We’d like to share the stories of ten of those veterans who currently work for GE Aviation. They represent a diverse cross section of American society and a breadth of career specialties and life experiences. GE recognizes and values their strengths and is committed to being the employer of choice for veterans.
“Veterans make our business more competitive, plain and simple. Their flexibility to changing environments helps GE learn and adapt to win. We couldn’t be prouder of their service to our country and their commitment to our company.” David Joyce, GE Vice Chairman and President & CEO, GE Aviation.
I graduated from the Air Force Academy and flew the KC-10 and MC-12 with 3,100 flight hours and 215 combat sorties. I also served as a professor and flight instructor at the Air Force Academy. After serving active duty for 12.5 years, I continue to serve in the Air Force Reserves as an Air Force Academy admissions liaison officer in Northern Kentucky.
I served to be part of something greater than myself. Serving as an Air Force pilot was a distinct honor. I had the privilege to fly into combat with brave airmen willing to sacrifice time away from home to accomplish the mission safely.
GE understands that the problem solving skills acquired from my time in the USAF can be leveraged to many different functional areas and my ability to learn will be an asset to each team I join going forward.
GE has welcomed me as a veteran into the Junior Office Leadership Program (JOLP), which gives me the opportunity to grow within the program and learn how to be an effective leader at GE. I am part of the GE Veteran’s Network and I have participated in the HIRE, GROW, and SUPPORT pillars to strengthen my own network as a GE employee and to help my fellow veterans succeed.
Our military experiences help us exceed in our GE jobs on a daily basis. The military teaches you how to adapt to changing environments, people and situations. With the ever-changing market, culture and processes at GE we find ourselves able to flex, pivot and adapt rather easily.
Also, the military places you in leadership positions very early in your career. We’ve learned some valuable lessons earlier in our military careers that we can leverage to become even better GE employees.
GE Aviation has a robust Veterans Network that has truly helped us build a network of friends; from others who have served in the Air Force, to people who also attended service academies. Not only is the network here, but it’s here with open arms and a listening ear. We’ve never had a GEVN member turn us down when we’ve needed mentorship or advice, and that is truly an intangible benefit that gives GE a competitive edge and our loyalty.
Kreg Smith, US Army Soldier and Chemical Room Operator at GE Aviation
I have held numerous job specialties throughout my military career as both an active Army and Army National Guard soldier, including Multiple Launch Rocket System crewmember, military police, and wheeled vehicle mechanic. I’ve done two tours in Iraq, one in 2003 and one in 2010.
I chose to serve my country to carry on the family tradition as my grandfather and father had – to give back to the country that has given so much to me, as an avenue for new life experiences and disciplined military training.
The military taught me many life lessons and skills which have made me a better person and a better employee at GE like critical thinking skills and being able to make a tough call when under the most extreme amounts of pressure, just to name a few.
My military experience has allowed me to bring a sense of personal commitment and ownership to the assigned tasks at hand, as well as prompting me to strive for peer camaraderie at work which promotes a healthy team-oriented work environment with a shared goal of success. This allows us to meet customer demands, because in the end “our customers determine our success.”
Leonard Green, US Navy Surface Warfare Officer and Aviation Services Project Manager at GE Aviation
In a world that’s constantly changing and full of motion, there’s always work to be done. So much so, that if one truly wanted to, they could work tirelessly at many things, and feel as if they are having little impact. Whether it’s preparing for an engineering inspection on a U.S. Navy ship, or completing projects that digitize how GE executes CSAs, knowing how to set and execute on priorities is essential to success.
This was driven home from the very first day of boot camp when we were given ten minutes to shower, shave, shine shoes, read three newspaper articles (one international, one domestic and one sports), memorize the meals for the day and memorize the military facts for the day.
You’re forced to prioritize what you can realistically complete, and then collaborate with your fellow sailors to learn the remaining items. Not only was this crucial for success in the Navy, but also at GE.
Lionel and Lindsey Hamilton, US Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk pilot and US Army Paratrooper, On-Wing Support Plant Manager and Sourcing Commodity Management specialist at GE Aviation, respectively
Lionel served active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and then joined the Ohio Army National Guard as a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot. Lindsey served active duty in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper and motor transport operator.
Our reasons for serving center around patriotism, a sense of duty and family tradition.
Lionel’s father, uncles and grandfather have all served, with his father retiring after more than 20 years in the Navy and two uncles who retired after more than 20 years in the Marine Corps.
Lindsey’s grandfather and six great uncles all served in WWII and instilled a great sense of patriotism in her throughout her formative years; joining the military right after high school seemed logical.
The military instills a sense of purpose and discipline, which is paramount in accomplishing goals and meeting objectives.
The GE Veterans Network has enabled us to network with other veterans throughout GE’s various businesses. We have not had to use the GEVN’s services for military deployments, but it’s good to know the resources are available, should Lionel have to deploy anytime in the future.
Dan Hauser, US Marine Corps Officer and Lean Leader at GE Aviation
I served in the U.S. Marine Corps on active duty for eight years with roles ranging from civilian air traffic control to forward air control. I served in Iraq, Afghanistan and various other locations across the globe and am still serving as an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve today.
As you celebrate Veteran’s Day this weekend, please remember not just our veterans but also their families.
In the recent era, most of our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen made the choice to do what they did because they wanted to. Their families and loved ones did not make that choice, but supported nonetheless.
So think of the spouses that missed getting to spend an anniversary with their partner in-person, think of a younger brother or sister that missed getting to have their older sibling at their high school graduation, and most importantly, think of the families of our fallen comrades… that live on with the loss of so much.
A salute to the families of our veterans… thanks for all you have sacrificed to support so many.
Ryan James, US Coast Guard Academy graduate and JOLP member at GE Aviation
I graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with a background in naval engineering and acquisitions. I served in several project management roles and was a contracting officer’s representative in Acquisitions Directorate. I was also responsible for operation and maintenance of the ship’s propulsion, auxiliary and electrical power systems.
My time in the Coast Guard was about serving with people that shared a common desire to have a positive impact on the world and who embodied the core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty.
The lessons and experiences I carried from the Coast Guard to GE taught me to stay flexible in dynamic environments and to “learn and adapt to win.”
Here at GE, I’ve been given the opportunity to continue to grow as a person and a leader through challenging roles where I’m able to leverage those past experiences. I’m grateful that GE has provided me a strong veteran support network with valuable access to professional guidance and mentorship.
Rick Martin, US Air Force Reserve Security Forces Commander and Plant Protection Manager at GE Aviation
I served 17 years as an Air Force active duty security forces officer and continue to serve in the Air Force Reserves. I directed operations across the globe involving base defense, law enforcement, force protection, anti-terrorism, contingencies, foreign force training and presidential support.
I always had a desire to serve in the military as early as I can remember. With law enforcement being a “family business” I decided to join the Air Force as a security forces Airmen at the age of 18 to both serve in the military and to start my law enforcement career. Since then I have been all over the world and served alongside some of the best people our nation has to offer. As a military officer, it has been my greatest privilege and honor to lead “America’s Sons and Daughters.”
My military experiences translate very well in my job here at GE as a plant protection manager. I take keeping people safe and secure very seriously. I am hopeful with my background and experience that our already credible plant protection team can become even that much more proficient in their craft.
GE is a huge supporter of our communities and our veterans. They continue to support me as I continue to serve as the Security Forces Commander for the 507th Security Forces Squadron in the Air Force Reserve based out of Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.