Service personnel and their spouses recently participated in career development programs and learned more about post-military career opportunities at Hiring Our Heroes Transition Summits recently hosted by Naval Air Station Pensacola and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The two summits, coordinated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, concluded with interactive panel discussions and a hiring fair.
Kenworth is teaming up with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the Hiring our Heroes Program to find America’s top rookie military veteran who has successfully transitioned from active duty to driving trucks. For the third consecutive year, Kenworth is donating a T680 equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and Paccar MX-13 engine to serve as the “Transition Trucking — Driving for Excellence” award.
At the hiring fairs, transitioning service personnel got a close look at a Kenworth T680, which will continue to be displayed at future hiring summits to encourage transitioning service members to explore trucking industry opportunities.
“Our participation in these events provides trucking industry outreach to help military personnel explore and consider their career opportunities available upon their departure from military service,” says Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “Employers in our industry can benefit from the skills offered by these highly trained professionals who have served our country.”
U.S. Army veteran Drew Bennett, Kenworth’s Southeast region fleet sales manager, served as Kenworth’s ambassador at both the Naval Air Station Pensacola and Eglin Air Force Base events. Bennett enlisted in the U.S. Army following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He served as a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic in special operations and completed three combat deployments during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Towards the end of my enlistment obligation, I was faced with the difficult decision, re-enlist or receive an honorable discharge and pursue my college degree. I chose to attend Illinois State University (ISU) and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing in 2010,” says Bennett. “Transitioning from the structure of military life to the freedoms of civilian life, paired with the effects of combat service, proved difficult. I was fortunate to live with five U.S. Army Rangers, who also attended ISU, which allowed me to maintain that bond while adjusting to life outside the Army.”
In his senior year, Bennett attended a career fair where he learned about a two-year leadership development program in the trucking industry and interviewed for the position. “I believe my military experience, combined with my business degree, set me apart from the other candidates. More recently, I found my home at Kenworth in my current position, he says.
“I’m proud to work for Kenworth, a company that partners with programs such as Hiring Our Heroes and makes a big investment in supporting veterans and their families. It was rewarding to meet with those servicemen and servicewomen at Naval Air Station Pensacola and Eglin Air Force Base and show them the industry leading benefits of the Kenworth T680, while also offering my counsel and advice from my own experience in making the transition from a military to a civilian career,” says Bennett, who made 10-minute presentations on those topics at both Hiring Our Heroes events.