Veterans Day 2018 - Employee Stories

 

Colton Ledford
Columbia, Missouri
Military branch: Missouri National Guard
Current role: On-Site Account Talent Manager


Colton Ledford joined Kelly in the fall of 2016. He works in our Partnered Staffing operations as an on-site account talent manager, supporting one customer’s two locations. Prior to joining Kelly he worked as a project lead at an engineering firm for four years.

Colton joined the Missouri National Guard in 2006; he was stationed in Kirksville, Missouri, as an active recruiter’s assistant. In 2008, he was deployed on a quick reaction force team that provided security and wellbeing to the victims of a major ice storm that covered several states. In 2009, Colton was deployed to Iraq, where the unit’s main mission was going to be providing security at the main prison. He left the Guard when his contract was up in 2012. 

In his free time, Colton enjoys hunting, fishing, and working on his family farm.

 

Justin Swearengin
Orlando, Florida
Military branch: U.S. Coast Guard
Current role: Recruiter, Kelly Government Solutions


Justin joined Kelly in September 2016 as a recruiter with the KellyOCG team; in his current role he has the opportunity to work with other veterans and help put them back to work. Justin and his wife Cristina have been married for 13 years; they have a 6-year old daughter. The family enjoys playing golf together. Cristina also works for Kelly, supporting the Ford Motor Credit RPO program. Justin is a Clemson Tigers fan! 

Justin served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a helicopter crew chief and maintenance technician. He joined in 1993 right out of high school, and served 20 years. Justin flew more than 3,000 flight hours onboard the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter. Three-quarters of his time was dedicated to search and rescue, with the remaining time supporting Counter Narcotics in the Caribbean. Justin was one of 35 Coast Guard members trained to use disabling fire on narcotic vessels that were attempting to deliver drugs into the U.S. “We used the Barrett .50 caliber rifle to disable these vessels,” said Justin. “Most people don’t realize that the Coast Guard trains members on these weapons. During my time in the Coast Guard, I was trained on five different weapon systems.”

After 20 years of service, Justin transitioned to a civilian role. “After leaving the service, I went to school and earned my associate’s degree,” said Justin. “I later worked with a Golf Academy where I brought in new talent to the academy and became a certified golf instructor. Now in my recruiting role, I have another way to give back to my community.”

Kelly benefits from the skills veterans bring to the workplace, including accountability, adaptability, resiliency, discipline, and team focus. However, it’s also important to help veterans translate the military jargon to terms that are understandable in the civilian workforce. “I don’t have a fear of failure and I learned that in the military,” said Justin. “If I speak to someone about a job and they aren’t interested I don’t let that discourage me, I’m able to pick up and move on to the next candidate. And I’ve recognized how important it is for Kelly recruiters to have an understanding of military terms. Veterans don’t always know how to describe their experience in terms that others will understand, and that’s where we can help!”

 

Joe Polley
Troy, Michigan
Military branch: U.S. Army
Current role: Senior HRIM Consultant


Joe Polley joined Kelly in 1992. His Kelly career started in the mailroom, followed by roles in Corporate Accounting, the Kelly Federal Credit Union, Salaried Payroll, Benefits, Accounts Payable, and Compensation before moving into his current position 13 years ago. As a senior HRIM consultant, Joe is primarily responsible for the maintenance of U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico regular staff employee data in PeopleSoft. Other responsibilities include data conversions, systems upgrades, data reporting, testing/implementing new system functionality, and managing a staff of HRIM specialists. Prior to joining Kelly, Joe worked in security and retail. 

“I joined the U.S. Army straight out of high school in 1977,” said Joe. “I spent the first few months in Oklahoma for Basic and Advanced training before going to my primary duty station at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Obviously this is a beautiful destination, but after three years on an island, I was definitely ready to leave. The last eight months of my active duty service was spent at Fort Carson, Colorado. I achieved the rank of E-5 Sargent and was honorably discharged in 1981 after serving four years active duty.” 

In the Army, Joe’s “job” was to instruct field artillery pieces where to fire their rounds. “We were known as the Fire Direction Center and our role was to plot target data on a map and provide detailed information to our gun teams so they could accurately fire artillery rounds at an enemy that may be upwards of seven miles away,” said Joe. 

Speaking about his transition to a civilian role, Joe shares, “While I see the benefits of military experience, I was ready to move on. I applaud anyone who is able to make a career out of serving in the military. All branches of the military need that kind of desire and leadership to succeed in protecting our way of life, and it takes a special person to spend 20+ years serving our country. I was able to see places and do things I probably would have never had the opportunity to experience had I not joined the Army, but returning to civilian life was the best option for me.” 

Joe acknowledges the important skills he learned in the military, “The military teaches you the value of teamwork, leadership, and perseverance. It creates an environment that forces you to mature and to think things through in a different way. I feel these skills, along with some of the technical skills I learned, have helped me to succeed in my career at Kelly.”   

Recognizing that it can be difficult to transition from military to civilian life, Joe offer this advice, “Realize that life in the military is very structured and requires a different mindset to function at such a high level on a daily basis. Create and communicate a clear understanding of how the vet’s skills can be used to succeed at Kelly. Give examples of past successes. Explain what other development opportunities may be available to help them transition smoothly into a civilian job and to advance in that role.” 

We often talk about the “Kelly family,” and for Joe, the family bonds are even stronger as Debbie, his wife of 32 years, and daughter Brittany also work for Kelly! Joe and Debbie are proud grandparents to Riley, their first granddaughter, who was born earlier this year. In his free time, Joe loves to hunt and fish. He grew up in Nebraska and most of his family still lives there, so he visits several times a year to spend time with his family and hunt with his brothers. Joe also enjoy watching football and spending time outdoors with family and friends.

 

Alisha Hill
Troy, Michigan
Military branch: U.S. Army
Current role: Garnishment Analyst – Financial Shared Services (FSS)


Alisha Hill is from Warren, Michigan; she joined Kelly Services in 2016, working in the Employee Field Service Center (EFSC) where she assisted employees with concerns about their paychecks, hours, and paystubs. She currently works in the FSS Payroll Center as a garnishment analyst. 

She joined the military in March, 2007; Alisha is currently enlisted in the Army National Guard 177th Military Police Brigade. “My military skills have helped me take on many tasks at once,” said Alisha. “I also know when to ask for help! When you are willing to ask for help and allow that helping hand to step in, the end result is less of a challenge. I love working as a team. In the Army, this is ‘to move as one.’ The approach works, it lets you know you’re not alone and you can share ideas.” 

Looking for an opportunity to explore new things, Alisha moved into a civilian role, “I needed a civilian career because I enjoy having multiple skills and a broad range of options. The two worlds are completely different, and I can achieve balance with my civilian career and continuing role in the Guard. I quickly learned: The more you know, the more you grow. I have no regrets and wouldn’t change one experience in my career. I’m proud I met who I did and know what I know. It’s a true honor to serve.” 

Alisha shares her advice for recruiters engaging with military veterans, “Give vets a chance! Stay positive and recognize that the individual comes from a place of dignity and respect. Vets will work hard and they want to take action.” 

In her free time, Alisha enjoys comedy shows, playing darts, and visiting museums. “I have an outgoing personality and I love chatting with strangers,” said Alisha. “And I like to welcome new people, so I love being a part of any welcome wagon group!”