These 30 advocates work tirelessly to help veterans succeed in the civilian workplace.
When we solicited nominations for the 2022 Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America awards, we asked the nominators to list any awards, recognitions or accolades that the person they were nominating had received. Jeremy Nunez nominated his wife Tiffany Baker, a former Marine who works in business development for UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), and he was clearly annoyed that despite a really long list of ways that she champions veterans, she does not have shelves lined with awards.
“She deserves so many awards, working mother of the year, wife of the year, sister of the year (she has a brother with severe disabilities that she home schooled to get out of high school so he could have that accomplishment) daughter of the year, even stranger of the year….Tiffany does things for complete strangers like toy drives, coat drives, just last month a blanket drive for the animal shelter. She’s one of those people that does so much I can’t even list it all.”
Tiffany is typical of the 30 people nominated and selected to the 2022 Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America list, who were chosen for their tireless efforts to advocate for America’s veterans in the civilian workplace. Not all of them are veterans themselves, but they are all passionate about helping veterans succeed.
“For most veterans, the desire to serve a purpose greater than ourselves doesn’t end when we leave the military,” Tiffany said. “We often spend time searching for that opportunity within the organizations we seek or find employment with. I am blessed to have the support of my organization, peers and leadership to be able to do just that…provide an environment that attracts vets who want to feel supported in continuing to serve a higher purpose on our teams, in our company and in our communities.”
They are humble in accepting recognition.
“I am honored to be receiving this award. This means the world to me,” said Anthony Gilbert, program manager of Military and Veteran Recruitment for Raytheon Missiles and Defense and a retired Army sergeant first class. “As a lifelong soldier of the United States Army, transitioning out of the military was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. I went from an 18-year-old kid right out of high school to 38 years old starting over in life. I had several mentors and coaches along the way. I just want to pay it forward and help as many veterans, transitioning service members and spouses find meaningful employment as I can.”
Josh Link, a senior project management analyst at FedEx Express and a former Marine Corps NCO, had a similar response.
“To be recognized as a champion for veterans has made all the hard work to recognize our veterans at FedEx Express worth it. Recognizing our veterans and working to bring in the next generation of talent is a passion for me as a veteran myself. There is nothing better than working with a veteran and getting that phone call that they have been hired! This award is not only for me but for every veteran at FedEx Express.”
Please join us in saluting the 2022 Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America!
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Founded and runs company’s Veteran Outreach, ERG and supports recruiting for DoD contracts.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: As a D&I Leader for the veterans community, the mission is to enhance the veteran employee’s lifecycle by delivering support with recruitment, building camaraderie, leadership advancement, enhancing engagement insights to build retention. Our iterative lifecycle allows us to understand trends in order to develop recommendations for a seamless transition. The goal is to strengthen IBM’s brand as an employer of choice through partnerships, launch support programs such as mentorship, host camaraderie sessions, and share transition opportunities from CSR. To advance the veterans agenda, my role is to support 3,000+ veterans through celebration month activities, signature experiences, awards, programs, and more.
Al Bancroft recently retired from the Office of Veterans Affairs in Camden County, N.J. The office serves all veterans and their family members within Camden County. Bancroft’s nominator said this: “He has served with unwavering commitment and steadfast dedication to those in the veteran community that need assistance. Lt. Col. Bancroft for the past 20 years has given an untold number of hours assisting veterans of New Jersey.”
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Luis helps with family services/counseling, disability claims/benefits, educational & training benefits, OIF/OEF special programs & services, emergency financial assistance, homelessness, substance abuse, and he advocates for all veterans. He has become a literal one stop shop for veterans in San Angelo!
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Daniel created one of the most impactful digital platforms in the market for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses to find answers related to employment, education and entrepreneurship. The platform also helps service members build their personal social network to land the right job opportunities and beyond.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Tim Montjoy is a retiree of the United States Air Force and currently resides in Augusta, Georgia. His Air Force career spanned from 1996-2016 and took him to such overseas assignments as Osan Air Base, South Korea, to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Zabul, Afghanistan. Tim managed Tier-1 technical support by monitoring and reporting services related to Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) for a $600 million infrastructure and $2.4 billion dollars in Air Combat Command assets. These services included systems used by the 31,000 active duty and retiree population throughout the Carolina region.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Maria strategizes and engages with veterans, Department of Defense, and Mayo Clinic leadership to promote and create opportunities within Mayo Clinic.
*Michael worked for Premise Health when he was nominated and selected for the VCOY-Corporate award.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Develop strategy and execute for all military, veteran and military spouse hiring programs. Oversee the ERG for veterans and advocates. Provide strategic guidance to executive leadership on all military programs. Direct responsibility for hiring metrics for veterans and military spouses.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Responsible for developing and implementing the veteran strategy for bp America as it pertains to developing a talent pipeline as well as retention programs for existing veteran employees. As a federal contractor, responsible for ensuring leadership is aware of compliance guidelines and reporting against our veteran hiring numbers. Responsible for identifying and building strategic 3rd party relationships with veteran organizations to develop key strategies to support military families as it pertains to successful transition into civilian jobs. Develops mentoring-peer programs to support in career identification and progressive for our military
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Shawn drives home the responsibilities of managing a diverse group of people in the fast paced world of social and veteran services, as president of NineLine. Shawn has been a paramount part of our support to our clients, meeting with any referrals personally to ensure that the veterans or family members are connected with care and support and that no detail is overlooked. He also works tirelessly to connect providers, local businesses and institutions of higher learning with qualified candidates for employment, access to services and true connectivity when talking about goal centered outcomes. He goes above and beyond to ensure that every client feels part of a family.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Provides employment readiness assistance and outreach through career-coaching activities (e.g. provides webinars and workshops on Writing Federal Resumes, Understanding the Federal Hiring Process and Navigating USAJOBS) to veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses while advocating the use of special hiring authorities, employment programs and veteran retention strategies to help VA become the employer of choice in seeking employment opportunities in the federal government. Uses social media and participates in in-person and virtual career fairs to promote and increase federal employment opportunities utilizing virtual tools.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Group Talent Acquisition Manager for Granite’s Heavy Civil Group (HCG) across the country. HCG specializes in P3, Design-Build, CMAR, Bid-Build Methods for transportation, transit & rail, airport infrastructure, bridges/structures, power, water, wastewater market, with public and private clients with project range from $75 million and up. Recruit top construction talent for our company.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: I am the program manager of military and veteran recruitment at Raytheon Missiles and Defense. I am responsible for the overall veteran recruitment strategy for the company.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Jim is responsible for the design, delivery and execution of Travelers Military Veteran & Military Spouse Talent Sourcing efforts. This involves managing multiple partnerships with a number of external organizations and internal hiring teams across the enterprise resulting in significant levels of hiring that have been recognized as best in class by several leading publications. In addition to hiring, he is intimately involved in veteran mentoring and skills building programs. Jim also leads a parallel portfolio focused on Inclusive Hiring for Individuals with Disabilities which has yielded similar levels of success as our military efforts.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: SVP of American Corporate Partners, a national nonprofit organization focused on helping returning veterans find their next career through one-on-one mentoring, networking and online career advice.
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Conducted outreach to employers and engaged in advocacy efforts with hiring executives to increase employment opportunities for veterans; encouraged the hiring of disabled veterans and assisted veterans to gain employment. Conducted seminars for employers and job search workshops for veterans seeking employment. Facilitated priority of service in regards to employment training and placement services furnished to veterans by all staff of the employment service delivery system. Coordinated and conducted veterans hiring events in the various communities and assisted employers with onsite recruitment events. Reviewed employment applications and evaluated work history, education and training qualifications of veteran candidates. Worked closely with DVOP specialist to meet the specific needs of veterans, particularly veterans with barriers to employment. Submitted a quarterly “Manager’s Report” on all Career Center activities for veterans and Vocational Rehab & Employment cases referred from the Office of Veterans Affairs.
Scott Haas, Director, Talent Acquisition, BGIS, Marine Corps, 1992-1996, Corporal (E-4)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: He has helped establish the veteran recruiting program for BGIS since 2016. His involvement has brought the necessary training for hiring managers, HR team, and recruiting. Through this the company has been repeatedly recognized for veteran recruiting efforts from U.S. Department of Labor – Hire Vets Medallion program (4x’s consistently since inception), G.I. Jobs Magazine, Yes Vets since 2016 and as of 2021 Employer of the Year from Washington State (Department of Commerce, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Employment Security Department).
Scott Sharp, Staff attorney, Metropolitan Public Defender, Navy, 1988-1993 Petty Officer 2nd Class (E-5)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Helping houseless veterans (or those at risk of losing housing) remove legal barriers to improving their housing status and/or employment status. Typical activities involve legal representation in landlord/tenant issues: debt issues; criminal record clearing through expungements or felony reduction hearings; and other issues plague homeless veterans in our area.
Bernie Stone, Entrepreneur Ambassador, Bunker Labs Des Moines, Army, 1995-2015 Lieutenant Colonel (O-5)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Ambassadors serve as guides and connectors in their communities, helping veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs and small business owners find success through Bunker Labs programs such as Veterans in Residence.
From the nomination: “Bernie Stone is a champion for veteran and military-connected issues in Central Iowa. He advocates for veteran mental health through board service with Polk County Health Services. He guides veteran entrepreneurs towards successful business creation as the founding ambassador for Bunker Labs Des Moines. He mentors veterans via organizations such as Veterati, FedTech, Army SBIR, and xTech.”
Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis, President/CEO, Executive Women's Success Institute, Army Reserve, 1984-2007 Master Sergeant (E-8)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Dr. Lewis uses her skills and expertise as a career strategist and business to help female veterans move into upper management or executive level positions.
Craig Mason, Business Analyst, American Electric Power, Army, Army National Guard, 1986-2016 Sergeant First Class (E-7)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Military outreach to include TAP classes, job fairs and networking with veterans and veteran organizations to recruit for SkillBridge interns and full time employees.
Blair Ciccocioppo, Senior Specialty Recruiter, Case Management, Select Medical Army Reserve, 2000-2008 Sergeant (E-5)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Blair initiated and leads the veteran recruitment effort at Select Medical.
Hal Pittman, Director, Defense Media Activity, US Department of Defense Navy, 1983-2012, Rear Admiral (O-7)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Retired Navy Rear Admiral Hal Pittman has spent a lifetime serving others – first while serving in uniform with the U.S. Navy for nearly 30 years, then serving the Arizona and national veterans’ community for seven years, and now serving the Department of Defense as a senior executive civilian since January 2021.
Cesar Ruiz, CEO, Learning Alliance Corporation
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Cesar is responsible for overseeing operations for Learning Alliance, a school based out of Tampa, Fla. The School Learning Alliance is focused on providing transitioning military men and women training and placement services in the telecommunications industry. Cesar’s overall responsibilities involve building and sustaining relationships with organizations to identify their workforce shortage in the growing telecom industry.
Tony Lona, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Sandia National Laboratories Marine Corps, 1997-2014 Gunnery Sergeant (E-7)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Tony is Sandia National Laboratories Senior Talent Acquisition Veteran Recruiter. He focuses on providing local, regional, and national veteran talent work opportunities within his company.
Josh Link, Senior Project Management Analyst, FedEx Express, Marine Corps, 2002-2016 Staff Sergeant (E-6)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Veterans’ initiatives and recruitment, which include but are not limited to veteran recognition, DoD SkillBridge, ACP, HirePurpose, HireMilitary, Hiring our Heroes, Recruit Military, the Military Fellows Program and special project support for FedEx Express Human Resources in the US. This includes our intern program, referral program and executive reporting on all of the aforementioned programs.
Todd Wanek, President and CEO, Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: As President and CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC, (Ashley) Todd Wanek oversees Ashley’s manufacturing, distribution and retail operations in the U.S. and worldwide. Throughout the years, Todd has built an extremely skilled leadership team with extraordinary depth, diversity and understanding of the industry. His passion and commitment to improve Ashley’s operations, products and service is unrelenting and has positioned the company for continued growth into the future. Todd has built the strongest supply chain in the furniture industry, constantly evolving to serve customers wherever and however they want to buy home furnishings.
Marcus Ohlenforst, Lead Talent Programs Advisor, USAA, Marine Corps, 25 years (12 years enlisted/13 officer), Gunnery Sergeant (E-7)/Major (O-4)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Marcus Ohlenforst serves as the Lead Talent Programs Advisor responsible for the development, implementation, and management of USAA’s veteran and military spouse attraction strategy. In addition to this responsibility, Marcus manages all enterprise recruiting events to include the logistics, coordination, and tracking to ensure that USAA attracts and retains world-class veteran and military spouse talent.
Tiffany Baker, Business Development, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), Marine Corps, 1995-2001 Sergeant (E-5)
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Tiffany is my wife and she continuously gives back to vets in every way she can imagine. That duty to serve never left her after the Marines. In 2016 she went to a new company that had other ERGs but not one for vets. She created one. The company had just 20 or some vets at the time and she has grown that to over 300 today, while increasing initiatives to hire, retain and develop vets at UKG, even landing them as a best place to work for vets a couple years ago. She takes a lot of time out from our family to send each new hire a welcome kit and card, hosting town halls, webinars for vets, virtual happy hours and more. Running UKGVets is voluntary, it’s not her day job. She has a very stressful job in software sales. I am so proud of what she has done at such a young age.
Laura Chevalier, President, Provalus, Branch, YOS Rank/Pay Grade
Champion’s Job Responsibilities: As president, Laura is the driving force behind our mission, brand, and record-breaking success. The better question is what doesn’t she do? She has a personal hand in all things including recruiting, marketing, implementation, delivery, and sales. She directs and oversees budgetary and financial activities. She manages general activities associated with providing services as well as negotiating and approving agreements and contracts. She identifies areas for improvements in programs, performances, and company policies. Laura is a constant encouragement to her team and sets them up for success. She publicly recognizes accomplishments and cheerleads her team with passion. She has the great responsibility of being an open line of communication for all 400 employees in the company. Her door is always open. In short, her biggest responsibility is leadership, and she pulls it off flawlessly year after year.