The Hunter for Military Officers - March 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Harvard Business Review Explores How Branch of Service Affects Leadership Style,
Job Seeker Success,
Where are they now? Lisa Steptoe,
Upcoming Hiring Conferences,
Upcoming Base Visits,
Featured Positions: Honeywell Recruiting Program,
Recruiter Spotlight,
Earn $100 for Every Referral that Finds their Career through Orion,
Introducing Orion’s Military Officer Transition Program,
2011 National Distinguished Candidate Conferences,
Companies Recently Hiring,
Franchise Opportunities for Veterans,
Connect with Orion Online

Harvard Business Review Explores How Branch of Service Affects Leadership Style

In their November 2010 issue, Harvard Business Review ran a series of four articles on “Leadership Lessons from the Military”. Recently, we summarized “Extreme Negotiations” and examined the way in which soldiers handle high-risk situations translates into a benefit in corporate negotiations.  This month, The Hunter will focus on “Which of These People Is Your Future CEO?” by Boris Groysberg, Andrew Hill, and Toby Johnson.

In the article, Groysberg, Hill, and Johnson expound on the results of their analysis of the performance of 45 S&P 500 companies led by CEOs with military experience (CMEs). The authors were drawn to this research by a plethora of statistics that point to not only public confidence in the military as an institution, but also to veteran’s inherent leadership skills. Every year since 1973, the military has scored first or second in a Gallup poll of Americans when asked to rank their confidence in various public or private institutions. Additionally, a 2005 Korn/Ferry study showed that while former military officers make up only 3% of the U.S. adult male population, they make up about three times that of the population of CEOs of S&P 500 firms.

While delving into this issue, the authors of the article came across some interesting data that pointed to a veteran’s branch of service playing a role in the way in they succeed and lead in the civilian workforce. And while they point out that the differences they discuss are generalizations with many exceptions, they are able to link specific management approaches from each branch to their ultimate application in civilian companies.

They begin with the Navy and Air Force and conclude that CMEs from these branches often take a more process-driven approach to management. They follow standard procedures with little to no deviation. Because of this, leaders from these branches perform well in highly regulated industries, as well as companies with a process approach to innovation. Groysberg, Hill, and Johnson explain that both in the Navy and Air Force, service members operate enormously expensive and interdependent systems and any deviation from the procedure can result in an extremely costly mistake. In this environment, personnel are often highly specialized. Central coordination of all these moving parts is integral to success. Hence, the authors point out, the organization chart of a ship or submarine often resembles that of a corporation.

The Army and Marine Corps, on the other hand, tend to produce CMEs that embrace flexibility and delegation. (Although part of the Navy, the authors treat the Marine Corps as a separate entity for purposes of this article.) Former Army and Marine Corps officers were found to depend less on familiarity with the firm as they move into a leadership role, and to excel as CEO in smaller companies as opposed to larger ones. The authors relate this back to the fact that these two branches are far less reliant on procedure than the Air Force or Navy. This is illustrated by the “commander’s intent,” which is a general objective issued by a commander. Subordinates then have discretion as to how to achieve that ultimate intent.

These differences can also be seen in the branches’ required reading lists for Officers. The Air Force and Navy include management books on process and quality, while those of the Army and Marine Corps do not. The authors also point out that the Marine Corps leadership manual states, “[Adaptability] means a willingness to deviate from normal, accepted practices—even from doctrine—if that is what it takes.”

Ultimately, Groysberg, Hill, and Johnson come to the conclusion that veterans from different branches often demonstrate different strengths and that a “monolithic view” of the military should be avoided. However, whether future CMEs come from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy, they have the experience and skills that make them a very valuable asset in any corporate leadership role. In fact, it is the “leadership crucible” through which they have gone that explains why veterans comprise an increasingly larger percentage of corporate leadership.

Click here to read the article. And don’t forget to check out next month’s issue for a synopsis of the final article in Harvard Business Review’s Spotlight on Leadership Lessons from the Military series.

Job Seeker Success

Monique Johnson, Sourcing Program Lead
Alabama A&M University, 1997

Todd Phillips, my Orion recruiter, was awesome in every sense!  He was professional, courteous, humorous, and empathetic, which made our working relationship that more meaningful.  He understood and listened to my desires and ensured he matched my skill sets with the appropriate company in terms of company reputation, my profession, job location, and salary.

I have now taken a position with GE Aviation working as the Sourcing Program Lead in the Information Technology department. After a year- long wait for a comparable profession to that I held in the military within my desired arena (i.e. profession, location, salary), Orion stepped up and met the challenge right on time. In the past I’ve worked with three other military recruiter companies and two unemployment agencies, and nothing compares to the way Orion met my needs.

Prior to exiting the military I felt confident my education, military background, and training would set me apart from my competitors for employment; therefore, I was in no hurry to seek employment within the first six months of leaving active duty.   However, what I did not anticipate was the job market plummeting during my transition into the civilian workforce.  After months of trying to find employment on my own and working with other agencies, to no avail, I partnered with Orion, and the rest is history. 

The story I want to tell to my military brethren is to never lose hope and believe there is life after the military. Don’t get discouraged, because things aren’t lining up as you mapped out.  If there is one thing I can say about the military, it is that my time in the U.S. Air Force as a Logistics Officer gave me the patience and resolve to adapt and overcome and change things that are within my control, if required. 

I would recommend a military recruiter agency, especially Orion International, because of their reputation within the civilian workforce community, outstanding preparation, and, most importantly, all their recruiters have been on both sides of the workforce, which makes the experience that more rewarding. 

“I began searching for jobs in March 2010 in preparation for my retirement from the U.S. Navy in August and learned of Orion through the Navy’s TAP program. I served more than 26 years in the Navy, and my final tour was as Officer in Charge of Navy Munitions Command East Asia Division, Detachment Pearl Harbor, HI.  

My experience in the Navy, both as a Wage Grade and Executive Leader, empowered me with the tools and skill sets to succeed as a Project Manager and Performance Coach with RLG International (Defense Business Unit).  I am able to understand and see the perspectives of personnel at every level of an organization.  In particular, I can employ both my education and experiences to effectively connect and build relationships, trust, and cohesiveness.

Mike Wood was my Orion recruiter, and I felt that he focused on both my best interests and desires in connecting me with RLG International.  Most importantly, Mike conducted weekly follow-ups, provided post-hiring conference feedback and insight, and continued to aggressively garner updates and information on my selection process with RLG.

Orion and conducted a very effective two-day hiring conference for 12 candidates, including coordinated accommodations, transportation, and hosting a dinner for all candidates.  The entire process was professional and informative.  Mike made himself available to all candidates to discuss and answer questions, provide interviewing preparation, orchestrate schedule of events, and ensure that all candidates were fully prepared for the hiring conference.

Orion provided me with great communication, rapid response, encouragement, excellent advocating, and the perfect career opportunity. Orion outperformed their competitors in every way! The rest as they say is history.” - Jay Gulley, Project Manager and Performance Coach, RLG International

Where are they now? Lisa Steptoe

Orion is continuing its 20th anniversary celebration this month by featuring another one of our very first placements, Lisa Steptoe. Steptoe, a United States Military Academy graduate, class of 1987, served five years in the Army as a Quartermaster, both in Fort Knox, KY, and West Point, NY. Having spent the last 20 years in the civilian workforce, Steptoe shared her transition and civilian career experience with us.

Steptoe and her husband, Ron, were both looking to get out of the military in 1991 and were searching for help with the transition. It was a friendship with one of Orion’s founders which led the Steptoes to Orion, where Lisa worked with Bill Laughlin. Lisa’s situation was particularly difficult in that she was eight-months pregnant and had been turned away from other recruiting agencies. 

Not only was Orion the only company that was willing to work with her once they found out she was expecting, but Steptoe found them to be much more personable than its competition. With other firms, Steptoe felt she was in an adversarial environment. “Orion made me feel at ease, worked with me, talked with me, and treated me as a professional,” recalls Steptoe.

The first interview Orion set up for Steptoe was with Pfizer, and, in fact, Steptoe still has her Interview Schedule Card from that day. That interview was all it took, and Steptoe chose to start her career with Pfizer, in part because she liked everyone she interviewed with, and in part because it felt like a place where she could make a career. Steptoe says, “I have never forgotten the effort Orion went to help me transition to a civilian career.”

Steptoe enjoyed a 17 year career with Pfizer, where she worked in Territory Sales and Hospital Sales; and served as Regional Account Manager. After spending one year with Schering Plough as an Institutional Channel Account Manager and one year with Cumberland Pharmaceuticals as a Hospital Account Manager, Steptoe and her husband have built a healthcare and technical services company, Steptoe Group, LLC, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVOB) Business, where Steptoe serves as Business Development Manager & CFO.

Steptoe credits both her time at the U.S. Military Academy and her time in the military with preparing her to be a leader. “The concept of duty, honor, dedication, and commitment were internalized at the Academy and during my service, helping me be a success in all of our endeavors and to deal with the adversity and change that also comes from time to time,” explains Steptoe. That ability to deal with change helps her guide her company.

When asked what advice she has for transitioning military, Steptoe says that they should manage their expectations and be realistic about where they will start in a new organization, as well as starting salary. She suggests starting now on translating their military skills and accomplishments out of “milspeak” and into something that a civilian company will understand. Finally, she advises, “Practice, Practice, Practice.  Try to get a mentor (someone who has transitioned out that can help guide you). Learn the art of networking.”

As for hiring veterans, Steptoe says that hiring managers shouldn’t just consider it, they should do it. “There is no better place to get highly qualified leaders that have the drive and dedication to succeed in your organization,” explains Steptoe.

Orion is proud to count Lisa Steptoe among our very first alumni. Her continued success in the Medical Sales industry is a testament to the value veterans bring to their civilian endeavors. Stay tuned next month for another profile of a 1991 Orion placement.


Upcoming Hiring Conferences

If you will be separating from the military and preparing to begin your civilian career within the next 90 days, be sure to attend one of our hiring conferences. After a full day of preparation, you’ll interview with hiring authorities for only those positions that are a match with your needs and preferences.

Click on any of the conference locations to request more information on the conference you’d like to attend!





Norfolk, VA

Fishkill, NY

March 13 - 14

April 10 - 11




Atlanta, GA

Raleigh, NC

March 20 - 21

April 17 - 18




Cincinnati, OH

Chicago, IL

February 16 - 18

March 20 - 21

South Central



Dallas, TX

Houston, TX

March 6 - 8

April 17 - 18




 San Diego, CA

 Seattle, WA

San Diego, CA

 March 6 - 7

 March 24 - 25

April 14 - 15

Upcoming Base Visits

When our Recruiters visit a location near you, it’s a chance to get a jump start on your career search, regardless of your ETS date. Our Recruiters will discuss your goals and preferences with you and present a realistic picture of what to expect in your search. You’ll get resume advice, interview preparation tips, and much more!  Click here or on any of the base visits to receive more information about the base visit you are interested in attending.

Ft. Bragg

Camp Lejeune

Ft. Riley

Ft. Eustis

Ft. Hood

Ft. Drum

February 23 - 24

February 24 - 25

March 11

March 22

March 25

April 27 - 28

Featured Positions: Honeywell Recruiting Program

Orion is currently recruiting for a number of positions with Honeywell in Kansas City, MO.  Honeywell is a Fortune 100 company that offers tremendous growth potential. This recruiting program is focused on hiring a range of military candidates for this Honeywell facility and is only available through Orion, as Honeywell’s exclusive provider of military talent.

Available positions are with Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technology (FM&T) Division, which manages and operates the National Nuclear Security Administration's Kansas City Plant (KCP) under a prime contract with the U.S. Department of Energy. Orion is recruiting for roles within FM&T including, but not limited to, project management, program management, process improvement, quality engineering, design engineering, and operations leadership.

Qualifications for these positions are firm and include candidates from four categories:

1. JMOs that are coming directly off of active duty with a hard engineering degree;
2. Navy Nuclear trained Officers with a technical degree;
3. Service Academy graduates with a technical degree (Physics, Math, Engineering); or
4. Former military officers with an engineering degree & less than five years of post-military manufacturing experience.

Additionally candidates must be U.S. citizens, must have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Military, and must be able to achieve a Federal-appointed Secret security clearance. 

If you are interested in learning more about the position, are available to start before June 1, and meet the requirements outlined above, please email Todd Phillips at and include your most updated resume.

Recruiter Spotlight

Bob Berkholz 

Bob is a graduate of Colorado State University and moved to Austin, TX, where he met and married his wife, Leigh. They have two daughters, Madison and Riley.  Prior to joining Orion in 1997, Bob was a Marine Corps Logistics Officer from 1990-1994.  From 1994-1997, he was a commercial helicopter pilot flying offshore Oilrigs for PHI.

If you could give just one piece of career advice to a transitioning military professional, what would it be?

The officers that I have seen have the most success in making their transition start that transition preparation almost a year out.  It is important to have a career transition coach/recruiter who will guide the JMO through this process.  Those that start this 10-12  months out seem to consistently have success and a very smooth transition.  What takes place during those ten months ranges from an initial screening,  professional career counseling during our visits to the different military posts, establishing a high grade resume for presentation, interview coaching, industry coaching, and salary negotiations.  This can be overwhelming if  individuals have not prepared themselves for all of the different requirements a job search entails.

What do you like most about working at Orion?

The culture at Orion is focused on assisting the military veteran.   Everything we do is based on that core value and that makes for a very rewarding organization to be a part of.   The operational tempo often times is very high, and, with the team that we have assembled over the years, you see a very productive and rewarding result of quality positions we are able to present to the Junior Military Officers and enlisted personnel as they transition off of active duty.

What are you actively recruiting for at the moment?

I highly encourage any officer transitioning out to attend an Orion hiring conference.  These events are ideal for officers to get access to some of the best companies in the country.   A lot of the companies that attend are not advertising their openings to the public, so these events are a hidden job market that the JMO is having tremendous success in taking advantage of in obtaining highly sought after leadership positions. 

Please share one interesting fact about yourself that you would like candidates to know.

Once I establish a relationship with each of the officers I work with, it is one that will last for many years.  I have a lot of hiring managers working for companies all across the US that I recruit for that were also former candidates of mine that transitioned off active duty over the past 15 years.   Not all of these prior officers, now hiring authorities,  were candidates I placed, but every one of them were candidates that I in some way assisted in their job search, interview prep, and career search counseling.  

Connect with Bob:
(800) 336-7466 ext 415

Earn $100 for Every Referral that Finds their Career through Orion

Did you know that Orion candidates have already earned $400 in referral bonuses in 2011?

For every job seeker you refer to us who is subsequently placed by Orion, we will give you a $100 gift card to a retailer of your choice!

It's simple - just click here to refer a friend.

30 seconds of your time could be $100 in your pocket!

Introducing Orion’s Military Officer Transition Program & Upcoming Webinars

Orion is proud to announce our Military Officer Transition Program! Whether you have two years or two weeks before you transition from Active Duty, there are many steps you can take prior to your separation date that will position you for success as you transition into the civilian workforce. This new program is designed to put your preparation "things to do list" into a logical sequence that you can complete as you approach your separation.  Our goal is to minimize the stress you may have about changing careers by giving you all the tools you need to be 100% ready to interview before you enter into the 90-day window leading up to your terminal leave.

You will receive a monthly email from us guiding you to a suggested webinar, reading, or activity for that month.  These emails will be sent based on your Earliest Start Date in our records.   If your timeline changes, be sure to let us know so we can update our records! Update your Earliest Start Date and other contact information by logging in here.


All of the training materials included in the program are organized and accessible on our Military Officer Transition Program webpage. To get started, please visit and review our Transition Program Timeline, and note where you fall in our suggested timeline. 


In addition, we’d like to invite you to register for our upcoming webinars:


Career Transition Seminar
This webinar is designed to be one of your very first steps in preparing for your transition into the civilian workplace. Learn about current job market conditions, and the industries and positions in which transitioning Military Officers typically excel. Get tips and advice about your transition, steps you can take to make yourself most marketable, and the best timeline for finding your civilian career.


February 22, 2011
5:00 pm PST - Register Now


Resume Writing Seminar
This webinar will cover all the basics of resume writing – why a resume is so important, what you should and shouldn’t include, how to write a resume that is easily understood by a civilian hiring manager, and much more.


February 23, 2011
5:00 pm PST – Register Now


Interview Preparation Seminar
This webinar will cover all the basics of Interview Preparation – how and what you should prepare, do’s and don’ts during any interview, practical assignments to help guide you, and much more.


February 24, 2011
7:00 pm EST - Register Now


Space is limited, so sign up today!


Please do not hesitate to call or email your recruiter at any time if you have questions or concerns about your transition. We are here to assist you in any way possible.

2011 National Distinguished Candidate Conferences

Are you preparing to exit the military and begin a civilian career? Do you think that your education, background, and military career distinguish you from your peers?

If so, you may be a candidate for one of Orion’s National Distinguished Candidate Conferences (DCCs). Orion only holds a few DCCs each year. The 2011 DCCs will be held in Dallas, TX, on March 6 - 8, Baltimore, MD, on May 15 - 17, San Diego, CA, on June 5 - 7, Chicago, IL, on July 17 - 19, and Dallas, TX, on October 9 - 11. There will be positions available nationwide, with a focus on Engineering, Sales, Leadership Development, and Operations Management.


Orion carefully selects candidates for our DCCs that exemplify the best Orion has to offer our client companies. We work hard to assemble a select group of the top JMOs from around the country.


Our distinguished candidates include:


• Graduates of Military Service Academies or Top Universities with a minimum GPA of 3.0;
• Those with a masters degree or other advanced education; and
• Those that have consistently ranked above their peers in Officer Evaluations. 


Additionally, you should be available to start working within the next four months and be geographically flexible.


What do our clients have to say about the caliber of our candidates at the DCC? Read on...


"The success of the Distinguished Candidate Conference will allow me to lay the foundation for our Sales team in Texas.”


"Our experience at Orion's Distinguished Candidate Conference was a great success. The candidates were of the highest caliber and extremely well matched for our Leadership Development Program. This event enabled us to hire 5 outstanding JMOs very efficiently, saving weeks of time. I look forward to seeing the impact these new leaders will have on our organization."

We are also pleased to annouce the creation of our Distinguished Officer Partnership Program, which provides qualified Officers the opportunity to get unmatched resume assistance and interview preparation, as well as access and maximum exposure to our best client companies at our DCC.

If you would like to be considered for one of the upcoming Orion DCCs or are interested in learning more about our Distinguished Officer Partnership Program, please email us at to request an application.

Companies Recently Hiring



Becton Dickinson

CB Richard Ellis




FuelCell Energy

GE Appliances

GE Lighting

Georgia Pacific

Goodrich Aerospace


Johnson Controls

Kansas City Southern






Owens Corning

Oshkosh Truck

Prince Castle






Stryker Orthopaedics


Worley Parsons

Franchise Opportunities for Veterans

Are you interested in owning your own residential or commercial service business?

If you like the idea of being in business for yourself, but not by yourself, owning a franchise may be the career for you! Being a business owner allows you freedom and flexibility, while providing a great challenge. A benefit of owning a franchise is that you have an established and respected corporate brand behind you, as well as support of the franchise company, providing for a smoother startup phase and continued assistance and training.

Orion is currently hiring for nationwide franchise ownership opportunities. There are 6 different franchises to chose from, all in residential or commercial services. Our client has been ranked among The Best Places to Work in Texas for 2 years in a row, is one of the most respected franchise companies in the U.S., and will provide franchise owners with all training to successfully start-up and run their own business.

As with any franchise opportunity, the franchisee will need a capital investment (at least $25k); and must have the ability to obtain financing for the remainder of the franchise. If you would like to own your business and want to learn more about this opportunity, please email Bob Berkholz, or call him at (800) 336-7466 x 415.

Connect with Orion Online

Join Orion’s Military Network on LinkedIn

It’s never too early to begin professional networking when you’re considering a civilian career. Join Orion’s Military Network group on LinkedIn.

Join Orion on Facebook

Check out our page for upcoming hiring events, links of interest, pertinent discussions, Orion news, and photos from recent hiring events. We’d love to have you as a fan!


Orion is Tweeting

Follow us on our Twitter page (@OrionCareers) to receive updates about Orion, learn when we’ll be in your area, and links to articles of interest. See you there!