The Hunter for Military Officers - August 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Monster Releases its Latest Veteran Talent Index


In the second release of their Veteran Talent Index since its inception in November 2011, Monster sheds light on an increasingly positive trend among employers toward hiring veterans. The May 2012 Employer Veterans Hiring Index, a monitor of how employers who have hired multiple veterans in the past year compare work performance to non-veteran employees, surveyed over 900 employers. And, while the Index dropped three points from 74 to 71, it does indicate an overall increase in confidence in veteran employees.

The Index revealed a 3 point increase over last year in employers who had hired more than one veteran within the past year, rising from 70% to 74%. A whopping 99% of employers surveyed felt their veteran employees’ work experience was the same or much better than non-veteran workers, and the same percentage would recommend hiring a veteran.

These employers also reported that veterans were the best qualified candidate for the job. Interestingly, survey results showed that this may not be due to the veterans’ work and military experience as much as to their much needed special skills and talents. Additionally, many jobs (72% according to the Talent Index) require less than five years of work experience, while a vast majority of veterans (83%) have more than five years of military experience.

These positive trends, however, are countered by decreasing confidence among veterans in finding jobs. This may be due in part to the fact that less than haf of the veterans who responded to the Veterans Career Confidence Index feel prepared for their transition. Despite this frustration, though, these same veterans have an increased sense that their military skills are valuable in civilian careers (up to 75% from 73% in November 2011).

The report has the following advice for transitioning veterans: When deciding where to look for a job, be aware that the larger the geographic area you include in your search, the higher your chances are of finding work. The narrower your area, the fewer the opportunities. If you're willing to relocate, make this a conscious part of your job hunting process.

The  Employer Veterans Hiring Index  is a great indicator of an ever growing trend toward hiring veterans. It also shows that those that do hire veterans are happy with their choice, continue to hire more veterans, and would recommend that other employers hire veterans, as well. With the proper preparation and resources, veterans should be  poised to take advantage of this trend while proving what we here at Orion already know: veterans are a great asset to any company looking to expand their workforce with talented, innovative, hardworking employees.


Veteran Spotlight



Chris Pieczonka, Sales and Marketing Development Program, Siemens

US Navy, Surface Warfare Officer, Lieutenant


The Hunter recently interviewed Chris Pieczonka as part of our ongoing series of Veteran Spotlights. Pieczonka, a United States Naval Academy graduate, is a former Surface Warfare Officer who accepted a position through Orion within Siemens Energy’s Sales and Marketing Development Program. His career has taken him from the USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN to sharing a stage with the First Lady as part of The 4th Annual Business Steps Up, Hiring Our Heroes Conference held by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and he shares his transition experience here.

Pieczonka’s preparation for a civilian career began during his tour with Destroyer Squadron 23. While attached to that command, he was the Training Officer for five destroyers. “This was an incredible job, because the staff was comprised of senior department heads and NCOs. It was a very flat organization and incredibly informal relative to other Navy commands,” explains Pieczonka, “Additionally, I had four training officers out of the five ships, who were my year group and responsible for reporting their readiness to me. This proved to be an invaluable education on management and support of a team.”

He attended the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, an accelerated part time program, and graduated before he PCS’d from the Navy. It was during this time he began working on his resume. He explains that a resume is an iterative process that requires dozens of revisions. He was constantly polishing and refining his resume to be directed to different industries and job responsibilities.

In addition to job-hunting on his own, he also worked with Orion and received an offer for a Siemens Energy Sales and Marketing Development Program (SMDP) position. The Program started in June 2011 while Pieczonka was on terminal leave. He was one of three JMOs in the pilot program. The program consists of four three-month long rotations through various divisions of Siemens Energy.

In September 2011, he was chosen as one of four Orion alumni at Siemens to participate in The 4th Annual Business Steps Up, Hiring Our Heroes Conference. There, he sat on stage with Michelle Obama during her address to the Conference.  “Attending the US Chamber of Commerce event was a tremendous experience that highlighted some of the incredible things the Federal Government, Chamber of Commerce, and various companies are doing to utilize the talents of military service veterans,” says Pieczonka. 

We asked Pieczonka how his military experience came into play in his civilian career. Pieczonka recalls, “One of the most direct ways my military experience applies to my new job is the fact that I earned an EOOW on my first command. Siemens Energy’s competitive advantage in energy industry is its leading edge gas turbine technology. Having some intimate knowledge of how a gas turbine plant works was a huge advantage in the interview process.”

He goes to say, “But the military experience goes well beyond directly transferrable skills. Conflict resolution, team building, change management, ability to speak confidently and directly to subordinates, superiors, and especially contemporaries; as well as experience in developing and executing plans, are all strengths I honed in the military.”

Specifically, his experience came into play during one of his first assignments when the Chief Marketing Officer wanted him to provide projections on the need for renewable power generation, per state, in 2015, based on renewable portfolio standards set by each state. There was very little guidance beyond that. “Having worked in the Surface Warfare community, I was extremely comfortable taking on a project that had very little direction as to how to accomplish the final goal,” describes Pieczonka.

Pieczonka tells us that if he had to advise fellow veterans on how to execute a successful transition, he would say to make finding your next career a part-time job. He explains that to find a truly fulfilling and worthwhile second career, you are doing yourself and everything you accomplished in the military a disservice if you don’t focus on your career search.

“As a veteran, you understand hard work, team-first mentality, competence, and most importantly - integrity. With these attributes, and some specific training, you can do some incredible things for an organization", he explains, “And you can learn and ramp up at a much faster rate and provide additional value added sooner. If you do things the proper way, with discipline and thoroughness, it may be challenging and difficult, but the reward on the other side is that you get to start another career that you will truly enjoy.”

To learn more about Chris Pieczonka's transition story, click here.

Project Management Careers with T H Hill


Orion is currently recruiting for Project Managers for T H Hill in Houston, TX. In this position, you will work as the liaison between T H Hill’s quality assurance technicians and assigned clients to reduce non-productive time associated with drilling and completions equipment for the client. You will report to the Manager of Technical Services.

These positions are quite challenging and require critical thinking, process development, mapping, management, personnel management, presentation development and delivery, database management, and metrics development and tracking skills, among others.


  • Work with, direct, and in some cases supervise the activity of field level quality assurance personnel assigned to the team.

  • Identify customer needs

  • Monitor and advise the customer of job progress

  • Ensure that lessons learned and customer requirements are catalogued and disseminated, as appropriate.

  • Work with Sales to interface with the client and illustrate areas of added value

T H Hill will provide you all of the tools and resources you will need to succeed in the role, including several months of training in the field and within the Engineering, Sales, and Technical Services departments.


T H Hill is looking for strong leaders eager to begin a rewarding Project Management career within the Oil & Gas industry.

  • Engineering or Business degree is preferred

  • Advanced degree or PMP certification is a plus

  • Strong interpersonal skills

  • Exceptional technical writing, communication, and presentation skills

  • Technical aptitude

T H Hill provides a comprehensive compensation & benefits package that includes company paid Medical & Dental coverage, Life insurance and Disability coverage for all employees at no cost. In addition, a 401k plan is available, as well as paid time-off during the first year.

We will be holding interviews for these positions at the following events:

  • Orion Houston Hiring Conference – August 12 & 13

  • Orion Houston Hiring Conference - December 2 & 3

Click here to learn more.

Honeywell U.S. Army Integrated Logistics Support Service Program



Orion is currently recruiting for  Quality Assurance Operations positions for Honeywell to fulfill the U.S. Army’s Integrated Logistics Support Service Program. Under the contract, Honeywell is managing global inventory, maintenance, and operations for three Army Field Support Brigades.

You should be able to start before August 1st. Pay is highly competitive, and all positions are located in Afghanistan.

We are seeking candidates with the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in an applied science, such as Business

  • Five (5) years of demonstrated experience working in the logistical field, or at least ten (10) years of program related experience

  • Must have experience with MS Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and working knowledge of Access database programs

  • Quality management or related discipline

  • Demonstrated proficiency in the evaluation of processes and controls, along with the ability to inspect or evaluate workforce performance to the process

  • Knowledge of Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced (PBUSE)

For more information, please click here. 


Job Seeker Success Story

Alex Nimmo, Team Leader

Gardner-Webb University, 2008

I left the military in May 2012, but only began my job search in March 2012 after returning from my last deployment to Afghanistan. I was a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and was an Air Support Control Officer.  I feel that the leadership experience and performing those leadership duties in a highly stressful environment helped me transition to an environment where setting the example and making decisions are key.

I was actually set up originally with Mike Wood, and he brought me out to two events where I received excellent interview prep from Mike and his team. And while I did not find the right match, Mike did a great job listening to what I wanted to do and did not force any interviews on me that I did not want. He even went so far as to take interviews off my schedule to accommodate my requests!  

After going to two rounds of interviews, I received an email from Todd Phillips asking about my interest in a phone interview with Pilkington.  Todd was great communicating what type of position this was and set me up for success with the initial phone interview.  After the initial phone interview, Todd communicated what to expect at the follow-up interview.  Once the offer was made from Pilkington, I was able to go to Todd and let him take a look at everything and get advice, which was key for me as I have never been down this road.  He provided his expertise, and it proved to be very beneficial!  

I am now a Team Leader at Pilkington and will soon be in charge of approximately 20 individuals.  Most Junior Marine Corps Officers have led at the very least 20 individuals, so the job of people management is relatively the same.  The basic leadership skills we learn will pay dividends in a civilian career.

Orion exceeded my expectations namely in the preparation before the interviews.  The small groups allowed me to get unbiased feedback on how I was answering interview questions.  I think being open geographically also really helped me make an equivalent paycheck to what I was used to!  And Orion is concerned about the environment they are placing you in.  

Everyone I have come in contact with at Orion is focused on one thing, and that is getting you the job that you want.  The amount of communication between the job seeker and the recruiter is very good. Both recruiters I dealt with were very flexible in their methods of communication.  I was often unavailable on the phone, but could email very easily.  I appreciated the open and honest communication.  I never felt as though I was being strung along.


National Distinguished Candidate Conference – September 10 - 11 in Baltimore, MD


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 Orion’s National Distinguished Candidate Conference (DCC) in Baltimore, MD, on September 10 - 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 candidates have to say about the caliber of our DCCs? Read on...


“I participated in two DCCs with Orion and interviewed with about 15 companies—pretty darn amazing for two days out of my life!”


“The Distinguished Candidate Conference I attended in Dallas was an excellent opportunity to interview with the people who would eventually be my managers. I got to do five interviews in one day!"

“When I turned to Orion, I realized that their reputation stands tall amongst the corporate sector.  It was evident from the multiple high caliber companies that came to the Distinguished Candidate Conferences I attended in Baltimore and Chicago.  I hope that other quality officers will see the benefits of working with a stellar placement firm like Orion.”


Orion only holds a few DCCs each year. The last 2012 DCC will be held in San Diego, CA, on October 15 - 16. If you would like to be considered for one of the upcoming Orion DCCs, please click here.

Orion’s Military Officer Transition Program & Upcoming Webinars

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. Our Military Officer Transition 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.


July 23, 2012
12:00 pm EDT - 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.


July 24, 2012

12:00 pm EDT – 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.


July 26, 2012
12:00 pm EDT - 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.

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!


Fishkill, NY

Baltimore DCC

August 12 - 13

September 10 - 11


Chicago DCC


July 23 - 24

September 9 - 10


Atlanta, GA

Raleigh, NC

August 5 - 6

September 17 - 18

South Central

Houston, TX

August 12 - 13


Seattle, WA

San Diego, CA

August 9 - 10

August 26 - 27


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

Fort Bragg

San Diego

Fort Hood

Fort Riley

Virginia Beach

Fort Bliss


Fort Hood

Fort Lewis

Kings Bay

Fort Stewart/Hunter

Fort Hood

July 19 - 20

July 20

July 26

August 1 - 2

August 2

August 2 - 3

August 6 - 10

August 24

September 6 - 7

September 11 - 12

September 13 - 14

September 20

According to your Peers

“Orion did an excellent job preparing me for interviews, matching me with good positions in exciting companies, and organizing exceptionally well planned and prepared job conferences.  Orion matched me with positions that were in line with my job, salary, and location preferences, and were always quick to answer any questions. 

Jim Freeze is the first person I met from Orion, and he was very helpful in answering my initial questions, explaining the Orion process, and getting me started on resume construction and general research.  Todd Phillips was the event coordinator in Chicago and was also very helpful preparing me for the job conference and ensuring I was set up for success.  He lined me up with a variety of positions at variety of companies, but all of them accurately reflected my preferences.  He also ensured I had enough time to do my own company research prior to the conference, and he was always quick to answer questions and offer advice. 

After my first direct contact with Orion, I lost any immediate interest in other firms.  With Orion’s help, I found employment so quickly that I never had time to doubt that first instinct. My experience with Orion has been very successful. I am now happily employed, in a location I enjoy, in a company that I can grow in over the long term.   I recommend Orion to every transitioning officer I know.” – Andrew Mills, Quality Supervisor

“I wanted to take a moment to let you know how much my family and I appreciated Orion’s assistance.  I consider this career change to be one of the most important decisions of my life, and Orion’s organization, professionalism, and facilitation made the decision process a great success.

I was amazed with how fast you organized seven interviews for me in two days prior to the hiring conference.  Furthermore, five of those companies I believed were a great fit, and it was wonderful to have such a large selection.  

Three weeks after the conference and after several flights paid for by the interviewing companies, we accepted a position in our target location with a very generous compensation package.  I do not think this kind of success was possible in such a short time frame if it was not for Orion.

Thank you again, Todd Phillips, for personally going the extra mile in making my transition a fantastic success.  Rangers Lead The Way!” - Robert Valentino, Production Supervisor

“I left the military back in 2005 and used Orion for my first job search. I came back and used Orion again in 2011 when I needed to find a new job. Everyone at Orion operates in a highly professional manner, and I feel I was treated exceptionally well. I was listened to, and my needs were considered.

I was told by many companies that I was overqualified. Orion continues to educate the private sector employers on the talent, skills, knowledge, and abilities that veterans bring to an organization, so this doesn’t happen. Thank you very much! I enjoyed working with Orion once again.” – Adrian Borgeson, Sales Representative

“Orion is much better than other firms at staying with the candidate. I got many calls each week, which led me to understand that they were continuing to work hard on my behalf. I will continue to work with Orion in the future. Thank you.” – Evan Lowry, ISC Leader

“I learned about Orion International through an ACAP career fair held at Fort Hood, TX, and attended a hiring conference in San Diego. Out of six companies I interviewed with, three showed a strong interest in me and two companies actually proceeded with on-site interviews.

My recruiter was Tim Duba, and he was great. He assisted me all the way, constantly informing me about my status in the hiring process. He had such great confidence in me and in my potential, and he knew it was just a matter of time when I would receive an offer.

Orion was able to meet my needs. Now I don’t have to worry about any gaps in employment, as I have a job lined up as soon as I leave the military. Orion gave me a great experience during my transition from the military. I wanted a job where I can still use all my military skills I’ve earned and at the same time use my engineering degree. The first time I talked to my recruiter, I knew that I was in good hands, because he was able to see my potential. I would recommend Orion to my peers any time!” – John Barican, Process Engineer

“I started looking for a job in June after retiring from the Navy in January. I heard about Orion International through a TAP class that I attended. Then, at an Orion Hiring Conference in San Diego, I interviewed with KLA-Tencor. The interview went well, and within two weeks I had a job offer. 

My experience with Orion was great. Throughout my career search, I spoke with several people at the San Diego office. They all did an incredible job of matching my skill set to the needs of the company and got me into the right interview. I am extremely impressed with their ability to identify what I would have to offer and match it with an employer.

I think the most difficult thing I faced in trying to find a job was knowing how my naval experience would translate into the civilian sector. Orion did a great job figuring that out and getting me into the right place at the right time.” – Ben Finley, Product Engineer

“I left active duty in November 2008 and began looking for jobs after graduating with my MBA in June 2011. Tim Duba and Lillian Thompson did a good job with my career search. They took my considerations into account about start date and helped me in the negotiation phase.

My new position as a Program Manager is very similar to the military. My duties include managing time, resources, and coordinating efforts, which coincide with my military background. The organizational planning, ability to remain flexible regarding missions and tasks, and mission focus that I learned in the military has helped me immensely.” – Kaare Patterson, Program Manager

“I heard about Orion International from a friend back in 2007 and decided to use them when the time came. Jim Perdue set me up with some interviews, and I was hired soon after. I liked working with Orion because they didn’t try to shot-gun blast me into a bunch of positions. Orion waited patiently until the right opportunity presented itself.” – Raymond Scholl, Value Stream Manager


Production Supervisor Careers with The Hershey Company

Orion has partnered with The Hershey Company, the #1 Chocolate Maker in the country, to offer outstanding career opportunities to JMOs seeking a rewarding career after the military. We are currently recruiting transitioning  Officers for Production Supervisor roles in Lancaster, PA. This opportunity is unique in that you’ll be on the ground floor of Hershey history.

You’ll have a chance to learn from and integrate with existing Hershey’s employees before the new facility opens and play a role in building the foundation for what will solidify Hershey’s category leadership in confections for the next 100 years and beyond. In this position, you will be responsible for the financial planning, as well as directing and managing the activities of hourly production personnel while safely and effectively meeting the needs of their departments / areas in the plant. 

Position Requirements:

  • BS degree in Business or Technical field, or related field.

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in manufacturing or equivalent experience as a manager/ supervisor in a high-speed, complex environment.

  • Minimum of 3 years in a supervisory capacity required.

  • Food manufacturing experience is a plus.

  • Strong change management skills, driving and implementing change to optimize the business focusing on safety, quality and costs.

Click here to learn more.

Career Opportunities within Orion


Account Executives

Orion International is currently seeking transitioning or former military officers with a strong record of achievement to join our Sales Team as an Account Executive. We are hiring for our Austin, TX; Cincinnati, OH; San Diego, CA; and Virginia Beach, VA, offices.

As an Account Executive, you will be responsible for creating relationships with America’s leading companies through development of leads lists, business development calls, and client presentations. The work you do will help fellow veterans transition into the civilian workforce.

To qualify, you should have military experience, a Bachelors degree, and previous sales experience or a desire to succeed in sales. Click here to learn more about joining the Orion team.


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

Did you know that Orion candidates have already earned $1400 in referral bonuses already in 2012?

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!

Companies Recently Hiring





Boston Scientific


CB Richard Ellis

Corning Cable




FuelCell Energy

GE Aircraft Engines

GE Appliances

GE Lighting

Georgia Pacific



Johnson Controls

Johnson & Johnson


Kansas City Southern




Lam Research


Owens Corning

Parker Hannifin








Stryker Orthopaedics


Worley Parsons

Connect with Orion Online


 You can keep up-to-date on all things Orion, including hiring events, base visits, webinars, and news pertinent to veterans through our social media listed below.

Join Orion’s Military Network on LinkedIn

Join Orion on Facebook

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