Veteran Employee Story – Richard Puckett

Troy University  |  The Path to Success  |

Published in the May/June 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

Richard Puckett left the Air Force as a technical sergeant working as a recruiting supervisor for northwest Florida and southern Alabama, and quickly found a job that utilized his military skills and education. He is now a Global Campus teaching site director for Troy University in Pensacola, Florida. He handles the site’s day-to-day operations, supervises 15 staff and faculty, serves as the site’s budget officer, ensures delivery of academic programs through evening courses, and plans and directs site student recruiting activities. The university selected him as a Troy University Global Campus 2010 World Class Leader.

Puckett acknowledges that his military experience played a role in achieving his first civilian opportunity. “Serving in the Air Force Recruiting command honed my professional skills as a public representative for a large institution/organization,” he said. “I retired in Pensacola and was very fortunate to be hired by Pensacola Junior College to serve as their lead job developer, recruiting businesses to hire welfare recipients who were participating in the national Welfare to Work program. My 12 years of recruiting service experience impressed the hiring committee.”

Troy University, founded in 1887, has almost 28,000 students. It operates four campuses in Alabama – in Troy, Dothan, Montgomery, and Phenix City. And through its Global Campus division, it operates more than 60 locations in 16 other states, as well as 7 locations outside the country.

Puckett fully believes that taking the higher education road as far as possible will lead to long-term success. “Complete the highest level of education possible to be competitive among your peers,” he said. “My position as an Air Force Recruiter did not require an academic degree, but most positions in the civilian world require at least a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree preferred.”

He understands that employers want both military experience and a college degree. “Many of the military skills associated with my recruiting position translated perfectly to my current position as site director for the Troy University Pensacola Site,” he said. “I became very adept at working independently without supervision to meet my goals as a recruiter and later serving as a recruiting supervisor. Also, the professional standards taught at many of the professional military education leadership schools prepared me to work as a manager and supervisor for the University of Florida and Troy University.”

Puckett understands that his education kept him on the path to success. “I was hired as a business developer in my first position with Troy University based upon my military experience as a recruiter,” he said. “I was quickly given the opportunity to put my military leadership training to the test. I was selected for the vacated site director position for the Pensacola site. Troy University has a history and tradition of hiring and selecting veterans to serve in leadership positions. Upon my selection as the site director for Pensacola, I immediately began graduate school to meet the educational requirements of my new position. My student experience at Troy was excellent and offered the flexibility to complete my degree program in the traditional classroom and by taking courses online. As a result of this flexibility, I completed my master’s degree in just 15 months.”

His advice for servicemembers who are leaving the military and looking for new opportunities is pretty simple. “I would recommend that they research possible employment opportunities in their field of expertise and the qualifications required for employment consideration in their desired profession,” he said.

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers