Veteran Employee Story – Bob Ravener

Dollar General  |  Attitude, Integrity, Work Ethic  |

Published in the Septembeer/October 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

Bob Ravener, executive vice president and chief people officer at Dollar General, is another Navy veteran. He served as a strategic weapons submarine officer aboard USS Daniel Webster, a fleet ballistic missile submarine. He was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for his tour of duty. Ravener finished his active duty service at the U.S. Naval Academy where he served as an instructor, coach, and recruiter. He also spent time in the Navy Reserve following active duty. He left the Navy as a lieutenant.

Ravener is responsible for all human resources initiatives for Dollar General, and he is also active in the community. His efforts include coaching youth sports teams and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. He has served on the community board for the Boys and Girls Club and the Ramapo College Board of Governors. In 2004, the Secretary of Labor appointed him to the President’s National Hire Veterans Committee. In 2007, he was appointed to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach.

Ravener believes that his military background helped steer him in the right direction when he entered the civilian employment world. “My experiences in the military directly led to my first civilian opportunity with PepsiCo,” he said. “Specifically, the leadership and people management skills I learned while aboard a submarine, along with my tour of duty at the Naval Academy, were instrumental in landing a job at the company.”

Ravener said that three characteristics have helped him succeed in the civilian world. “I would say attitude, integrity, and work ethic are among the most important attributes to bring to the workplace,” he said. “The military focuses on these key traits and instills the importance of them throughout the service.”                 He added that hard work will pay off everywhere. “I would advise everyone the same way, whether in the military or not,” he said. “Do the job to the best of your ability, work hard, have a great attitude, and take control of your own development. The more you can do these things, the more successful you will be and have opportunities to do more. In other words, excel. The best predictor of future success is past performance, so a track record of consistent accomplishment will be the best indicator of your potential.”

Ravener believes that one key to searching for the best job possible is flexibility. “Do your research and don’t jump at just any opportunity,” he said. “Follow your passions, and look for opportunities that will help you succeed and grow with organizations that recognize and appreciate the skills and service of veterans. I would also say that many people make the mistake of being inflexible on pay, starting role, or other factors. Even though I had almost six years of real world experience in dangerous and highly visible settings, I started my civilian career alongside recent college graduates. Over time, the experience shines through and makes a difference, so take the long-term approach.”

He said that persistence is key to finding jobs at most companies. “Timing is everything. Job openings are posted online, and opportunities come and go, so stick with it. Network and learn the business. The more you can demonstrate that you are serious about your interest, while qualifying for a given role, the better the chances.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers