Veteran Employee Story – Russ Hierl

Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc.  |  Part of the National Security Solution, Part 2  |

Published in the January/February 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  | 

Russ Hierl, vice president of Staffing and Security Operations at Sotera Defense Solutions, Inc., joined the company in 2002 after serving in the Army for ten years. He likes to hire veterans based both on his experience with the military as well as his knowledge of the work Sotera does. With veterans making up 20 percent of Sotera’s employees, it’s clear the company recognizes the value of military service. Hierl would like to see that number increase to 25 percent or more.

“Veterans bring a wealth of real-world experience and understand the core challenges of the national security mission – which helps Sotera deliver solutions that address our customers’ most pressing needs,” Hierl said. “Veterans have confidence, teamwork, and integrity – qualifications crucial for any growing organization.”

One reason Hierl believes veterans like working at Sotera is that they can continue to serve men and women still in uniform. As a mission partner of the national security community, members of the U.S. military are the ultimate end-users for most of our services and solutions,” he said. “Qualified veterans are a good fit for Sotera because they bring a valuable, first-hand perspective to our team. This helps us solve the real, rather than theoretical, challenges and provide services that are directly useful to the mission.”

“We stop terrorists,” Hierl continued. “Every day we work to stop future attacks against U.S. interests home or abroad. I’m proud of our mission, and believe that other veterans would be, too.”

Hierl encourages servicemembers to use all the assets available to them because of their military service. “I used my GI Bill to get my BA degree, and I attended numerous military transition assistance programs (TAP),” he said. “Attending TAP will often give an opportunity to meet two or more companies who will tell you the do’s and don’ts of interviewing, resume writing, proper interview attire, establishing a professional email address, how early to get to an interview, what questions to ask, studying the company’s website and the position you are interviewing for, etc.”

But ultimately that job search is up to the individual. “The best advice for those leaving the military is to take their job search seriously,” Hierl said. “The military prepares you for many things, but does not always prepare you to look for jobs. Searching for a job in the civilian sector is a very different process for which you need a different set of job-hunting skills; there is a lot of competition for decent jobs. Even successful companies and agencies at all government levels are right-sizing to remain profitable and competitive.

“Keep in mind you may have to lower your career expectations and accept lesser positions to remain employed and get your foot in the door at a good company. So be prepared, know the position you are interviewing for, know the company, dress appropriately, and be able to tell me what distinguishes you from other applicants.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers