This week, we welcome back one of our finest team members from Naval Reserve annual training in the Middle East.  At Digital Lumens, we have made a commitment to recruit veterans into our company — a practice pretty uncommon for a start up.  So why have we made this commitment, and why should you?

The closest I came to military service was when I lived on Fort Sam Houston in Austin, Texas while my father was in the army during the Vietnam War.  But early in the life of Digital Lumens, we had the good fortune to meet a veteran US Army Ranger who was in the energy space.  I was impressed by his professionalism, commitment, and ability to work under pressure and changing conditions.  This young man had two tours in Iraq under his belt, it was clear that there was little that could phase him after that experience.

We have since hired two veterans into Digital Lumens and look to hire more.  We have a former Navy officer who drove nuclear submarines – he is our colleague who just returned from the Middle East.  Our other veteran is a former Air Force missile officer who spent his service manning and decommissioning nuclear missiles.  Like the Army Ranger that inspired us, their time in the military has prepared them to take on any challenge we could throw at them.

I am sold on hiring veterans and believe more companies should be, also.  Like every talent base, not every member will be the right fit.  But, the level of training and experience – particularly in the officer ranks – is tough to match for men and women so early in their careers.  I recommend this hiring strategy to everyone I meet.

Monday of this week was Patriots’ Day and the 115th running of the Boston Marathon.  In addition to the 20,000 people running 26 miles 385 yards, there were platoons of fully laden soldiers and marines walking the full distance.  I would say that the applause for the service men and women was much louder and more heartfelt than for any marathoner – a sign of appreciation and respect that makes one proud.

Even in an economy where unemployment is high, it is always a challenge to find good people.  I urge all business owners – particularly start-ups – to consider hiring a veteran.  It will be the right thing for your business and will honor their service to our country.

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