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Intel CEO Honors His Veterans

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Note from the editor: Eric is no stranger to the blog and once again he’s sharing his experience as a veteran at Intel. After 7 years in the Navy, Eric worked in a number of semiconductor related jobs before joining Intel in 2005 and has had a variety of roles ranging from Technical Marketing to Social Media Strategist.  

Last month, I had the honor of being part of a ceremony where our CEO, Paul Otellini spoke to a representative sample of Military Veterans and personally handed out commemorative coins (see pictures below) to each of the Vets. Honestly, it was a very touching event and Paul opened with some very heart felt words where he stated :

“We – our country, our company and I – owe you a huge debt as members of our armed forces who risked your lives to protect our freedom … to secure our homeland … and to defend democracy worldwide.”


He went on to make several other interesting points, such as how Veterans tend to exhibit the qualities that Intel values. Additionally, he explained how Intel is in the process of expanding its programs and services for US Veterans, as well as hiring two veterans specifically for the purposes of running these programs and as a dedicated military recruiter – a common practice among top performing companies. There was mention of the fact that Intel was joining with more than 75 other companies as part of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of companies with a goal to hire at least 100,000 military veterans by 2020. Altogether, I thought this was a great speech and, personally, I was very happy to hear it!

So, all in told, roughly 50 veterans were able to individually shake hands with Paul, get handed his or her coin, and snap a picture. It went smoothly, with the Veterans standing, row-by-row and getting in line smartly in typical military fashion. But, for those few seconds, we each got to shake hands with the man at the helm of the largest semiconductor company in the world, and that, truly was an honor. We had folks from Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and even at least one former Coast Guardsman.

It should be noted that Paul said there was one thing that he wanted to be very clear about. While he was very glad to be holding this event, he was adamant that this was not a “one-time Veterans’ Day” event, but rather a start of a long-term revitalization of a long-standing principle whereby Intel has been a great supporter of Veterans in general. While I won’t bore you with all the policies (but feel free to read them yourself), I have known that there are many things that Intel does to not only honor its Veterans, but also does various things to those employees that are in the reserves and the like that do have to, from time-to-time, have to deploy. Also, the American Veterans of Intel hosts local efforts, such as collecting toiletries for our troops overseas and raising money for efforts such as helping Homeless Veterans.

However, I don’t want to overlook the importance of hiring a specific person, who is a veteran, to lead the “military recruiting” efforts for Intel. In my opinion, this is critical because it is somewhat difficult to explain how hard it is for a member of our Armed Forces to transition into (or back into, if you will) “civilian life.” Not only does the day-to-day activities change greatly (I have YET to “march in formation” since working at Intel), but perhaps the biggest obstacle is how does the newly minted Veteran translate all the experience that he or she has had in the field into something that a prospective employer would find valuable.

To use specific example, there is a friend of mine that had worked as a Logistics Officer in the US Marine Corp. He left some 2 decades ago and started working in an Intel distribution center. Now, one could argue that Logistics for the USMC is completely different from shipping semiconductors all over the place, but in my opinion, those two activities have a lot more in common with each other than different! If you think about what Marines ship around – everything from bullets to beans – they’ve got to be really careful of what goes where, especially with the ammunition. Not only is it important for the troops that need it to get it, but it’s also important that they don’t get lost in transit and end up some place they shouldn’t. Similarly, a “box” of processors in trays can literally cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, so when it gets shipped, it is critical that it goes to the right place. Not only because it is very valuable, but also because if it doesn’t get to the right customer at the right time, it could impact their supply chain. So, when you take away what is *in* the boxes and pay attention to the activities *around* the boxes, the skills he learned working for Uncle Sam is the same that he needs to use working for Intel. Unfortunately, the vocabulary used to describe what he did in uniform could be (and usually is) VASTLY different than if had, for example, came from a different large company, say one in retail.

And he’s got one of the most clean cut examples – very much a (red) apples to (green) apples comparison. But what about the young Army Captain that was in charge of a Tank Division. Or the Naval Lieutenant that was on a Submarine (that would be me)? And, of course, the Air Force Captain that worked for Space Systems Command? How many Tanks, Submarines, or Spy Satellites do you think there are outside of the military? (Hopefully the answer is “none”.) So, does this mean that these young officers, or anyone of our fine enlisted folks that served this great land, have picked up zero transferable skills in the 5, 10, 15, 20, or more years in the military? In my opinion, the answer is “no” – but let me use an analogy to help explain.

Remember the original “Karate Kid” movie? One of the more interesting scenes was when Daniel Larusso was getting sick and tired of doing (what felt like) nothing but chores for Mr. Miyagi, such as waxing his car. So, Mr. Miyagi throws a punch and Daniel instinctively blocks. Another punch is thrown and it is matched with another instinctive block. In that critical moment, Daniel learns that all the “Wax On & Wax Off” motions he’s been doing are exactly the same motions he’s use in his Karate matches. In other words, the motions were the same, even if what they were called was different. And, in my opinion, that is what like hiring someone out of the military is like. That are innate qualities that most Veterans gain from their service that are invaluable in the world of business, such as discipline, attention to detail, the ability to work together as a tight nit team. I don’t care if you making semiconductors or wands for conductors, you want these qualities in your team. And that’s what hiring a Veteran usually gives you.

For more information on Intel’s Veteran Hiring program, check out our landing page on the topic or leave us a comment, and we’ll get back to you.