By: Steve Stanford, Plantz
I had a great morning with a fine serviceman – Senior Airman Ted Henderson of the United States Air Force. SrA Henderson is rounding out 5 years of service protecting our country and is facing a 10-month window to determine the next step in his career. He will have the opportunity to remain in the military and go “career,” or seek work in the private sector. To best understand his options, and as part of Operation: Partnership, I made some introductions in the Tampa business community.
First stop – Mark House, Managing Director, Beck. Mark, a West Point graduate and former US Army Ranger, talked extensively about the up-beat prospects in the construction industry in Tampa, citing significant private and public investment in exciting Tampa-based projects. Perched four stories above The Heights and overlooking Ulele, Mark likened much of the construction work flow to that of a military unit and invited Ted to keep in contact.
Next stop – Scott Leslie, VP Strategic Alliances, Tribridge. Scott assembled several members of Tribridge’s onboarding team to offer a broad view of opportunities at one of Tampa’s leading technology consultancies, and the opportunities are extensive. Tribridge has established its own academy to bring in new hires who are starting their careers or moving into the technology sector for the first time, which could prove ideal for Ted and other retiring service men and women.
Third stop – Preston Farrior, COO, Ferman Automotive Group. The Ferman brand has been a big part of Tampa for over 120 years, and Preston showed SrA Henderson how the company finds the best people in their industry and invited him to take a closer look at the vast opportunities in the auto business.
Final stop – Keith Johnson, General Manager, Sheraton Riverwalk Hotel. Keith was able to talk extensively about the opportunities at Sheraton, and in the hospitality industry in the Tampa Bay area. In between greeting NHL execs, Keith treated us to lunch at the Ashley Street Grill.
With that, I think Operation: Partnership was a huge success, and I encourage other Tampa-based business leaders to participate in this program to help retain some of the significant armed forces talent as they transition from military to civilian careers.