Dean E.: Leading Teams in Military and Civilian Careers

Archer_Daniels_Midland_150.png

Dean E.
U.S. Army - O-5

A lightbulb turned on for Dean E. during a conversation with his CEO several years ago. As a former career officer in the military in aviation, Dean had transitioned well into his career as a corporate pilot; so, when the CEO asked about his military career, he immediately responded with his rank and MOS, believing those pieces of information gave the full picture of how his military experience prepared him for his civilian job.

But when the CEO responded with follow-up questions that forced Dean to go into detail about his leadership responsibilities and other specific duties, he quickly realized that his immediate answer had not illustrated the incredible preparation he had cultivated in the military.

To Dean, this interaction showcased just how essential it is for Veterans to sell themselves to civilian employers. While this can be a difficult task for many Veterans since they often focus on the team’s successes rather than individual accomplishments, it’s an important first step in getting the job in which they will thrive as civilians.

As a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, Dean consistently sought to grow professionally and personally and take the next step that allowed him to gain more responsibility. In his mission to achieve this goal, Dean gained a leg-up on his civilian competition and the ability to manage other people. A common misconception about the military is that officers simply command and people just follow. Not true. Leaders must encourage and inspire, or they won’t find much success. Dean saw this truth and learned that dealing with personnel issues must be done fairly, firmly and swiftly to enable trust and help people to do their absolute best under his command. These soft skills have been invaluable in his current career as U.S. staffing manager at Archer Daniel Midland Company (ADM).

Dean’s career path at ADM has provided the opportunity for him to continue inspiring and aiding those in the military as they transition into civilian careers. The first time ADM ranked as a military-friendly employer remains a particularly proud moment for him since Dean had helmed the company’s military hiring program that helped solidify that designation. Now, ADM and Dean are taking the next step to assist and empower more Veterans by providing jobs and mentors on the Hiring Our Heroes Agriculture Track.