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Veteran Transition Story: Eric Romero

Parker Hannifin asked veterans about their experiences transitioning to the civilian job world -- below are some thoughts on transition from Navy veteran Eric Romero.

One month prior to my discharge in 2002 I created and posted my resume on Monster.com. I was sure to mention all experience and training that I received from the military. I heavily utilized the career description dictated from the job description from the Navy for an Aviation electrician. I had a few inquiries -- however the competition was stiff for my field (electronics technician) and I had not retained employment by the time my service ended. One month after discharge I started my own auto-detailing business to retain some cash flow. Business was picking up; however, I needed something steady with benefits since I had a family and a child with type 1 diabetes. I explored companies and organizations that were military-friendly such as the post office, CHP, and sheriff departments. None of these were appealing to me. After three months with no luck for an electronics position I accepted an offer in the shipping department of a distribution center @ $9.50 per hour.

Three months later I received a call from a staffing agency recruiting on behalf of Parker Hannifin. They stated that they reviewed my resume on Monster.com and wanted to set up an interview for a position in their Qualification Lab. The position required a hydraulics background; however, they stated that there were electronics in the future and that my avionics and military discipline was something Parker was very interested in.

When I arrived for the interview I was very impressed by Parker Hannifin's facility. It was like nothing that I had seen before on previous interviews. I met with the Qualification Lab Team Leader and I felt the interview could have gone better. I found myself stating that I did not have experience with many of the questions they asked. For example, tube bending, hydraulics, plumbing, and labview. I did my best explaining how electronics were similar to hydraulics. I also explained how some of the systems and scenarios I encountered in the military in avionics would allow me to be successful if selected. The Team Leader concluded the interview with a tour and he explained that they have had great success hiring former military personnel. He stated that we are competent, disciplined, and easy to train. Despite the kind words I felt that I was not going to receive a call-back.

The next day I received a call from the staffing agency with news that Parker wanted to start a contract to hire. I started employment the following week as a contract temporary employee. Six months later a permanent position became available within the Assembly & Test department. I interviewed and was selected as an Assembler/Tester Sr. on 2nd shift. I quickly learned all product lines and within four years I became a group leader for new development programs. In 2007 I decided to continue my education at Chapman University. Chapman accepted many of my military course works as credits towards my degree. I graduated in 2009 with a BA in Organizational Leadership. In 2009 I applied for and was selected as Team Leader for Parker's new Electronics' Assembly & Test department. Since 2009 I have helped this department with many milestones delivering electronic flight control systems to many customers in support of new business won. Had it not been for Parker Hannifin and the Team Leader that had faith in my military background, I would not be where I am today -- in a highly visible and highly dynamic role that is positioning me for future growth within this organization.

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