How our veterans energize National Grid

By Dean Seavers

Two years ago I sat down for a Veterans Day breakfast with about 100 National Grid employees who had served in the US Armed Forces. I was struck by two insights that morning that spoke to the wisdom of hiring veterans.

The first was that an employee from Buffalo drove halfway through the night to attend the 8AM breakfast in Boston – and was one of the first to arrive. She said there was no way she’d miss getting together with her fellow veterans.

The second was that employees throughout the company jumped at the chance to honor their colleagues by contributing home-baked goods for the breakfast and turning the morning meal into a real celebration of community and thanks.

Like many US energy companies,   National Grid is at the forefront of a clean energy transition that is dependent on advanced technology, automation, and STEM capabilities. Forces like digital disruption, market-based pricing, and renewable energy alternatives mandate that we focus on the evolution of job skills.  As our workforce also transitions – we estimate one-third will retire in the next ten years – it’s crucial that we recruit for the skill set we require and the values that underpin the way we work.

We currently employ more than 700 veterans, and have committed to hiring veterans in years to come.  Veterans come to us with field experience and skills – particularly STEM – that are easily transferable.

In many instances veterans are taking on the same type of role they had while in the service.  Now at National Grid, they are executives, analysts, engineers, managers, and technicians. They work in emergency planning, data management, electric and gas operations, customer service, finance, and many other areas.

More importantly, I don’t know of another demographic that more emphatically embodies commitment, teamwork, and focus.   Again, this ready-made leadership makes for a natural transition to our team. When I talk to veterans about our intent to begin and end every interaction with the “customer” in mind, they get it!

We know that hiring veterans is smart and the right thing to do, and we partner with some great organizations to make it happen. We work closely with Troops to Energy, Helmets to Hardhats, and Military Officers Association of America, among others in our recruiting efforts.

Inside the company, we also have an active veterans’ employee resource group that boasts close to 500 members, many of whom are not veterans. The group supports several veterans’ organizations within our service territory through volunteering and fundraising.

Last year, our vets group held a camouflage hard hat campaign, and sold more than 6,000 of these one-of-a-kind hard hats to employees. The money raised went in part to train and provide service dogs for veterans suffering   from post -traumatic stress disorder; to cover the costs of war veterans visiting war memorials in Washington D.C.; and to organizations supporting the families of veteran suicide victims.

Wanda Fournier is an Air Force veteran and proud member of our veterans resource group. She says being a veteran at National Grid has taught her two things: “One, leadership skills never go out of style; and two, the energy industry offers a natural transition for those that want to lead by change.”

Our pathway to a clean energy future will make for a bumpy ride at times. But with a dedicated workforce in place, we will get there with an abundance of leadership, thanks in large part to the US vets in our ranks.

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Bill Ciocca

Great article Dean, my son is a Veteran and served in the Coast Guard. He is still in as a reservist and I’m proud to say he is now a Boston firefighter. We all owe our Veterans a debt of gratitude for they are the main reason why we live free in the best country on this planet……GO USA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Margaret Gordon

Great recognition for our veterans. I’m honored to know and work with such great professionals.

Fernando mclean

As a retired member of the United States Air Force and currently Senior CMS supervisor in NYC. I could not be more proud to work for a company that values patriotism and goes well beyond to honor our military member. Thank you.

Jim Birch

I came to National Grid via Keyspan after a 23 year career with the U.S. Coast Guard. I immediately found that the other Veterans quickly identified themselves and proved to be outstanding mentors and always went the extra mile to help me become a competent LNG Plant Operator and LNG Plant Supervisor but more importantly a valued member of the LNG Team. John Pope USAF Retired, Frank Bonomi USMC, Lee Tuck USN, Joe Pierzinski USN, Tony Lorusso USCG, Eric Hahn USMC, Brian Kirkwood USNR, Vinny Renaut USNR, Daniel Velasquez USA, Armand Satacroce USN, Lizette Lofton USN, Robert Houston USN and especially Ronald “Chip” Teele USCG Retired who has always stood by my side through the toughest times and the best of times.

E. A. Faatz Jr.

Well written and appreciated.
I believe that we as veterans bring a sense of honor, loyalty and integrity to the workforce that is often times contagious. Our life experiences added to our co-workers help to create a goal-oriented and flexible work force that will be easily adaptable to the changes in the future.


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