Hiring Military Veterans Is Good for Business
This Is Bayer
- Our Values
- Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access
- Where We Operate
- Corporate Governance
- Resources Hub
- Contact Us
- U.S. Crop Science
- Who We Are
- Global Crop Science Division
- Consumer Health
- In the Community
- Take Care, Now: Improving Access to Health and Nutrition
- Luke Bryan Farm Tour
- About MSMS
- MSMS Outreach
- Science Libary
- Contact us
- In the Community
- Grants & Scholarships - Bayer Fund
- Corporate Giving
- Bayer Patient Assistance Foundation
- News & Stories
- Working at Bayer
- Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access
- Meet Our Employees
- How to Join Us
- Onboarding Program
- Benefits & Rewards
- #Bayer360 Virtual Reality Career Experience
- Talent Community
Ken Mcquiston (Bayer Crop Science Senior Strategic Projects Lead) – a U.S. Air Force veteran – and Steve Kadin (Bayer Pharmaceuticals Promotional Programs Manager) – an ally to his military colleagues – work together in Bayer’s BRAVE BRG to support military hires and to ensure Bayer management understands the needs of the military community.
Bayer is proud to honor the service and leadership of its veteran and active military employees and their families. As a 2023 Military Friendly® Employer – for the third year in a row – Bayer believes it is important to focus on the needs of its employees in the military community and recognizes the value they bring to Bayer’s business.
Talking with Ken Mcquiston and Steve Kadin, it’s easy to get caught up in their enthusiasm. Although they work for different business divisions within Bayer, at different locations (Ken in Missouri and Steve in New Jersey), and have met only twice in person, they speak with the mutual respect and trust of a sturdy friendship – and with the joy that comes from serving others.
Ken is a military veteran, having served 29 years in the U.S. Air Force. Steve did not serve in the military but is an ally to his military coworkers. Both are leaders in the company’s BRAVE (Bayer Resource for Armed Forces Veteran Employees) BRG. Bayer sponsors a number of BRGs (Business Resource Groups) to provide a supportive environment to groups such as veterans. BRGS give an important voice to these groups to ensure Bayer management understands the needs of its diverse employees and customers.
BRAVE attracts both active military and veterans, like Ken, as well as their allies, like Steve, who believe it’s important to show support for military professionals in return for the freedoms they enable for our country. Perhaps subconsciously, BRAVE employees have created an atmosphere that feels familiar to Ken. “It makes me feel like I’m back with my team again. From a military perspective, we use the phrase, ‘These are the folks you’d ride and die with,’ and that’s how I feel when I interact with the people in BRAVE.”
Good for Business
For Ken and Steve, the initiatives of BRAVE appeal to their shared interest in serving others. They are proud of the work that BRAVE is doing to bring awareness to PTS (post-traumatic stress), for example.
They are happy to share that Bayer is a great employer for veterans, and even more proud that Bayer continues to be open to improvements it can make in this area. For Bayer, it makes good business sense to hire military professionals, Ken says.
“A military person and a veteran is someone who will work until the job is done,” Ken continues. “They stay focused and committed. They realize that there’s bigger things than just themselves – it’s all about teamwork. They have the experience of working in different environments, different cultures, and with a wide variety of people and issues. Veterans bring a can-do attitude.”
Steve agrees: “There are such advantages to having military personnel, active or former, as your employees. They have a way of organizing any task, no matter how impossible it seems, to ensure it is completed. To put it simply, they get the job done. At one of our first national BRAVE meetings, we got to meet a Medal of Honor recipient, and something he said stuck with me: ‘With what I’ve seen during my time in the military, there are no corporate ‘fires’ to put out that will ever phase me.’”
Transitioning into the Civilian Workforce
In addition to strength of character, veterans have no shortage of skills. However, it can be hard to express those skills as veterans transition into the civilian workforce. “If I tell you that I was the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 455th Expeditionary Group in Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan where I was responsible for thousands of people and offensive and defensive air operations in the SOCOM AOR, you would say, what are you talking about?” Ken says. “But anyone in the military, they would understand exactly where I was, what I did, and why I was there.”
Many job listings at Bayer and other companies require a college degree. “In the military, there is no degree requirement to have any enlisted position at any level,” Ken says. “You can have a 21-year-old working on a multibillion-dollar piece of equipment – and despite having completed extensive training in avionics, aircraft maintenance, or electronics to learn how to keep a B-2 bomber in the air – their resume would say that they have only a high school diploma. And because of that, they may not even apply for a job that has a requirement for a college degree.”
Ken added: “In the military, you have a rank or a status among your peers in uniform. Many times when you step out of uniform, you have to start over again, and that’s not easy.” He is passionate about helping veterans make the transition to a post-uniform environment. He laughs: “My first biggest challenge when I stepped out of the uniform was deciding what I was going to wear to work every day!”
Bayer and BRAVE have made that transition a little easier. “Part of our goal is not only to tell the veterans how their experience can translate to the corporate world; it’s also to tell the corporate managers how to look at a veteran’s resume, and to help decipher the great things they’ve done that make them such an advantage to hire at Bayer,” Steve said.
Mutual support, mutual rewards
Bayer has benefitted from the many military hires it makes annually across its businesses. “I’m humbled by the incredible employees I’ve met through the BRAVE BRG – including a former Navy Seal and a former Missile Launch Officer who sat in a silo with a nuclear weapon!” Ken says. “Our BRAVE Executive Sponsors are David Tomasi, a graduate of West Point and a U.S. Army veteran, who serves as President of Bayer Consumer Health North America, and Patrick Lozon, a U.S. Air Force veteran, who serves as Bayer Crop Science Head of North America Product Supply.”
Ken also emphasizes the diversity of people in BRAVE, like Steve, and his co-lead of the national BRAVE chapter, Ann Marie Sanchez, who have been strong allies to the group. “Steve hasn’t served in uniform, but he would have to tell you that for you to know, given his support and knowledge of touch points we need to work on. Ann Marie is an ally too. Her husband is a retired Marine, and she has two children serving on active duty now, and despite a very busy career and family life, she finds time to volunteer as a co-lead of BRAVE.”
With their BRAVE colleagues, Ken and Steve say they will continue to make Bayer a great place for veterans and to amplify that veterans are a good choice for Bayer. “In any one year, the Department of Defense either separates or retires more than 200,000 people,” Ken says. “That is a population of experienced leaders and people who know how to get things done, so I think that’s an incredible opportunity to tap into and for us to grow and improve how we reach out as a company to find military professionals.”
More than any other place he has been employed in the civilian workplace, Ken appreciates that fellow Bayer employees have been so interested in hearing about the military veteran experience – beyond just thanking him for his service. “It can be very cathartic, or even therapeutic, to share your experience with others – not to get sympathy, but to give a perspective of what’s going on in the world that people don’t have the chance to see in a way that I did,” he said. “I have seen some of the worst places in this world, so to be able to work with people that live by a mantra of ‘Health for All, Hunger for None,’ with a passion of doing the right thing, is something that causes me to start every day with a smile on my face!”
Part of his happiness at work comes from his participation in BRAVE, Ken says. “To work for a company that goes out of its way to give you a space to not only come together and address challenges, but to have upper management who literally want to sit down and have a conversation about how we can leverage your group’s experience and expertise to support the broader company, these are things that really make a difference.”
Learn more about Bayer’s military hiring on its career page for Military Professionals and Protected Veterans.