Bridging the Military/Civilian Gap
Stephen P. Hudson is a Technical Specialist II in the Technical Solutions Substation Engineering group at Dominion Energy Virginia. From 2008-2016, he served in the Virginia Army National Guard and Reserves with the 224th AVN Assault Helicopter Battalion. This is his story about how he transitioned from the military to a rewarding career with Dominion Energy.
In 2008, I was 30 years old and running a concrete coating company that was struggling to survive in the economic downturn. My wife was employed as a teacher and both of our children were in grade school. It seemed like the right time to pursue a dream I’d had ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In December 2008, I enlisted in the Army National Guard. I went through basic training and was sent to school to learn to repair UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. By the time my aviation battalion deployed to Iraq in January 2011, I had become a Black Hawk crew chief.
I spent a year flying on combat sorties and transporting military personnel around Iraq. By December 2011, I was finishing up my active duty tour and preparing to return stateside as a regular in the National Guard – with no day job waiting for me. That uncertainty created more anxiety than flying into a dust storm in the Iraqi desert. My priority had always been to provide for my family – whether as a soldier or a civilian. Unfortunately, my window of opportunity for going to flight school was closing because of my age. And my business back home had gone belly up. I desperately needed to find a new career.
My platoon sergeant mentioned that his parents worked for Dominion Energy. He suggested I send my resume to his father, which I did. That led me to start researching Dominion Energy on the company’s website. When I accessed the “Careers” page, I was pleased to find a dedicated tab for “Military and Veterans” – and even more excited when I read about a new program Dominion was piloting, called “Troops to Energy Jobs."
The program helps vets make the transition from the military to careers in the energy sector. The website takes you through the process step-by-step and helps vets identify any additional education and credentials they may need for utility and engineering occupations. It also offers an array of interactive features to assist with the job search, including career coaches and a jobs database. It was encouraging to know that Dominion was so interested in recruiting veterans.
Not long after my battalion returned from Iraq, I was promoted to sergeant. I also heard from Dominion Energy Virginia. They invited me to interview for a contract employee position in the Substation Engineering Physical Design Department. The interview went well. They valued my familiarity with engineering, my troubleshooting ability, my team spirit and my appreciation for safety, among other things. They also knew I was still in the Army National Guard and could be deployed at any time. That didn’t seem to concern them. I was offered the job. My foot was in the door, and I was elated.
Then something happened that convinced me Dominion Energy was the place for me. Two months after being promoted, I was deployed with 400 other soldiers to Guatemala to provide aviation support for a humanitarian aid operation. I would be gone for a month. My supervisors at Dominion Energy didn’t flinch when I told them. They said I had their full support and not to worry about my job. I was assigned a Military Leave Coordinator who made sure my family and I had everything we needed prior to my departure. Because I did not have to worry about my job status or my family, I could focus on the mission at hand. I was enormously grateful for Dominion Energy’s show of support. I knew then the company was willing to invest in me and my future there.
Learn more about Dominion Energy’s efforts to support active military, veterans and retired military.