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Hiring Veterans

By Steve Guglielmo

For years we have heard about the “skills shortage” in the industry, especially forklift dealers looking to hire technicians. And while there are people that disagree about the severity of this shortage, the fact remains that finding good, quality technicians is harder today than it has been in years past. Being a technician is one of the most difficult jobs in the entire industry and it also lacks the sex appeal that other jobs might have to draw people in.

Some MHEDA members have found a great source of very high quality technicians in returning veterans. At last year’s MHEDA Convention, we spoke to MHEDA members Ted Springer and Chris Wetle about how they have been able to incorporate veterans into their workforce. Watch this video to see what they had to say.

Hiring veterans is a topic that Springer is particularly passionate about. In the 3rd Quarter 2011 issue of The MHEDA Journal, we wrote an article called “Going Beyond Product Knowledge.” Ted spoke with us about his success in hiring veterans to make his workforce younger.

“These young employees have a great work ethic and often come to us with a strong mechanical skill set from their position in the military,” says Springer.

This policy of recruiting military veterans dates back to the 1990-91 Desert Storm conflict, when Springer hired Mike Zampelli. Zampelli has stayed with Springer ever since and has remained active with the VFW and VA. His connection with those organizations enables Springer to contact soldiers returning from overseas.

Says Springer, “I encourage all of my fellow material handling dealer principals to interview veterans. They have a tremendous amount to offer, both from a technical aspect and a cultural aspect. They are obviously experienced with handling conflict, hardship and working as a member of a team.”