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Best for Vets in Travel: How CWTSatoTravel became ‘a top military company’

December 19, 2023

Josh Geis (L) and Greg Harkins (R) with a US military veteran at the Best Defense event

When Greg Harkins, CWT’s leader of Defense & Government found out that CWTSatoTravel was recently awarded two prestigious awards for its veteran hiring initiatives it was welcome news. Himself a veteran, Harkins served all over the world for 27 years, sits on the board for Soldier’s Angels, a global network of volunteers that provide aid, comfort and resources to the military and their families and is a member of American Corporate Partners, a mentoring organization that pairs Fortune 500 companies with military personnel looking to transition to life after service. Harkins was mentored through ACP program and now serves as a mentor himself. Through these organizations and other networks, he’s mentored over 100 ex-servicemen and women in the last three years alone.

CWTSatoTravel is recognized in this year’s 2023 Military Times Best for Vets: Employee rankings and as a top Military Friendly company as part of the 2024 Military Friendly Awards. The Military Friendly® Silver Designation is awarded to companies that score within 20% of the 10th ranking Employer in their category. Only a select group of companies achieve this honor.

Harkins brings a deep understanding of the demographic and institution necessary to build a veteran infrastructure that adds value to ESG and a global organization like CWT. 

From national service to customer service

Many of us take our limited knowledge of military life from movies usually involving saluting troops wearing mirrored aviators yet a diverse pool of  200,000 veterans transition from the U.S military to civilian life every year encompassing a vast range of roles with the strategic mindset and analytical nous ideal for a global organization.

Among CWT’s ex-service members are people like Steve Birch, Snr Director PMO. A former lead signal officer for one of the 12 Divisions in the U.S Army he brings his knowledge of communications architecture and technology to CWT’s product and technology team. There’s Dillon McBrady in Enterprise Strategy who worked in planning and strategy in the military and still serves in the National Guard, and Sales Director Casey Moes, “The military boasts the full range of skills and requirements, says Harkins, “In the civilian world you look at the military and don't realize that they have HR, DE&I, technology and finance. There’s every possible function, and at a scale that most civilian organizations could never match. He adds that the reverse can also be true, “I was in the infantry. You have a limited view if you have only engaged with a company as a customer. You have to take a step back and imagine what’s really behind this organization that’s getting you on a plane. I was surprised as I was transitioning out about where CWTSatoTravel, which provides services for U.S military and civilian government agencies, sits in the broader scope of CWT and the travel industry in general. You become part of a much bigger and complex ecosystem.”

ESG starts with the individual

Equal employment opportunity is a central tenet of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). For many that means the right to thrive professionally in a flexible and autonomous environment.

Sales Director Casey Moes served for 23 years most recently as a military police officer and has worked in Korea, Italy, Afghanistan and Iraq. When Casey was the US Army’s Africa Director of  Operational Protection Directorate she began looking externally, “The Army is so all encompassing that most folks that have served end up having a lot of their identity wrapped up in it.  This makes the transition harder," says Moes. Skillbridge,  a mentoring and training program of which CWT is a member, allowed her to “dip a toe in the water” to see what value she could bring right away. “When I transitioned about a year and a half ago, I didn’t think I was going to find something that was as fulfilling. Now I have eight-year-old twins. I am present in their life. I am able to honor my commitment to my family, to coach my boys’ soccer team, go to the recital and take them to the school bus even if that means picking up work again from 7-10pm.”

It's a leap from doing things like leading programs that oversee the safety and security of US Army personnel operating across Africa to sales but she brings a critical sense of perspective, people skills and agility.

Organizations rightly strive to create both a diverse and inclusive staff. Without the opportunity to transition, talented leaders like Moes would remain an untapped asset in industries that require flexibility and the capacity to navigate through uncertainty.

The same extends to hiring military spouses who bring lived experience to traveller-facing roles, “They make ideal CWTSatoTravel counselors and leaders,” adds Harkins, “They understand intimately who they're supporting because a lot of times they're working on the base supporting service members and families. They know it better than anybody else.”

By recognizing and tapping into the potential of this talented pool of individuals, your organization can benefit from a diverse and dynamic workforce that is well-equipped to face the challenges of the future. It’s an award-winning approach and the right thing to do. 


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