A federal holiday in the U.S. since 1941, the Fourth of July or “Independence Day” celebrations date back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
Since then, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
It’s also a chance for Americans and U.S. organizations to express patriotism and love of country and reflect on the sacrifices made by individuals who have served in the military.
Here are five very special veterans that DB Schenker is proud to employ and support.
Developing Policies and Procedures
Kevin Homan, general manager for DB Schenker’s Spirit AeroSystems site in Wichita, Kan., joined the company in 2007 after a 23-year career in the Air Force, where he completed tours in Japan, Italy, and Germany. At DB Schenker, Homan’s department supports the manufacturing activities for Spirit, a Tier One supplier to Boeing. He’s been with the department since it initially went live, and leveraged his experience writing military/logistical doctrines and procedures into creating both the initial and update procedure manuals for the Spirit AeroSystems site.
“Working as an embedded team training member in Afghanistan, I helped write the doctrine that was used for warehousing, logistics, and materials transport activities to support forward-operating bases,” says Homan. “That experience helped me a lot when I got here to Spirit.” For example, the site had an operating warehouse management system (WMS), but no clear bridges between that system and the site’s actual processes and procedures.
“I spent my first year writing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that gave us a solid foundation to work on,” says Homan, whose management system is comprised of 50% veterans, all of whom bring their own unique set of leadership and management training to the table at DB Schenker. “The level of discipline and leadership knowledge that you attain in the military is invaluable in the high-demand warehousing and logistics environment.”
One Big Family Focused on Teamwork
When Travis Chambers left the Marine Corps., to start his career as a civilian, leaving his military “family” behind was extremely difficult. Fortunately for Chambers, another family-like environment was waiting right around the corner at DB Schenker. “Coming to a place that also had a family and teamwork mentality was fantastic,” says Chambers, Manager for DB Schenker’s Air Import Break-Bulk operations in Des Plaines, Ill.
After joining the Marines right out of high school in 2003, Chambers went straight to boot camp after graduation and moved into an MOS role (logistics and embarkation), which found him on a 4-year tour in Iraq (from 2004-08) and various other countries. In that role, he handled the logistics for the supplies for the troops in Iraq—an experience that prepared him for his role at DB Schenker both in terms of logistics and leadership.
“When I started in MOS, I had no idea what it took to pull off movements, which entailed entire Marine units and airwings plus their troops, supplies, and aircraft,” Chambers explains. “Every few months we’d orchestrate a gigantic movement.” The logistics movements that Chambers works on these days are decidedly less “gigantic,” but more frequent and equally as important.
“We’re handling smaller movements, but here in Chicago we’re dealing with a tremendous volume of freight and a huge staff,” says Chamber. “The Marines really gave me the training I needed early on, and that translated well once I got here to DB Schenker.”
Celebrating 40 Years of Service
When July 31st comes around, Ronald Meeks will hold the distinguished title of being a DB Schenker employee for 40 years. And he doesn’t take this distinction lightly. In fact, he continues to work tirelessly in his role as air export supervisor in Charlotte, N.C., where he oversees the export logistics for a wide range of DB Schenker customers on a daily basis.
After joining the Air Force in 1969, Meeks served as a Vietnamese advisor in-country from 1970 to 1971. There, he taught his Vietnamese counterparts how to use computers and ensured that all U.S. military planes and helicopters were up to date in terms of both spare parts and munitions. “I worked at our supply station,” says Meeks. “That experience taught me about how to manage movement of goods from here to there, which is basically what I’m doing now.”
Meeks, whose unit received a presidential citation from Richard Nixon while based in Vietnam, retired from the Air Force in 1972. He would go on to work for an aerospace firm and for several different freight forwarding companies before taking a job in WTC Air Freight’s domestic division (through a series of acquisitions and mergers that company would become a part of DB Schenker).
In his current role for about 15 years, Meeks enjoys the daily challenge of arranging pickups and making sure all customer shipments are properly labeled and documented—and that they adhere to all customs requirements. “We make sure there are no glitches in getting the shipments from one point to the other,” says Meeks, who oversees the operation’s second shift, “and that the supply chain runs as smoothly as possible.”
It Takes a Lot of Coordination and Adaptability
After spending five years as a “field doc” in the U.S. Navy, where this hospital corpsman handled all aspects of combat medical care for warfighters and detainees, Tiffany Kimball wasn’t interested in taking the emergency medical technical (EMT) or paramedic route. Instead, she went back to school and earned degrees in child development and biochemistry. Both challenging in their own right, neither of these fields would transform into career paths for Kimball.
“Biochemistry is fun, intellectual, and challenging, but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do in life,” says Kimball, logistics CSR for DB Schenker in West Jefferson, Oh. “Child development and social work turned out to be more stressful than I’d imagined it would be.”
After moving from California to Ohio, Kimball began working in her region’s thriving distribution and logistics industry. She joined DB Schenker as a temporary forklift driver in 2017, then moved into her current position a few months later when the opportunity presented itself. “I applied in my factory getup, and I knew it was a step up for me,” says Kimball, “but I’d gotten every job I had ever applied for, so I knew I could do it.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Kimball enjoys the camaraderie in her department and likens it to the military environment, where individuals rely heavily on their team members and a strong support structure. She credits her time in the Navy with providing the “fast decision-making and self-management” skills she needs in her role with DB Schenker. Right now, for example, she’s working on a major system transition for a large food manufacturer.
“We’re figuring it all out, making sure the system flows correctly, and correcting issues as they crop up,” says Kimball. “That takes a lot of coordination and adaptability, both of which I learned how to handle during my time in the Navy.”
Putting People First
For Martin King, serving as DB Schenker’s Spirit Distribution Center manager in Tulsa, Okla., is a bit like serving in the Air Force, where he specialized in fuel petroleum logistics from 1990-2013. During that 23-year span, he has served tours at Eskon Village, Saudi Arabia; Ramstein AB, Germany; Al Udeid AB, Qatar; and Kirkuk AB, Iraq in support of Operations Northern Watch, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom.
Along the way, King accumulated more than two decades of experience in a field that would parlay very well into his civilian career at DB Schenker. “The logistics management tools I gained and used in the military translate directly into the day-to-day operations and management that I handle here at our warehouse,” says King, who joined DB Schenker in 2015. He credits the Air Force with helping him become an effective leader and says that aside from learning about logistics, he also learned how to manage people.
In his current role, King oversees the daily operations of the Spirit DC operations, making sure that all of the receiving, storing, kitting, and delivery is handled promptly and accurately for this large customer. He says there are some definite parallels between his military experience and current job, where everyone works together like a well-oiled machine to ensure good outcomes for all customers.
“We’re a pretty tight-knit operation here and we work together closely, day in and day out,” says King. “That directly correlates to the military culture, where people are always the first priority.”
On this Independence Day, DB Schenker salutes all active and retired military personnel and their families. We strive to build a workforce that’s not only veteran-friendly, but that also “walks the walk” in supporting our nation’s troops. For more information about our current job openings, visit: https://www.facebook.com/DBSchenkerAmericasCareers/
A special thanks to the following DB Schenker veterans who are part of our team: Norman Ross, Terry Boucher, Charles Brundage, William Rockey, Elijah Ghodsee, James Blunk, Florencio de la Rosa, Franz Endres, Gilbert Martinez, Michael Douglas, Samuel Seratte, Humberto Alvarado, Ray Mirra, David Schwenk, Kevin Homan, Todd Stalzer, Martin King, Charles Macon, Jason Williams, Marriel Sappenfield, Tony Biera, Tiffany Green-Porter, Travis Chambers. Tiffany Barbaree, Tony Miller, Alex Thomas, Kevin Holman, Todd Stalzer, Martin King, Danny Ward, Sal Gonzales, Fred Raycraft, Owen Robinson, Bill Wood, Lisa Fitzpatrick, Tucker Fukino. Frank Price, Tricia Frankewich, Robert Burnett, James Williard, Bill Boozer, Bryant Jim, Bob Ferry, Joe Mares, Sam Mattison, Lloyd Jackson, Charles Jacksonm, Warren Shrout, Ronald Darang, Ron Meeks, David Chicano, Konstantin Burkut (Currently Serving), Steven Frye, Robert G. Brown, Sr. and Ytalin Sercle.