When asked what they miss most about their time in service, military veterans often mention the unparalleled spirit of camaraderie – and some of them find ways to start recreating it in their civilian careers. We recently learned how that affinity has inspired some of our military veteran employees to support each other through life transitions.
Phil, IT manager, and Duane, a tier 2 tech analyst, are at opposite ends of their careers, but their lives have become intertwined. For National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM), we met with each of them to find out how they’re helping each other and supporting other vets at LabCorp and in the local community.
NMAM is celebrated every May to honor current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom. We are fortunate to have a number of veterans on our teams. These employees’ unique skills, loyalty, integrity and ability play a valuable role in strengthening our teams and delivering on our mission to improve health and lives.
Find out how Phil and Duane are helping each other and other veterans within the LabCorp enterprise and across the globe.
From naval officer to IT manager – meet Phil
Phil joined LabCorp after 26 years of active duty service in the U.S. Navy. He’s been a LabCorp employee for 21 years and is approaching his civilian retirement.
Phil grew up in Northeast Ohio and graduated from high school during the Vietnam War era. He shared that his draft number was high, but he wanted to serve his country so he enlisted in the Navy at age 18 and ended up making a career with his service, retiring as a lieutenant in 1998.
After Navy retirement, he was hired to work at LabCorp by a former Navy commanding officer. Today, Phil’s team helps to ensure that LabCorp team members are able to perform their work by quickly resolving any IT issues. He’s currently responsible for the performance of the LabCorp corporate IT service desk and the major incident management team.
The service desk takes approximately 20,000 to 22,000 calls a month, supporting team members across a variety of issues, such as password resets and printing and network issues. They’re also available to LabCorp employees 24/7 via chat because, as he said, “You never know when a major system is going to have an interruption of service.”
Phil’s experiences in the Navy helped to ensure his success at LabCorp. When asked why military veterans fit in and contribute so well within LabCorp and specifically its IT department, Phil shared, “A lot of IT is very process-driven and as someone who has been in the military, I have a huge appreciation for process. There are best practices for doing things and they fit very well into a process-oriented organization like LabCorp.”
Navy reservist finds a rewarding new career at LabCorp – Meet Duane
While Phil is getting ready to say goodbye to the working world after successful careers in both the U.S. Navy and LabCorp, Duane, another IT employee, is approaching retirement from the U.S. Navy Reserve. Phil hired Duane in 2004, and Duane started his LabCorp career as a material control worker in the IT logistics center. He currently supports the LabCorp Patient Portal, helping patients if they have issues registering for the portal or finding their lab testing results.
Phil and Duane have a special bond as fellow Navy veterans.
“We have a lot in common in terms of our camaraderie and the desire to serve our country,” Phil said. “During his time with LabCorp, Duane deployed twice to the Middle East to support our efforts in Afghanistan and Kuwait. It’s just been a pleasure working with him over the last few years, and he continues to be a great employee who is near and dear to my heart.”
LabCorp supports our veterans
When Duane was first deployed to serve in the Middle East in 2006, the LabCorp organization and his team continued to look out for him – even hosting a going away party in his honor.
In 2013, Duane mobilized again and found continued support from LabCorp. The company didn’t have any issues with me mobilizing, he explained. Post-deployment, Duane stayed with another employee for a couple of weeks, and he’s even enjoyed Christmas dinner with Phil’s family.
Duane noted that he sees Phil as both a mentor and close friend.
Veterans helping other veterans
Two years ago, Phil started VERG, the veterans’ employee resource group at LabCorp. The group’s mission is to raise awareness for military veterans working at LabCorp and at large by recognizing our veteran employees, partnering with local veteran groups, and aiding in the transition from military service to civilian life. The group consists of employees who have served in the military or whose family members have served, as well as employees who want to support veterans.
The group has expanded across the enterprise and now has active chapters at eight locations, including within Covance, LabCorp’s drug development business, across the U.S. According to Nancy, inclusion & diversity director at LabCorp, it is even growing globally to include military veterans working at our locations outside of the U.S.
“It is important that we work to better understand the sacrifices that service members make for our country, as well as understand transferrable skills gained from time in service that translate to very valuable contributions within our business,” Nancy said. “Our VERG employee resource group is influencing how we attract and retain military talent while building stronger ties with the local communities where we do business. It’s really great to learn how their efforts affect others on an individual basis.”
When asked what prompted him to start the employee resource group Phil said, “It can be hard for somebody who hasn’t served to really understand the level of camaraderie and desire to help your teammates until you do that, but it’s just part of me now. It’s been a part of me for a long time.”
Phil has passed his VERG leadership role to another IT employee but continues to participate in activities with his local chapter in Burlington, N.C., and especially enjoyed last year’s Veterans’ Day luncheon for all local LabCorp IT veterans and their spouses.
“It’s been really wonderful to watch this group grow, especially with employees who are not veterans but want to show their appreciation and support for those who have served,” said Nancy. “By including others, we create more opportunities to increase understanding about veterans’ transferable skills and ensure that we have as many people as possible to support them in their civilian careers.”
Continuing to build connections and help others through their own service-related and life transitions, Duane is also a member of the VERG IT group in Burlington. To date, this chapter alone has raised more than $6,000 in donations for local and national veteran support groups.
Phil and Duane are just two of our distinguished veterans helping others in our people-focused company. We celebrate Phil, Duane, and all veterans this National Military Appreciation Month and every month: Thank you for enriching our company and its culture with your valuable skills and key principles of teamwork and camaraderie.