There’s a certain kind of responsibility that comes with making sure someone on your squadron stays alive during a war. Mark Miller, Regional Vice President at Traction on Demand, brings up his own six-year experience in the U.S. Air Force to explain that his actions could have meant life or death for a pilot. He was stationed in Turkey during Operation Desert Storm in the early ‘90s and was responsible for the one mainframe that sustained the wartime operations of 30,000 people. As a computer systems specialist supporting a coalition of forces from countries around the world, it was a huge responsibility for a guy in his early twenties.
It’s this personal sense of commitment that makes veterans good candidates for careers in business after serving their country, according to Mark. He says it’s ingrained in veterans to do what they have committed to doing. “These guys come out of these experiences with a hundred times the level of responsibility over peers of the same age,” he says.
Traction’s Houston office, where Mark is based, is welcoming two veterans for a three month internship; one has served in the U.S. Army, the other in the U.S. Marine Corps. They come to Traction after taking part in Salesforce’s Vetforce program, which provides free training and certification as a Salesforce administrator.
Mark first came across Vetforce three years ago when he was still an employee at Salesforce. He was searching “veteran, benefits” in Chatter for a fellow vet when he came across the certification program, which offered to waive the $4,300 fee for the Salesforce admin course and exam. Mark quickly became passionate about spreading the word. “I started telling everyone I knew. I got aggressive about posting it everywhere I could to let people know about it.”
He became such an advocate of the program that he took on a voluntary coaching role and was assigned to a veteran to provide guidance on career opportunities. “LinkedIn is not used at all in the military so that is completely foreign to them. They don’t know where to start,” he says.
In 2015, Salesforce certified its first blind administrator without much fanfare. Mark says marketing on Salesforce’s end has been intentionally quiet. “Salesforce is big about the ohana (family) message. It is an amazing community. It’s not about making news. They are willing to spend money on the men and women who have served our country at no obligation to them.”
That appreciation is mutual judging by David Callies’ reaction to being chosen for the internship. “I can’t express the amount of gratitude I have right now for this opportunity. I’m beyond thankful for the time and care everyone at Traction has given to take a chance on us,” says the decorated marine who served two tours to Iraq and one to Haiti.
Traction’s veteran internship is only the beginning in a bigger plan to support veterans. Mark is looking to work with Camp Hope, which provides services for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. He says it’s likely they might be skeptical at first, and it might take a while to get them to the first step, but it would all be worth it. “I know the value of this career. I’ve seen it firsthand. We’re excited to be a part of this program.”
Work for Mark is no longer about life or death, but he’ll always be looking out for his fellow veterans.
Interested in becoming a Vetforce coach? Register here.