“Veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve bring highly transferrable skills and expertise to corporate America, and these employees have added significant value to our business.” — Comcast NBCUniversal (No. 29 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list)
The research1 is clear: Military service breeds highly qualified, strong leaders for corporate America. There’s no better example of this than founder, Ralph Roberts, who served a four-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy. Like Ralph, Comcast NBCUniversal’s military and veteran employees embody the leadership, teamwork, and integrity that companies value. The company has also seen firsthand how their hard skills can directly impact business. So, Comcast NBCUniversal explored how the military experience of employees has contributed to their success at the company.
Ralph Alcala, Director, Learning & Development, Heartland Region, Comcast Cable
“I had a great eight years in the Navy as a Telecommunications Specialist. My last four years prepared me for a career in training and development, when I attended a facilitator training program to train Navy personnel on mandatory HR topics.
“Today, I am the Director of Learning and Development in Comcast’s Heartland region. I work with a great team of leaders and trainers who are passionate about developing fellow employees to provide a great customer experience. The world of training is all about communicating messages with clarity, precision, and simplicity. My Navy training gave me an appreciation for the impact training can have on one’s job, and emphasized the critical role a leader plays in helping a team make tasks and processes better.”
Melissa Brown, Fulfillment Quota Coordinator, Field Operations, Comcast Cable
“I served in the U.S. Coast Guard [as] part of Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement teams. During my four-year tour of duty, I learned several key skills that influence my job today: the importance of great work ethic, punctuality, and communication.
“I still live by the Coast Guard’s Motto: Semper Paratus (Always Ready) as a member of the Quota Team in Comcast’s Western New England region. I ensure that there are enough techs available for each appointment by managing our techs’ schedules. I also facilitate our team’s weekend conference call for our dispatchers, tech supervisors, managers, and our director to ensure our techs can meet our customers’ expectations.”
Robert Burns, Recruiter, West Division, Comcast Cable
“My career in the Army started in the Reserves and Louisiana National Guard as a Carpentry and Masonry Specialist. My final role was as a recruiter, where I learned how to build lasting relationships, and enhance my communications skills. I also became a counselor and mentor to soldiers as they advanced their careers, and assisted civilians’ transition to soldiers.
“Now I’m a Retail Leadership Recruiter in Comcast’s West Division. I have the pleasure of working with a tiger team to facilitate more hiring of veterans and their spouses at Comcast. The communication skills I learned in the Army help me identify the ideal person a hiring manager needs to fit their team dynamics and desired skillset. I still try to embody the seven Army Values as a recruiter for Comcast – Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.”
Michael Mergenthaler, Production Manager, Entertainment Events, Universal Orlando
“I was a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and served six years as a graphic illustrator. The military sent me to art school, where I also studied audio visual and photography. I created artwork for trainings, publications, maps, and audio/visual materials.
“Today, I manage all steps of the creative development process for Universal Orlando Resort events. The ability to lead and adapt to change that I learned in the Marines has definitely contributed to my current role. I’ve also leveraged my military skills in ways you wouldn’t expect – from rappelling and on-stage combat, to developing a manual drill for our Chainsaw Drill Team for Halloween Horror Nights.”
Vince Tsang, Campaign Specialist, Digital Ad Sales Operations, NBC News Digital Group
“I currently serve in the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a 2T2, Air Transportation Specialist, a highly critical and heavily manned occupation in my field. My job is to transport the ‘beans and bullets’ on military aircrafts from our base to domestic and foreign bases.
“I also work in ad sales at NBCUniversal as a Digital Campaign Specialist. I manage advertising sales campaigns, setting up creative ads to run across our news sites. The core values of NBCUniversal aren’t very different from the military. The military instilled in me the ability to think fast and do what is expected of me. And the sense of camaraderie at NBCUniversal has made it an easy transition. I take advantage of any opportunity I have to grow in stride and I am always ready for the next big challenge.”
Christina Wiskowski, Events and Outreach Manager, Internet Essentials, Comcast Corporation
“I’ve been in the Air Force Reserve for 15 years. Currently, I am a Personnel Officer in the 514th Force Support Squadron, where I am the Flight Commander of the Military Personnel Section. I oversee the airmen that perform much of what we would think of as HR functions.
“I joined Comcast’s Internet Essentials team in July 2016, where I work with our corporate and regional teams to coordinate large-scale signature events. While my roles in the Air Force have been quite different from my role at Comcast, my military life provided me with the critical skillset to be successful in the civilian world: teamwork, work ethic, prioritization, and keeping the bigger picture in mind so we can achieve our goals.”
In the beginning of 2015, Comcast NBCUniversal made a public commitment to 10,000 military hires by 2017. Since then, we have hired over 6,000 National Guard and Reserve members, veterans, and military spouses.
1 Corporate Executive Board. (2015). “The Business Case for Hiring Veterans.”
Read more stories regarding diversity in the workplace in “On Diversity” Comcast NBCUniversal’s D&I newsletter.