L to R: Nona Mallicoat (Administrator, WorkSource Cowlitz/Wahkiakum), Mike Behrman (Tribeca Transport, President), Tamra Bell (LCC, Dean of Instruction), Heidi Hamer (LCC, Program Coordinator – Continuing Education), Lynell Amundson (LCC, Program Manager – Continuing Education), Eric Thwaites (Tribeca Transport, COO), Garrett Behrman (Tribeca Transport), Steve Pattison (LCC, CDL Instructor). Photo courtesy of Michael Benko, WorkSource.
On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, representatives from WorkSource Cowlitz/Wahkiakum and WorkSource Vancouver presented Tribeca Transport of Woodland with the Employment Security Department (ESD) Commissioner’s ‘Hire-A-Veteran’ award. This award recognizes Tribeca’s commitment to hiring veterans, as demonstrated by their participation in the YesVets program. Tribeca Transport was the first YesVets recipient in Southwest Washington when the program launched last year.
YesVets developed out of a partnership with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Commerce, Washington State Military Transition Council, and chambers of commerce across the state to encourage hiring of veterans and to recognize businesses that intentionally hire veterans. To participate in the program, employers go to www.YesVets.org and provide information about the veterans they have hired. A WorkSource representative then contacts the company to schedule presentation of a YesVets decal.
Hiring veterans is nothing new to Tribeca Transport. Approximately 30 percent of the workforce are veterans and the company plans to expand that to 40 percent. According to Tribeca COO Eric Thwaites, a veteran of the Army, “We don’t look at hiring veterans, guard and reserve members as a choice. We look at it as our duty and honor.”
To demonstrate its commitment to hiring veterans, Tribeca Transport partnered with Lower Columbia College (LCC) to launch a commercial driver’s license (CDL) class. Thwaites is on the LCC College Advisory Committee and two of Tribeca’s drivers are instructors for the class. The standards for training are higher than a typical truck driving school and exceed the minimum Federal guidelines. Students receive diverse training that gives them more drive time and specific training on operating tankers and dump trucks, which are in high demand.
Thwaites recognizes the power and potential of collaborating with the college to meet a need in the transportation industry. He said during remarks at the award ceremony, “I have never been one to sit on the sidelines and complain about things that I don’t like,” he said. “Our involvement with Lower Columbia College’s CDL program is based on the driver shortage trend happening in our industry … The staff at LCC has been phenomenal to work with. It takes cooperation and communication from both of us to ensure our mission is successful … Having a college that recognizes its community’s needs is refreshing and demonstrates their commitment to our community. Thank you LCC for allowing us to participate in your program.”
Tribeca’s willingness to partner with other organizations to promote the hiring of veterans is evident in the relationship the company has established with WorkSource. Donna Hughes of the Business Services team at WorkSource Cowlitz/Wahkiakum has been assisting Tribeca Transport with job postings and last year was able to fund on-the-job training for a veteran CDL driver. Thwaites praised WorkSource staff for their efforts to assist in the hiring of veterans, specifically calling out Donna and Michael Benko, former Local Veterans Employment Representative in the Vancouver office, for their service and professionalism.
Said Thwaites, “A special thanks to Michael Benko. His efforts to bring veterans and companies like ours together are done with care, compassion and respect. His commitment to our veterans and active duty members should not go unrecognized.” Continuing, Thwaites commended Donna for her dedication to Tribeca. “To Donna Hughes from WorkSource, we go back many years. Your professionalism and your friendship throughout the years have helped our business grow. Thank you.”
At the ceremony, Thwaites challenged other businesses to take part and hire more veterans, saying, “The military defines leadership as providing purpose, direction and the proper motivation to complete the mission. That same definition easily transfers over to civilian life. With that, I ask that other companies get on board, develop a hiring plan that includes veterans, guard and reserve members. And do your part to ensure ‘No soldier gets left behind.’”
Tribeca Transport’s commitment to hiring veterans and working with partners to develop programs and systems to support this goal is inspiring and gets to the heart of the YesVets campaign.
Congratulations, Tribeca Transport, on your well-deserved award and thank you for your commitment to our veterans.
L to R: Mike Behrman (Tribeca Transport, President), Nona Mallicoat (Administrator, WorkSource Cowlitz/Wahkiakum).
Photo courtesy of Lynell Amundson, Lower Columbia College.
For assistance hiring veterans and other employees, contact WorkSource Cowlitz/Wahkiakum at 360-577-2250 or WorkSource Vancouver at 360-735-5000.