“When you are in the military, you know what you’re supposed to do and it’s natural to you. Now, with Dec. 31 coming closer, I am getting nervous.”
Staff Sgt. Lucinda Browder
HHC, 593rd expeditionary Sustainment Command
Hundreds of service members and family members trooped through the American Lake Conference Center Aug. 17 for the Hire G.I. Job Fair to find out about jobs offered through local and national companies and organizations.
About two dozen businesses — from law enforcement to food service, health care and pest control — were represented. Several offered interview opportunities as well as a chance to drop off a resume and meet with representatives.
Many of the representatives were military veterans, which was a plus for many of those who attended, including Staff Sgt. Lucinda Browder, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Browder is originally from Chicago but plans to live in Washington state when she retires with 20 years of military service at the end of this year. She said talking with veterans who already have transitioned to civilian jobs was helpful to her.
“When you are in the military, you know what you’re supposed to do and it’s natural to you,” she said. “Now, with Dec. 31 coming closer, I am getting nervous. Nobody is telling me what to do.”
Maria Bickle, a Monroe Department of Corrections officer, said she was glad to help service members find a way to transition successfully. Bickle began her job after six years as a boatswain mate in the Navy, where she fixed helicopters.
“Once I got out of the Navy, I wanted something that had a similar chain of command, verbiage, uniform and made for an easy transition,” she said, adding being a corrections officer is a perfect fit for her and also offers a good retirement — another requirement on her list.
Michael Butcher, a former Air Force staff sergeant, also found a good transition with his job as product support manager for Pape Machinery in its Tacoma office. Butcher said there are 486 jobs currently listed on the Pape.com website.
The company is based in Eugene, Ore., but has positions in several western states for mechanics, technicians, sales, parts and rentals. Pape also offers a manager trainee program.
Dan Watts didn’t attend a lot of job fairs to get his position with Boeing Employees Credit Union. He previously served 13 years in the Army and 10 years in the National Guard. When he got ready to transition, he posted his resume on the social media job site LinkedIn.
“I was searched on LinkedIn, and they offered me a job,” Watts said. “I was a recruiter with the National Guard, so working in recruiting for BECU was a natural transition. I love trying to help fellow service members transition and not give up. There are lots of jobs out there for them.”