UPS' Myron Gray says that hiring veterans is an investment paying off for his company.

Veterans give a 'competitive edge' to UPS

United Parcel Service, better known to the world as UPS, has 24,000 veterans on its payroll and has a goal of hiring thousands more. Hundreds of its stores are run by veterans.

But Myron Gray, vice president of U.S. Operations for the shipping giant, told delegates to the 96th Annual American Legion National Convention on Aug. 28 that his company’s hiring practices aren’t driven solely by a sense of obligation.

“While we’re supporting veterans’ career development, charity is not our motivation,” Gray said. “In addition to the right thing to do, hiring veterans is also the smart thing to do for our business. At UPS, we’re looking for leadership, technical expertise, grace under pressure, and someone who has a mission-oriented mindset, diverse points of view and problem-solving abilities.

“Ethics (and) integrity are values that go a long way at UPS. Does that sound like someone you know?”

Gray said that hiring veterans at UPS is “an investment that’s paying dividends. When it comes to sustainability, we believe we have a responsibility to contribute to society and to the environment. We also believe every investment our company makes should return value to our business. Our investment in veterans is … an investment that’s become a competitive advantage.”

Gray said that veterans are the kind of people that businesses should want on their side. He also urged veterans seeking employment to not “undersell” themselves when talking to prospective employers. “Don’t be modest,” Gray said.

During his address, Fisher House founder Ken Fisher praised The American Legion for its donations, both financial and in goods, to his facilities, telling delegates that the Legion is represented in all 64 Fisher Houses.

He also brought up the issues facing the Department of Veterans Affairs and offered some advice. VA should avoid the age-old strategy of throwing new money at old problems. He also said the department should take a business approach to running the health-care system and “implement changes that will last well into the future. It’s time we get serious about VA’s core mission. It’s time we put veterans first, and it’s time we put military families first.”