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Idea Exchange Features U.S. Military and Industry

July 1, 2016

Chief Warrant Officer Virgil Peoples has done some amazing things in his 20 years with the US Army, but he never quite pictured himself as presenting to a room packed with business leaders from a Fortune 100 company.

CW3 Peoples said, “You can’t imagine the thrill it was to be an outsider and yet still bring valuable perspective to a business process. Especially when we were able to share this directly with FedEx founder and chairman, Fred Smith.”

This was all part of the 2015-2016 Military Fellows program. The program brings together a collaborative group of military service members from four branches of the US armed services into the business environments of many different companies. Each of the fellows is selected to serve anywhere from ten months to one year in a variety of areas.

This year, nine men and women from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines spent time at FedEx benchmarking, learning, and sharing their expertise in areas like fuel sourcing, air operations, and logistics.

The lessons learned by the Military Fellows will be brought back to the US military for a better understanding of how commercial industry works, helping the military keep pace with the rapidly evolving business world.

Opportunities like this help the best and brightest from the military to broaden their skills and improve critical thinking. The businesses also benefit from the process and objective-oriented approach that the Department of Defense uses to mange very large projects.

This year’s FedEx Military Fellows presented their experiences on:

– Security
– Handheld devices
– Recruitment and retention
– Global vehicle fleet management
– Fuel sourcing
– Weight and balance

During their time at FedEx The Military Fellows didn’t just observe, they also provided valuable contributions to FedEx projects like employee retention. The Fellows helped create plans for hard-to-recruit positions like aircraft maintenance technicians. They also helped FedEx identify potential job positions that carry over from military service to commercial industry.

Not all of these projects will be complete when this year’s Military Fellows leave. New Fellows rotate in on a staggered timeline, and quite often they resume work that was begun with a previous group.

“The best part of the Military Fellows program,“ said Peoples, “is that it provides a great opportunity for people to share ideas and experiences, regardless of their background or rank.”


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