Veterans’ expo sees more employers hiring

January 27, 2015

Veterans’ expo sees more employers hiring

The following article appeared in the Knoxville News Sentinel, January 27, 2015

By Carly Harrington

It’s a good time to be looking for a job, particularly if you’re a veteran.

That was the message at the Tennessee Veterans Business Association’s fifth annual Business and Education Expo, held Tuesday at the Knoxville Convention Center.

“It’s a great time to dust off that resume and get in the job hunt. We’ve got employers scrambling to fill positions. It’s a good problem to have,” said Adina Chumley, spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s East Tennessee office.

Chumley, who was touting the state’s JOBS4TN online employment tool, was among more than 100 organizations, employers and educators represented at this year’s expo, where an estimated 2,000 veterans were expected to pass through.

Mike Boice, who got laid off last year, said he came because he was looking for a new career opportunity, specifically in advanced manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Capt. Michael Wilson of the U.S. Air Force, said he hoped to “dip my toe in” before he retires in two years.

“I wanted to see what my options were, so I can start developing a strategic plan as I transition out,” Wilson said.

Jonathan Williams, founder and chairman of the TVBA, said hiring was the overlying theme of this year’s event.

“Things are picking up. There are a lot of companies hiring,” he said. “We’ve been really pleased with the response.”

Sea Ray Boats made its first appearance at the Expo as it looks to hire about a dozen people to work at its plant in Vonore and a couple more to fill logistics positions at its corporate office.

“This is a great place for us to get our brand out there and to look and hire, especially for our manufacturing facility,” said Andy Pokelwaldt, training and development manager. “Veterans are great. They meet a lot of the requirements and skills we’re looking for. We’ve already had some great candidates come and talk with us.”

Harrison Construction Co., a Knoxville-based commercial construction company that has had a booth every year, is looking for nearly 30 equipment operators and other entry-level jobs in Knoxville and the Asheville, N.C. area.

“In the past we’ve had a few positions, but we’re definitely looking for people now,” Human Resources Manager Dianne McRae said. “Business is coming back.”

Original Article