AEP forms new Military Veteran employee resource group
Mission of new group is to promote the roles and contributions of military veteran employees.
AEP now supports five employee resource groups.
Group to provide a regular non-partisan/non-religious forum for members to network, discuss, and generate new avenues to support military members, veterans, and their families.
Related Topics: Culture, Diversity, Employees
Matthew Stinnett, shown here during a tour of duty in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, served 20 years for the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of captain. Stinnett now serves as a co-chair of AEP's new Military Veteran employee resource group.
has welcomed aboard its newest employee resource
group (ERG), this one established for military veterans, their
advocates and allies.
“I would invite you all to become active members of the AEP Military Veteran employee resource group (active or reserve military status is not essential for membership – anyone can join),” said Paul Chodak, president and chief operating officer for Indiana Michigan Power Company, a U.S. Navy veteran and an executive sponsor of the group. “It will provide us an opportunity for some fellowship and camaraderie. We can support each other in terms of trying to translate the skills we had in the service and how that works in corporate America.
“We can also talk about how we can take advantage of some of the unique skills we picked up as men and women in the service to make this other great organization that we’re now a part of -- American Electric Power -- even greater.”
The addition of the new Military Veteran employee resource group brings the ERG total to five at AEP. The new group joins the Asian American Employee Partnership, African American Employee Resource Group, Hispanic Origin Latin American and Pride Partnership. To join the new Military Veteran ERG – or any of the other ERGs – please go to the AEP Diversity website.
Scott Smith, senior vice president, Transmission Strategy and Business Operations, also volunteered to serve as an executive sponsor for the new group.
“I’ve always enjoyed meetings with former/fellow military folks,” said Smith, who served as a captain and combat engineer during his tenure with the U.S. Army. “We have a special bond with each other.”
Smith said his goals for the new ERG are fairly simple. “We hope to serve the needs of our communities, support the men and women at AEP who have served their country and have fun,” he said.
According to Joe Cisneros, director of workforce diversity at AEP, the mission of the group is to promote the roles and contributions of military veteran employees, provide professional development and networking opportunities for its members and serve as a liaison between AEP and the veteran and military communities.
The goals of the group are to:
Increase recognition and understanding of the additional value military members and veterans bring to the AEP team;
Develop a company-wide network enabling increased support for military members, veterans and their families;
Promote AEP’s growth and diversity to increase the company’s overall competitive position;
Develop and promote increased community involvement; and
Communicate with AEP’s Executive Management team the status, needs, and accomplishments of the Military Veteran employee resource group.
What types of activities will the group engage in? The new ERG will:
Provide a regular non-partisan/non-religious forum for members to network, discuss, and generate new avenues to support military members, veterans, and their families.
Provide opportunities for its members to interact with community and military support organizations.
Coordinate annual November events throughout the company to celebrate Veteran’s Day.
Participate in various charitable events to aid and support veterans and deployed military members.
Act as military and veteran cultural ambassadors to AEP employees and contractors.
Promote training, development, and mentoring to increase the value of its group members.
“I agreed to be one of the core team members as a way to give back to our military veterans who came before me, and for those who will come after me,” said Matthew Stinnett, manager-transmission contracts and outsource engineering, a U.S. Army veteran and co-chair of the new group. “We are grateful for our executive sponsors and the support from AEP President and CEO Nick Akins. I ask that AEP’s military veterans consider joining and supporting the ERG.”
A 14-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and member of the Air Force Reserves, Trevor Sthultz is also a co-chair of the new AEP Military Veteran employee resource group.
“I feel it very worthwhile to be engaged with a group whose mission is to support our veteran employees and contractors,” added Trevor Sthultz, energy coordinator for AEP Commercial Operations and co-chair of the group. “AEP is very lucky to have a large military presence in its work force. Our Military Veteran ERG will better enable us to recognize and support the valuable contributions of our members and actively support military and community organizations.”
A 14-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and member of the Air Force Reserves, Sthultz said he hopes to “actively spread the word about the group’s existence, help grow member participation (in all locations of the company), and provide support and direction for the group’s future activities and community involvement.
“I would like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all our veterans and their families,” he concluded. “I look forward to the growth of the group, and employees can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the ERG or to let us know if you would like to join our ranks!”