It’s an honor to serve, and every year the men and women who answer that call are honored for their service to their country.
The Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) recently recognized military veterans who have made an impact both in their military careers as well as their business careers. These Veterans of Influence include CEOs, attorneys and professionals who have a strong record of innovation and outstanding performance in their work and are actively involved in the community.
Alabama Power Accounting Services Manager Charlie Cook was one of the 24 Veterans of Influence this year. Cook joined the U.S. Army and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served in the Alabama National Guard while working for Alabama Power.
Cook said the most impactful lesson he learned in the military that has translated to his career at Alabama Power was the idea that “anyone is capable of achieving anything, provided they are given the appropriate training, motivation, encouragement, feedback and recognition for their dedication, hard work and accomplishments.”
“The leadership training I received and opportunities that were afforded to me formed the foundation of my leadership traits,” he added.
Alabama Power honored its own military veterans, reservists, active duty service members and military spouses at a luncheon Nov. 4 in Birmingham, while other events were held at locations across the company.
Senior Vice President of Employee Services and Labor Relations Jeff Peoples hosted a panel discussion of employees who have served in the military. The panel discussed lessons learned from their time of service and how their experiences apply to their work at Alabama Power.
Tyea Pettway, chemical technician at E.C. Gaston Steam Plant and U.S. Army National Guard member, and other panelists highlighted the adaptability and flexibility taught in the military as well as the emphasis on diversity.
“The military builds you up to be leaders,” added Scott Wilson, a mechanic at E.C. Gaston Steam Plant and U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “You learn to do what needs to be done with who’s around you, regardless of race or gender. You’re all focused on one goal.”
When asked what Veterans Day meant to them, the panelists agreed it gave them an opportunity to show their gratitude.
“It gives us an opportunity to thank everyone for all the support, prayers and letters reminding us that someone has our back,” said Brandon Sinquefield, lead lineman and veteran of the U.S. Marines. “Veterans Day is just as much an appreciation for the families of veterans for the sacrifices they’ve made too.”
Birmingham’s annual National Veterans Day Parade takes place at 1:30 p.m. Monday, starting downtown at Richard Arrington Boulevard and First Avenue South.