Deep in the combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, optimal working military vehicles are the key to survival for men and women on the battlefield.
“In a combat zone, if a truck gets hit, you have to get that truck back up and make sure the truck is functional,” said Johnnie Upshur, a 23-year Army veteran and now a Penske maintenance supervisor in Norcross, Georgia.
Far removed from life and death struggles, it is the job of Upshur and the technicians at the Norcross location– including a group of five military veterans – to make sure Penske units are repaired and made road-ready again.
“The military taught me about the importance of the mission,” said Upshur, who spent eight years in combat zones. “The mission here is to make sure the trucks are always running.”
During his time in the Army, Upshur was a Senior Brigade Maintenance Technician and Chief Warrant Officer, where he supervised and managed support operations for 3,500 military personnel, 1,500 pieces of equipment and property valued at $350 million.
Having so many veterans on staff at his Penske location creates a shared sense of purpose and a brotherhood, unlike many others.
“Veterans understand the sense of urgency. That is the way the military taught us. You may not have a second chance to do it again,” Upshur said. “It is great to know that the brotherhood is there.
“These are the guys I can count on to get things done. These are the guys who really have my back. These are the guys who understand the mission,” he said. “The fortitude that these veterans bring to this location – and any other location – really helps a lot.”
Bill O’Leary, Penske’s vice president of field maintenance in the Southeast, said he actively seeks out veterans for maintenance roles.
“The military men and women we hire understand why it is so important to follow policies and procedures,” O’Leary said. “The guideline of getting things done the first time allows us to deliver a quality service to our customers.”
In addition, Penske partners and supports military-friendly organizations, including The Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Mission: ABLE campaign, Support Military Spouses, World T.E.A.M. Sports and Toys for Tots.
Penske Truck Leasing and Penske Logistics offer a range of career opportunities, including truck fleet maintenance technicians, truck drivers, fleet maintenance supervisors, operations management roles, logistics and supply chain operations roles and many others. Visit www.GoPenske.com/careers/veterans for more information on career opportunities.
By Bernie Mixon