Edison Unveils Program to Mentor Veterans Returning to Civilian Workforce
Two weeks after high school, David Meekhof went to boot camp and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. The decision made perfect sense for him — he came from a military family.
“My father, he was in the Navy. My brother was in the Navy. I couldn't get good grades and go to college, so it was the military,” said Meekhof. “That was the best thing I ever did.”
Meekhof served from 1990 to 1994 as a petty officer third class signalman, doing ship-to-ship communications using Morse code and semaphore. He said the communication skills he learned in the military transferred over to the work he does now as a troubleman at Southern California Edison.
“When I was in the military as a signalman, it helped me learn to communicate a lot better, which helps me out here with Edison, because I do a lot of communicating with customers and with our switching centers,” Meekhof said.
Safety and teamwork are two other important lessons he learned from the Navy, and he still practices them daily.
“Whether you're troubleshooting or looking after the other linemen who are out there with you, you have to work as a team just to get through the day and get your job done,” he said. “When you get up in the morning and go to work, you want to come home to see your family. You have to be safe every day.”
Meekhof is among the 6 percent of military veterans in SCE’s workforce. The company, which was recognized as a 2016 GI Jobs Military-Friendly Employer, is developing a veterans program aimed at building an infrastructure to help mentor veterans and help them get acclimated once they join the team.
Meekhof’s advice for someone looking to transition from the military to the civilian sector is to have confidence in their skills.
“Even if it doesn't relate to what you're doing technically, all the skills you've learned in the military, your leadership, and the way you handle yourself can relate to any job you're doing,” he said.
Jawana McFadden served in the U.S. Army for more than 17 years and is now part of the National Guard. She helped spearhead Edison’s Veterans Program because of her passion to help military veterans articulate their skills and transition to the civilian workforce.
“We all have a significant and important part to play in what we do and it’s worth recognizing whether you’re on ground, or land or sea or air, that we have some contribution to give to Edison and it only makes us stronger,” said McFadden, program manager of Edison’s Veterans Program.
“I love working with people. I enjoy bridging the gap between what people have done in the military and for them to continue their service and know that here’s a company that allows them to still serve their community,” she said.
Edison also has an employee resource group for veterans called Valor, which often partners with nonprofits to organize volunteer events benefiting veteran causes.
To hear more from veterans at Edison and to explore current job openings, visit www.edison.com/veterans.