Management Material: Retiring Military Officers

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Builders of virtually every size have trouble finding talented young managers to help grow their firms. If you're in that boat, here's a tip: Watch what the big public builders do.

May 01, 2004

 

Builders of virtually every size have trouble finding talented young managers to help grow their firms. If you're in that boat, here's a tip: Watch what the big public builders do. Lately, the big boys have extended their recruiting efforts beyond universities to young military officers completing active duty.

"We've had a lot of success with home building companies," says former Marine officer Dave Bakkeby, a partner at Orion International (www.orioninternational.com), the largest search firm specializing in placing former military officers in civilian jobs. "We started in 1991. We've grown revenues by 50% a year ever since. We placed our first candidate with a builder in 1994."

Mike Kim is a Naval Academy graduate who served seven years of active duty as a surface warfare officer on ships all over the world. When he finally drew shore duty teaching naval science at California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, he tried to beat the San Francisco Bay area's high cost of housing for his young family by remodeling and adding to an existing home. That hooked him on home building.

That led Kim to Orion and then to Pulte Homes, where he's a project manager working at infill land acquisition and development under Matt Koart, Pulte's Northern California area president. "We've found young officers like Mike, as they exit active duty, to be a great resource," Koart says. "We still recruit the universities, especially construction management programs, but the military provides leadership training that's unmatched. We can teach them about building houses."

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