Editor’s note: In March, the Walt Disney Company and President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger announced an important new initiative to recruit and hire military veterans across all segments of the company.
“Heroes Work Here. Employ excellence. Hire veterans” is Disney’s pledge to find career opportunities for 1,000 veterans over the next three years. The company has launched a national campaign to encourage all employers to hire veterans. Additionally, employees will be encouraged to serve veterans organizations through Disney’s VoluntEARS program.
This week, in honor of Memorial Day, Front Row will spotlight some of ESPN’s employees who are also veterans. Our first profile is the person who is coordinating ESPN’s veterans hiring initiative, Kevin Preston.
Hometown: Columbia, Md.
Current Title: Director of Human Resources, Veterans Initiative for Heroes Work Here
Length of time at ESPN: Employee since March 2012
Favorite Team: Washington Redskins
Fun Fact: Ran the Disney Marathon and Goofy Challenge for 10 years
What branch of the military were you in, how long were you enlisted for, and where did you serve?
I spent 27 years in the Army. When I was discharged I was a Colonel and my title was Director of Personnel. I was predominantly in the United States but I was also in Bosnia, Germany and Estonia.
Why did you choose to work for ESPN?
It was a seven-year journey to get here. I knew at some point I would retire from the military and I really liked the company. I started to build a pretty robust network with those who worked for the Disney Company as a whole. The military has a strong culture and values, so the next place I worked at had to coincide with those. I found that what the company does, fit with my values. The driving force was that I felt this was the kind of company that I could fit into.
What are the similarities between your position in the military and your position now?
What I did in the military was build employment programs. I also ran recruiting for four years in the military. I was very heavily involved in working in human resources in the military, which correlates with what I do now. The military and ESPN use pretty similar processes but use different languages for the same things. Process management, program management and leadership management are all pretty consistent systems between the two.
What kind of people are you looking for when you’re out recruiting?
We’re looking for veterans that have skills that match up with the needs and wants of the company. An ESPN employee said to me that, “all he wanted was an opportunity to show what he could do.” We’re trying to make it so that civilians and military veterans can be on the same page and talk.
For more on the Heroes Work Here Initiative, click here. Return to Front Row for more profiles through Memorial Day.