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.
In honor of Memorial Day, Front Row will spotlight some of ESPN’s employees who are also veterans. Today’s profile is Paul Cushing.
Hometown: Omaha, Neb.
Current title: SVP Media & Information Technology
Length of time at ESPN: 18 years
Favorite Sports Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Nebraska Cornhuskers, New York Yankees
What branch of the military were you in and how long were you enlisted for?
I spent 22 years in the U.S. Navy, enlisting directly out of high school in Omaha, Neb., in 1969 and served my first tour of duty in Vietnam.
Where you stationed and what did you focus on?
In 1970, I was assigned to the USS Sand Lance, a nuclear submarine, in the Atlantic serving as a Navigation Quartermaster. By 1972, I went to the Mare Island Naval Training Command studying advanced electronics, digital theory and computer design and programming. The following year I went to the Fleet Weather Central in Norfolk, Va., as the computer maintenance supervisor responsible for satellite and weather processing computer systems. In 1980, I was in advanced naval submarine out of Groton, Conn. In 1981, I was assigned as the Systems Management Division Officer at the Fleet Combat Warfare Center, based in Virginia Beach. In 1987, I was named Chief, Systems Management Division, at the Joint Electronic Warfare Center in San Antonio, supporting the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
I retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant in 1991, after serving in the Gulf War in Saudi Arabia, supporting General Norman Schwarzkopf’s staff. I was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Colin Powell, for exceptional service during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Why did you choose to work for ESPN?
When I joined ESPN it was a much smaller company. During my interview and tour, I really felt that technology at ESPN was going to explode and not only would be a real enabler in the future of the company, but a great opportunity to grow in my career. ESPN’s value of teamwork and not being risk adverse were also very important to me.
How do you feel your military background helps you now?
For me, it is the technology training and hands on experiences I had with advance technologies and being responsible for projects from start to finish. Over my career, the military instilled in me the values for teamwork, planning, competitive analysis, leadership, accountability and networking with others.