The Sword - November 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Join Orion as We Raise $100K for Veterans in 2014,
Orion International to Attend Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation Gala,
Interview with Orion President Mike Starich, Veteran Low to High Challenge Hike Participant,
Upcoming Hiring Conferences,
Veterans Day - Honoring Those Who Served,
Meet Our Candidates,
National Distinguished Candidate Conference,
Alumni Update: Cris Philyaw,
According to Our Clients,
Refer a Colleague to Hire Military Talent,
Happy Thanksgiving!,
Connect with Orion

Join Orion as We Raise $100K for Veterans in 2014

Join Orion as we raise $100K for Veterans in 2014 through the Veteran Low to High Challenge - directly supporting Burned and Wounded Personnel and their Families, Children of Fallen Service Members, and Transitioning Combat Veterans. 

All donations are tax-deductible and will benefit our partner Charitable Veterans Organizations - Operation Military Embrace, Children of Fallen Patriots, and Warrior Hike. Learn more about our Partner Organizations.

The culminating event of the Veteran Low to High Challenge occured last month, when our team of Orion Employees, Veterans, Partners, and Corporate Sponsors, hiked from the lowest point in Death Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney, a trek which spanned 7 days and 130+ miles. Read the full week's events here. It is our goal to gain national recognition for our Partner Organizations and raise $100K+ by undertaking and completing the Low to High Challenge.

Get Involved

  • Make a donation to the Veteran Low to High Challenge! All donations are tax-deductible, and we appreciate each and every contribution. To make your donation even more impactful, Orion will double your donation by matching, dollar-for-dollar, the first $14,505 (the height of Mt. Whitney!) raised in Individual Donations. We will be accepting donations through December 15, 2014. Donate now
  • Get your company involved! Corporate Sponsorship is an opportunity for your organization to receive high-visibility recognition within the military community while directly supporting our partner charitable organizations. We have several levels of Corporate Sponsorship available, to allow your company to contribute in a meaningful way to the Veteran Low to High Challenge, regardless of budget. Learn more about Corporate Sponsorship

Please contact us any questions and to learn more about contributing to the Veteran Low to High Challenge. We appreciate each and every donation, and thank you in advance for your support!

Orion International to Attend Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation Gala

Orion International will be attending the 6th Annual Greenwich Event College for their Children, a Salute to America’s Special Operations Forces Gala hosted by the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation in Riverside, CT on Saturday, November 15th.

The gala will be hosted by Colonel (Ret) Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient, with presentation of the Patriot Award by Fallen Patriots scholarship recipient Jacob Centeno Healy, who lost his father, Senior Chief SEAL Dan Healy, during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan, which has since been told in the book and film Lone Survivor.

The recipient of this year’s Patriot Award will be Admiral William H. McRaven, Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Admiral McRaven previously served from June 2008 to August 2011 as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and from June 2006 to March 2008 as Commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as COMSOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC), where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.

The gala will also feature dinner and a live auction, which includes four tickets to the Broadway show ‘The River,’ including a backstage visit, a luxury golf weekend for four, a VIP package to the American County Music Awards, and much more.

Earlier this year, Orion International launched the Veteran Low to High Challenge, in an effort to raise $100K for Veterans in 2014, with all donations benefiting its Partner Veteran Organizations – Operation Military Embrace, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, and Warrior Hike.

Orion hosted five 5K runs in each of the cities in which there is an Orion office, in an effort to raise funds for its Partner Veteran Organizations. The culminating event occurred last month, when a team of Orion employees, Veterans, Partners, and Corporate Sponsors, including Jacob Centeno Healy, hiked from the lowest point in Death Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney.

Due to all of the generous donations made in support of the Veteran Low to High Challenge and its Partner Veteran Organizations, Orion International will proudly present a check for $25,000 to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation during the gala.

Learn more about the 6th Annual Greenwich Event College for their Children, a Salute to America’s Special Operations Forces Gala here.

Interview with Orion President Mike Starich, Veteran Low to High Challenge Hike Participant

Last month, a team of Orion employees, Veterans, Partners, and Corporate Sponsors hiked from the lowest point in Death Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney. The trek covered 120+ miles, with a 14,787 elevation change. Read the full week’s events here.

The Sword interviewed Mike Starich, President of Orion International and member of Team One from the Veteran Low to High Challenge hike, to get an insider’s view of the daunting, but otherwise inspiring week on the trails. Check out his responses below:
Why was that specific route (Death Valley → Mount Whitney) chosen?
“I was looking to have an event of note to draw attention to our charitable effort this year towards veterans. Another Centre portfolio company CEO had organized a trip to Kilimanjaro. That was a great idea, but I knew that for our first big effort, we would likely need to keep it domestic rather than international. Then last fall, an old idea emerged to me. Long ago, an old Marine Corps friend of mine and I had mused about trekking from the lowest point in the lower 48 states to the highest point as a means of testing ourselves. When I ran the idea by some Orion folks, most, if not all, were excited about the idea. So, the Low to High Challenge was born.”
Why did you decide personally to take on the challenge?
“I enjoy challenging myself and enjoy the outdoors. To me, this event was a good combination of those two, plus tying in our company and the charity event.”
How did you prepare for the hike?
“I did months of training - running, strength-training, long hikes with a pack, and hours of stair-climber work, since there are few hills near my home to train on. Then there was the equipment and ensuring that was all in order with that. Then, of course, there was all of the logistical prep that so many people helped with. In retrospect, post-trip, I needed to do more of an honest assessment of the challenges. Though I knew and we all knew it was going to be extremely challenging, the Low to High Challenge hike still was a notch or two above that.” 
What was the biggest challenge of the hike?
“Being on Team One, it was the climb up the north side of Mill Canyon at the dry waterfall. There were others, as well – the Day One ascent of Telescope Ridge; the 28 mile Death March through Panamint Valley; after the cliff rescue, the long climb out of Mill Canyon at night; the long hike and ascent up to Cerro Gordo; and finally the two days of ascent between Lone Pine and the summit of Mount Whitney. The Mount Whitney final ascent day was at least 6,100 feet of total elevation gain and 21.4 miles round trip, so it was extremely challenging as well mostly due to the issues associated with altitude.” View a full course map.
What did you find the most rewarding part of the hike?
“The summit of Mount Whitney and seeing the team make it after so much effort and overcoming so many obstacles along the way.”
What surprised you most about the hike?
“There were a bunch of lessons learned, here are some:
  • I should have done a physical recon ahead of time to assess the road conditions and also to assess the suspected difficult spots along the trek – there were many.
  • I should have set higher standards regarding the training, and emphasized the extreme difficulties more.
  • Communications: I should have emphasized cross-training more on the radios / satellite phones. A further issue for me as a leader was ensuring good communication between Team One and Team Two. It just was not up to standard, and caused some tough issues for Team Two to deal with that could have been avoided.
  • Each night prior, analyze the route for the most difficult spots; if there is even a small chance of requiring a rope, bring the rope.
  • When in Death Valley, bring more water/electrolytes than you think you will need.
I am sure there are others, but those are the big ones.”
Would you complete this trek again (or something similar)?
“I would likely not do it again, but only because I have already done it. Will I continue with more trekking and climbing? Absolutely. This experience will inform the next adventures.”

“Overall, I view the trip as a significant achievement. In the end, it was highly demanding, treacherous, exhausting, and for me, humbling. Death Valley, the Panamint Mountains and Valley, the Inyo Mountains and Mount Whitney pounded us. It delivered more difficulties than I expected. Was it worth the effort? For me, it was. I personally observed people handling the extreme and often unexpected difficulties with matter-of-factness, humor and guts.  I am proud to have been a part of it.”
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Veteran Low to High Challenge Hike! Your dedication and perseverance is a testimony to those military members who serve and have served our nation.
While the journey from Death Valley to Mount Whitney has ended, we continue in our efforts to raise $100K+ for Veterans in 2014 through the Veteran Low to High Challenge for our partner organizations. We will continue to accept donations through December 15, 2014. Donate to our Veterans.
We have held a 5K race in support of the Veteran Low to High Challenge in each of the cities in which we have an Orion office – Austin, TX; Cincinnati, OH; Raleigh, NC; and Virginia Beach, VA; and San Diego, CA. The 5Ks have already raised $39,869.62 for our partner organizations, with over 700 runners participating!
Learn more about the Veteran Low to High Challenge at

Upcoming Hiring Conferences

Orion Military Hiring Conferences – Interview Junior Military Officers,
Noncommissioned Officers and Enlisted Technicians Recruited for your Hiring Needs

An Orion Hiring Conference is your chance to interview the best military job seekers, selected specifically for your open positions. You will be presented with prescreened, qualified and suitably matched veterans that are interested in your available opportunities. Click on the dates below to learn more about our upcoming hiring conferences. 

Philadelphia, PA

Northern NJ

Norfolk, VA (Midwest Technician Event)


Raleigh, NC

Atlanta, GA


Cincinnati, OH

Norfolk, VA (Midwest Technician Event)

Chicago, IL

December 8

January 19

South Central  

Houston, TX

Houston, TX

December 8

January 19


San Diego, CA

Seattle, WA

Veterans Day - Honoring Those Who Served

Over the past 23 years, Orion has helped with the transition of more than 30,000 veterans. During this time, we've witnessed just how talented and hardworking these men and women are. So, in honor of Veterans Day on November 11, we present a month-long series of Veteran Spotlights on our blog illustrating how veterans are applying their "can-do" spirit in their civilian careers. Check out all of our Veteran Spotlights on our blog, Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet. And thank you to America's service members at home and overseas for their selfless service!

Meet Our Candidates

The battle for talent in the workplace can be fierce.  It doesn't have to be if you know where to look. Below is a preview of actual Orion International candidates and the valuable skills and experience they possess.

Assistant Operations Officer / Helicopter Pilot View Resume

Nuclear Submarine Officer with an MBA View Resume

Infantry Company Commander View Resume

Logistics Officer / Project Manager with an MBA View Resume

Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic View Resume

Gas Turbine Mechanic / Engineer View Resume

Submarine Sonar Systems Technician View Resume

Nuclear Machinist Mate View Resume

National Distinguished Candidate Conference

Mark your calendar for our upcoming National Distinguished Candidate Conferences:

Houston, TX
March 2-3, 2015

Since 1991, our clients have told us that the most important factor in deciding to hire military through an agency is the Quality of Candidate. Our unique Distinguished Candidate Conferences are designed to recruit, assess, screen, and present the top military candidates for your hiring needs. In 2013, more than 170 client companies strategically hired Orion’s Military Officers through our Distinguished Candidate Conferences, with nearly 50% making multiple hires.

Orion’s Distinguished Candidates are carefully selected and represent the very top tier of Military Officers transitioning from Active Duty. They are seeking careers in growth roles including Leadership Development, Operations Management, Engineering, and Sales.

Our Junior Military Officer Candidates at these National Events:

  • Service Academy Graduates and graduates of the nation’s top universities.
  • Candidates with MBAs and other advanced degrees; and those with PMPs, PEs, and other professional certifications.
  • Candidates who have consistently ranked well above their peers in their professional military evaluations.
  • Willing to relocate and geographically flexible.

Distinguished Candidate Conference Highlights:

  • These events will feature 30 minute Client Presentations in which you can present to the candidates you’ll be interviewing in advance. We recommend a C-level or VP Presenter for client presentations.
  • Enjoy an additional opportunity for socializing with the candidates and other Hiring Managers, at our President’s Reception following the Keynote Address on Monday evening.
  • Pre-screened, assessed, qualified Officer Candidates suitably matched for your particular hiring needs.
  • A private and professional interview setting.
  • Personalized attention to ensure the best in customer service, including insight on the candidates and advice on the most effective hiring strategy.

In addition, Orion’s Executive Leadership Team will be available throughout these events to meet and discuss your company’s talent planning and how our dedicated on-boarding programs, assessment tools, and other enterprise-scale service offerings may be able to support your organization in 2014 and beyond.

What do our clients have to say about the caliber of candidates at an Orion Distinguished Candidate Conference?

"Our experience at Orion's Distinguished Candidate Conference was a great success. The candidates were of the highest caliber and extremely well matched for our Leadership Development Program. This event enabled us to hire 5 outstanding JMOs very efficiently, saving weeks of time. I look forward to seeing the impact these new leaders will have on BP." - Program Manager, BP

Our Distinguished Candidate Conferences enable you to develop a strong pipeline of future leaders and foster strategic organizational growth.

Learn more about our Distinguished Candidate Conferences and discover for yourself the impact a Military Officer can have on your organization.

Alumni Update: Cris Philyaw


The Sword recently sat down with Cris Philyaw, a former Navy Nuclear ELT, whom Orion matched with a career at a leading space transport company in 2012. Cris is still with the company and explains how his civilian career literally brought tears to his eyes.

Cris joined the Navy in November 1999 and left for boot camp on June 6, 2000, while still 17. In September 2012, he separated from the Navy. After learning about an exciting career opportunity with a company that designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft through his Orion recruiter in May 2012, he knew he wanted to work there.

Cris’ recruiter helped him to tweak his resume to reflect his extensive technical background, and he was given a phone interview. He followed that up with an on-site interview in July 2012. By the beginning of August, he was given an offer, which he ultimately accepted and started his new career on September 10, 2012.

Cris says that his transition to the civilian workplace was smoother than he expected.  “It helps that about 60% of our full-time employees where I work are veterans. With so many of us understanding where someone fresh out is coming from, there's support on every stand and in every group,” explains Cris,“We are family here, and we celebrate our successes as such and feel the pain of drawbacks and setbacks just like you do at home.” And Cris has found that his employer cares about their employees and their families. After having his first child this past June, he received flowers and gifts for his daughter from the CEO and President.

It’s not all flowers and gifts, as they do sometimes have to battle the elements, because, as Cris says, “You just can't test a rocket or one of its engines indoors!” But, at the end of the day, he explains, “You're working for a company that will put humans on Mars and is helping to revolutionize the commercial space industry.”

Now, for the tears: Cris and many other Orion alumni at the company describe the same sentiment: There's nothing more rewarding than seeing all of the hours, blood, and sweat spent on getting a rocket certified for flight come to fruition, as you watch that flight launch and make mission. “The first rocket I worked on was Flight 6, which was our first 1.1 flight; and I would be lying if I did not have tears of joy flowing down my face. Between the cheers and tears, you cannot beat the feeling of watching your hard work released in over 1 million pounds of thrust, rocketing towards the vastly untouched frontier of space,” recalls Cris.

The rocket and space industry is a very small industry with only a handful of companies with launch capabilities. Because of this, Cris says, it is very difficult to prepare yourself for the specific job tasks that will be required. However, he says his background in Nuclear Power played a major role in his success thus far.

“You have to be quick on your feet, have the ability to learn fast and on the job, and are responsible for the safe operation, repair, and maintenance of not only the test article but the stand and supporting equipment that allow us to test our rockets,” explains Cris, “You can teach anyone to turn a wrench, but you have to be able to think ahead and be ready for the next series of events, while taking in to account how the work you are performing or will be performing affects the rocket and the safety of those working on it.”

Cris is more than satisfied with his career choice. He has a challenging job, in a family oriented environment, working on equipment and hardware very few people get the opportunity or privilege to experience.  And Cris adds, “Aside from having great benefits, you get to see your hard work place a satellite in a geosynchronous orbit or supply the ISS with much needed provisions and experiments. You get to be a part of the reusable rocket development and on the leading edge of the return of human spaceflight to American soil. We take pride in our work and what we do, and we love our job. What more could you want?”

Click here to learn more about how you can recruit veterans like Cris for your company.

According to Our Clients

“The Orion Atlanta Hiring Conference was awesome. We interviewed some great candidates and hope we can move forward with several of them. Our Account Executives have been great to work with. They've understood our needs and have come to the table with some great candidates.” - Steve Nicholas, HR Specialist, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia

Refer a Colleague to Hire Military Talent

Is your company or that of a friend or colleague in need of military talent? For every referral you provide, you will be automatically entered into our monthly drawing for a $50 gift card. Even better, if your referral results in a placement, you will personally receive a $100 gift card as our way of saying thank you. As always, we will maintain your privacy and never share your information nor that of your referral.

Click here to refer a colleague to hire military talent now!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Connect with Orion

Did you know that there are several ways to connect with Orion and learn how veterans impact the civilian workforce?

• You can join our LinkedIn group for employers, Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet®. This group is a great way to show your support of veterans in the civilian workforce.

• Read our blog, Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet®. This blog covers everything from veterans in the news to general employer-employee relations. Check it out!

• You can follow Orion on Twitter (@hirevets) to receive updates about Orion, learn about upcoming hiring events, and find links to articles of interest.

• Orion is now on Google+! Follow us to keep up to date on all things Orion. 

Join Orion’s Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet group on LinkedIn

 Read Orion's Blog

Find us on Twitter



 Follow us on Google+