Veterans at PG&E

You’ve protected and served our great nation. Now in civilian life, you want to have that same sense of pride in your work. At PG&E, we are striving to become the nation’s leading utility. Every day, our customers count on us to keep their homes and businesses humming with clean, efficient energy. So, if anyone can help us meet their expectations, it’s you.

Of our 20,000-strong workforce, there are more than 1,200 veterans working at PG&E. We’ve asked a few of them to share their stories.

Mr. Shaun Rohmiller, former United States Air Force Electric Systems Superintendent, is a supervisor and a Team Lead at PG&E’s Livermore Training Center.

How did the military prepare you for your role at PG&E?

I joined PG&E as an instructor in 2006 teaching basic pole climbing. Not long after, I was promoted to supervisor of the Livermore office where I oversee the overall operations of the school, the apprentice programs, and the instructor staff. In the military, I fell in love with teaching so, when I first researched PG&E, I felt that this would be a great career opportunity for me. I believe PG&E has the best training center of any utility in the country. That level of excellence is very similar to my career in the military.

What impact did the military have on your present leadership style?

My Air Force leadership training had a positive and direct impact on my PG&E supervisory style. As a young soldier, I was influenced by the direct, goal-oriented teaching of my senior leadership and commanders. I was exposed to leadership opportunities early on in my military life, which helped me to develop the confidence I needed to excel amid the intensity of the engineering squadron. And as a civil engineer in the Air Force, I was trained in electrical systems, which has been critical to my success in training and supervising apprentice linesmen and utility workers.

Tell us about your proudest PG&E moment.

I think I’m most proud when students approach me on the street after taking one of my classes, and thank me for keeping them engaged in learning. It’s happened more than once.

Mr. Richard Salaz, Jr., former United States Marine Corps Squad Leader, is a construction supervisor who joined PG&E over 20 years ago after seven years in the Marine Corps.

How did the Marine Corps prepare you for your position at PG&E?

The Marine Corps offered me two important opportunities: experienced role models and extensive leadership training. I went through a small unit leadership course, a squad leader course, a non-commissioned officer course, and a platoon sergeant course. In each one, there was some sort of exercise to show us how to take care of our Marines. My superiors always led from the front. Modeling this behavior made me a successful Marine Corps Sergeant and now, a successful construction supervisor for PG&E.

How did the leaders in the Marines affect your leadership skills?

What impressed me the most in the Marines was the way my superiors led by putting the troops before themselves. They were really good men, strong leaders. One time in particular, they brought this hot chow and lined everybody up by the lowest rank first. The officers were last. They made sure the lowest rank got to eat first. So even today, at PG&E, I put my team first.

What brought you to PG&E?

I was first drawn to PG&E because of its professionalism and structure. The company reputation drew me in as well. When you heard PG&E, you had a respect level. We have expertise and a can-do attitude. And that’s no different today than when I joined more than 20 years ago.

Mr. Emanuel Lankford, former United States Navy Boatswain’s Mate, is an apprentice electrician is an apprentice electrician in General Construction at PG&E.

How did the military prepare you for your role at PG&E?

The discipline instilled in the military, along with the accountability and responsibility I was given, really prepared me for PG&E. The exposure to diverse people from all walks of life and from all over the country helped me to learn how to work with everyone. The military also taught me how to spot my mentors and my mentees. PG&E is doing so much hiring that everyone is learning something new. Once you learn a new skill, within months you have an opportunity to teach others.

What impact did the military have on your present leadership style?

The military taught me that I am only as successful as the people I lead. I remember one time in particular in the Persian Gulf. We were on an ammunition supply ship with 50-caliber mounted machine guns. All around us in the water were patrol boats and we were told if one came within 1000 yards we were to fire. I was manning one of the guns with two others under my command. It was very tense and nerve-wracking. As scared as I was, I had to stay calm and focused and I had to keep my team calm and on task. We had to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. There’s nothing like a war-time experience to provide you the necessary skills to lead a team.

What would you tell other veterans about working at PG&E?

First, I’d say this is a great company to work for. PG&E will take care of you if you give it your all. I would encourage them to step up to the plate, try new things and don’t look back. I’m a great example of this since I came to PG&E from a desk job at AT&T. I had no construction experience and no electrician’s background. People were surprised that I wanted to challenge myself and ‘get dirty’ but I had amazing support here at PG&E. No one wanted to see me fail. What better recommendation is there than that?

Mr. Jose Juan Tirado, former United States Navy Hospital Corpsman, is an apprentice lineman with PG&E who joined the company two and a half years ago. His military service began when he had just turned 18.

How did the Navy prepare you for your position at PG&E?

I served as a Hospital Corpsman, or a ‘jack of all trades,’ in the Navy. I drove an ambulance, served in the military medical unit and worked on the wards with patients for a year. Being in the Navy taught me a lot about myself and helped me mature in my work ethic and approach. Driving an ambulance taught me to be more safety conscious, especially behind the wheel.

How did the leaders in the Marines affect your leadership skills?

The Navy taught me both sides of leadership: how to lead and how to be led. You can’t always be a leader. It’s important to know how to take orders, know your mission and get it done. There is always someone who knows more than you do so keep your mind open and learn from them. In the Navy, I learned how to listen and think for myself – both great skills in my work as a lineman. The discipline that kept me safe on the battlefield also keeps me and my team safe at work. In life or death situations, you need to keep a cool head and keep thinking. I instill those values in my team at PG&E.

What led you to work for PG&E?

I’ve been out of the service for 10 years. Before joining PG&E, I worked for Union Pacific, Federal Express and Cox Cable. When I came to PG&E, it just felt like the right fit for me. And sure, good pay and benefits contribute to that, but even more important to me is that I feel PG&E is not just a job. Everyone needs power and gas, so people are depending on us every day. Coming through for them is a great feeling.

 

VOW to Hire Heroes

  • Are you a 35 to 60 year-old unemployed veteran looking for a new career?

    The Department of Veterans Affairs provides eligible veterans with $1,564 per month in education benefits for up to 12 months to train in a high demand career field.

    To learn more, visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/VOW/

PowerPathway™

  • PG&E PowerPathway™ is building California's capacity to produce the skilled workers needed by PG&E and the energy and utility industry.

    Learn more

  • California Solar Initiative
  • Next Century Of Energy
  • Diversity and Inclusion
 
twitterfacebookyoutubeCurrents