Last Updated: June 10th, 2019 at 9:21 pm
Read Time: 4 Minutes
As Memorial Day approaches, POWERHOME Solar wanted to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and also recognize its own employees who made their own sacrifices in serving our country. One of those is a recent hire in POWERHOME corporate recruiter Curtis Woods, who works in our Mooresville, N.C. office.
In the corner of Woods’ office sits a beautiful mahogany box with the U.S. Marine Corps logo emblazoned on the top. Inside the box are all of Woods’ challenge coins that tell the story of his 15 years in the Marines – his first five years as a cook, a role where he earned the distinction of having the Best Mess Hall in the U.S. in 2004, and the final 10 as a career planner, when he worked with as many as 1,100 Marines at a time.
His journey following 13 weeks of boot camp “hell” started in Yuma, Arizona, in 2002, and interestingly, ended there in 2017. In revisiting this part of his life – deployments to Kuwait, Iraq, Korea and the Philippines, along with detailing the bases where he spent time stateside, something dawns on the 35-year-old.
“I didn’t realize it until just now,” Woods says in some wonderment after laying out his coins. “They tell a great journey.”
How Woods’ Marines career began
Woods, whose biceps still could house families of four, joined the Marines as an 18-year-old from Durham, North Carolina. A meeting with a recruiter two years earlier left an impression about the Marines, the fittest, sharpest-dressed branch of the U.S. military. Woods wanted that opportunity and trained to be ready for his time.
“I thought his uniform was the baddest uniform I had ever seen,” Woods said. “And I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna wear that uniform.’ I chose it because of the challenge.”
The Marines also gave him a chance to grow, and a chance to meet people who would change or enhance his life. While in Korea, he received one of his coins from a 2-star Korean general. He met his best friend during boot camp, and this father of three also met his fiancé in the Marines. His soon-to-be-wife has two daughters of her own, and Woods smiles about the times when they’re all together, considering he’s outnumbered 6-to-1.
Making the transition to civilian life
As much as Woods accomplished and with as many people as he helped, making his own transition to civilian life proved challenging, though he began preparing for it by getting his bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Ashford University in San Diego, where he graduated magna cum laude. He’s now enrolled in a master’s HR program at the school, and is on track to complete his coursework next year.
“It was a lot of stressful days,” Woods says of his transition to civilian life. “You get beat up because especially when [hiring managers] don’t understand the process, a lot of people, they don’t translate [a Marine’s work to] the jobs. We’re not properly transitioned right. So it’s a culture shock.”
But with Woods now in a position to hire people, he understands the value of what veterans bring, and has even worked to bring in a class of former and active duty Marines from The Honor Foundation to learn about opportunities that exist at POWERHOME. Woods can look at a serviceperson’s resume and understand what each is about, and how his/her skills will translate.
POWERHOME is grateful for Woods’ service, and we are also indebted to all those who fought and died for our country. This Monday, Woods will be among those thinking about people he knew that made the ultimate sacrifice, including one of his former commanding officers, who recently took his own life after serving 30 years. Woods was saddened by the news and is not sure what happened, but his passing will be part of his reflection on Monday.
We also remind other veterans that POWERHOME offers opportunities to grow in a new, exciting career. For a list of positions Woods and the rest of POWERHOME’s human resources team is looking to fill, please visit https://www.powerhome.com/solar-jobs/.