A Chance to Come Home

**First Data Corporation** [firstdatasalutes.com](http://firstdatasalutes.com) [veterans-jobs.firstdata.com](http://veterans-jobs.firstdata.com) First Data is a global leader in commerce-enabling technology and solutions. The company serves more than six million merchant locations and 3,500 financial institutions in 118 countries. First Data processes more than 2,300 transitions every second. Headquartered in Atlanta, First Data employs 23,000 people worldwide, with operations in 36 countries. In addition to Atlanta, principal U.S. sites include New York City; Omaha, Nebraska; Hagerstown, Maryland; Coral Springs, Florida; and Sugar Land, Texas. Employment opportunities include positions in sales, information technology, cyber security, project management, and finance/accounting – ranging from entry level to upper management. Through a company-wide military engagement strategy called First Data Salutes, the company provides the military community with access to career opportunities and education resources, while offering premier business solutions to veteran-owned businesses. First Data believes its veterans and military spouse owner-associates make it a better company. The organization has seen among its own employees the hard work and loyalty veterans bring to the workplace. Veterans are natural innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs. They solve business problems and look for creative ways to overcome business challenges. In late 2014, the company launched its own Military Affinity Group (MAG), a company-wide network for First Data’s military-affiliated owner-associates and civilian supporters that is designed to engage members through community building, networking opportunities, and professional development. Through the MAG, First Data continues to encourage participation and engagement in veteran service organizations and other local organizations that support the military community. ***************************************************** *A VETERAN SUCCESS | CHRIS GRAFFAGNINO* Chris Graffagnino served in the United States Army from 2008 to 2013, separating as a sergeant. In 2010, he was deployed with his unit to Afghanistan. “My main responsibility in Afghanistan was to operate on a small team,” Graffagnino said. “I did a lot of risk assessment; working with different types of intelligence collectors who would provide me with information on the battle space prior to missions.” During the summer of 2010, a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) blast launched his body more than 30 feet and knocked him unconscious. The side of his body and legs were peppered with shrapnel. During the evacuation, the truck transporting Graffagnino and his squad leader ran over an improvised explosive device (IED). He was later awarded the Purple Heart. For someone who had grown up with dreams of becoming a police officer, he was forced to rethink both his life and career. With the support of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Warriors to Work program, a WWP recruiter helped him to find a job as an intelligence analyst with a major insurance company on their global security team. Once he settled into the new position, he quickly realized that if he wanted to advance in the corporate world he needed to finish his college degree. While working full-time, he completed his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Empire State College, with a focus on international relations. His company then offered him a new role with greater responsibility, and moved him to Houston, Texas. Graffagnino found that he missed his family back in the New York City area, so when he received an email from a First Data military recruiter, Keri Barnes, about an opening in the Jersey City office, he knew he needed to find out more. To make the decision and transition to First Data even easier for Graffagnino, the recruiter found a job that matched Graffagnino’s wife’s professional experience as well. “I’d like to think that First Data was the saving grace of my career,” Graffagnino said. Graffagnino began working at First Data in July 2015, based out of the Jersey City office. He currently leads the incident and crisis management program on the Enterprise Business Continuity team. “This position opens a lot of doors and there is room to grow my career within First Data,” Graffagnino said. Now, in addition to working full-time, he is also pursuing an MBA at his alma mater. “When I came home from Afghanistan, my life really changed,” Graffagnino concluded. “I had to change my dream of being in law enforcement, but the military gave me the enduring, never-waver type of spirit. And First Data gave me and my family a chance to come home.”