Not a Bad Way to Start

**Integrity Comfort Solutions** []( When Johnny Kerr and his team of technicians at Integrity Comfort Solutions signed on to attend their first-ever DAV / RecruitMilitary All Veteran Job Fair in Houston, he hoped to find some promising leads for service technicians. He did not expect to hire a veteran to begin working just five days after the event. “The career fair was my first day on duty as service manager,” he said. “Not a bad way to start.” The company provides air conditioning installation and repair, heating installation and repair, and air duct cleaning. Kerr has worked for the company since 2013 – first as a service technician and now a service manager. Integrity Comfort Solutions has been family-owned since 1980. The company is located in The Woodlands, Texas, north of Houston. Kerr knew the type of personnel he was looking for. When he met United States Marine Corps veteran David Miller at the career fair, he said, “I knew within two minutes that I wanted to hire him.” Kerr himself spent six years in the Air Force working in civil engineering squadrons. His service took him around the world and through two deployments at the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. Upon meeting Miller, he knew right away that he would be an excellent fit for their company. Kerr quickly discovered the two had much in common. “We had similar backgrounds, and he had already worked in our trade,” said Kerr. “He met all the requirements for us. Since he has come on board we have been able to let him handle our largest commercial account, and he runs it very well.” Miller’s background as a Marine also came in handy. “Veterans understand structure and fit into it well,” said Kerr. “It’s something that’s critical not only in the military but also in running a successful business. That said, being able to adapt to changes is also important. Veterans can also work well with diverse groups of varying backgrounds. Integrity is important to them, and that’s a character trait that any business wants in their employees.” One thing Kerr likes to see on a resume is longevity. “It’s expensive to bring a new employee on board,” he noted. “It impresses me when someone has a strong history of loyalty. We like people who are looking for a home, a future, a career – not just a job.” Kerr also encouraged veterans to emphasize any training awards, advanced courses, or top grades received in training. “Taking on extra duties outside of your MOS also tells me a lot about you,” he said. When meeting job candidates face-to-face, Kerr said, “I want to have a two-sided conversation. Someone who is well-spoken and who can tell me their goals and expectations of the company they work for goes a long way.” He added, “Of course, having the right skill set and training is important, but since you will be interacting with customers, you must also be outgoing, clean-cut, and have the ability to communicate clearly.” Kerr pointed out that Integrity is also hiring for sales roles. “We just really need good people, and they are hard to find,” he said. “We are willing to find a place for someone who is the right fit. Overall, the career fair gave us a great return on our investment. David is the first person we’ve hired at one of these events, but he won’t be the last.” *************************************************************** *A VETERAN SUCCESS | DAVID MILLER* After serving six years in the Marine Corps as a machine gunner, Miller went to school using his GI Bill benefits. During his studies, he was able to apply his HVAC training from Iraq, where he serviced and installed air conditioning for American, Turkish, and Saudi troops with KBR. In school, he increased his knowledge on by studying air conditioning, building engineering, refrigeration, and welding. He also learned to make repairs to boilers and electrical equipment. Miller said: “My experience gave me more self-confidence, a stronger mental attitude, and taught me how to deal with difficult situations.” He also credits the Marines with instilling a determination not to give up on a problem. “I learned that if you don’t know the answer, you go find it,” he said. “You won’t find any ‘It’s not my problem’ kind of attitudes [in the Marines].” When he arrived at the career fair in Houston, Miller said he honed in on the Integrity Comfort Solutions booth “right away.” Now, he is enjoying his work as an air conditioning service manager. “I adapted quickly to the environment, and I like the professional atmosphere,” he said.