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November 08, 2019

We Salute You: AEP Values Military Veterans

Like countless Americans who have served their country in the military, Hector Lugo’s motivation to enlist was fueled by a sense of duty to the United States.

“I was in high school in 1979 during the Iran hostage crisis,” he said. “Seeing those events unfold made me determined to defend my country.” 

With the diplomatic stand-off fresh in his mind, Lugo joined the U.S. Air Force in 1982 and became a nuclear weapons specialist. His duties included inspecting, storing and repairing nuclear weapons, using attention to detail to keep the delicate materials safe and stable until they were needed. In 1988, he was honorably discharged at the rank of Senior Airman. Lugo served four years in active duty and two years in reserves.

Lugo applies the same skills he learned in the Air Force in his current role as a safety and health consultant based in Corpus Christi, Texas. He’s charged with developing policies that keep AEP’s transmission field service employees in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas safe as they maintain and repair equipment that keeps electricity flowing to customers.

Hector Lugo (far left) during training school to join the U.S. Air Force.

He joined AEP in 1990 after he came across a wanted ad for a protection and control technician in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and decided to apply. His tenure with AEP has included various positions that took him from Indiana, to northwestern Ohio where he grew up, and then to Texas.

The skills and work ethic that veterans like Lugo bring to the table are why AEP is going beyond job postings and making a concerted effort to reach out to active duty members.

AEP’s Military Sourcing Specialist Jason Bormann is making those connections, spending most of his time traveling to military installations, transition centers and National Guard and Reserve units sharing career options at AEP with top military talent.

Bormann knows first-hand the benefits of hiring those with a military background. He served 22 years in the U.S. Army, spending 15 months in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and earning a Bronze Star. He retired in 2018 as a First Sergeant with duties in air and missile defense and recruiting on his resume.

“Veterans want meaningful work and will sink their teeth into it until the task is done correctly,” said Bormann. “Many of the technical skills learned in the military fit in well with jobs performed in utilities.”

Beyond having job opportunities well-suited for those who have served, AEP offers benefits geared specifically toward veterans and those actively serving. These include pay differential for employees in the Reserves or National Guard who are ordered to active duty in emergency situations, and paid time off to attend funeral services for a service member with whom an employee has served. 

Jason Bormann (center) poses with fellow soldiers during his deployment to Iraq.

AEP’s Military Veteran Employee Resource Group, which promotes the roles and contributions of veterans and active-duty military employees within the company, is also in the process of developing a mentorship program to help military hires acclimate to their new careers.

Lugo shared he’s felt supported as a veteran by AEP throughout his career and has been empowered to use the talents he developed during his service in every role he’s played with the company.

“My time with the Air Force taught me to solve problems at the lowest level first and to not be intimidated by a challenge, which are lessons I’ve applied across my career,” Lugo explained.  

The technical skills veterans possess are just one of the many qualities making them valued members of AEP’s nearly 18,000 employee workforce.

“Employees with a military background work well under pressure and are safety focused, not to mention they’re the ultimate team players who are loyal and dedicated to their jobs,” Bormann said.

While reflecting upon what being a veteran meant to him, Lugo demonstrated this sense of dedication and commitment to service that veterans embody in everything they do.

“During our enlistment, we put in long hours and faced tough conditions, but in doing that we made our families and loved ones safe,” Lugo said. “All of the sacrifices we made were worth it because we were serving our country.”

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