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A veteran's best friend

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce's Veteran and Business Specialist Greg Mowat has your back

Greg Mowat connects local businesses with veterans. Photo courtesy of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, photographer Chip Van Gilder

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Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce's Veteran and Business Specialist Greg Mowat is on the road virtually non-stop these days.

He doesn't mind it one bit.

Since the Chamber's Veteran and Business Service Program in partnership with Workforce Central launched late last year, Mowat has made a number of business and community connections in an effort to help veterans gain employment. The program is working and Mowat is delighted by the positive community reception and support that the service has received.

"I have visited over 50 businesses so far to talk about hiring veterans," says Mowat. "I've talked to large corporations, local intermediate businesses and other community leaders, and every one that I have spoken with so far really wants to be there because it's the right thing to do. The business community wants to help and it will only get better."

Mowat's community presence and his message to businesses comes in three parts: to raise the profile and gain visibility about hiring veterans, provide a business case on why veterans make great employees and connect businesses willing to hire veterans to other businesses to share experiences in the process and promote hiring veterans amongst their peers.

For Mowat, the business case is the easiest part.

"There have been a number of studies done on why veterans make outstanding employees. All of the studies point to the same things each time and it's all positive," shares Mowat.

One of the most robust studies comes out of Syracuse University, from their Institute of Veteran and Military Families conducted early last year. The study examined veteran employment and noted 10 important points backed up by solid academic research. They are as follows:

  • Veterans are entrepreneurial;
  • Veterans assume high levels of trust;
  • Veterans are adept at skills transfer across context/tasks;
  • Veterans have (and leverage) advanced technical training;
  • Veterans are comfortable/adept in discontinuous environments;
  • Veterans exhibit high levels of resiliency;
  • Veterans exhibit advanced team building skills;
  • Veterans exhibit strong organizational commitment;
  • Veterans have (and leverage) cross-cultural experience;
  • Veterans have experience/skills in diverse work settings.

These days, many businesses and programs in the local and national arena recognize these important traits and the win-win solution of hiring veterans and have stepped up to the plate in a variety of ways to make this happen.

According to Mowat, locally headquartered Weyerhauser has an active and intentional military hiring program and has a military recruitment specialist for their large multi-state operations. The "Helmets to Hardhats" apprenticeship training program helps veterans with gaining valuable training and apprenticeship time in the construction industry. Amazon has a military hiring team that is gearing up to add 200 to 300 jobs in the DuPont area when their new distribution center opens. The Transportation Club of Tacoma, a transportation industry networking group and charitable organization, is helping with military employment efforts. The Walmart Corporation in partnership with Goodwill Industries funds Operation Good Jobs to support veterans in their employment journey.

On the local business side, more local businesses are expanding and are ready to hire. Mowat likes to be the "connector" between businesses, particularly businesses who are experienced in hiring veterans with other businesses who are new to the concept.

All and all, Mowat is optimistic.

"There are many good and growing programs out there," he explains. "I am honored to help connect these programs and people to help.

"We all have a basic fundamental responsibility. We, the U.S., asked them to step up. Now it is our turn as a community."

For more information on the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Veteran and Business Program, visit their website at, or contact Greg Mowat at 253.682.1724 or

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