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Starting Strong

Starting Strong Seeks Army Veterans for Reality Show

Army PaYS Program

If your company or organization has hired an Army veteran, either through the PaYS Program or through your own initiatives, The US Army is interested in featuring them in an episode of our reality-TV inspired series, Starting Strong, to be aired this summer.

In the Starting Strong series, 10 potential Army prospects are immersed in an Army military occupational specialty and the Army life. Rick Schroder-Starting StrongDuring their time with the Army, they are also introduced to former Solders or "Army Alumni" who have taken the skills they learned in the Army and translated them into successful civilian careers. At the end of the half-hour program, the prospect is asked if they want to join the Army. Season 1 episodes are currently re-airing on the USA Network and History Channel and can be viewed anytime on the GoArmy YouTube channel at

To nominate an employee, contact your assigned marketing analyst or the Pays Program Manager at and provide the nominees name, email address and telephone number. If one of your employees is selected, we will keep you informed of the story line, coordinate production details with the appropriate point of contact and seek your input on how the organization is represented on film.

We appreciate your continued partnership through the PaYS program and the benefits it brings for America's youth both through Army service and afterward, and we look forward to featuring your Army veterans in this exciting new program.

New Orleans hosts the 25th Great Minds in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC)

Army PaYS Program

The Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) Great Minds in STEM™ is the gateway for Hispanics in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Established in 1989, as HENAAC, Great Minds in STEM™ is a non-profit organization that focuses on STEM educational awareness programs for students from kindergarten to career. Great Minds in STEM™ provides resources for recognition and recruitment of Hispanics in STEM on a national level, connecting multi-areas of engineering and science arenas to the general population.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA hosted the quarter century milestone conference featuring the great technical achievements of our nation's top-talented engineers and scientists over the past 25 years! One of the nation's most prestigious stage for honoring excellence and building and reinforcing networks, the HENAAC Conference is the place where thousands of the finest minds from top executives and innovative professionals, to the brightest STEM students convene.

During the weeklong conference, 1,000 students and sponsors had access to multiple meet and greet luncheons, workshops, lectures, scholarship awards and networking. The conference started with a tribute to HENAAC founders and sponsors. A ceremony congratulated the new class of HENAAC Award Winners who joined the cohort of 709 past professional honorees. A total of 32 new Hall of Fame inductees and scholarship winners brought the HENNAC recipients to a total of 874 students and a total monetary award of $1.7 million. The Viva Technology™ Program hosted over 500 middle and high school students through the Viva Technology™ Program, which for over 11 years has reached over 70,000 students, parents and teachers in 18 states.

The Future STEM Leaders Luncheon recognized Hispanic military academy Cadets & ROTC university students for their academic and leadership achievements. The Viva Technology™ program event challenge winners were announced.
Job fair

The HENAAC College Bowl is a three-day, high energy program where teams of STEM college students, coached and judged by industry and government representatives, competed. This popular event was an awesome and unique experience for students and professionals alike, it also provided an opportunity for students to compete and win scholarships. The event allowed students to gain intimate knowledge of participating organizations' work environments, career opportunities and hiring processes. Lastly, it provided extended time with students far beyond the traditional career fair model.

Protégé Mentorship Program was designed to advance the personal and professional development of select student conference attendees. Through the establishment of meaningful relationships between students and experienced professional attendees, students are exposed to best practices to implement in the workforce. Protégés are encouraged to maintain regular contact with their mentor and meet throughout the duration of the conference to benefit from the relationship. This three-day program includes the Meet & Greet, Speed Mentoring, and a resume building workshop known as the Coffee Break.

Salute STEM Military & Civilian Heroes, WWII museum

Salute to STEM Military & Civilian Heroes - WWII Museum

Salute STEM Military & Civilian Heroes honored the talented STEM professionals who have dedicated and shown their aptitude in protecting and leading the course of keeping our nation safe through STEM. Attendees included: Flag & General Military Officers, Senior Executive Service (SES) personnel, civil servants from DoD and Homeland Security affiliated agencies.

Students that were awarded scholarships received complimentary travel and lodging at the conference. Now in its thirteen year history, the HENAAC Scholars Program has awarded more than $1.7 million in educational grants to 874 students pursuing careers in STEM. Scholarship recipients received their award at the Student Leadership Dinner held on Saturday, October 5, 2013.

The Technical Papers and Posters Competition provided graduate, undergraduate, and junior and senior high school students an opportunity to compete and showcase their technical writing and research skills.

Staffing the Army booth, PaYS Marketing Coordinator, Maria Hernandez, met with both students and corporations, providing information on the PaYS Program and Army opportunities.

Saber & Quill

Fort Knox, KY hosts Veteran Job Fair

Gold Standard Staff Writer

Photo left - Fort Knox Saber & Quill

Hundreds of people—both job seekers and employers—came out to the Saber & Quill (Leaders club) throughout the day for the job fair held Oct. 16. "With the downsize that's upcoming, especially with the possibility of a second downsize…it becomes even more crucial to get these young Soldiers married up with employers ahead of time," said Frank Johnston, transition services manager. "You can't wait until the last minute out there anymore with the job market and the way it is. You have to help them prior plan what they're willing to do when they get out."
PaYS Partner TQL representative Matt Disher joined SFC Lawerence and members of the PaYS Marketing team, Joel Crosby, Phillip Mucker, Danny Free, Willie Harris and Maria Hernandez, at the Fort Knox Job Fair
The job fair was open to Soldiers, Family members, veterans and the general public. "The annual career fair, job fair, that we do is well worth the effort and time put in, but I would like to see more of the local retirees, transitioners, Soldiers that have already gotten out, take advantage of it," Johnston said. "Even though our target audience is active duty Soldiers who are getting out, it's not just for them. We can also assist on this local job fair all the local communities, veterans and local civilian job seekers."

A total of 405 job seekers and 54 employers attended the job fair. Companies were both local and national and represented jobs in various fields, including education, sales, management, law enforcement and technical expertise. Companies were also invited to communicate with job seekers via Skype, Johnston said, adding that this is the first year employers have been able to do so.

Photo above right - PaYS Partner TQL representative Matt Disher joined SFC Lawerence and members of the PaYS Marketing team, Joel Crosby, Phillip Mucker, Danny Free, Willie Harris and Maria Hernandez, at the Fort Knox Job Fair.

Universal Truckload Services' Dan Reagor, director capacity development/Troops 2 Trucks program, said he saw some impressive resumes from the job seekers, who he thought were well dressed and respectful. "I'm pretty well impressed with their whole operation here," Reagor said. "It's one of the better job fairs that I attend."

The job fair was even helpful for finding jobs outside of Kentucky, said Staff Sgt. Chad Harris, who will be retiring to Florida. Harris said the job fair was very informative and included jobs he didn't know existed. "I'm having a blast," he said. Harris' wife, Olivia Harris, also attended the job fair. "I think these (job fairs) are great for the guys," especially for those who have never been to a job fair or job interview before, she said.

The Army Career and Alumni Program, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, Family Employment Readiness Center, Army Community Service, and the Office of Employment and Training partnered to put on the job fair, Johnston said. Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith, Col. T.J. Edwards and rest of command team have been very supportive of the transition program and "have been enthusiastically supporting all of the (Veterans Opportunities to Work) requirements," Johnston added. "It's a job fair for everyone," said Stacey Crank, an administrative specialist who helped make sure the employers received their welcome packets and any necessary information. "It is a great opportunity for anybody seeking a position."

Maria Hernandez - PaYS Marketing Coordinator
Maria Hernandez - PaYS Marketing Coordinator and Social Media Manager

Army PaYS Program

Maria joined the Army PaYS Marketing team as the marketing coordinator, responsible for the social media campaign and events, in June 2013.

Maria rapidly learned efforts in the varied outreach endeavors of the job, including the PaYS social media campaign, bi-monthly media releases and the coordination of PaYS participants in Army events throughout the nation. She has contributed to lots of positive changes within the Army PaYS program social media operations. Maria says, "Revamping the PaYS social media campaign will help in PaYS efforts for reconnecting America with its Army." The Army PaYS program now has presence on more of the major social networking platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Wordpress, Flickr and YouTube. Maria stresses the importance of social existence, "Presence in multiple platforms allows PaYS to better build relationships. Sure, not everyone uses all of these platforms, but the hope is by having more open avenues of communication, people will be more comfortable inquiring about how the PaYS program can help them, either as a potential Soldier or potential partner."

As the daughter of a retired Army Sergeant First Class, Maria has been submerged through her childhood in the Army. She grew up in the Fort Knox area and has worked for various Army institutes such as the Fort Knox Federal Credit Union as a bank teller for her co-op high school class. Upon graduation, she became the Bio-defense Coordinator for Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security for the Fort Knox Region. In the course of her early career, she also had the opportunity to provide her services to Army wounded warriors as the Administrative Assistant at the Warrior Transition Center. Finally, before joining the PaYS team, she worked at the US Army Recruiting Command as the Social Media Administrator, also volunteering her skills for some of the office's Marketing and Public Affairs vacant positions.

Maria always strives to excel in every favorable opportunity that life presents. While working full time as part of the Army Recruiting Command, she also attended school full time and graduated earlier this year with magna cum laude honors through the Bachelors of Business Management program at Indiana Wesleyan University. In her free time she enjoys doing fun, exciting, and daring things. Maria zooms across dark cavern zip lines, willingly jumps out of airplanes, and travels across ocean waters to explore other countries. She ventures to be passionate in everything she does, whether through her work or her life.

welcome new partners

#493 Nestlé, USA - Cleveland Bn - Nestle USA is a leading health, nutrition and wellness company with operations in 41 states. Nestle USA is a reputable company in business for 150 years. They have needs for front line production and maintenance employees. They are interested in hiring RA, AR and ROTC cadets.

#494 Dana Limited - Cleveland Bn - Dana Limited offers high-quality automotive product solutions. Dana serves commercial vehicle customers worldwide via 40 facilities and five technical centers in 11 countries. They design, manufacture, and market a variety of commercial vehicle systems, modules, and services. Positions for RA/AR and ROTC PaYS Soldiers include engineering, maintenance, administration, HR, machine operator, and operations manager areas. Dana Limited is ranked #336 in the F500 rankings.

NHRA Army Day at the Races

Dallas Army Recruiting Battalion Rangers Host NHRA Army Day at the Races

Army PaYS Program

ENNIS, Texas—The Dallas Recruiting Battalion welcomed educators and business leaders to an Army Day at the Races at the Texas Motorplex for the NHRA AAA Fall Nationals drag race on September 21.

Educators and invited guests were treated to food and fun at the Army hospitality tent, adjacent to the Army dragster pit area before the race, as well as a chance to meet with Army NHRA driver Tony Schumacher. Cadets and representatives from the University of Texas at Arlington ROTC as well as Dallas-area Future Soldiers were also present.

In addition, "Soldier Heroes" Staff Sgt. Allen Doggett and Sgt. Dustin Youngblood were on hand to tell their Army stories and discuss the importance of community leaders and educators assisting in the Army's mission. Sergeant Doggett was also presented with the Army Commendation Medal for his previous actions in saving a driver from certain tragedy on a Dallas freeway and Schumacher pinned the ARCOM on Doggett's uniform.

Following the presentations, guests were treated to barbeque brisket and ribs at the luncheon in the tent before going out at the track for a day's worth of race qualifying.

Not far from the Army hospitality tent was the Army's Strength in Action Zone, where race fans enjoyed the Army aviation simulator, received complimentary "dog tags" and learned about technology advancements to equipment the Army uses on the battlefield.

Y.E.S. Program, Texas

PaYS Partner Aviall, Inc supports the Texas Motorplex Y.E.S. Program

Army PaYS Program

Photo right - Texas Motorplex Y.E.S. Program

Photo below - Mark Brewer, Aviall's lead HR for Veteran Focal initiative Mark Brewer, Aviall's lead HR for Veteran Focal initiative

Rainy conditions didn't stop hundreds of high school and vocational students from coming together for the Army and NHRA's annual Youth & Education Services (Y.E.S.) program at the Texas Motorplex, held in conjunction with the NHRA AAA Fall Nationals drag races. The Y.E.S. program is motorsports' first and only full-time event dedicated to educational programming. The program is presented on track grounds during select NHRA events and provides high school and college-aged students with real world lessons about career options and positive goal-setting.

Students attending the Y.E.S. Program have a chance to speak with Army recruiting officials during the daylong event Students participated in compelling and informational sessions led by NHRA drivers, featuring U.S. Army Top Fuel pilot Tony Schumacher, Soldier "Heroes" Sgt. Dustin Youngblood and Staff Sgt. Allen Doggett as well as leading local area business leaders. PaYS Partner Aviall, Inc. sent Mark Brewer the Human Resource Business Partner to represent their involvement in the PaYS Program. Mark is the lead HR for Aviall's Veteran Focal initiative that works with veterans to find employment. Mark also works in his community to promote military opportunities and support veteran events.

This year, the NHRA's Y.E.S. program celebrated its 24th year of empowering young people with information about career choices and reaching their goals. With the help of the U.S. Army, the program continues to reach over 25,000 students a year nationwide. Following the Y.E.S. program, students received a free ticket to the track and had fun at the Army's Strength in Action Zone near the pits.

Photo above right - Students attending the Y.E.S. Program have a chance to speak with Army recruiting officials during the daylong event

1:10 scale radio-controlled (RC) cars

NHRA Races Open with Ten80 Student Racing ChallengeStudents at the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge

Army PaYS Program

The Ten80 Student Racing Challenge is part of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) InitiativeStudents came to Texas Motorplex in Ennis on September 19 to take part in the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge outside the track. The Ten80 Student Racing Challenge is part of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Initiative. STEM is a "practice league" through which future engineers, scientists, marketing and creative professionals actively embrace their present and prepare for their futures. Students optimize the performance of 1:10 scale radio-controlled (RC) car, which parallels the activity in NHRA pits at tracks and garages across the country. Why motorsports? Because it is the only sport won or lost in real time by applying STEM and is a very diverse industry that employs people with a broad range of interests and skills. Student teams accumulate points by competing internally, face-to-face with local teams and over the internet with teams all over the US. Teams also earn points by marketing, visual design and project management through the following points categories: project management, initial mechanical & race engineering, converting to alternative energies, sanctioned STEM competitions, marketing, media & public relations and visual design. For more information about STEM and the Ten80 Initiative, go to their website at

PaYS Partner Bunzl Distribution Shares Impressions from NHRA Experience Michelle Allred, Human Resources Specialist for PaYS Partner Bunzl Distribution

Army PaYS Program

Michelle Allred, Human Resources Specialist for PaYS Partner Bunzl Distribution attended the Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, IL NHRA race. Michelle has 15 years with Bunzl handling recruiting for several different industries; banking, engineering, nurses and distribution workers. She recruits for Bunzl Distribution North America's corporate office while supporting the rest of North America with recruitment efforts. We asked her to provide feedback from the day at the races and she graciously shared her impressions.

What did you think of the Army Zone? The Army Zone was a great way for students to interact with each other through team building activities, and it gave them an opportunity to mingle with the soldiers in a more comfortable setting.

Antron Brown and Michelle Allred What did you think of meeting Antron Brown and his crew? I can't say enough about Antron Brown. He is very passionate about what he does and was happy to share about the ups and downs he's experienced in his career. I was impressed with the way he conveyed the message that what you learn in the U.S. Army can easily be translated into everyday life.

Did you enjoy talking to the students? I did enjoy speaking with the students. It is my opportunity, as a recruiter, to discuss with them the importance of education and what skill sets I look for in new employees.

What was the most important thing you shared with the students? Most importantly, the value they receive from a good education. Secondly, that as they travel through life, they should learn from their experiences, whether through the Army or not, thus making them better people and employees. Finally, they should be proactive in planning their careers.

What was your favorite part of the YES program? My favorite part was watching how entranced the students were with Antron Brown. It was nice to see someone successful take time out of his busy schedule to interact with these students. He was able to show them that if you set your sights on a goal, it can be achieved.

Your favorite part of the day? While I enjoyed my time with the students, I did enjoy the opportunity to view the time trials and walk around the Army area by the race track.

Did you enjoy the race? I enjoyed the race. I am a very competitive person by nature and was blown away by all the work a team put into its car for a race that only lasted a few seconds. There was nothing like finally hearing the roar of the engines. Michell Allred

Would you recommend this experience to other PaYS partners? I most certainly would! As a recruiter, I always look for ways to promote my company and the opportunities we offer. Being able to speak with students preparing for the future is very important to me. As they plan ahead, I hope I conveyed the message that Bunzl Distribution is interested in hiring military veterans, and that they will remember my company throughout their Army careers. I proactively look to fill our open positions. By partnering with the PaYS program, I am able to accomplish this goal.

Why do you like to hire veterans? Bunzl Distribution likes to hire veterans because of the training and skill sets they bring to our company. Veterans are trained to be flexible in handling changing conditions, able to handle diversity and have acquired leadership and decision-making skills that are important to Bunzl Distribution.

What do you think of the PaYS program? I believe it is a wonderful resource for our soldiers. They have an opportunity to search proactively for new career opportunities and apply for jobs with companies that they may never have known about except through the PaYS program.

Photos above - Michelle Allred, Human Resources Specialist for PaYS Partner Bunzl Distribution and Michelle with Antron Brown.

Closing in on 'Holy Grail' of MRE Options – Pizza Pizza MREs

Oct 25, 2013
Stars and Stripes | by C.J. Lin

WASHINGTON -- Why aren't there pizza MREs?

It's a question troops have asked for as long as they've been eating Meals, Ready to Eat (MRE).

"Pizza is the holy grail of MREs because for decades, people have been asking for this," said Paul DellaRocca, program integrator at the Defense Department's Combat Feeding Directorate, which develops anything troops eat or cook with in the field. "If you give servicemembers a product that isn't on the mark, he said, "they're going to bite into it and not say, 'This is pizza.' That's what we need them to say."

The problem to this point has been that technology hasn't been advanced enough to make sure the pizza actually tastes like pizza after three years in temperatures up to 80 degrees, according to military researchers. And how do you keep the sauce from soaking into the crust?

But now, researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center think they've figured it out by getting down to the molecular level of the sauce and trying different drying methods to preserve the pie.

"We're looking at new shelf-stable bread formulations to form a crust that's recognizable to what a soldier would expect a pizza to taste like," DellaRocca said. "We have to look at formulations that maintain texture, flavor, appearance, odor, so that after three years, when they open it up, it's going to have the same qualities as it did on Day 1."

The pizza was unveiled to the public at this year's annual Association of the United States Army exposition in Washington, although the government shutdown leading up to the event meant that no samples were produced in time for convention-goers to get a taste.

Still, active-duty troops and veterans milling about marveled at the thought of pizza finally being part of MREs, with the packaged slices eliciting responses like "It's about time," or "I wish I had that when I was in." It was those types of responses that backed up Col. Bill Bigelow's belief that pizza MREs will provide a morale boost in the field.

"When you're in the deployed environment, it tends to be fear and the monotonous. So the only thing you have to look forward to is the chow," said Bigelow, director of Army Materiel Command. "And if it's monotonous chow, that just adds to your misery. But when you get something to look forward to like a slice of pizza after you've been out all day on patrol ... it's a taste of home."

Researchers say it could be several years before troops can find a slice in their MREs.

As for toppings, so far there's only pepperoni -- researchers have been experimenting whether crumbles or slices work best -- as well as trying different cooking processes.

They've tried osmotic drying, a process which partially removes water from food items and helps the pepperoni maintain texture and moisture with a lower sodium content than expected. They've gotten down to the molecular level of the sauce, using edible polymers to keep the sauce from leaving the crust soggy, tested moisture levels in the crust and are experimenting with high-pressure cooking techniques to make sure the pizza has a long enough shelf life, according to DellaRocca.

"We have to look at ways to make sure moisture from the sauce does not migrate into the crust," DellaRocca said. "We're binding moisture within the sauce and using that sauce as a layer to potentially act as a barrier between the toppings and the crust."

But most importantly: How does it taste?

"I was a little skeptical at first," said DellaRocca. "I come from an Italian family and I'd be lying if I said my mother wouldn't be disappointed if she heard that a pizza would last for three years. But it tasted like -- what do you know -- pizza!"


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Take advantage of our over 6,000 facebook fans and let us post your current openings.  Several partners are having success advertising on our facebook and receiving contact from Soldiers and their friends.  If your employer restricts internet usage or does not have a facebook page send us your current positions and we will post them on our page.

We are always looking for content for both our newsletter and facebook page.  Send content to the PaysCoordinator or your PaYS Marketing Analyst. 

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Now you can watch PaYS testimonial videos on YouTube!

TwitterPaYS Program on Twitter

As the Army PaYS Social Media Division continues to ascend, in the hopes of bringing better awareness of the Army PaYS Program to a larger social media audience the program initiated a Twitter account. The Army PaYS Facebook Page has seen tremendous growth and outreach in the past year with over 6,000 fans. We are hoping for a similar response to our Twitter account, a consistent following. The Army PaYS Facebook page remains the premier outlet for recruiters to inform their Soldiers about how the program works, and to highlight the kind of interaction we maintain with our Partners. However, with a venue such as Twitter a new, yet similar and diverse audience, should respond well to the program! Follow us on Twitter: !

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