An Aircrewman Instructor in the Navy, Ben Fetzer is operating in the role of an Assistant Project Manager during his 12-week Hiring our Heroes Fellowship with Haskell.

June 16, 2022

Hiring Our Heroes Positions Fetzer for Career After Navy Retirement

Haskell partners with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's fellowship program to introduce valuable military veterans to a second career in construction.  

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When Ben Fetzer retires from the U.S. Navy as a Chief Petty Officer E-7 in September, he will take a 23-year career’s worth of life, organizational and leadership skills to the civilian workforce. In December, he’ll add to that a Master of Science in Project Management from the University of Southern California.

So, while his background isn’t necessarily in architecture, engineering or construction, Fetzer was a perfect fit as the first Hiring Our Heroes Fellow to join Haskell.

Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation that helps service members transitioning out of the military to find meaningful employment. Haskell entered a partnership with the program in the winter and welcomed Fetzer as the first member of its 10-member initial cohort.

“My brain is very systematic and logical, the way construction is, so I found it interesting,” Fetzer said. “It fit with what I wanted to do even though I have no construction background, and I guess they’re willing to take the risk with me. It’s a good match.”

In the Navy, he is an Aircrewman Instructor in both the P-3C (Orion) and the MQ-4C (Triton). He operates the electronic warfare equipment consisting of RADAR, electronic support measures (ESM), identification friend or foe (IFF), Magnetic anomaly detection (MAD), automatic identification system (AIS) and electro-optical infrared (EO-IR) camera systems.

During his 12-week fellowship at Haskell, Fetzer is experiencing the role of an Assistant Project Manager (APM) in the Consumer Product Goods (CPG) Group, including field experience at projects, such as the Mars Wrigley Project Y, to learn about construction management.

He spends four days each week with Haskell colleagues, then spends Fridays in training conducted by Hiring Our Heroes. In those sessions, he shares experiences with others in the program and receives additional training in areas like workplace skills and interview coaching.

Mark Van Landingham, CPG Director of Construction, is Fetzer’s Haskell sponsor and appreciates the opportunity to connect with an experienced professional who is enthusiastic about creating a second career, quite possibly in construction.

“The idea is to give him a peek behind the curtain of what project managers do,” Van Landingham said. “We’ve explained to him the career development and what his career could look like at Haskell. We’ve explained what it takes to get from level to level, whether that be APM, PM or Senior PM. He’s had one great career, and the good thing is that the fellows from this program are more mature. Ben has a 23-year career behind him. He is eager to get to work and shows real interest in what we’re doing here.”

Although Naval Aircrewman and Assistant Project Manager are obviously miles apart in terms of function, Fetzer said the roles have more in common than it appears.

“I think using my leadership and diverse background in operations and instructing will help in different aspects,” he said. “It’s good to get my foot in the door and switch gears from what I’m used to in the military. Between doing military, doing this, doing kids and real life, its very action-packed, and I’m very grateful for it all.”

Are you interested in transitioning from the military to a career with a vibrant, growing company that provides nearly unlimited opportunities? Contact Workforce Planning Specialist Carrie Click.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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