A. Duie Pyle trucking makes push to hire veterans

WEST CHESTER -- For Independence Day, probably nothing symbolizes the struggle for freedom more than the contribution and sacrifice of veterans. Northeast-based trucking company A. Duie Pyle recognizes that contribution, is inspired by U.S. veterans and makes sure they have jobs when returning from military service.

The company employs more than 200 veterans across all levels of the organization. One of those veterans is Marques Harris, a dock trainer who has worked at the company for 19 years and served as a U.S. Army E-4 Specialist.

Some of 200 veterans working at trucking company A.
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pDuie Pyle. Marques Harris, Dock Trainer (Army), left; (Back Row) Legary Diggs, P&D Driver (Army);; (Front Row) Marshall Thompson, Terminal Operations Supervisor (Navy); (Back Row) Joe Todd, P&D Driver (Navy); (Front Row) Mike Chelland, P&D Driver (Army); and Tom Smith, Safety Training SpecialistSome of the 200 veterans working at trucking company A. Duie Pyle.Marques Harris, Dock Trainer (Army), left;(Back Row) Legary Diggs, P&D Driver (Army);; (Front Row) Marshall Thompson, Terminal Operations Supervisor (Navy);(Back Row) Joe Todd, P&D Driver (Navy);(Front Row) Mike Chelland, P&D Driver (Army);and Tom Smith, Safety Training Specialist. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The vet talked about the holiday.

"The 4th of July is a special holiday, and it reminds me of those who came before me, who served in a war, defended our country and freedoms so that we get to enjoy today and every day," he said. "It reminds me that when I took the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic -- that I did this for life. "If I had a call tomorrow that I was needed to serve, I would be there." Harris appreciates the flexibility at Pyle.

More than a trucking company, A Duie Pyle actively seeks veterans. Paul Sheak Training Coordinator, left; Noel Berrios Fleet Technician;James Banner Shop Driver.
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pSUBMITTED PHOTO)More than a trucking company, A Duie Pyle actively seeks veterans. Paul Sheak - Training Coordinator, left; Noel Berrios - Fleet Technician;James Banner - Shop Driver. S(UBMITTED PHOTO)

"When I started on the dock 19 years ago, we used pen and paper and now we are using a state-of-the-art dock management system, Harris said. "Loyalty, honor and respect -- treating not just the people but the equipment and the freight with respect.

"Pyle's core values line up with a lot of the things we were taught in the military." Tom Smith is a U.S. Marine veteran E4 Corporal and is a safety instructor specialist at Pyle.

While growing up, he enjoyed celebrating the 4th of July in Parkesburg. "As a kid, the 4th meant the town I grew up in would have a carnival and fireworks the evening of the 4th where friends and family would gather to watch, which always created a little excitement," he said. "I just turned 40 this past September, and I do have to say looking back they are fond memories, and not only was there a carnival, but there was also a parade the local VFW sponsored. "All veterans would walk holding a small American flag and large American flags hung from almost every porch on the street.

I knew several of those older gentlemen, some relatives, some family friends, all veterans of various wars and times of service. "So if I can pick one thing to say what the 4th of July means to me is a very strong sense of pride in celebrating our nation's independence with fond memories of my childhood. That I can honestly say had the biggest impact on my decision to enlist in the Marine Corps.

Maybe one day I could be one of those older gentlemen walking down the street in a parade." His military experience set up Smith for success at Pyle. "The military gives you a lot of self-discipline and strong internal pride of belonging in which you hold yourself accountable," he said.

Ivy Platt is a U.S. Navy veteran, served as an MM3 Petty Officer 3rd Class and Machinist Mate and is a staff accountant at Pyle. She learned much in the military, which translated to the job at Pyle.

"Being in the military has given me the outlook as you can never expect the unexpected," Platt said. "Things are always changing and you have to learn how to adapt to the changes. "I have taken on new things with my role at Pyle that I haven't done before. The military also taught me not to give up and always be open to learning.

Learning opens new opportunities for you and makes you a more valuable person to the company." Peter Latta, Pyle's CEO, said that the trucking company examines every individual's military background and technical and leadership skills. "We look to see where they best align with one of our positions and if that is even something they would be interested in," Latta said. "If they lack one skill but show the ability to be adaptable and trained, our leadership takes a look and decides if they can develop them for specific open roles.

"We also offer our leadership development program, which is geared for individuals with a lower ranking. It serves as a solid foundation for the civilian side of the transportation industry and logistics. "If drivers want to attend our truck driving academy, we also push to get them to work for us until the next academy is offered, typically every 12 weeks."

What are the benefits of working with such programs for Pyle? "The talent market is tight. Every stone needs to be unturned in this current market," Greenfield said. "The military provides a great source of talent that transition easily into our industry and also provides a great source of diversity that we seek here at A.

Duie Pyle. "We are not a 9 to 5 operation, it's hard work that pays well but takes 'grit' to get the job done. Veterans are built with the mindset we need to be successful in that type of environment."

Jim Latta, a Vietnam Marine veteran, is retired and on the board of directors at Pyle. He said that veterans bring something special. He noted their maturity, and ability to take on more responsibilities, that they expect to be held accountable in an age he said when nobody is accountable and for their stability.

"We aggressively recruit and are more pre-disposed to hiring veterans and understand that their service and sacrifices are appreciated," Latta said. Jim's brother, Peter Latta, said that vets make for a good fit. "Vets like the culture rewards of time in the military -- teamwork, comradery, esprit de corps," he said.

Through the two programs, new workers attend paid internships. Five to six percent of the total workforce at the company that will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2024 are vets. "Our company needs a lot of drivers, fleet techs and leaders," Peter Latta said about what he described as a service and people business.

"The most important ingredient is the people and their desire to be better than the competition," he said. "It's not about trucks, they are simply tools of the trade." Dave Hargrave is a retired Army colonel who now works with P3 (Public Private Partnership), a USAR-funded program to help soldiers in the reserves and National Guard find meaningful work outside of their military obligations. The partnership also works in helping transitioning service members to decide if the reserves or guard might be a good option in order to maintain their military benefits after they leave their full-time military service.

Including helping those soldiers gain access to employers, resume writing, training, internships and a slew of other resources geared towards helping vets advance their careers outside of the military.

Hargrave has played an integral role in helping the corporation develop the Pyle Network, with groups like Hiring our Heroes, the Skillbridge Program and transition assistance programs.

He said that vets are responsible, resilient, show up on time, are disciplined and work as a team.