Black and Veatch donate $10,000 to support military, veterans

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Black and Veatch, a Fortune 500 company that employs more than 400 military veterans, has made a $10,000 gift in support of the University of Central Missouri’s efforts to prepare men and women who served in the military for civilian professions.
The check presentation was March 7 at UCM’s Military and Veterans Success Center. Theresa Bridges, military and diversity outreach lead for Black and Veatch presented the donation. She said the gift, made through the UCM Foundation, represents the company’s appreciation for veterans and its strong partnership with the university.
“We hope these funds will be used to continue the education and support of our veterans,” Bridges said as she presented the check to UCM President Charles Ambrose.
She told the gathering that Black and Veatch realizes it needs to hire the best and brightest to grow its business, and that those who served in the military often possess the qualities companies like Black and Veatch are looking for in employees.
“We know that our veterans are professional, they have great critical thinking skills and they can make decisions under pressure. There’s a whole laundry list of reasons we know these veterans are a good fit for us,” Bridges said.
Ambrose said the university is grateful to Black and Veatch and its commitment to hiring veterans. It is essential to partner with companies that want to contribute to the education of individuals who are making a transition from military service to civilian life.
“We are very indebted,” Ambrose said in talking about the gift. “This is more than financial support. This is a great encourager for others to get behind those who serve our country and to do the right thing to help them with their education, health, welfare and jobs.”
Among those in attendance was David Smarr, a Navy veteran who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Technology from UCM in 2012. He currently works for Black and Veatch as an engineering technician, and is a UCM campus team member in support of the Military and Veterans Success Center.
Smarr spoke briefly about his experiences at UCM, describing the MVSC as a facility where veterans and active-duty military personnel can get support from staff who provide a range of services, including showing them how to take full advantage of military benefits that will help fund their education.
Smarr also noted how the center was a place where he could go and “be surrounded by veterans and active duty military, and have conversations about whatever we wanted and know that we support each other.”
While introducing special guests, Lynn Lowder, a combat veteran who serves as director of Military and Veterans Services at UCM, told the gathering that UCM is focused on addressing three areas that are important to veterans: education, mental wellness related to issues such as post-traumatic stress, and jobs.
“In the military, everyone knows that you don’t fight battles alone, no one is self- made,” he said. “It takes people. It takes support, and it takes a team. Black and Veatch is a wonderful example of a company and people within who truly want to make a difference, and we’re very grateful.”
Individuals who have questions are encouraged to contact Delilah Nichols, coordinator, Military and Veterans Services, at 660-543-8776 or [email protected]