This Veterans Day, we’re paying tribute to our veterans and military families. We wanted to highlight the dedicated service members who have served or are serving our country. Their contributions have ensured our freedom and continue to protect our country. We are proud to celebrate these employees, recognize their contributions and thank them for their service.
The Importance of Our Veterans
One fact that might surprise you is that our Simpson Strong-Tie founder, Barclay Simpson, flew in the Naval Air Corps during World War II. UC Berkeley published a series of interviews with Barc called An Oral History in 2013. It delved into his life story, which revealed details regarding his military service. He was one of the Flying Golden Bears, a reference to the state animal of California — the California grizzly bear (and mascot of his after-war alma mater). During WWII, he flew with the OS2U Kingfishers patrol in the Aleutian Islands and was later assigned to fly B-29s off carriers. After the war ended, he returned to California and spent three months as a Navy test pilot in Alameda.
Meet Our Veterans from Simpson Strong-Tie
We’re proud to have many veterans working at Simpson Strong-Tie and appreciate their admirable service to our country. Learn more about our employees, their military service and their current role at our company.
Sheila Johnson— IT Technical Project Manager
Sheila Johnson served in the Navy active and reserve for 18 years until 2003. As an Ocean Systems Analyst and Sonar Technician, she collected and analyzed subsurface intelligence data. Post 9/11, her harbor defense and inshore warfare operations reserve unit was activated to provide forward security for US Marine exercises and surveillance for USNS ships visiting foreign ports. Duty stations include Wales, UK; Argentina; Nfld. Canada; Norfolk and Roanoke, VA; Tarragona, Spain; and Jacksonville, FL. She is not only a Navy veteran but a Navy daughter, wife and mom as well.
Peter Moreno — Tool and Die Apprentice
Sergeant Peter Moreno served in the US Army infantry for 6 years. As a mortarman, Sgt. Moreno served in a combat deployment to Afghanistan as well as training deployments to Romania, Lithuania, Poland and Austria.
Joe Reekers — Information Security Manager
Joe Reekers served in the US Navy Submarine Service for over 16 years. During this lengthy term of service, Joe was stationed onboard three different submarines and participated in seven ballistic missile patrols as well as several special operations in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Frank Cauthorn — Fabrication Lead
Sergeant Frank Cauthorn served in the Marine Corps for five years. He was deployed to Iraq, Thailand, Okinawa and the Philippines. He was awarded numerous metals and was even a martial arts instructor. His MOS was artillery, and he achieved section chief status station in Twentynine Palms California.
Dominic Rufino — Purchasing Supervisor
Dominic Rufino served in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992. He was deployed to the Persian Gulf 1990-1991 for Operation Desert Shield/Storm as an electronics communications technician maintaining and repairing communication equipment.
Monique Ze — Maintenance Lead
Monique Ze served a total of four years in the US Army. First, she served two, which included a year of school for her MOS of 31P Microwave Communications Systems Repairer/Maintainer. Then she got out for four years and went back in to serve two more. She served during Desert Storm and exited right before 9/11. Her responsibilities included establishing, maintaining and repairing radio and satellite communications equipment for her company.
Michael Mullen — Press Operator (Autos)
Sergeant Michael Mullen served in the United States Marine Corp from 1979 to 1985 as an auto/diesel mechanic. There were too many ventures to name.
Marc Mumm — Dealer Sales Representative (Residential)
Sergent Marc Mumm served in the US Air Force for four years. He served as a Security Specialist. His responsibilities were securing nuclear-loaded B1 Bombers among many other duties. He served our country during Operation Desert Storm.
Marty Chester — Maintenance Technician
Chief Electronics Technician (ETCSS) served on US Navy nuclear submarines for 20 years.
Eric Hardin — Maintenance Technician
Eric Hardin was a Gunner’s Mate technician whose responsibility included the launch and upkeep of weapons systems, missiles and nuclear depth charges.
Duane Gardner — Quality Assistant
Specialist US Army 2011-2016, Afghanistan 2013-2014. Served as an Ammunition Specialist, whose responsibilities were to issue, receive, maintain stock control of, and destroy unserviceable ammunition.
David Grissom — Senior Dealer Sales Representative (Residential)
David served in the US Marine Corps from 1986 to 1991. He was stationed out of Camp Lejeune, NC, with 2nd Battalion 6th and 8th Marine Regiment, and he deployed to Japan and the Europe several times. He served as a Platoon Sergeant before being honorably discharged.
Jeff Thomas — Quality Assistant
Senior Chief Jeff Thomas retired from the US Navy, enlisting out of high school in 1975. While serving, his travels took him to 12 Asian and Middle Eastern countries. He served during the Gulf War of 1990. During his career, he served as a Survival Instructor, POW Training Camp Instructor, Rescue Swimmer Instructor and Aviation Ordnanceman. He was also qualified as an Aviation Warfare Specialist, Naval Air Crewman and Crew Chief on the H46 helicopter. The first ship his was deployed on is now a museum in San Diego, the aircraft carrier USS Midway.
Michael Parks — Press Operator
Honorably survived in the US Army for 11 years. With three tours overseas. Enjoyed surviving.
Bob Gentile — Inside sales
United States Navy Seabees 1990-1993, stationed in Gulfport, MS.
Randy Pennington — Material Handler
Randy Pennington served in the 10th Mountain Division in the Infantry and was a certified Paratrooper. Randy served countless deployments in the States and around the world and served four months in the Somalia conflict.
John Brunst — Inside Sales
Petty Officer 2nd Class John Brunst served in the Navy from 1974 to 1978 and is a Vietnam Era veteran.
Tim Quanstrom — Sr. Dealer Sales Rep
Sergeant Tim Quanstrom –served in the US Army from 2006 to –2012.
Neil Hickey — Maintenance Supervisor
Petty Officer Neil Hickey served in the United States Navy from 1999 to 2003 as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate on F/A-18 and S3 aircraft. He served one tour aboard the aircraft carrier JFK CV-67 off the coast of Afghanistan during the fight against terrorism.
Nathan Mitchell — Senior Shipper/Receiver
Sergeant Mitchell served 11 years in the Marine Corps, as an Engineer Equipment Mechanic.
John Grubbs — IT Support Services Analyst
Specialist John Grubbs served in the US Army for almost six years. As a Willy Pete and HE slinging artillery man attached to Bravo Btry 4th Battlation 42d Field Artillery. He served four tours in Iraq, two at Camp Taji and two at JSS Yarmouk in Baghdad. During his first tour he received a Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge to add to his collection of Arcoms and GCM.
Adam Hill — Senior Territory Sales Manager
Adam Hill served as an Infantry Soldier for two years in the US Army; he was a member of The Old Guard at Fort Myer Virginia. During his time in The Old Guard, he participated in ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, various military retirement parades and President George W. Bush’s inauguration in January 2001.
Taylor Thompson — Associate Dealer Sales Representative (Middle and East Tennessee)
Petty Officer First Class Aviation Structural Mechanic Taylor Thompson served in the US Navy for over eleven years. He spent five years of service onboard the USS Wasp, LHD-1 where he worked as a Quality Assurance Representative. His duties included weekly, monthly, and quarterly audits of the maintenance work centers. His last tour of duty was in sunny San Diego working with Fleet Readiness Center North Island as the work center supervisor overhauling H60 hydraulic components. Taylor was honorably discharged from active duty on June 27, 2018.
West Chicago, Illinois
Matt Campbell — Test Lab Technician
Airman 1st Class Matt Campbell served in the Air Force for four years. As a Guidance and Control technician, he ensured KC-10 aircraft were mission ready for Operation Enduring Freedom.
August Mathisrud — Estimation Software Implementer
Specialist August Mathisrud served in the US Army from 1994 to 1999 as an Avionics Technician working on CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Blackhawk, AH-64 Apache, OH-58 Kiowa, AH-1 Cobra, and UH-1 Huey helicopters. As an Avionics Technician, he served two deployments to Bosnia and two Presidential Support missions. His primary duties where to keep aircraft in full operational condition, and he was crossed-trained in electrical, hydraulic, sheetmetal, armament, and power plant repairs. His favorite aircraft was the Chinook due to utility and the special people he served with.
Ways to Help Veterans
For those interested in giving back and helping veterans in your community, check out these nonprofit organizations to learn more about how you can volunteer. If you are a contractor or tradesman, Building Homes for Heroes and Homes for Our Troops can use your skills to help build homes for injured veterans. Both these organizations help build new homes and adapt existing homes for veterans with severe injuries. Do not worry, if you do not have building expertise, you can still get involved by donating funds, goods and services, or land.
Another construction-focused nonprofit program is Helmets to Hardhats that connects transitioning active-duty military service members, veterans, National Guard members and reservists with professional training and career opportunities. The program is designed to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry.
USO Operation Phone Home is a great organization that allows troops to communicate and connect with loved ones through free high-speed internet access and phone calls available at USO service centers. For service members in remote access areas, the USO offers free prepaid international calling cards.
You can find more veteran organizations here.
Disclosure: These nonprofits are not affiliated with Simpson Strong-Tie.