Celebrating Veterans Day 2020
Veterans Day is November 11th, the day we stand united in respect for our veterans and their families. Within the lead battery manufacturing and recycling industry, we are especially grateful for the tremendous experience and dedication veterans bring to their civilian jobs throughout our industry.
Our work – and former-military employees – are essential to ensure sustainable, innovative lead battery technology remains available for critical applications. That includes data centers, telecom and smart cities, renewable energy storage, national security, transportation and logistics, and more.
A Highly Valued Skill Set
With that in mind, The Doe Run Company (Doe Run) actively recruits veterans. The Missouri-based company is an industry leader in responsible mining and metal production. It also operates one of the world’s largest single-site lead battery recycling centers.
To celebrate Veterans Day 2020, Essential Energy Everyday is sharing interviews (edited for length) that Doe Run recently conducted with three of its military veteran employees. These individuals exemplify how military service can provide stellar training for civilian work. And, likewise, how the lead battery industry can provide them with rewarding careers.
Thank you to the interviewees – Amber Morris (Navy), David Boren (Marine Corps) and Doug Norton, Jr. (Army) – for sharing their inspiring stories with us. We’ll begin with Amber.
Amber Morris: “I am still dedicated to the Navy core values, which are honor, courage and commitment.”
Amber had a personal reason for joining the United States Navy. Her grandfather had served during World War II, and she wanted to follow in his footsteps. After serving four years as an Information Systems Technician, she ended with the rank of Petty Officer Third Class. She has been with Doe Run for 11 years; her hard work has paid off. Amber has risen through the ranks with added responsibilities.
Applying Her Military Tech Skills to Modern Lead Batteries
Currently, she is an Environmental Instrumentation Specialist at Doe Run’s Buick Resource Recycling facility. There, she helps oversee air quality programming, maintaining environmental equipment such as pulsed fluorescence analyzers, building pressure monitors and dust probes. The work is a great way to use her military training.
“While in the Navy, I worked at one of the largest communication stations the Pacific Fleet has. I maintained, installed and fixed communication equipment that sent anything from unclassified to top-secret messages to the Pacific Fleet. This work aided in the development of a specific set of analytical and technical skills that continue to help me in my career today.”
Amber credits her husband for encouraging her to initially apply at Doe Run. He has been with the company for nearly 16 years.
Bringing a Navy Mindset
Overall, Amber says the Navy provided her with good working habits, punctuality, healthy lifestyle habits, confidence, the ability to work under pressure, and great leadership skills. She believes the lead mining and lead battery industry, and Doe Run in particular, is a good fit for veterans and reservists.
“There is plenty of opportunity for leaderships skills and positions, different shiftwork, technical positions, challenging and tedious work, and attention to detail. The company also offers some great benefits, too!”
David Boren: “The ability to remain calm and collected in stressful situations.”
David joined the United States Marine Corps right after high school with a desire to travel the world, serve his country, and receive college tuition benefits. He quickly worked his way up the ranks, earning the opportunity to mentor and lead other Marines. Ultimately, he served four years as an active duty Marine and four years as an inactive reservist. He’s grateful for how the military molded him.
“The military helped prepare me for civilian work by instilling discipline, leadership, tactfulness, responsibility, stress management and several other key traits that successful individuals must live by.”
Being Part of a Team and Essential Lead Batteries
Today, David is an Operations Technology Analyst with Doe Run. He says the [lead battery] industry provides a sense of reward in that you are part of a team that is providing an essential component to maintain our way of life. “Though it isn’t the same feeling you get from serving your country in the armed forces, it is relatable to it.”
At Doe Run, David works with operational technologies that are used in the company’s mining, milling, environmental and recycling processes, and the information technologies that are used to secure/enhance them.
“The most rewarding part of my job is being able to assist personnel around the business. There is a great level of satisfaction knowing [my] work has made a positive improvement on their work and the business as a whole.”
Remaining Calm During Stress
He is also responsible for the company’s drone services program where his military training is particularly useful.
“Flying a drone in underground areas where you aren’t always able to maintain line of sight or on surface areas where weather conditions can impact the drone’s operation can be stressful situations. Maintaining a calm and collected mindset assists in ensuring the flights are conducted without issue.”
Doug Norton Jr.: “We strive to improve our foxhole every day.”
Originally from Granite City, Illinois, Doug’s 25 years in the United States Army took him around the world and earned him four Bronze Star Medals for actions overseas. He retired two years ago as a First Sergeant, to the great benefit of Doe Run.
Currently, he is a General Supervisor (refinery) at the Buick Resource Recycling Facility. He says his experience in the military’s numerous leadership schools helped prepare him well for his job today.
“Having led and managed four different [military] companies with over 130 soldiers at a time per company … was a new challenge that kept you on your feet and thinking ahead to the next obstacle. [The] same applies as the general supervisor for the refinery here at Doe Run,” Doug explained. “We strive to improve our foxhole every day and to produce quality products for our customers.
A Successful Transition from Military to Civilian Work
What advice would Doug give to those leaving the military about civilian work life? He said progression outside the military is possible. “Remember your core values and use them in everything you do and you will succeed.”
Comradery in the Lead Battery Industry
Doug also added that his time at Doe Run has been “an awesome experience” thus far.
“It’s all about comradery, values and commitment. The Doe Run Company provides it. I enjoy working with every employee here.”
The Lead Battery Industry Thanks All Veterans
This Veterans Day, please join us in thanking all veterans. We are grateful for their service, the sacrifices made by them and their families, and for the experience they bring to the lead battery manufacturing and recycling industry. We value you and all you do!