Phoenix Business Journal this week named Spirit Electronics as the #10 largest Veteran-Owned business in the City of Phoenix. Our CEO Marti McCurdy, a US Air Force veteran, leads the company, but a heavy veteran team presence also helps drive Spirit’s mission and business growth.
Spirit’s value-added services and supply chain support in aerospace and defense includes delivering qualified high-reliability electronics to the military and prime contractors. While supporting this business mission, we also want to honor the veteran experiences and personal sacrifices that drive our team to succeed.
Our Veteran Experience in Military Service
Spirit CEO Marti McCurdy is a proud veteran of the US Air Force. But our experience in service gives us more than a small business boost. Our veterans have come from all branches of the military, with experience in aircraft to ground missions. We have always found our veterans bring an expert mindset to our business with tactical understanding of product safety and reliability, standards compliance and product requirements. Our veterans know first-hand why their team roles matter to the mission on the front lines.
Continuing to Support Military Programs: the F-35 Lightning II
Our components support mission-critical operations on the ground and in the air, with aircraft like the F-35 Lightning II elite fighter jet. Telling the story of her transition out of the Air Force, Marti explained, “I got out and thought, where are the F-111s? What am I going to do?”
This is one reason why our veterans excel in our aerospace and defense business—we continue to put their technical and hands-on potential to use in direct support of customer programs like the F-35. Spirit supplies components for the programmatic gate array for the F-35 avionics systems. Over 17 Spirit staff members support this program, including Warehouse Manager Jeremy Rolin, who previously supported the F-35 through aircraft maintenance in the US Air Force.
Spirit is one of 1,800 companies that support the F-35 Lightning II production line, and the program brings over $1 billion into our local Arizona economy. Read more about the F-35 Lightning II program.
Supporting Veterans in Our Civilian Workforce
Our veteran staff know the stress involved in career transitions. In fact, knowing how to prioritize, brush off stress, and focus on the team goal is one of the reasons we love our veteran hires. Marti sat down with our veteran team on our podcast to talk about the transition from military to civilian career and how to navigate it successfully.
Marine Corps veteran Thomas Stewart, who manages Spirit’s SMI programs, explained “You deal with a lot of stress in the military, and you’ll deal with a different stress when you get out. I think you have to focus on what you need to do. You learn that in the military, and you learn how to prioritize and focus on how to get the job done.”
“You deal with a lot of stress in the military, and you’ll deal with a different stress when you get out. I think you have to focus on what you need to do. You learn that in the military, and you learn how to prioritize and focus on how to get the job done.”
Spirit Finance Director Chris Sinerius, said he went from operations superintendent in charge of 170 team members to a staff accountant making $15 an hour in charge of nobody. “I think that’s the biggest challenge for a lot of folks is accepting that it’s a start over and that you have to work your way up again, being willing to find those new skills to adapt to the market.”
How can we help our veterans make the transition to a civilian career more easily? Warehouse Manager Jeremy Rolin, who just completed 22 years of service with the Air Force and now works with Team Spirit explains “Spirit actually makes it a little bit easier. The culture was definitely similar but different, in many ways.” Supportive team culture, common goals, and the openness to learning more about military experience and culture have helped our veteran and civilian teammates work together.
Listen to interviews with Spirit's Veteran team members on our Spirit: Behind the Screen podcast. Episode 15 talks with many of our veterans about their transition to civilian careers. Episode 21 talks with teammate Zac Scott as he heads out on active deployment.
We are also no strangers to reserve and guard activations. Many veterans continue to serve while also holding down a civilian career, and activations and deployments can add to the stress and transitions they experience. Our former teammate Zac Scott is currently on deployment and spoke with Marti about transitioning before he left on deployment. “This is actually my first corporate job ever,” Zac said. “ I would say coming in here and being welcomed with open arms—that was amazing. It was a hit the ground running and hey, what do you need for us to help you start learning and be an effective member of the team.”
Spirit Gives Foundation Supports Veterans and Their Families
Being no stranger to the stress of the military, the transitions from duty stations or to civilian life, we created a nonprofit foundation Spirit Gives to extend support to veteran families in our community. Our growing foundation wants to reach families in our area who need support to juggle work, life demands, and their children’s needs.
Spirit Gives holds seasonal donation drives and fundraisers to offer support with basic everyday needs like electric bills, school supplies, and mentorship time. For our current campaigns, visit SpiritGives.org.
Honoring Your Service this Veteran’s Day
To celebrate Veteran’s Day 2021, we want thank all of the military veterans on Team Spirit. Your hard work and experiences enrich our mission and help us continue to serve the aerospace and defense industry. We are grateful to you, to the veterans in our families, and to the veterans in our community for your service.