CIT’s Mike Jones, a U.S. Army veteran, is fully committed to his fellow veterans.
In our efforts to reach out to industry leaders about their initiatives to include U.S. military veterans, I had the occasion to speak with Mike Jones, president of Business Capital for CIT, a division of First Citizens Bank. I had originally met Mike when he was working at U.S. Bank. Prior to then, he was employed by EverBank. Mike has an excellent reputation as a thoroughgoing professional.
In my research on our industry’s efforts with veterans, I discovered CIT’s thorough commitment. In our March issue, we wrote about the company’s involvement with an organization known as Operation New Uniform (ONU). If you have not read it, please take a moment to do so. It is a quite different type of school for veterans. ONU teaches them how to transition from the military into civilian life and find meaningful employment. CIT is a big supporter of this school and has hired veterans who have participated in the program.
When a company such as CIT takes on a community service initiative, it often comes from the top. In this case, it is Mike Jones. I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with Mike about CIT’s motivation for supporting a training school for veterans. But that’s not the only way Mike helps his fellow veterans. He leads by example.
It turns out Mike is an American hero, and I do not use those words frivolously. He graduated from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1986. However, he did it a little bit differently from Army ROTC, Navy NROTC, Marine Corps PLC, or Marine OCC route. For all those programs, you are either commissioned upon graduation, or receive orders to attend an officer candidate school (like boot camp) and earn a commission. In Mike’s case, he started in 1982 and joined the Army in 1983 as an Army Ranger. This is the current description of the 75th Ranger Regiment found on the U.S. Army Rangers website:
Today’s Ranger Regiment is the Army’s premier direct-action raid force. Each of the four geographically dispersed Ranger battalions is always combat-ready, mentally and physically tough, and prepared to fight our country’s adversaries. Their capabilities include conducting airborne and air assault operations, seizing key terrain such as airfields, destroying strategic facilities, and capturing or killing enemies of the nation. Rangers are capable of conducting squads through regimental-size operations and are resourced to maintain exceptional proficiency, experience, and readiness. The regiment remains an all-volunteer force with an intensive screening and selection process followed by combat-focused training.
Mike described how he came to join the Rangers: “Upon graduating from the top of my class at basic training in 1983, I was offered the opportunity to complete my college education (accounting and finance) for a five-year active-duty commitment. From 1983 through 1986, I attended Widener and completed my undergraduate degree. I also completed numerous military courses at locations across the country. I was selected for Ranger School in 1987. Upon graduation, I reported to a rapid deployment force responsible for activity in Central and South America.” He also received a commission.
From 1987 to 1990, Mike’s unit was deployed numerous times, once to hostile territory and once in combat. His service encompassed seven years. This included active duty when not in classes. His deployments were in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Panama.
Upon graduation, he received a commission and was deployed. That means doing a tour of duty in a dangerous place. That is exactly what Army Rangers do. They go in harm’s way. That is what their mission is, and they do an amazing job. During his active duty, Mike was promoted to captain.
After leaving the service in 1990, Mike had a challenging time finding employment, working in jobs outside the industry before joining U.S. Bank in 1996. This experience provided him with a deep understanding of the challenges facing veterans when they return to civilian life. He has been an organizer for 11 years for Wounded Warriors Project (WWP), helping the organization raise fundraise. One such activity was organizing, promoting, and participating in the annual Philadelphia Tough Mudder event, which has contributed more than $30,000 in donations for the WWP. Mike’s commitment to his fellow veterans continues with CIT’s involvement with ONU.
So here we have a veteran who not only fought for his country but continues to serve his fellow veterans. We reached out to people with whom Mike worked and asked them if they were willing to provide a quote. Fred Carollo, now with Macquarie Group, worked with him at EverBank.
“In the past, when I worked directly with Mike Jones, his vision, leadership, and style of management were instrumental in how we operated as a group,” said Carollo. “In those years, Mike was a true foxhole team member that we would always feel empowered to ‘go to battle’ with. Mike’s leadership style was unique and had elements that shaped aspects of my own.”
Mike never stopped caring about those who were having a tough time acclimating to civilian life. There is no way of telling the number of veterans he has helped, and we are honored that we do our best to serve the same veterans that he does.
CIT represents the fourth company that we have profiled with a program to assist veterans transitioning to civilian life. The other three are HP, U.S. Bank, and Ricoh. We are indebted to all of them.
We are grateful to Mike for his appearance on two episodes of Fridays with Frank that dropped in May. If you missed it, you can find it on our website. We know you will enjoy listening to what Mike has to say. For now, let us just come together, and thank Mike Jones for his service and for his continuing efforts to help veterans.
Access Related Content
To become a subscriber, visit www.thecannatareport.com/register or contact firstname.lastname@example.org directly. Bulk subscription rates are also available.