Faced with a labor shortage, the building industry sees a solution in a valuable yet sometimes overlooked workforce segment—military veterans.

In a recent webinar hosted by HBSDealer, titled Hitting Career Targets: Establishing the Next Generation of Leaders through Military and Veteran Recruiting, industry leaders from Builders FirstSource delved into the impact of military veterans in the building supply sector.

Cheryl Early, the director of talent acquisition, shared that the company’s veteran hiring initiative is not a recent pivot but a well-established strategy aimed at fostering a robust pipeline of future leaders. "Our approach is holistic, focusing on attracting, engaging and retaining veteran talent," Early explained. "This approach is not simply about filling positions but also about preparing talent for future industry leadership."

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Veterans are known for their discipline, leading diverse teams, handling complex logistics and thriving under pressure—traits that are crucial in the fast-paced and unpredictable building industry.

David Kerrigan, now a military outreach specialist with BFS, highlighted that his military background provided a strong foundation for his role in corporate recruitment. "The adaptability and leadership skills honed in the military are invaluable in this fast-evolving industry," he noted.

The panelists collectively underscored the positive impact of hiring veterans on business outcomes. Veterans' ability to lead, their unparalleled work ethic and their operational expertise directly contribute to the company's bottom line by enhancing productivity and fostering a culture of dedication and excellence. This strategic approach addresses immediate staffing needs and prepares the organization for future challenges and opportunities.

Moreover, this strategy aligns with broader industry needs—veterans fill critical roles in logistics, project management, and operational leadership, areas where the industry often faces skills shortages.


Early detailed the company's strategic efforts in recruitment and retention, emphasizing the importance of a targeted approach that goes beyond mere hiring. The introduction of specific roles like a DOD SkillBridge specialist helps to facilitate smooth transitions for service members.

The company's efforts extend into detailed engagement strategies, such as the Proud to Serve employee resource group, which supports veterans within the company and fosters a community centered around shared experiences and backgrounds.

Additionally, veterans are not limited to any particular type of job. The panel noted that many people might think of project management or logistics as aligning well with military backgrounds, and while that is true, there is also a need for human resources, finance, safety and several other positions. For a company the size of Builders FirstSource, there are several types of openings available.


The webinar wasn’t just about policies and strategies; it also brought to light personal stories of veterans who have transitioned successfully into significant roles.

Michael Rebus shared his journey from the military to his role as an operations manager in the company. He was an ammunitions specialist and after a few jobs, entered a design training program and was a designer for over three years. He led the Northeast Florida chapter of Proud to Serve and was promoted to the operations/fleet manager in Jacksonville, Florida. He’s now in the company’s manager training program.

Joel Gossett began with the company as a designer, worked his way into sales, and eventually became a sales manager and is currently a business manager over an entire market.

The group also told the story of Corbett McCallum, who was hired five years ago as a product specialist and after showcasing his military skills, was quickly promoted to be an operations manager. Two years ago he was promoted again to an assistant general manager position and became the location’s general manager this year.

"If you come with the work ethic, BFS will meet you in the middle every time and continue to push you down the path you desire."


Builders First Source doesn’t limit its engagement to the hiring process. The company is deeply involved with the veteran community, participating in career fairs, partnering with military bases and working with veteran service organizations. These efforts ensure that veterans are aware of the opportunities available and feel supported throughout their transition and beyond.

Gossett shared that many team members wear red shirts on Fridays as a symbol of solidarity with deployed service members. This practice underscores the company’s commitment to recognizing and valuing the military community within its workforce.

It's important for veteran initiatives to extend beyond the organization. To stay actively involved in the broader community, we engage with veteran groups and participate in events that honor and support military personnel such as Wreaths Across America, the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Carry the Load Walk among others. These activities not only help in recruitment but also build strong community ties.
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As the building industry continues to evolve, the role of veterans in shaping its future remains clear and growing. Hiring veterans benefits the industry, the veterans who join it and the community at large.

The webinar provided rich insights into the strategic importance of veterans in the building industry. Emphasizing military recruiting not only helps mitigate the labor shortage but also ensures a progressive, inclusive and dynamic workforce, ready to tackle the future of the building industry head-on.

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