The Bureau of Land Management honors the men and women of the military who have served and sacrificed for our country. The BLM believes that these men and women possess special leadership skills that would greatly benefit the agency across all of its programs.
Below, read the stories of military veterans who have found successful careers here at the BLM. To learn more about special hiring appointments and authorities for the federal employment of veterans, veterans with disabilities, and military families, visit www.fedshirevets.gov.
"I did 4 years of Army ROTC while earning my Criminal Justice degree at Illinois State University. While a cadet, I went to Airborne School, got to work with XVIII Airborne Corps MPs at Fort Drum for a summer and made good friends. My last semester of college I did an internship with the National Park Service’s Law Enforcement Rangers at the Grand Canyon. This is where I met my husband, Don, who is a Law Enforcement Ranger. I wanted to go MP; the Army gave me Ordnance Corps.
My first unit was 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment. After serving a short time on rear detachment, I was sent to Iraq. While in Iraq, I was an ordering officer, assistant personnel officer, spent a lot of time clearing roadways and as an extra gun for my squadron commander, and got my first platoon. I got my second platoon when we returned state-side. Before 3dACR left for Iraq again, I got moved over to 7th Infantry Division, which was charged with running Fort Carson. I was the Maintenance Officer for Fort Carson, including for the units deploying and redeploying. I was a Captain when my 4 years of active duty was up. I had been married for those 4 years and it was time to go home to my husband.
By now, Don had been working for the BLM for a few years, assigned to the Las Vegas, NV office and working out of Mesquite, NV. I still wanted to go in to law enforcement work, but finding a place we would want to live that needed 2 law enforcement people would be difficult. I ended up getting hired at a Do It Best warehouse/ distribution center as a supervisor. They liked my leadership training and supervisory background from the Army. I believe they also appreciated that I not only knew how to lead, but also how to follow, and that I had new ideas and tried to think out of the box. They were new to hiring veterans. That job was helpful molding my supervisory experience to the civilian world. I worked there less than a year when Don got a transfer to the White River Field Office in Meeker, CO. The manager at that Do It Best distribution center was actively looking to hire another veteran to replace my position before I left.
Meeker is a small town of approximately 2,500 people. Ranching and big game hunting are important here. I was unsure about finding employment in a small town. A new building just finished getting built and it housed the BLM White River Field Office and the Forest Service Blanco Ranger District. I heard about 2 possible job openings coming up. One was a legal instruments examiner, an office job, and the other was a petroleum engineering technician (PET), part office and part field work. On that knowledge alone I knew the PET job would be the better fit for me. I made myself an account at http://www.usajobs.gov/
and got familiar with the site. I updated my resume, made sure my college transcripts were in order and completed the veterans forms, including claiming 10 points for being a disabled veteran (10%).
My responsibilities as a PET include: conducting field inspections on oil and gas wells during drilling, producing and abandonment phases; ensure compliance of wells to the regulations and conduct enforcement; witness oil sales and meter calibrations; use calculations to ensure proper measurement; work with other government agencies; work with coworkers including surface specialist and law enforcement; and communicate with operators (like EnCana and ExxonMobil) at national, regional and local levels. A few months in to my new job, I had the opportunity to become a wildland firefighter and be part of the “militia” force. Being able to fight fire when I am available is a nice break from my regular job, and there are a couple of similarities between it and the military. My regular job as a PET is great because I am able to get in to the field for my inspections and I have a very flexible schedule. I can work 8 hour days, or 4- 10 hour days or any other combination. With my military time, I automatically started earning 6 hours per pay period (2 week period) of annual leave instead of 4 hours. I also set up to have money taken out of my pay checks to “buy back” my military time so I can add my 4 years to my civilian retirement.
There are also many other opportunities in the BLM. You do not have to stick with one job for your entire career. There are also advancement opportunities if you want to keep working your way up the ladder. The BLM is becoming more proactive in its leadership training and there are several chances to go to training to build upon what was gained in the military. I earned up to 30 college credit hours when I completed my primary PET training. I am now an online student at Oregon State University putting those credits to good use earning a second bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Policy and Management. I was even awarded a BLM educational award to help pay for a class or two."