2022-11-11 06:35News

Veteran and American Water Employee, Michael Rich, Featured in The Wall Street Journal

Oringially posted in The Wall Street Journal's The Workplace Report by Alexandra Levit

As part of this week’s newsletter, I [Alexandra Levit] had a chance to connect with Michael Rich, a 43-year-old veteran who is director of corporate procurement and national categories at American Water and a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Here are edited excerpts from our conversation: 

WSJ: Tell us a little about your military career and what you’re doing now.

Mr. Rich: For the first half of my Army career, I was a field services noncommissioned officer and Army Reserves career counselor and worked my way up to the rank of staff sergeant. In 2015, I was commissioned as a quartermaster officer and completed a recent deployment in 2022, serving as the executive officer of a movement control battalion. 

WSJ: What was the biggest challenge for you in making the transition from the military to the civilian workforce?

Mr. Rich: The biggest challenge as a career Army Reservist is the constant transition between military and civilian jobs. During the week, I get up early and work out to ensure I meet the Army fitness standards, then go to my civilian job all day. After work, I come home and respond to military emails and requirements. Sometimes my military career requires me to take time away from my civilian job. Time away ranges from a half-day medical appointment to a 10-month deployment. Keeping this balance is often challenging. 

WSJ: What is one thing you wish employers better understood about veteran workers?

Mr. Rich: I would advise industry leaders to create an avenue to engage and open dialogue with veterans in their organizations. For example, many companies like American Water are establishing employee-networking groups, which is an excellent way for executives to understand issues and gauge the morale of their veteran workforce. It also creates opportunities to recruit and retain veteran employees. 

About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs approximately 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater services to an estimated 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing.