Defense industry customers come to Roush because of our reputation as an innovative supplier of engineering, testing, fabrication, machining, integration, and low-volume specialty manufacturing services. But perhaps the biggest asset Roush brings to defense industry programs is the number of veterans on our team, veterans from all branches of service, ranging from engineers to projects managers, technicians and security experts. These talented team members speak the language of the defense industry and understand the industry’s very rigorous, specialized requirements.
Take Rob Ells, for example. Ells is the director of Roush’s defense business, but more importantly, he is a veteran of the U.S. Army, with engineering master’s degrees from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and Virginia Tech. He also holds a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering and foreign studies from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and for over 22 years he held active service duty as an engineer officer in the Army.
He’ll be the first to tell you that it’s an exciting time for Roush to be working with the defense industry to help meet its objectives.
“Roush is well positioned to bring our talented employees to help the military and the Department of Defense reach their modernization goals to develop and deliver equipment that keep our sons and daughters safe as they serve our great nation,” he says. This imperative is of particular importance to Ells, who currently has a son-in-law in active service and another son currently applying to West Point with hopes of continuing the family’s impressive history of service to our country.
Ells adds that Roush’s veterans bring key disciplines from their military days to defense projects, including:
• Familiarity with the military and its unique language.
• Credibility when interacting with defense customers.
• Discipline, integrity and second-to-none work ethic.
Roush’s veterans are highly motivated to participate in a variety of defense-related projects for defense OEMs that serve all branches, but especially the U.S. Army. For example, one of Ells’ favorite projects was technology integration into the Bradley Fighting Vehicle as part of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) program. The project allowed Roush to showcase our capabilities as a non-traditional defense contractor with the ability to support work on heavier, tracked combat vehicle programs, one of the Army’s current modernization priorities.
Why does the defense industry choose to work with Roush? It’s our deep understanding of the industry by virtue of the many veterans on our team. We’ve found they value our agility and ability to respond quickly to fill their resource constraints, our adherence to confidentiality requirements and our superior integration capabilities. The defense industry’s production volume requirements often don’t fit into their current processes and they look to external resources to perform integration and prototype work. Plus, contractual requirements often call for inclusion of a non-traditional defense partner.
Ells says when working in the defense industry, Roush uses the same processes it employs when working in the commercial market. “We are able to leverage our almost 50 years of expertise supporting the automotive industry to apply a disciplined process to support a variety of different program aspects. Additionally, with the wide range of capabilities internal to Roush, there is very little that needs to be subcontracted in order to deliver a program to defense customers,” he notes.
There’s more to the veteran equation for Roush. Thanks to the support of company founder Jack Roush and his executive leadership team, the Roush Veterans Initiative Program (VIP) has been very successful drawing veteran talent to the company. Headed by 24-year U.S. Air Force veteran John Gardner, the program has hired hundreds of veterans and military spouses in a variety of roles.
In short, Ells says Roush’s commitment to the defense industry and to veterans themselves sets it apart from competitors.
“The government, like many of our commercial customers, follows a set of procedures and standards that are very unique,” he says. “It takes a good amount of effort to become familiar with and proficient at working within this environment.
“It is to our advantage to develop and retain this expertise to make it easier to communicate with customers and deliver new projects and opportunities within the defense market as they become available.”
Jason Furr is vice president of business development for Roush.
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