As part of its evolving diversity and inclusion journey, Ferguson has launched four associate-led Business Resource Groups (BRGs) – all founded in the company’s shared values and the desire to create long-term connections among associates while promoting diversity, openness, understanding and inclusivity. Since 2020, Ferguson has successfully launched an African American, Women’s and LGBTQ+ BRG. The BRGs are associate-driven, include an executive sponsor and are voluntary.
The company’s newest BRG is VALOR, which stands for Veterans and Allies Leading Organization Results, and was launched last year.The group is comprised of more than 800 associates who are former military service members, active-duty service members, military spouses and partners, and allies.
All VALOR members have a shared passion to show support for the military community, foster camaraderie, forge connections to others with shared experiences and help promote awareness of the number of veterans contributing to Ferguson. As the nation recognizes Veterans Day on Saturday, November 11, it is fitting that the company looks to November to celebrate its Veteran associates and the new VALOR community that has been created.
VALOR’s impact extends beyond Ferguson and reaches into the community. The BRG recently hosted an event with The Honor Foundation, which is a career transition program for U.S. Special Operations Forces transitioning from the military to the private sector. VALOR hosted over 50 program fellows for an opportunity to learn more about Ferguson and the company’s culture.
“There was nothing better than speaking to transitioning military members and learning about their unique experiences and skill sets. It was apparent to see the impact they could make in our workforce,” says Dotti Porter, director, category management and VALOR executive chair.
One of the fellows, Stephen Barrett, was the guest speaker of an “All-Hands” internal VALOR meeting and offered a unique perspective on his military experience and transitioning into the corporate sector.
Ferguson is committed to hiring veterans and military spouses. VALOR provides a forum to work closely with our current veteran and military spouse population to build effective onboarding transitional programs, mentorship opportunities and leadership development opportunities.
“Leadership and taking care of people are the core principles that veterans share as they transition from the Military. VALOR members have been eager to share their knowledge and skills. It’s inspiring to take part in the development of a formal transition curriculum program that will impact both recruiting and career enhancement for veterans joining Ferguson,” says Roscoe Woods, chief of staff VALOR.
“What we know is Veterans have skills and training that will transfer to the organization. They have an unrivaled understanding of teamwork, leadership, and work ethic as well as an ability to adapt quickly in changing situations,” says Holly Jones, director of strategic planning and development.
WHAT VALOR MEMBERS HAVE TO SAY
When military service members transition to the civilian workforce, they often miss the camaraderie and closeness of the military culture. During their service, there is a shared purpose, focus on mission, and bond that often remains among veterans for a lifetime. VALOR aims to rekindle and sustain these shared values. Here’s what several Ferguson VALOR BRG members shared about this unique experience.
Army veteran Brian Richards, Sr., Ferguson warehouse manager in Augusta, Georgia lives by a simple quote. “Through honor, integrity, respect, dedication and courage, I commit myself to the Preservation of Freedom.”
The quote was published in a newsletter during his tour serving in Afghanistan. Foregoing a promising career in commercial aviation to fight for his country, this quote follows him everywhere, folded in his wallet. Today, it serves as a reminder that – even post-military service – it still applies in day-to-day life and work.
“Our Business Resource Groups offer our associates a support network and a sense of belonging. VALOR fosters a sense of community, promotes education about veterans, and provides development opportunities,” says Erica Barnes, Ferguson senior director of inclusion and diversity.
“Leadership and taking care of people are the core principles that Veterans share as they transition from the Military, so as such, VALOR members have been eager to share their knowledge and skills. It’s inspiring to take part in the development of a formal transition curriculum program that will impact both recruiting and career enhancement for Veterans joining Ferguson.”
– Roscoe Woods
“Leadership and taking care of people are the core principles that Veterans share as they transition from the Military, so as such, VALOR members have been eager to share their knowledge and skills. It’s inspiring to take part in the development of a formal transition curriculum program that will impact both recruiting and career enhancement for Veterans joining Ferguson,” VALOR’s Woods adds.
Jim Golini, Ferguson vice president of residential trade and VALOR executive sponsor shares, “As a Ferguson associate and Marine Corps Veteran I am extraordinarily proud and humbled by our company’s commitment to work with and engage our Veterans. VALOR affords all our members a platform where their voices can be heard and their commitment to the defense of our freedom is celebrated. As a country, we will always be indebted to our Veterans and VALOR provides us with a channel to always keep that thought top of mind”.