During his 20 years in the U.S. Navy, Roosevelt Grandberry served at naval installations on five continents and sailed across the Equator twice. “I went to a lot of bases, but my favorite was in Singapore,” he said.
Grandberry relies on his military training every day working at Goodwill. As the Regional Facilities Manager for the Hampton Roads region, he oversees 15 retail stores and six attended donation centers. “If there is an electrical, HVAC, plumbing or mechanical issue, I’m responsible for solving it. This job requires a lot of discipline and structure, and I learned those skills in the Navy,” he said.
His military career started in 1987 at Diego Garcia, a small naval base on an island in the Indian Ocean. “From there, I went to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I also served in Washington, D.C., Italy, Spain, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and Africa,” he said. When Grandberry was a legal officer and administrative officer, he helped prepare sailors for overseas tours. A personal highlight was his time in Hampton Roads, serving a tour on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. “I wanted to do that for my namesake,” he recalled with a smile.
In 2007, Grandberry transitioned into civilian life in Hampton Roads. He worked as an office and facilities manager for 10 years. Then, he received a message from Goodwill. “I wasn’t looking for a new job when Carl reached out,” he said.
Carl Slate recruited Grandberry through LinkedIn in September 2017, when Slate was Goodwill’s Talent Acquisition Manager. “We needed someone with a strong skill set to do the job,” said Slate. “Roosevelt had the necessary work experience, but we also knew his military background would be an added asset to our organization. We know veterans bring a lot of leadership skills to the table.”
Grandberry accepted the position after he learned about Goodwill’s mission to creating pathways to opportunities and success for job seekers facing challenges to work. Many of those job seekers are military veterans. Goodwill served 514 veterans in 2016. Of those who secured employment through Goodwill, their average hourly wage was $12.66, which is 18% higher than the wages of their civilian counterparts served by Goodwill.
“Veterans are valuable to any company or organization. We are dependable, trustworthy and we take pride in our work. We can make sure the job gets done correctly without taking shortcuts,” said Grandberry. He also praised Goodwill’s commitment to hiring veterans. “I enjoy meeting other veterans who work at Goodwill. It’s exciting to work alongside them and share stories,” he said.
Grandberry said he wants his story to show what military veterans bring to the workplace. “We are passionate about our work and we treat everyone with respect. Our military education and training is transferable to civilian life, and we can help an organization meet and exceed expectations.”