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    Spotlight: 9 Veterans Share How their Military Experience has Served Them


    Row one, from left to right: Nicole Kingery, Bill Morgan and Mark Thurber; Row two, from left to right: Tony Madden, Patrick Cavazos and Luis Garza; Row three, from left to right: Michael Iannella, Jamie Hignite and Douglas Tuggle.


    When we talk about the importance of having a diverse workforce, we mean more than gender, race, age, etc. It’s also about a commitment to employing staff and aligning with partners who have a rich variety of life experiences.

    Veterans possess a combination of skills, leadership training and discipline which are invaluable to our organization. Herff Jones is proud to have a number of veterans on the team, and we’re even more honored to know them.

    Below, you’ll hear from just a few of the veterans across the Herff Jones ecosystem who dial into their military experience every day in order to strengthen and empower our organization to reach new heights.



    Tony Madden

    Manager, Management Control Systems
    Branch: Army
    Location: Kansas City

    “My service in the United States Army provided me with opportunities that I would not have been able to experience on my own. I traveled the world, went to college, met amazing people, and learned what it means to be part of something bigger than yourself. Everything I’ve been able to accomplish in my life and career has benefited from my experiences in the military.

    I carry the Army Values with me every day. If you spell out leadership as LDRSHIP, each one of those letters spells out the Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal courage. These values have allowed me to be a better person, which has enabled me to be a better leader.”


    Tuggle, Douglas

    Douglas Tuggle

    Frame Shell Assembly
    Branch: Navy
    Location: Virginia Beach

    “My experience allowed me to travel the world and meet new people from all over the world. It taught me how to work with many different types of people and to adapt to change quickly. It also gave me the skills to be a great team player.”


    Morgan, Bill

    Bill Morgan

    Data Warehouse Administrator
    Branch: Air Force (4 years); Air National Guard (8 years); and Army Reserve (9 years)
    Location: Indianapolis

    “Military taught me organization and persistence. I do not give up on a task and will keep working until it is completed. Also, I can work with many types of people due to the diversity of military personnel.”


    Cavazos, Patrick

    Patrick Cavazos

    Scholastic Sales Partner
    Branch: Navy
    Location: Indianapolis

    “The Navy provided me with the discipline at an early age to effectively achieve any goal that I have set.

    ‘Keep your word. If you say you’ll do something for someone, do it. Trust takes a long time to earn and can be dashed in a heartbeat.’ This was told to me when I first arrived at my first assignment on the USS Shenandoah in Norfolk, VA. I have taken this with me throughout my career.”


    Thurber, Mark

    Mark Thurber

    Maintenance Tech
    Branch: U.S. Army
    Location: Champaign

    “My experience from the army taught me discipline, respect, leadership and responsibility. Lessons I’ve learned that I bring to HJ is trying to work well with others and building teams.”



    Nicole Kingery

    Item Code Creator, Customer Service Support
    Branch: Army National Guard
    Location: Arcola

    “My military experience impacted my life and career with one of the most significant traits I have, inner strength. It made me more stringent and resilient, especially when things have a negative impact. I know that I can handle anything, whether it is a crucial decision that affects the lives of my children or a task entrusted to me at Herff Jones, I do so with confidence! I have the inner strength to commit and execute anything asked of me, regardless of the current workload or stress levels involved. I offer my experiences and voice my opinions, without fear, in hopes of making change happen, but I also value the importance of accepting and moving on from defeat or rejection.

    For me, this is a form of true inner strength that, without the military, I’m confident I would lack.”


    Garza, Luis

    Luis Garza

    Scholastic Sales Partner
    Branch: U.S. Army
    Location: Mcallen, Texas

    “Don’t make things harder than they have to be.”


    Michael Iannella

    Purchasing Agent
    Branch: U.S. Air Force
    Location: Warwick

    “During my 10 years of service in the USAF it has primarily taught me that through dedication and teamwork, anything can be achieved. Attention to detail and meeting schedules was our main objective in the military and these skills have helped me succeed in my career with Herff Jones.

    It has been my experience that only thru hard work and devotion can success be obtained, and in times be rewarded. Our team here in Warwick, R.I. continuously strives to produce the highest quality of product and deliver on schedule to ensure that the hard work and dedication our students and athletes put in, does not go unnoticed.

    My service in the military was very challenging at times, but knowing how to rely on yourself and your fellow servicemen prove to be very successful. It was also very rewarding to be included in an incentive flight in the F-16.

    My career here at Herff Jones has also had many challenges and there will be more to come, but with the skills and professionalism of my co-workers I`m confident those challenges will be faced with determination and victory.

    This Veterans Day also marks the one-year anniversary of my son Jared’s service, who is currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corp. While we honor the Veterans and those who are no longer with us, let`s keep in prayers the ones who are still serving.”


    Hignite, Jamie

    Jamie Hignite

    Lead Production Operator
    Branch: U.S. Army
    Location: Indianapolis

    “My Military experience has given me confidence in decision making. Knowing I have executed a plan and carrying it out to the best of my abilities.”

    From the Archives:


    As we prepare to celebrate the company’s 100th year in business this coming January, we’ve been studying up on our history – and uncovering some interesting pieces in the archives. This memo, addressed to a Herff Jones customer, advises on the worker shortages due to WWII. At that time, around one-third of our employees were serving in active duty, and our factory – which was located in downtown Indianapolis – was manufacturing bullet dies.

    Are you a veteran looking for employment opportunities or someone who wants to work for a company that honors our nation’s veterans? Check out our open positions HERE.


    Indianapolis-based Herff Jones is the leading provider of graduation and educational products and services designed to inspire achievement and create memorable experiences for students. A division of Varsity Brands, Herff Jones’ products include class rings and jewelry, caps and gowns, yearbooks, diplomas, frames and announcements as well as motivation and recognition programs. Focused on building long-term relationships through a nationwide network of over 2,000 employees and sales partners, the professionals at Herff Jones have been helping elevate the student experience throughout the lifelong journey of education for more than 99 years. For more information about Herff Jones or Varsity Brands, please visit or

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