Employee spotlights

As an Air National Guard member, I found support and community at Principal®

May 01 2024

I interviewed at Principal® for a position as an information security engineer outfitted in my military dress blues. I was finishing an active duty deployment with the Iowa Air National Guard. 

I got the job and started a month after I returned. But from day 1 I planned for the impact my next Guard assignment would make. I wanted to provide value and transition my expertise to maintain continuity for Principal. Unlike some other companies, the culture of Principal helped. 

Protecting borders, at home and abroad

After I graduated from high school in 2002, I got a trade degree but was always interested in technology. I worked a few years in in manufacturing, and then joined the Iowa Air National Guard. They had good job training and tuition support for technology-focused education. Because a Guard commitment is part-time—one weekend of training per month, a few weeks of service per year, a deployment every few years—I’m able to serve, hold a civilian job, and put down roots in a community without fear of a re-posting. 

I’m currently in my 16th year of service and have had seven overseas deployments. I’ve obtained degrees in aircraft maintenance, cyber security from Air Force Air Education and Training, and management information systems from Iowa State University. At Principal, I help protect the information “borders” of our business. 

Continuity from day 1 

Even though I was a relatively new hire when I was deployed for more than 200 days, I didn’t have to worry about my job. The 1994 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERA) ensures those who serve are able to come back to jobs they left. 

Instead, from day 1, I focused on what was going to happen to the team when I would be gone for six months. I was able to confidently build out a continuity plan and work myself out of being a required link in the chain. 

What does it mean to be a military friendly employer? According to the Military Friendly® Companies survey, it means meeting benchmarks for retention for new veteran, Guard, and Reserve hires and employees, as well as an evaluation of federally required policies among other metrics. Principal was recognized in 2024 for its efforts to support military members as a Military Friendly Employer. 

Support for work, support for culture 

Principal also supports military members like me in other critical ways. For example, I received pay for a portion of my deployment, which helped my family. That, in turn, helps me stay in the National Guard, where retention and recruiting are huge deals.  

I’ve also found community at Principal through the Veterans Employee Resource Group. They help answer questions about navigating post-military service, about how things in the military side equate to the civilian employment. Realistically, without the benefits that Principal provides, we couldn’t do what we need to do for the nation.

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