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February 8, 2019

Brad Russell and Ramon Romero were initially unsure of their longer-term plans after serving in the United States military. However, once they began careers in manufacturing, they quickly realized how to harness leadership skills they had gained during years of service, including confidence, decision-making and accountability. Now, they are helping other military members make similar transitions.

Recently, Brad Russell, Operations Leader at the Novelis Greensboro, Georgia facility, shared his story with Army service members at Fort Riley, Kansas through a Heroes MAKE America event sponsored by Novelis. Russell, inspired by his father and grandfather’s prior service in the armed forces, joined the Navy in 1997 to “see the world.” After serving for five years, completing three deployments and earning three Navy and Marine Corps achievement medals, he decided to start a new adventure.

“I originally planned to get my degree after five years of service and return to the Navy as an officer,” said Russell. “But while in college, I met my wife and had an internship with Ceradyne Inc., a 3M company that manufactures many products including body armor used by the military. I quickly fell in love with manufacturing and joined Novelis after graduation.”

Last November, Ramon Romero, Plant Manager of the Novelis Berea, Kentucky facility, discussed his own journey at a Veteran’s Day event at an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas. Romero, also inspired by his father’s military service, joined the Marine Corps after high school. After serving for ten years, seven of which were overseas, he decided to transition back to civilian life.

“I experienced many surprises once I left the military and joined the manufacturing world,” said Romero. “My goal is to make it a little easier for new veterans to make the leap into the private sector and find their next career. And, I want them to know that companies like Novelis value military experience.”

The National Association of Manufacturers, through its social impact arm, The Manufacturing Institute, developed the Heroes MAKE America program to help military members who are ready to conclude their service and transition to the private sector. Novelis is proud to be a sponsor of this program, which exposes military members to companies, careers and training in manufacturing. Participant companies have the opportunity to assist, interview and recruit the members into open positions.

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