Serving Those Who Have Served Us: Military Appreciation

At AppHarvest, we aim to serve those who have served us. As an American company, we are proud to honor American veterans and the many sacrifices they and their families have made to provide us the freedoms and securities we have today. Our support for individuals who served this country extends beyond active duty; we aim to support our veterans even after the uniform comes off.  We’re committed to recruiting and hiring more veterans to join the AppHarvest ranks, because we see the invaluable skills they bring to the workforce. 

But don’t just take our word for it—come out and meet some AppHarvest team members who have proudly served this country as we sponsor Military Sunday at the Kentucky State Fair. 

Catch us this Sunday, August 22, at the fairgrounds in Louisville, located near the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Gourmet Garden Stage.  

In anticipation for this weekend, we’ve profiled a few of our veterans right here to honor them and their service, and to understand how their military experience translates into their roles at AppHarvest.

Brandon Ferguson
Packhouse Supervisor

Where you’re originally from: Morehead, KY  

Branch of the military: Army National Guard 

Year you joined the military: 2014 

Active years in the military: 8  

Places you served: Never deployed to a combat zone, but multiple state missions for floods, snowstorms and ran COVID-19 testing sites during the pandemic.  

Honors: Armed Forces Services and Humanitarian Award  

How long you’ve been with AppHarvest: 8 months  

How your service connects to your role at AppHarvest: The style of leadership I have been brought up in translates well on the packhouse floor. It’s all about trusting the person next to you and knowing, without a doubt, that you trained them to the best of your ability.  

Why you love AppHarvest: AppHarvest is a challenge for me. I love facing new obstacles.  

Why it’s important for organizations to see the value in hiring veterans: Veterans know what work is. They can adapt to the constant changes.  

One piece of advice you would give fellow veterans looking for jobs: Don’t think you are entitled to a job because of your status. Work harder than the person next to you.  

Mark Keller
SVP, Software Applications Platform 

Where you’re originally from: Moline, Illinois 

Branch of the military:  Army 

Year you joined the military:  1988 

Active years in the military:  2.5 years  

Places you served: FT Bliss Texas (Basic), FT Sam Houston (Advanced), and TongDuChon Korea (Active) 

Honors:  Gulf War veteran, though I served in Korea during that time.    

How long you’ve been with AppHarvest:  5 weeks 

How your service connects to your role at AppHarvest:  In the Army, I served overseas in Korea during the first Gulf War. I saw firsthand a world that had bigger problems than what exists in my own backyard.  This forced me to think of the world holistically and approach problems with greater knowledge than what happens in my own environment. At AppHarvest, I get to work on the problem of using technology to manage farms at scale globally.   

Why you love AppHarvest:  Using technology for good. 

Why it’s important for organizations to see the value in hiring veterans:  Software development is an area that easily overlooks veterans. Most veterans do not come out of the military with the hands-on coding skills needed to jump into this kind of tech job.  They do, however, have the life, leadership, and team collaboration skills that are essential for success. Organizations that put together a program that helps veterans bridge the gap will unlock this valued pool of resources, and veterans get a path into technology that’s lacking today.  

One piece of advice you would give fellow veterans looking for jobs: Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. Lead with that. Even today, after 28 years, I lead with Army Veteran. It defines who I am. Everything you did in the military has a parallel in business; you just have to pattern-match to find it.   

Elaine Manning
Crop Care Specialist 

Where you’re originally from: Grassy Creek, KY 

Branch of the military: Army 

Year you joined the military: 1984 

Active years in the military: 3  

Places you served: Ft. Dix New Jersey (Basic Training), Ft. Carson Colorado (Advanced Individual Training) 

Honors: Served as President of the Eagle Vets Group on campus while going to Morehead State University. Worked with Retired Lt. Col. Max Ammons in a marketing capacity.  

How long you’ve been with AppHarvest: 10 months 

How your service connects to your role at AppHarvest: My military service taught me to work as a team to accomplish tasks both big and small. I learned the value of listening to others with diverse backgrounds to gain insight into different perspectives and reasoning. This diversity led to earned trust and loyalty. It is no different for the greenhouse environment where many of my teammates are part of a core group with which I’ve built strong relationships and camaraderie. 

Why you love AppHarvest: Combining technology and innovation to redefine agriculture. I love that the company is providing opportunities to change the lives of so many!  

Why it’s important for organizations to see the value in hiring veterans: So many veterans have trouble finding viable jobs after serving in the military. They have a lot to offer the workforce with the gained leadership skills and the formed discipline. No matter what their military specialty, the military can serve as a vehicle to launch a better future when companies invest in the growth potential of veterans and see the value it can add to the company. 

One piece of advice you would give fellow veterans looking for jobs: Proudly carry the title of Veteran and look for ways you can translate the skills learned in the military to your civilian career.  

Angela McGinnis
Enterprise Program Manager 

Where you’re originally from: Birmingham, AL 

Branch of the military: Navy 

Year you joined the military: 2009 

Active years in the military: 5.5 

Places you served: New York, South Carolina,  

Honors: Military Officers Association Award 

How long you’ve been with AppHarvest: 7 months 

How your service connects to your role at AppHarvest: The military brings together people from various backgrounds. Being in the Navy, I learned how to work with various cultures and personalities to create a strong, unified team.  My greatest achievement in the Navy was watching my division surpass standards and goals.  

Why you love AppHarvest: Our greatest asset is our people. I love the people I work with. Each department has its own culture and set of values. I love being able to unify teams and drive positive change.   

One piece of advice you would give fellow veterans looking for jobs: Learn how to translate your military experience to civilian terminology. 

Adam Reel
VP, Supply Chain and Procurement 

Branch of the military: Navy 

Year you joined the military: 2004 

Active years in the military: 10; 7 in the reserve 

Places you served: Westpac, Iraq, Afghanistan 

Honors: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal 

How long you’ve been with AppHarvest: 2 months 

How your service connects to your role at AppHarvest: Taking care of people and leading. Creating a positive working environment where everyone is empowered to perform at a high level. 

Why you love AppHarvest: I love the idea of solving the major problem of agriculture and climate change while revitalizing the economy of an area that has had a difficult time due to forces outside of its control. 

Why it’s important for organizations to see the value in hiring veterans: The military provides a baseline of human leadership that is not always present in civilian organizations. They also tend to put team before self and know how to work in uncertain environments. 

One piece of advice you would give fellow veterans looking for jobs: Utilize the veteran network. I will help out any veteran that contacts me. I know firsthand how challenging it can be to make the switch, and I’m always happy to support people moving on from the military to help ease the transition.

Interested in learning more about AppHarvest or applying for one of our jobs that offers a verified living wage, stock options, and fully company-paid family medical, vision, dental and life insurance options? 

Check out all over our openings on our careers page

Let’s grow! 


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