May is National Military Appreciation Month. In honor of the 1,300 veterans we are fortunate to have as our colleagues at Cushman & Wakefield, we talked with Matt Disher, Bruce Mosler and Doug Jones—three of our firm’s biggest champions for U.S. veterans.
After four years of serving as a combat engineer for the U.S. Marines, Matt Disher returned to civilian life and had to figure out his next move. At 22, his resume was impressive; he could lead large infantry units, engineer complex battlefields, and operate strategic weapon systems flawlessly. But he couldn’t figure out how to translate his military training, experience and achievements into a civilian job.
“My Marine experience was what movies and video games are made of,” he said. “It made for great stories—but it was a struggle to figure out how to convert that experience into a job outside of the military.”
Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Disher to figure it out. He worked a series of night jobs—including bartending and as a 911 dispatcher—while earning his undergraduate degree during the day. It wasn’t easy, and Disher knew that many veterans experienced similar struggles to make the transition from the military to the civilian workforce—but he wondered why it had to be so hard.
“Every company wants to hire people who can immediately contribute and solve problems,” he said. “Members of the armed services are some of most talented, most educated and capable men and women— they’re doctors, nurses, engineers, logisticians, HVAC technicians, lawyers, communications and marketing professionals—and they’re all doing the same kinds of jobs in the military that they’d be doing in civilian jobs.”
The only difference? “The military is just a giant corporation that wears camouflage and has a massive infantry attached to it,” Disher said.
Today, Disher works as the military and veteran recruitment and program manager for Cushman & Wakefield, where he works to help his “brothers and sisters who have sacrificed and worn the uniform” plug into professional opportunities in the civilian workforce. He works alongside military and veteran advocates, like Bruce Mosler, head of Cushman & Wakefield’s global brokerage and Doug Jones, who leads the firm’s brokerage and advisory in Texas. Together, they work with Disher to lead the firm’s military and veterans' programs, and they are among the fiercest supporters of onboarding veteran talent in the civilian workplace.
“When you hire a veteran, they’re coming from the most diverse pool in the world,” said Mosler. “They are leaders, innovators and collaborators—performing at the highest standards, helping you to build a thriving culture.”
With more than 200,000 U.S. veterans entering the workforce every year, there is a growing awareness of their value among companies looking for diverse and exceptional talent, as well as a clear understanding about how well military experience can translate into professional civilian roles.
“If you can manage systems on an aircraft carrier, you can manage them in a building,” Disher said. “If, at 22 years old, you're managing 15 people on the battlefield in ever-changing, austere environments, you can certainly come into our industry, develop your skills and be a very effective leader.”
Jones couldn’t agree more. A veteran who served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, Jones has seen firsthand how the diversity, experience and talent of veterans contribute to the success of any organization.
“When we hire women and men in the U.S. Armed Forces, we’re not helping them as much as they are helping us,” he said. “Collectively, they are some of the most skilled, educated and experienced talent on earth.”
Cushman & Wakefield invites you to visit their Military and Veterans Programs site to learn more.