Watco’s Military Outreach Program Hits the 1-Year Mark


It’s been a year since Watco formalized its Military Outreach and Hire program, and much progress has been made in that time.

Most recently, Shannon Parker changed roles in late February to recruit veterans and coach military service members transitioning to civilian life. She has been with Watco for a combined 10 years and also brings nine prior years in the Kansas Army National Guard to her new position as a military-focused recruiter. “I’ve always known the value of the skills that a veteran brings to the civilian workforce,” she says, “and I’m excited to be able to help translate those skill sets that they have through their service into civilian life and Watco.”

Besides helping military members see avenues for using their service experience, Parker loves talking about a company she believes in. “Put those two things together,” she says, “and it’s such a good match for me and really makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I’m helping a new team member find a home and helping Watco gain a qualified person who’s a cultural fit for our company.”

Shannon’s supervisor, Ken Killingsworth, called her passion “hard to match. That was one of the things that stood out to me the first time I talked to Shannon,” he says. Killingsworth is a 31-year Army veteran who managed the program in its first year. He recently became director of Watco University, the company’s program of in-person and online training courses.

As Killingsworth transitions some responsibilities to Parker, he does so having steered accomplishments over the last 12 months that include:

• Launching online resources dedicated to veteran recruitment

• Supporting 28 different veteran hiring events in 2022, which led to hiring 121 veterans in the last 12 months.

• Establishing an Army-approved Career Skills Program (CSP) for company-wide roles. CSP internships provide soldiers, while on active duty, the opportunity to participate in skills training to improve their civilian employment options.

• Becoming a corporate partner of the Army’s Partnership for Your Success (PaYs) program. Pays guarantees soldiers an interview and potential employment after the Army.