May Veteran of the Month: From Army to Optics
We are excited to introduce our May Veteran of the Month – Mike Shults!
Mike is the General Manager of our America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses store in Maplewood, Missouri. Mike began his career with NVI as an optician in December 2012, and has been part of our family for almost five years.
Mike also served our country in the U.S. Army for four years from 1993-1997. While in the Army, he worked on the optical system for the Avenger air defense system – a lightweight, highly mobile, easily transportable surface-to-air missile system which provides mobile, short-range air defense protection for ground units.
We recently had a chance to talk to Mike and learned more about his military service and how it has helped him in his career with NVI.
Can you tell us more about your time in the Army?
“I went to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for basic training and boy was I in for a surprise. Even though it was the winter I thought the weather would be ok (considering its proximity to Texas), but I was wrong. The wind is always blowing there and with the wind chill it was 30 below most of the time!
After basic training, I attended Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. I was lucky to stay there after ATI and work on the Avenger system.”
What did you do professionally after your service in the Army?
“After the military I got into optics as a lab tech for Lenscrafters. I then left optics and worked as a corrections officer for eight years. It was a tough job that took a toll on my body (two surgeries on both shoulders) so I got back into optics – this time with NVI.
This December will be five years with the company and I can truly say that it’s a place where you feel like the ‘higher ups’ have genuine concern for their associates.”
How did your service in the Army help you in your post-military careers?
“The Army taught me how to have attention to detail and to work as a team or alone if required. The Army taught me to do the job correct the first time.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
“I am 43 years old, father of three – two daughters who are 19 and five, and a son who is 14. My 19 year old, Nicole, is in college in Idaho studying to be a paramedic, Gabe is a freshman in high school and Oliviana will be in kindergarten this fall.
My time consists of work and spending time with my kids. I also like to play softball and golf.”
Last year National Vision made a commitment to hire a minimum of 500 veterans and/or veteran spouses over the next five years across all of our retail brands. Within those 500 positions, we have committed to hiring a minimum of 100 military veterans and/or veteran spouses in technology-focused positions as part of the Joining Forces initiative. We are proud to announce that we now have 370 self-identified veterans as part of our NVI family.
Thank you Mike for your service to our country. It is an honor to have you as part of our National Vision and America’s Best family!