Rob Seibert  


As an Apache helicopter pilot in the Army, I served in the 101st Airborne Division and 10th Special Forces Group with three deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. My military career spanned from 2002 to 2009 and included leadership roles in operations, maintenance, and logistics. I can confidently say that journey provided me with a natural pathway to the career I enjoy today in the commercial mobility industry.

As we approach Veterans Day on November 11, I am reminded of the foundation of skills and leadership I learned in the service that have guided me in my civilian career—and the opportunities that remain to engage more transitioning service members in meaningful futures in our industry. At 23 years old, I began leading a team of 16 military members and was responsible for more than $120 million of equipment. This task demanded accountability and responsibility while teaching me the power of teamwork and accomplishing missions with others. Duties such as these required me to follow the functional model of military leadership – to be technically and tactically proficient at what you do. I’ve taken this approach and applied it to each opportunity throughout my post-military career, beginning with my role after service as a product manager at a mining company. The leadership roles I held in the military prepared me to immediately accept responsibility, and I’ve leveraged this strength at every step of my career.

Leaders and customers in the commercial industry must know the equipment, the job, the industry, and how to manage the business to best achieve their goals. Military skills I mastered during training, including critical thinking and situational awareness, helped prepare me to play a key role in leading business strategy as part of a global company. They also bolstered my ability to work under pressure, communicate effectively with others, and commit to a strong work ethic. When you’re on active duty, you must maintain self-sufficiency to complete tasks with timeliness, resilience, and a variety of technical skills. This is also essential in my current role, as I manage all mining and construction tire sales, marketing, and field engineering in the U.S. and Canada for Bridgestone. I take pride in representing a testament to the preparation that military service provides for our field. However, bringing more veterans into our fold is not just the smart choice, it’s the right choice.

A Path Forward

My personal experience reflects a broader opportunity for both our industry and our military communities. In 2022, veteran unemployment decreased to 2.8 percent from 4.4 percent the previous year. This statistic is great news but reminds us that there is still more that can be done. Businesses must continue to step up and provide valuable career opportunities for service men and women. Companies within our industry should recognize the transferable skills and talents veterans can bring to the job on day one. We provide an ideal and meaningful path forward for veterans to transition into full-time positions with skills that have already shaped their careers. For example, military personnel are taught to operate and maintain highly mobile, technically advanced equipment capable of supporting forces in both offensive and defensive operations. This type of mastery can prove useful in professional roles in the construction equipment sector, mining industry, or earthmoving equipment market as veterans are well suited to performing specialized tasks using complex equipment. Additionally, the military teaches service men and women to prioritize accountability and responsibility—two values essential to the success of leaders in the transportation industry, as they work to build intelligent products that are as productive as they are reliable.

Career Development

In addition to hiring veterans, organizations must also improve retention and career development for veterans. Initiatives like Veterans Job Mission—a coalition with 11 leading companies dedicated to hiring two million U.S. military veterans and 200,000 military spouses by 2030—can help. Many companies within the commercial industry also use recruiting agencies to help hire junior military officers in an effort to work toward this goal. Businesses and organizations in the mining, waste, and off-road sector can also host recruiting events with career transition programs for U.S. Special Operations Forces, such as The Honor Foundation, to support the hiring and recruitment of veterans. Local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Convention can also be a resource to companies wanting to introduce veterans and military personnel to new opportunities.

Other ways companies can commit to the recruitment and hiring of veterans includes employee participation in a U.S. Army Pathfinder Program, such as the Pathfinder Program at Fort Campbell in Tennessee, to aid transitioning veterans and provide advisory services to military aircraft in areas designated by supported unit commanders. Similar efforts are being conducted at higher education institutions. Businesses can make a large impact locally by engaging with Veterans and Military Family Centers at local universities to help provide transition services for veterans and their families as they return to civilian life after military service. These centers also often help enroll military-connected students, encourage those students in their coursework, and help expand the veteran-education knowledge base in school communities. These are only a few examples of how employees within the commercial industry can gather with their communities to support military causes and service organizations.

Creating Positive Change

As an industry, we can provide veterans with an opportunity to stay linked to familiar skills and products while also continuing to challenge themselves in a new career. It’s important for companies to invite both their veteran and non-veteran teammates to engage in a fellowship of service and gather to support military service organizations. It’s also valuable for company leaders to connect with others from across their organization who have answered the call to serve or have supported friends and family members who did. The military creates reliable and strong leaders who possess a strong work ethic, strength, and accountability. Not only can they make a direct impact on business; they can inspire teammates to rally around a shared goal.

My experience in the military motivates me to bring passion, creativity, and dedication to my career in the commercial industry. It has prepared me to be accountable for all aspects of our business, including strategic planning, sales, marketing, engineering and global support. This Veterans Day, I’m committed to spreading my support for active-duty and retired military, and strongly encourage companies to seek new ways to engage with the military and their families to create positive change nationwide.

Rob Seibert is the President, U.S. and Canada, for the Off-the-Road (OTR) tire business at Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO), a position he has held since December 2020. In this role, Rob leads all mining and construction tire sales, marketing and field engineering in the United States and Canada, while playing a key role at the global level in supporting global business strategy. For more information, visit