By Petty Officer 1st Class Meranda KellerMarch 8, 2019
ALMADEN, Calif. - (Mar. 8, 2019) It takes a unique skillset to recruit in the U.S. Navy, and with a strong competing job market. It also takes a great deal of ambition to recruit Future Sailors. Recruiting requires hard work, dedication and drive to persuade the best and brightest to join. These skills come in combination with training and fleet experience, which is something Electrician's Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Austin McNeill has brought to Navy Recruiting District San (NRD) Francisco.
McNeill, hails from Augusta, South Carolina a city with a modest population just over twenty thousand, but small-town life didn't keep him from reaching for bigger goals. Whenever McNeill walks into his office, a recruiting station, the gym, or a classroom - anywhere there are Future Sailors - they all immediately stop talking and fix their eyes on him. With a 501 lb. bench press and a 722 lb. deadlift, his body reflects his hard work spent in the gym, and it gets him noticed. He takes it all in stride, smirking as he describes himself as "jacked and handsome." Though his physique may be intimidating, his smile makes up for it.
McNeill comes in early to work for school presentations and stays late to process paperwork. He meets with parents and conducts interviews with Future Sailors on a regular basis while promoting Navy awareness in his community and seven regional schools. While his schedule is packed, he finds the time to get a solid workout in where he can clear his head from work and prepare for the next day's challenges.
His dedication and hard work have paid off in the eyes of recruiting leadership. McNeill has proven himself as an integral part of NRD San Francisco Division Three by recruiting 22 Future Sailors in the year and a half he has been onboard.
"What makes me a unique recruiter," said McNeill, "is that I legitimately really-really care about anyone interested in being a Future Sailor, but my bread and butter is classroom presentations."
McNeill strives to have classroom presentations so strong that the majority of students call him asking to join. That's a tall order since most post-presentation contact is from recruiter's calling students that may be interested in career opportunities.
"I make the same jokes every time, after seeing what does and doesn't get a laugh, to loosen them up in the beginning," said McNeill. "I also make sure to diversify topics to draw more interest from both males and females."
"I make sure to say that make-up is authorized in the Navy and that they can still be an individual in their own ways." McNeill continued, "I inform them a majority of my supervisors have been women, and speak on the topic of maternity leave or other important issue that students want to know about."
McNeill emphasizes the importance of diversity and equal opportunity in the Navy, and he has a Delayed Entry Program group that is close to 50 percent female. "I don't push students for referrals but I do try to motivate them with incentives and just ensuring they are genuinely excited," McNeill said.
McNeill has proven himself as an integral part of NRD San Francisco Division Three by recruiting 22 Future Sailors in the year-and-a-half he has been onboard.
"Petty Officer McNeill sets a goal for himself, and he is a non-stop stellar go-getter recruiter to achieve it," said Navy Counselor Chief Jessica Martinez, division leading chief petty officer for Division Three.
McNeill. McNeill has been proving himself as a recruiter and that's an example of the kind of work ethic he said he's had from the start.
He joined the Navy as nuclear electrician, which gave him the chance to be stationed back home in South Carolina for his first two years in the Navy at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command. After his nuclear training, McNeill was stationed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69).
"I loved my time on the Ike," he said. "I learned that if you have a positive attitude and take a step back and look at things objectively, you'll see things really aren't bad at all. It seems like you're working too much in the shipyard because the air department leaves early and you leave late, but you're getting paid well and getting a lot of perks as a nuke."
Even with the rigorous work schedules working at sea, he still found time to pump some iron. "One of my favorite memories is the time I won the ship's deadlift competition while in the Persian Gulf. I made a 695 lb. deadlift on the flight deck."
McNeill works out of the Navy Recruiting Station Almaden. he's married to, Macaylan, a friend he's known since high school. They have two children, Kashton, 4, and Chance, 2.
Navy Recruiting District San Francisco has 10 divisions, which include 33 enlisted Navy Recruiting Stations, four Navy Reserve Recruiting Stations, two Navy Recruiting Processing Stations, and three Navy Officer Recruiting Stations.
NRC consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, 20 Navy Recruiting Districts and six Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,300 recruiting stations across the country.
For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to http://www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NavyRecruiting ), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).