FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- More than 1,600 job seekers visited the installation in hopes of gaining employment during Fort Rucker's seventh annual job fair at The Landing Aug. 10.

One hundred eleven representatives from 61 local, national and international businesses were present, ready and willing to hire Soldiers and Family members, during the event hosted by Army Career and Alumni Program and Army Community Service staff.

Whether or not employment seekers received on-the-spot job offers, people are encouraged not to give up searching, said Bryan Tharpe, ACAP transition services manager.

"If you are an active job fair participant, you should come away with very valuable information, even if you do not land a job," said Tharpe. "You should leave the job fair with a good knowledge of company policies, hiring practices and products (and) have a better understanding of job requirements and industry standards. I hope (people) make a lot of good contacts and take a lot of business cards home."

"The networking factor here is phenomenal," said Debbie Gaydos, ACS Employment Readiness manager, commenting on the availability and number of potential business contacts.

Robert Boman, human resources manager for American Eurocopter in Columbus, Miss., sought employees in various Aviation-related specialties. He attended for the second consecutive year because the local population offers many promising candidates.

"A large majority of our employees are ex-military," he said.

Boman offered several tips to current job seekers.

"Be willing to relocate," he said. "Make sure your rAfAsumAfA reflects what you've (done). Be flexible."

Servicemembers and their Families make ideal employees because of the training and strong work ethics they bring to corporations, said Debbie Henkes, of Med-Trans Air Medical Transport, out of Lewisville, Texas.

"Our primary workforce is helicopter pilots and (Fort Rucker) is the center for helicopter pilots," she said. "(Soldiers are) highly trained and have conducted unique missions. That great experience aligns with our business."

Kevin Manire, a former Army sergeant and Enterprise resident, attended the fair looking for an Aviation-related career.

He said he perfected his rAfAsumAfA before attending the fair and shared advice with his peers.

"Be you and sell yourself," Manire said. "Don't be shy."

CW5 Ralph Gilgenast, a UH-60 Black Hawk maintenance pilot for 30 years, anticipates retirement in a few months. He stopped by the job fair to prepare for his transition into the civilian workforce.
"It's challenging. It will be a change (after 30 years in the Army)," he said.

Gilgenast recommended fellow retirees utilize ACAP's services as they prepare to leave the military.

Those Soldiers, Families, veterans and retirees who didn't walk away from the fair with a guaranteed position have other upcoming opportunities to continue job searches, Tharpe noted.
Noncommissioned Officers Association members host a job fair Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Landing. hosts a Career Expo Jan. 19 at The Landing. Event time is to be determined.

For more information about future job fairs, call Tharpe at 255-3932.