How Veterans Support REEF’s Growth Strategy
We Salute Our Vets
Military veterans and active-duty reservists, the men and women in uniform who work so hard to protect our country every day, are our heroes! At REEF, we value their patriotism and the countless sacrifices they make for their fellow citizens.
We also value the tremendous impact veterans and reservists make across our organization – from entry-level workers to senior leadership. While REEF Parking pursues rapid growth and transformation as a part of the innovative tech company REEF Technology, we want veterans and reservists to play an even bigger role going forward.
We hope that our growth, resources and vision will allow us to attract top talent, with veterans and reservists leading the way.
“Vets have the skills and qualities that we’re looking for,” says Josh LeTourneau, a former Marine who is now REEF Parking’s Executive Vice President for Corporate Development. “It’s an exciting and demanding time to be part of this phenomenal organization,” he says. “We try to attract and recruit as many veterans as we possibly can. Discipline, commitment, creativity and grit will see you through tough situations . . . all the things that you find in the military are consistent with our core values.”
Air Force reservist Steve Gatlin exemplifies this success. Currently ranked E-7, Master Sergeant, Gatlin joined REEF Parking this May as Senior Vice President to lead technology deployment in REEF’s parking facilities, such as payment processing systems and license plate recognition cameras. By July, Gatlin’s knowledge and performance allowed him to take on additional responsibility overseeing REEF’s mobile technology solutions. Today, Gatlin is tasked with the deployment of a range of technology systems across North America, including REEF’s frictionless payment solution.
Gatlin gained his expertise in communications and technology through long years of service in the Air Force. He initially joined the Air Force on full-time active duty as an instruments and flight controls specialist on F-15 Fighter Jets, before becoming a communications craftsman. Four years later, he moved to the Florida Air National Guard at Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County and cross-trained in satellite communications (SATCOM). When Gatlin transitioned to the reserves at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, he trained in cyberspace security, SATCOM and radio frequency transmissions (RFT) and is now the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of training for his squadron.
Gatlin brings to REEF Parking much more than technical knowledge of SATCOM, cyberspace security and RFT. His military training has given him the ability to accurately assess rapidly evolving situations and the emotional intelligence to help diffuse tense moments. In 2015, Gatlin spent eight months with the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron on Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, where enemy forces shot 107mm rockets at the base about every other day.
“Anytime you heard the sirens, you had to hit the deck,” Gatlin says. Over time, “being under fire like that gives you the ability to think quickly and clearly.”
REEF Technology, which includes REEF Parking and REEF Kitchens, takes great pride in employing former and active military personnel. Our Regional Recruiter in Atlanta, Mel Wages, recalls receiving a phone call from a veteran he had recently hired into the family.
“I feel like I can look forward to the future now – after not knowing what to do after returning from my tour, thank you,” the newly hired vet told Wages.
For Wages, this kind of feedback is critical. “Many of us take so much for granted coming into work every day. Calls like that make all the difference in the world.”
REEF Parking is proud to be the largest parking operator in North America, with about 4,500 locations. With backing from SoftBank Vision Fund and MIC, we have big expansion plans. Our vision is to create ecosystems across North America centered on parking facilities in urban neighborhoods that enable frictionless movement of on-demand goods and services. We expect to introduce many new use cases to increase the value of parking real estate and improve the quality of life for the local community.
One new use case is REEF Kitchens. REEF Kitchens provide portable commercial kitchens that can be housed in parking facilities and enable restaurants with the ability to expand into new markets and leverage delivery-only service companies, such as Uber Eats and DoorDash. REEF Kitchens’ close proximity to consumers ensures quality meals are delivered fresh and hot.
REEF Parking’s projected growth should create thousands of new employment opportunities over the next few years. New positions will include shuttle drivers, cashiers and patrol enforcement personnel as well as general managers, operations managers, line workers and cooks for our kitchens. REEF’s ecosystem can support any number of other businesses seeking to take advantage of our urban mobility hubs. Examples include electric bike and scooter rentals, as well as delivery lockers and fulfillment.
We hope that our rapid growth, resources and ambitious vision will allow us to attract top talent, with veterans and reservists leading the way. To do so, REEF Parking is in close contact with the premier veteran’s support organizations, including national and local chapters of Wounded Warrior Project as well as Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), National Veterans Technical Assistance Center (NVTAC), the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) and many others.
“We work with veteran’s organizations to help fill our ranks and give opportunities to men and women transitioning back into civilian jobs, so they can pursue their entrepreneurial dreams,” says LeTourneau.
In Philadelphia, REEF Parking has provided employment opportunities to more than 30 disabled and homeless veterans, according to Jen Rivera, REEF PARKING’s human resources business partner in that city. Rivera was recognized this year with the Partnership Award from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans for her efforts in uplifting the veteran community.
“We’re always trying to attract the very best talent,” says Wages. “That’s how we deliver the highest level of service for our customers. The talent pool of former military personnel has the values that will help them – and us – succeed.”
REEF Parking strives to be a leader in supporting veterans and their family members. We strongly encourage veterans, reservists and their spouses to apply for open positions. As part of this commitment, REEF Parking is launching transitional and leadership development programs for vets and is supporting outreach initiatives across the country in alliance with organizations like Hiring Our Heroes, Disabled and Wounded Warriors and the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans.
“Veterans enjoy working for people they can relate to and who have a deep understanding of what it’s like to come back into civilian society,” says LeTourneau, who describes his time in the Corps as a life-changing experience.
Gatlin, Air Force reservist, spends one weekend each month in addition to two weeks each summer on the base. He says he is very encouraged by the support and opportunities that REEF provides members of the military community.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that I have complete flexibility from REEF and that, if and when I am called for another mission, the transition will be seamless.”
Ty Stafford is CEO of REEF Parking. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.