#Duckumentary - Tony MellePublished 11 / 17 / 2021
For National Veterans and Military Families Month, we are celebrating the contributions from our EDA Family veterans.
How long have you worked in the construction industry? How did you get your start?
I've worked in the construction industry for about 33 years. I started my career working with my father, who was a construction Superintendent.
When did you join the military, and what motivated you to serve in the Air Force?
I took the ASVAB back in high school... I only did it to get out of class to tell you the truth. I ended up doing well in mechanical and electronics, and that made a lot of recruiters interested in me. The Air Force recruiter gave me his card and told me that he wouldn't bug me, but he wanted me to consider joining the Air Force.
When I got out of high school, I really didn't know what I wanted to do. I couldn't afford college, so I decided to try the military. I joined the Air Force in 1985 and served for four years.
How does EDA stand out among the other companies you’ve worked at?
Before my time with EDA, I was with another company for eight years. I was comfortable there, but in those eight years, the owner of the company might have said five words to me. One day, my cousin (who working for EDA at the time) asked me to interview with Ed DeAngelis. Again, I was comfortable where I was, but I gave it a shot. Following my interview with Ed, I knew what I had to do. I put my two weeks in the next day, and I've been with EDA ever since. I've been here for 15 years.
I don't know of any construction company that does the things that EDA does for us. I love working with the EDA Cares Committee and getting to help with charities like Make-A-Wish and Heroic Gardens. When my daughter passed away, the amount of support I received from the EDA Family was incredible.
How do you believe EDA can better support veterans?
We can help in so many ways, whether it's giving back to them through programs like Heroic Gardens, or through hiring them in general. The Carpenter’s Union is involved with a program called Helmets to Hardhats that helps to give veterans career opportunities in the construction industry.
Why do you think veterans are highly desirable candidates for employment?
In the service, attention to detail is one of the first things you learn along with loyalty, respect, and discipline. Most veterans are extremely hard workers and would really appreciate any opportunity.
What lessons have stayed with you from your service in the military?
Always respect the chain of command, don’t jump the line. If you have a problem with someone, talk to them first. I also learned to appreciate things in life, like having a good job that allows me to support myself and my family.