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HigherEchelon Awarded 2020 HIRE Vets Gold Medallion for Exemplary Commitment to Veterans

November 10, 2020 in

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia recognized Huntsville-based firm HigherEchelon, Inc. as one of the 675 nationwide recipients of the 2020 HIRE Vets Medallion Award during a Tuesday virtual award ceremony at the U.S. Department of Labor.

HigherEchelon is one of only 25 companies in Alabama to earn the distinction, and one of only 216 organizations nationwide to be a repeat winner.

The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is earned by leading businesses that demonstrate unparalleled commitment to attracting and retaining veterans, as well as ensuring that they have a long-term career and growth plan that uses the diverse skills they acquired through their military service, according to the Department. The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act (HIRE Vets Act) Medallion Program is the only federal award program that recognizes job creators who successfully recruit, hire, and retain veterans. This is the second consecutive year HigherEchelon has won the award.

“When I think of veterans, I think of trust,” said HigherEchelon President Joe Ross, PhD. “I think of loyalty, discipline, courage, and sacrifice. I’m very proud to be a veteran and I’m proud that more than 50 percent of our employees are veterans or spouses of veterans. I want veterans on our team because I know they are going to give their best effort and work tirelessly to complete the mission. That provides me great comfort to know I have those types of people serving our clients and supporting others.”


The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is based on a number of criteria, ranging from veteran hiring and retention to providing veteran-specific resources, leadership programming, dedicated human resources, and compensation and tuition assistance programs – with requirements varying for large, medium, and small employers.

“I went to HigherEchelon for a number of reasons, but the main reason being that they had built a reputation for themselves of being a veteran-friendly employer and trusting their people and supporting their people’s growth,” said Lauren Zolp, a former Air Force Linguist who now serves as a Salesforce Solution Architect at HigherEchelon. “I was ready to go to an organization that was going to allow me to grow, but also support me as I grew because there’s not one without the other.”

HigherEchelon is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SVDOSB) that was founded in 2009 by Ross and Paul Maggiano, former classmates at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The company hired its first full-time employee in 2012 and has rapidly grown to more than 140 employees in 2020, with a significant percentage comprised of veterans and veteran spouses.

“What grips your heart about veterans and their sacrifice is that they truly serve for the man or woman next to them,” Ross said. “They don’t serve for the money or the glory, they serve for each other. They will literally give their lives for the person next to them.”

In September, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce (NOVA Chamber) also awarded HigherEchelon the 2020 Distinguished Service Award in the category of “Established Veteran-Owned Business” for their efforts on behalf of veterans.

“This award is a testament to the HigherEchelon team that has faced and overcome many challenges during the past year,” Maggiano said in his acceptance remarks for that award. “They have made us a stronger company, a company that is continuing to grow, and a company that continues to serve our customers, which are for the most part defense and veteran-related.”

The awards in 2020 follow similar veteran related accolades in 2019 when HigherEchelon was named the Salesforce Military Hiring Partner of the Year and won the NOVA Chamber GOVCON Program of the Year award for its work supporting transitioning servicewomen.

Other recent activities in support of veterans and the community include:

  • Nearly half of all employees hired in 2019 were veterans.
  • The company has contributed to the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), Huntsville Association of Small Businesses Advanced Technology (HASBAT), Still Serving Veterans (SSV) and Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).
  • HigherEchelon welcomes fellows through the U.S. Chamber and Salesforce Hiring Our Heroes Fellowship Programs and hires from the program.
  • The company actively promotes Salesforce Military, which provides free training/certification for veterans and veteran spouses.
  • HigherEchelon’s Veterans Resource Group creates both internal and external outreach programs to support veterans, including time off for veteran support activities, gift matching, mentoring programs, and bi-monthly water-cooler chat groups to share stories from time in service.

HigherEchelon serves government and commercial clients and offers a wide range of service offerings and consulting in its six business segments: Human Capital Services, Engineering Solutions, Gaming & Simulation, Cyber Training, Cloud Solutions and Enterprise Technology. For more information, visit www.HigherEchelon.com.

The 2021 HIRE Vets Medallion Program will open for employer applications on Jan. 31, 2021. For more information about the program and the application process, visit www.HIREVets.gov.