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HigherEchelon Awarded 2021 HIRE Vets PLATINUM Medallion for Exemplary Commitment to Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh recognized Huntsville-based firm HigherEchelon, Inc. as one of the 849 nationwide recipients of the 2021 HIRE Vets Medallion Award during a Wednesday virtual award ceremony at the U.S. Department of Labor.

HigherEchelon is one of only 17 companies in Alabama and 303 companies nationwide to earn the prestigious Platinum Award. Only 10 other medium sized companies in Alabama join HigherEchelon in earning the Platinum distinction. This is the third consecutive year HigherEchelon has won the award — earning the Gold Medallion in 2019 and 2020.

“This award is a testament to the HigherEchelon team and our ongoing dedication to veterans and their families ,” said HigherEchelon Co-Founder and Partner Paul Maggiano, a U.S. Army Veteran and Black Hawk helicopter pilot. “Veterans have made us a stronger company, a company that is continuing to grow, and a company that continues to serve our customers with excellence, which are for the most part defense and veteran-related.”

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.

“When I think of veterans, I think of trust,” said HigherEchelon President and U.S. Army Veteran 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. This 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.

“When I transitioned out of the military, I wanted to find a company that valued me and would develop me as a professional,” said Jeff Caslen, HigherEchelon Senior Proposal Writer. “Everyone in HigherEchelon cares about me achieving my personal and professional goals, and spends time mentoring me. HigherEchelon practices the organizational approach they teach to other companies, and it creates a warm and welcoming culture of excellence.”

HigherEchelon is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SVDOSB) founded in 2009 by Ross and 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, with a significant percentage comprised of veterans and military 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.”

The Hire Vets Platinum Award follows significant veteran related accolades HigherEchelon has earned in recent years, such as:

  • The 2020 Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce (NOVA) Distinguished Service Award in the category of “Established Veteran-Owned Business” for HigherEchelon’s efforts on behalf of veterans
  • The 2019 Salesforce Military Hiring Partner of the Year
  • The 2019 NOVA Chamber GOVCON Program of the Year award for HigherEchelon’s work supporting transitioning servicewomen

Some of the activities HigherEchelon engages in to support veterans, veteran employees, and the wider military-related community include:

  • Significant sponsorship of Soldiers to Sidelines, a non-profit focused on equipping service members, veterans, and military spouses with tools and training to be high-impact athletic coaches.
  • Contributions 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), Wreaths Across America, and Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).
  • HigherEchelon welcomes fellows through the U.S. Chamber and Salesforce Hiring Our Heroes Fellowship Programs and has hired multiple full-time team members from the program.
  • Active promotion of 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, volunteer opportunities, and frequent support group meetings 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 2022 HIRE Vets Medallion Program will open for employer applications on Jan. 31, 2022. For more information about the program and the application process, visit www.HIREVets.gov.