Frank Van Buren has always appreciated how the military brings together people from all walks of life for a common purpose. He learned this growing up in a military family, and experienced it firsthand while serving in the U.S. Army as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot from 1990 to 1996.
“I always thought it was special that a kid from a military background and a kid from a coal mine and a kid from the inner city could come together and have a common purpose, somehow get beyond all of the artificial barriers that society wants to place on you, and still become friends, work together, and accomplish the mission,” Van Buren said.
Today, as a securities director for Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina, he said he sees similarities between the company and the military. “We’re both large organizations, we both put an emphasis on productivity and achieving great results, and both cultures are famous for investing in the long term in their employees,” Van Buren said.
Wells Fargo has made a commitment to employ military veterans, veterans with disabilities, and active military personnel, and Van Buren has been a part of that effort by helping fellow veterans transition to civilian workforce. “You know when you deal with a veteran, you’re dealing with someone that has probably worked in a group where they had to rely on someone that didn’t have the same background as them,” Van Buren said. “The things that we really found is valuable is sharing our experiences and the mistakes that we made along the way with veterans that are transitioning.”
Van Buren has also found common ground between Wells Fargo and the Zac Brown Band. For the fourth year in a row, Wells Fargo and the Zac Brown Band have worked together to honor veterans and service members, whether it’s been by recognizing them at concerts, meeting with wounded veterans to talk about the difficulties service members face in transitioning to civilian life, or awarding veterans with mortgage-free homes.
“One of the things that I really appreciate and admire about the Zac Brown organization, and I think it’s similar to what we’re doing at Wells Fargo, is both organizations have placed a priority at the highest levels on the experience that a veteran has gone through — their sacrifices, their commitment — and they’re willing not just to say it,” Van Buren said. “They’re willing to take action to demonstrate that they value that experience.”