Jaguar Land Rover Veterans Careers Program Hires 100th Vet

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Newest Hire as Part of Jaguar Land Rover Program is Former Strike Fighter Squadron Service Member

It’s been eight months since Jaguar Land Rover started its Veterans Careers Program, which it says “connects skilled and experienced Transitioning Service Members and Veterans with positions across the Jaguar Land Rover retail network” of 332 U.S. dealerships. Recently, the automaker made its 100th VCP connection.

In the UK, JLR started a similar program in 2014 as part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. The company’s goal was to directly employ Transitioning Service Members, Veterans and Wounded, Ill and Injured talent and to find work for them within its supply chain. It’s done that – more than 200 times.

Jonathan Irby is the newest recruit for JLR’s Veterans Careers Program. The former Navy Petty Officer and F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft mechanic used to lead 20 aviation technicians in the maintenance and repair of combat aircraft in the Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA-81) at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. He’s now part of the “JLR Regiment,” a group of ex vets who have an average of more than 10 years of experience, and is “stationed” at the Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Austin, Texas.

According to Jeff Jennings, JLR North America’s Director for Brand Training and Recognition, “The Veterans hired by U.S. retailers through the Jaguar Land Rover Veterans Careers Program display remarkable skill, work ethic, character and loyalty. These new employees with service backgrounds help us ensure we continue to provide an unrivalled experience for our customers as Jaguar Land Rover experiences record growth in the U.S.”

JLR will continue to show its support of Wounded, Ill and Injured Service Members later this year. In late September, it’ll return as a presenting partner of the Invictus Games, which “use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.”

If you are or someone you know is a veteran and interested in joining the Jaguar Land Rover Veterans Careers Program, click on this link to learn how to apply to it.

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photo credit [Jaguar Land Rover]

Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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