Home Online Learning APUS Alumni Stories: Driving Change in the Lives of Veterans
APUS Alumni Stories: Driving Change in the Lives of Veterans

APUS Alumni Stories: Driving Change in the Lives of Veterans

0
Start a transportation and logistics degree at American Military University.

By Melanie Conner, APUS Alumni Affairs Liaison, and Kevin Dougherty, AMU Graduate

Kevin Dougherty served 22 years as a Navy Seabee. He was selected to serve on the USS Constitution in Boston, where he completed his service as a ship’s carpenter and crewman.

In 2015, Kevin received a bachelor’s degree with honors in transportation and logistics management. He continued his education at AMU and later received a master’s degree in transportation and logistics management in 2018.

He was awarded the 2018 Distinguished Graduate Award, which recognizes graduates who have made extraordinary contributions to the nation and their community. It honors character, accomplishment and service, and exemplifies the university’s mission of service and leadership.

Kevin is also the recipient of many other awards, including:

  • The 2015 VA National Creative Arts Competition – first place for multimedia video and original song “She’s a Veteran, Too”
  • The 2017 Massachusetts Disabled American Veterans VHA Employee of the Year
  • The 2018 Greater Boston Federal Executive Board Excellence in Government’s Unsung Hero Award
  • The 2018 VA National Creative Arts Competition – first place for patriotic music performance
  • Numerous U.S. Navy Achievement Awards for Outstanding Performance and Leadership.

We asked Kevin about his contributions to his community and his career as a voluntary service specialist and events coordinator.

What do you plan to do with your degrees in transportation and logistics management?

My career plan is to expand services using my expertise at the Veterans Health Administration. I want to use the knowledge I gained from my studies in transportation and logistics.

What precisely is your career? 

My career is in public service at the Veterans Health Administration, improving the lives of our veterans. My career has evolved from being a professional truck driver to driving coach buses and organizing large events and activities for veterans. Many of those veterans benefit from my logistics background.

What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?

Ever since I was a little kid taking road trips with my mom, who kept me busy looking at trucks and waving at the truckers to honk their air horns, I’ve been in love with the field of transportation. I was also inspired by the sacrifice and service of our nation’s heroes. When I combined my love of transportation and trucking with my respect for the military, it was a natural fit to bring my professional driving skills to a career serving veterans.

How did you prepare to enter this field? 

As a Navy Seabee, I transported supplies and equipment to construction sites, driving tractor-trailers and operating heavy equipment. After I retired from the Navy, I continued trucking as a professional over-the-road truck driver. Acquiring my commercial driver’s license (Class A) allowed me to operate any and all trucks.

How has the knowledge you acquired for your bachelor’s and master’s degree assisted you in the field? 

Working in federal service requires an advanced knowledge of systems, logistics, management and leadership. Classes in both my bachelor and master’s programs were excellent preparation for the level of detail involved in policy, implementation, and delivery of transportation and logistics-based services.

Having these skills and knowledge allows me to manage events for the veterans that I can custom tailor to improve the quality of their lives. This is something that brings me tremendous satisfaction.

Having pursued both of my degrees at AMU, I find myself thinking about possibilities and plans on a much larger scale. My professors always encouraged ‘big ideas’ and this has given me the confidence to expand my thinking and take events management and activities to the level of “wow factor.”

Leadership at the VA hospital where I work has been highly supportive of the improvements and innovations I am making. I, on the other hand, have the knowledge to appreciate their transformational leadership styles, methods and goals.

Successfully completing my degrees at AMU opened up a true sense of being able to imagine what is possible. Instead of doing an acceptable job, I can now use the skill, talent and experience I gained to envision the ways and approaches that truly bring change and excellence to my work.

An example of this is in understanding how creating partnerships is an essential element to creating change. Where I once straddled a world between departments competing for resources, ideas and time, I now have the ability to bring them together to maximize our impact for the veterans.

For example, working together with multiple other departments, I was able to set clear expectations and responsibilities for nursing, recreation therapy, nutrition, transportation and volunteer services to come together in order to bring over 100 Vietnam veterans and their families to a once-in-a-lifetime on field commemoration at Fenway Park. This event attempted to heal the wounds of the hostile reception they received 50 years ago when they returned from war. Being able to orchestrate something this significant in their lives is truly humbling and generates a desire to find more ways to honor our nation’s heroes.

After this event, I took several veterans to visit the USS Constitution, which is not wheelchair-accessible. Again, using teamwork and keeping that big vision of possibility in front of me, we successfully brought a 100-year-old WWII veteran and a 93-year-old WWII combat veteran, both in wheelchairs, aboard the ship to a true hero’s reception. The confidence and the knowledge to make things happen is a powerful tool to I gained through the encouragement of my AMU professors.

Kevin Doughertry singing to WWII Veteran Miss Lillian
Kevin singing to WWII Veteran Miss Lillian.

What are your biggest challenges in the field?

The current regulations of having to maintain electronic logs, mandated in December 2017, have created difficult and challenging circumstances for companies and drivers. Discussing topics like this and getting input and feedback in the class forums at AMU was extremely helpful. It put the pros and cons of electronic logging devices (ELDs) into a broader perspective.

What advice do you have to people seeking a career in your field?

I imagine there are many other professional drivers like myself who wish they had continued their education. But circumstances, especially their work schedules, prevent them from being able to attend brick-and-mortar schools.

If you have even the slightest desire to earn a degree, give yourself the chance to take even one online class at AMU. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you already know and how much support and flexibility there is for you to go the distance to earn your degree.

What is your greatest accomplishment to date?

Earning my master’s degree at AMU is the proudest accomplishment of my life.

What do you do in your free time? 

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife Janine, riding my Harley and going on road trips. I also love playing my guitar and singing.

Comments

comments