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Company gears up to mobilize veteran workers

Manufacturing firm readies to relocate with goal of helping transition former troops into workforce

Posted: December 29, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: December 29, 2011 1:30 a.m.

Aven Currie, purchasing and materials planner at Quallion, is one of many vets working at the custom lithium ion battery company.

 

 

A manufacturing firm preparing to relocate to the Santa Clarita Valley helps veterans make the transition from battlefield to the workforce, benefiting former warriors while helping itself.

“It is very difficult for someone transitioning out of the military to find a place that can use our skills, and we are very appreciative when we do,” said Aven Currie, an active member with the United States Marine Corps until 1999.

Currie is now the purchasing and materials planner for Quallion, a builder of custom lithium ion batteries.

Co-founded in 1998 by Alfred E. Mann and Dr. Hisashi Tsukamoto, Quallion manufactures the batteries that power satellites for communication services. Its batteries go to the Navy for communication devices and are used by soldiers in the field for the same purpose, as well as providing starter batteries for Humvees.

Quallion’s employees are both former military and civilian. The aerospace and military industries now make up about 70 percent of the firm’s contracts.

Doing business with the military means complying with an equal-opportunity rule for hiring veterans, said Avonelle Simon, employee recruiting associate at Quallion.

The company make these hires frequently, said Amanda Reyes, marketing and public relations coordinator at Quallion.

“We are continuously hiring. Currently, we have 11 open positions, and we will be hiring more people in the next few months for our new manufacturing building,” Reyes said. 


Having veterans on staff motivated Quallion, which will be moving from Sylmar to Santa Clarita, in a kind of pay-it-forward action, to honor veterans.

“A higher volume of contracts were awarded to our company this year, which will enhance our manufacturing capabilities and creates the demand for more employees,” Simon said.

Workers created care packages for the troops overseas this holiday season, Reyes said.

“We supplied all the goodies for the packages, but the employees — including veterans amongst them — personally put the care packages together,” she said.

The company assembled about 170 of them.

For Currie, the greatest gift was his job and the sense of purpose it brought him.

After leaving the Marine Corps, Currie said, he pursued a different career path for a number of years. He was always trying to find the sense of purpose that he said he had in the military.

Only after Currie’s return to the procurement field with Quallion, where he could use the skills he learned and enjoyed in the military, did he feel as if he belonged somewhere.

“Working in the Marine Corps was both purposeful and fulfilling, and I felt that would be difficult to find anywhere else,” Currie said. “Apparently, though, I have found that here at Quallion.”

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