Every day is Veteran’s Day at broker-dealer Drexel Hamilton.
Drexel was founded in 2007 by Vietnam veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient Lawrence Doll with the goal to provide opportunity for America’s military veterans and service-disabled veterans to pursue civilian careers.
In 2012, there were 35 employees. Today the firm has grown to nearly 100 employees, 42 of whom are veterans; 24 are service-disabled.
Dan Boyle, vice president of institutional sales at Drexel Hamilton, is one of those vets.
Boyle joined the U.S. Marine Corps after college.
“I was studying [finance] with the intent to get in the industry, but after 9/11 that changed for me,” Boyle said. “On Sept. 12, I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps.”
He tried to enlist, but he was told he would be better off enlisting as a college graduate since he was so close to graduation. He went on to get his degree in finance from Temple University and in 2003 he went into the Marines.
Boyle was deployed twice to Iraq, in 2005 and in 2007.
During his second deployment – on April 22, 2007 and just 48 hours after one of his daughters was born – Boyle’s convoy was hit with an improvised explosive device.
“My vehicle rolled over, the vehicle behind me was [ruined] catastrophically. We lost five men in that vehicle.”
Boyle considers himself lucky.
“I suffered minor injuries by comparison,” Boyle said. “I lost most of the hearing in my right ear and have damage to [my] left shoulder.”
While Boyle was in a rehab facility, he met the CFO of Drexel Hamilton (Cauldon Quinn) who talked to him about an opportunity in financial services.
“He’ll go down and give classes to disabled vets about the financial services industry,” Boyle said. “A lot are so badly wounded and he took time of his own to explain these are some options available. I was really grateful for that interaction.”
That’s one of the ways Drexel meets some of the veterans it hires. Drexel meets its veterans through referrals from existing employees or through some of the nonprofit organizations that cater to military veterans.
The firm’s strategy is to pair military vets with Wall Street vets to help train and support the military vets as they take their various tests for licenses.
When Boyle joined, he sat between two equity traders with about 40 years of experience. Boyle credits this mentorship for helping give him and other vets the “tools that set them up for success.”
“We have great, experienced people who are mentoring and teaching us the business to the point where a lot of these guys get hired away,” Boyle said. “It’s great for us because we now have the opportunity to bring on another vet.”
When Boyle was looking for jobs post-service, not everyone was as welcoming as Drexel.
“I certainly won’t name names, but I think there was some trepidation on the other side of the table of what they were going to get with someone who was combat-disabled,” he said. “For us, it’s important to dispel those myths … by being successful and being a leader in the workplace.”
— Check out Advisors Who Serve(d) Tell Their Stories: Fourth of July, 2015 on ThinkAdvisor.