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APUS Alumni Stories: Running Change in the Length of Veterans

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

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

He had been awarded the 2018 Distinguished Graduate Award, which recognizes graduates who have made outstanding contributions to the country and their neighborhood. It honors character, accomplishment and service, and illustrates the university’s mission of leadership and service.

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

  • The 2015 VA National Creative Arts Contest — first place for multimedia movie and first tune”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 Contest — 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 livelihood as a voluntary service specialist and events coordinator.

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

My career plan is to expand solutions with my experience in the Veterans Health Administration. I want to use the knowledge that I gained from my studies in logistics and transportation.

What precisely is the livelihood? 

My profession is in public service in the Veterans Health Administration, enhancing the lives of our specialists.  My career has evolved from being a professional truck driver to driving coach buses and coordinating large events and actions for veterans. A lot of those veterans benefit from my logistics background.

What prompted you to pursue a career in this field?

Ever since I was a little kid taking road trips with my mother, who kept me busy looking at trucks and waving at the truckers to honk their air ducts, I’ve been in love with the field of transport.  I was also motivated by the sacrifice and support of the country’s heroes. When I combined my love of transportation and trucking with my admiration for the military, it was a natural fit to deliver my specialist driving skills to a career serving veterans.

How can you prepare to enter this field? 

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

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

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

Having these skills and knowledge allows me to handle events for the specialists I will custom tailor to improve the quality of their lives. This is something that brings me enormous satisfaction.

Having chased both of my degrees at AMU, I find myself thinking about possibilities and strategies on a much larger scale. My professors consistently encouraged’big ideas’ and this has given me the confidence to expand my thinking and take events direction and activities to the degree of”wow factor.”

Leadership at the VA hospital where I work was highly supportive of the improvements and inventions I’m making. I, on the other hand, possess the knowledge to love their own transformational leadership styles, methods and goals.

Successfully completing my levels in AMU opened up a true sense of being able to imagine what is possible. Rather than doing an acceptable job, I can now use the ability, talent and experience I gained to envision the ways and approaches which really bring excellence and change to my work.

An example of that is in understanding how generating partnerships is an essential component to making change. Where I straddled a world between sections competing for resources, suggestions and time, I now have the ability to bring them together to maximize our impact for those veterans.

By way of instance, working together with multiple different divisions, I managed to set clear expectations and responsibilities for nursing, recreation therapy, nutrition, transportation and volunteer services to come along in order to deliver over 100 Vietnam veterans and their families to some once-in-a-lifetime on field commemoration in Fenway Park. This event attempted to heal the wounds of the hostile reception they received 50 decades ago when they returned from war. Having the capability to orchestrate something that significant in their lives is truly humbling and creates a desire to find out more ways to honor our nation’s heroes.

After this occasion, I took a couple veterans to visit the USS Constitution, which isn’t wheelchair-accessible. Again, with teamwork and maintaining that big vision of possibility facing me, we successfully brought a 100-year-old WWII veteran and a 93-year-old WWII combat veteran, both in wheelchairs, aboard the boat to a true hero’s reception. The confidence and the knowledge to make things happen is a potent tool to I gained through the encouragement of my AMU professors.

Kevin singing to WWII Veteran Miss Lillian.

What are your biggest challenges within the field?

The recent regulations of having to keep digital logs, mandated in December 2017, have created difficult and challenging circumstances for companies and drivers. Discussing topics such as this and getting feedback and input in the course forums at AMU was extremely helpful. It put the advantages and disadvantages of electronic logging apparatus (ELDs) to a wider perspective.

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

I imagine there are lots of other professional drivers such as myself that wish they had continued their schooling. However, conditions, especially their job schedules, prevent them from being able to attend brick-and-mortar schools.

If you have even the slightest desire to make a level, give yourself the opportunity to take even 1 online class at AMU.  You will be pleasantly surprised by how much you know and how much flexibility and support there is for you to go the distance to make your degree.

What is your greatest accomplishment thus far?

Making my master’s level at AMU is your proudest achievement of my life.

What do you do in your free time? 

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

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