As a captain in the Army, Mike Mahon got plenty of salutes. These days, he gets nods and the occasional polite wave as he walks the aisles of his current base — a Home Depot store in Oswego.
Mahon, 29, went to work at Home Depot after four years as an Army signal officer, commanding 50 soldiers in a mobile telephone unit where he maintained communications between tanks and scouts.
On Dec. 26, having completed the company’s two-year store-leadership program, he became a store manager. He was one of 1,142 people hired into the program when it was launched in 2002 for veterans who had been junior officers in the military. More than 100 of the recruits now run stores for Home Depot, which has a reputation as one of the most welcoming companies for veterans.
“I think what the Home Depot is looking for is people who have a high level of execution and leadership,” said Mahon, who was attracted by Home Depot chief executive Robert Nardelli’s reputation for hiring and recruiting vets.
Former military officers work at every level of the store in Oswego — from orange-apron-clad sales associates to top managers. Luis Miranda started working there last month as associate manager. The Romeoville resident has worked for Home Depot since 2000, after 16 years in the Army Signal Corps. Ken Clark, of Aurora, runs the paint department. He spent 11 years in the Army on active duty and nine more in the Army Reserve as a chemical officer.
In all, 13 percent of Home Depot’s 345,000 employees chainwide have military experience, company spokesman Yancey Casey said.
“Bob has a very high regard for the military,” Casey said