Written by Noelle San Jose (she/her/they), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, with special guest, Rick Jastram (he/him).

Every May is Military Appreciation Month, a time to honor and recognize the contributions of our military service members.

I had the privilege of learning more about Rick Jastram, a Senior Estimator in our LA office and a US Marine Corps veteran. I took this opportunity to learn more about Rick’s journey, both as a Marine and GPJer. What stood out to me during our conversation was how closely the values of the Marine Corps align with our own principles of Belonging.

A: I am proud of being born and raised in Minnesota. As a Minnesotan we were raised with the “Minnesota Nice” values and I believe that these values have helped shape the person that I am today.

A: I really didn’t know about Military Appreciation Month until about 10 years ago. My daughter went to Redondo Beach Union High School, and she was in the JROTC program. They would march in the Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade every year. It is such an excellent way to recognize and honor the Military members. I would highly suggest it to anyone that is interested.

A: The Marine Corps values are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. I still try to live by these values. As an estimator my commitment to the teams I work with comes into play pretty much daily. I will do everything within my power to get my estimates to my teams at or before the deadlines.

A: One of my role models was my dad’s best friend Joe. He is a Vietnam veteran and is one factor that added to my decision to join the Marine Corps. His views on life would always challenge me to think. One example is when I was a young teenager he asked me what I would do if I won the lottery. I said I would buy a house, a new car, and go on a long vacation. So, I asked him what he would do if he won the lottery. He proceeded to tell me that he would build housing for the homeless veterans and his plans on how he would do it.

A: I would love it if entities inside and outside of the agency could step up their recognition of veterans. We are a large company and vast industry, so I would guess that there are others like me. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to connect with fellow veterans about issues others might not understand.

A: Here are a couple of recommended resources for folks to check out: Marine Corps History
and All About Minnesota.

Thank you for your time, your service to the country and for all you do at GPJ, Rick!