• Blogs
  • >
  • Veteran Success Story: An Air Force Veteran’s Journey to Leadership at UPS

This Veterans Day, we salute the dedication and sacrifice of over 19 million men and women who have proudly served in the U.S. military. To everyone who has served, thank you for your service!

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we’d like to share the inspiring story of a 20-year Air Force veteran who has not only found success in Corporate America, but who is also dedicated to empowering fellow veterans. Meet Lloyd Knight. Lloyd served as a Loadmaster in the U.S. Air Force from 1987-2004, and a First Sergeant from 2004-2007 before building a career at UPS. As UPS’ Veteran Talent Acquisition Strategy Manager and a co-founder and the President of VETLANTA, Lloyd is dedicated to increasing veteran employment and helping other veterans thrive. He spoke with Orion Talent about how his military background contributed to his success at UPS and offered encouragement for transitioning service members considering what’s next for them.

Military Heritage & Service

Lloyd comes from a family with a strong military tradition. An Army Brat himself, he grew up surrounded by family members who served, and he knew from a young age that he wanted to serve as well. Lloyd wasn’t a stellar student in high school – which is ironic, given the numerous degrees he would later earn – and knew college wasn’t immediately for him, so he enlisted in the Air Force at age 17 and embarked on a journey that would shape his character and future success. Training was tough; the flight school he attended had a 50% washout rate. “I had to learn discipline and study habits,” Lloyd says, “All that would serve me well through all my academic pursuits and then throughout my Air Force career and my career at UPS.”

During his 20-year military career, Lloyd served as a Loadmaster on various aircraft, including the C-141 Starlifter, C-5 Galaxy, and C-23 Sherpa. His assignments took him to over 70 countries, participating in major exercises and humanitarian operations. In his final three years in the military, Lloyd served as a First Sergeant, gaining invaluable leadership and human relations skills that would prove instrumental in his corporate journey. “I always say that the last three years prepared me for Corporate America and a position at UPS more than 17 years of logistics and aviation and 3-4 college degrees,” he says.  

Prepare For Your Future While in the Service

Lloyd emphasizes the importance of military members leveraging tuition assistance and the GI Bill to prepare for their future while in the service. “Back when I first started in the military, a four-year degree would give you a competitive advantage. A four-year degree no longer gives you the competitive advantage,” he says, “It’s really just a minimum for a lot of positions, so use those educational benefits to go after your degree.”

Acknowledging the evolving job market, he encourages veterans to pursue a graduate degree, certifications, and diverse experiences to remain competitive. Lloyd earned several college degrees while serving in the Air Force, and a master’s degree shortly after. In addition to educational opportunities, he encourages service members to step out of their comfort zone and take on leadership roles. Now’s the time to prepare for your future success.

Transitioning to Civilian Life: Resume Writing 101

Change can be hard, and like many military veterans Lloyd wasn’t sure what the future held for him when he got out at 38 years old.  “It’s a transition and that’s frightening, honestly, because I had never been away from the military. I was an Army brat for 18 years and joined the Air Force three days after high school,” Lloyd says, “The unknown was totally frightening.”

Lloyd’s smooth transition from military to civilian life was no accident. He decided at year 19 to retire at 20 years, giving him a full year to get things in order. Like many veterans, Lloyd hadn’t written a resume in years, hadn’t had a job interview, and didn’t really know how to sell his skill set in the civilian world.

“My first resumes were trainwrecks,” he recalls. He bought some generic software and made an 8-page resume. When he brought it into the Airman Family Readiness Center, the specialist told him to throw it away and start over. He learned to write a compelling resume that helped to land him a job.

“I probably started job hunting way too early, but it actually worked for me,” Lloyd says. He knew he wanted to work for a company with ample growth opportunity, and the very first job he applied to during his military transition was with UPS. They called him back, and he worked with the UPS recruiter to find just the right career path. “The way my transition ended up looking like was I had my retirement ceremony on a Friday, I started terminal leave on a Saturday, I moved to Atlanta on Sunday, and I started with UPS on that Monday,” Lloyd remembers.  

Growing a Career at UPS

At UPS, Lloyd experienced rapid career progression and many opportunities for growth. He oversaw UPS’ global government operations for over 12 years. He then became a Division Director in 2017, and later the Director of International Air Freight Trade Lanes in 2021.

The skills he developed during his military service, including adaptability, people management, and handling diverse situations, positioned him for success in his various roles at UPS.  The military also provided him ample experience in people management, project management, time management, and how to deal with stressful situations.

“Coming to UPS, I quickly realized I did not want to divorce myself from the military,” Lloyd says, “My brothers and sisters in the military are what I missed the most after my transition to civilian life.” He helped found UPS’ very first Veterans Business Resource Group 12 years ago. It now has 19 active chapters across the country, in addition to business resource groups for multiple other groups as well. He truly believes that UPS, the world’s largest logistics company, is a great place for military veterans and spouses to build a lasting career. There are currently over 20,000 veterans working at UPS and there are career paths for every interest. In addition to drivers, there are open positions in Marketing, IT, Engineering, Finance, HR, Sales, Supply Chain, Airline, Warehouse jobs, and more. In addition, hybrid and remote positions have become increasingly common since Covid, offering a great opportunity for military spouses to build a career that moves with them.

Giving Back to Veterans

Lloyd’s passion for supporting veterans extends beyond his role at UPS. As the co-founder and President of VETLANTA, an organization aiming to make Atlanta a top destination for veterans and their families to live and work, he actively works to connect veterans with resources and opportunities for success.

In 2014, leaders from The Coca-Cola Company reached out to company Veteran Employee Resource Groups/ Veteran Affinity Groups at Fortune 500 companies across the greater Atlanta area to discuss what each company was doing to assist veterans. While each company individually was doing a lot to support veterans, there was no collaboration between organizations. VETLANTA was born. VETLANTA membership has expanded to over 8,000 members from organizations of all sizes and hosts quarterly events called summits. The purpose is to help veterans get connected to the resources and community they need. Learn more about VETLANTA here.

In 2023, Lloyd assumed the role of Veteran Talent Acquisition Strategy Manager at UPS, furthering his commitment to increasing the percentage of military veterans within the company. He believes in the power of helping veterans and military family members find fulfilling careers and feels blessed to merge his work at VETLANTA with his role at UPS.

Keys to Success for Veterans

For those navigating the transition from military to civilian life, Lloyd offers valuable advice: Do your homework. Find a mentor. Grow your professional network. Utilize TAP resources. Check out free resources from nonprofits designed to help with the military transition. And most of all, have faith. “It’s all going to work out for you,” Lloyd says.

UPS has been a great place to grow both personally and professionally, and Lloyd is thankful for the immense opportunities he’s had there, and the continued opportunities ahead to make a difference. He truly believes UPS’ rallying cry of “You belong at UPS” and appreciates how much the company values each individual’s contributions. To learn more about UPS, and to check open positions, visit their Microsite.

At Orion Talent, we’re passionate about the military community because so many of us are part of it ourselves. We are veterans, spouses, and family members of military members and we understand the challenges and uncertainty surrounding the military-to-civilian transition. Here are some free Military & Veteran Transition Resources to help you on your journey.

We are so proud of every veteran who finds success and adore companies like UPS that hire veterans and treat them well.  Orion Talent will be visiting 60 military bases through 2024 representing UPS careers. Please come on out and say hello! Watch our LinkedIn page for upcoming events, and let our recruiters put you in touch with Lloyd’s team.

Visit the UPS Microsite today to learn more about their mission and career opportunities with UPS.

›  All
›   Employers
›  Job Seekers
Hire Military
Hiring Conferences
In the News
Junior Military Officers
Military Skills Translation
Optimize Recruitment
Resources for Employers
Skilled Talent Acquisition
Student Veterans
Supply Chain
Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans
Transition Resources
Virtual Hiring


rss feed RSS Feed

Subscribe to Orion's Blog

Subscribe via email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Featured Blogs

FedEx Express Delivery Driver Jobs
Read more ➔
How to Get into the Aviation MRO Industry After the Military
Read more ➔
Battle Buddies: Meet Husband and Wife JDog Business Owners Who Are Making a Difference in Their Community
Read more ➔
Why Military Talent is the Perfect Solution to the MRO Industry Talent Crisis: Understanding Military Occupational Specialties and How They Prepare Candidates for Civilian Aircraft Maintenance Careers
Read more ➔
Essential. Responsible. Chemistry. Chemours is a Great Place to Build a Career
Read more ➔
Introducing Orion Talent’s New Military Hiring Solution for the Aviation MRO Industry
Read more ➔