From curious to team leader in mere months

Dow's Chase Roberts leads disaster response with Team Rubicon

Dow realizes the experience, leadership capabilities, and dedication a veteran can bring to the organization.

I have been working at Dow since 2011. I have been a part of our Emergency Services and Security team for all of it except the last three months. I recently left our ES&S team and I am now in Dow’s Health and Safety department.

I became a leader in the Dow Veterans Network (VetNet) in early 2019. We were at an American Legion for a burger night—a team building event—when someone identifying himself as our newly appointed Team Rubicon leader stated that there was a possibility for a deployment with Team Rubicon to The Bahamas for Hurricane Dorian relief.

I was unaware that there was an organization such as Team Rubicon. Upon doing some research and finding out how much support Dow leadership provides for this cause, I signed up immediately.

There are many people, especially veterans, who would love to go on deployments with Team Rubicon, but whose lives do not allow it. Finding one to two weeks to deploy is almost impossible if you are a provider for your family and don’t have the vacation time to spend. Dow’s Veteran Network was aware of this issue. They know what their veterans need: to feel like they are providing a service to their country in a time of need. The feeling of suiting up with like-minded brothers and sisters to fight the good fight.

Dow VetNet Greyshirts on Abaco Island, The Bahamas, in response to Hurricane Dorian
Dow VetNet Greyshirts on Abaco Island, The Bahamas, in response to Hurricane Dorian

With the hard work and dedication of VetNet leadership, coordination with Dow human resources, and support from Dow corporate leadership, a new HR policy was passed allowing Dow Greyshirts to deploy for up to two weeks under the military leave policy. This simple act ensured that those who feel the need to do disaster response work with Team Rubicon would be financially and emotionally supported in doing so.

I personally became a Greyshirt for the same reason most do: a calling to further service. Even though I was already an emergency responder with Dow’s fire department and emergency medical technician staff, I felt like there was more I could do. There is a great comradery amongst emergency personnel at Dow, but I was still missing the relationships that come with standing alongside others who have served in the armed forces.

My first deployment with Team Rubicon was to The Bahamas last year following Hurricane Dorian, and I was hooked. I enjoyed it so much that I knew that Team Rubicon was my calling. I needed to raise as much awareness within Dow about Team Rubicon as possible. I wanted as many people to take advantage of what Dow and Team Rubicon offer as possible. Within Dow, I knew there was a lot of work to be done to expand the program, and I saw that there were many avenues that could take this partnership to the next level. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I stepped into the arena and took over as the new Dow Team Rubicon leader in May of 2020.

Since my deployment to the Bahamas, I have engaged in Team Rubicon’s #NeighborsHelpingNeighbors program, a program Team Rubicon launched during the pandemic, where I helped distribute food at Freeland High School. Then, just last month, I had the opportunity to deploy to Orange, TX, for Operation Crying Eagle, a response to the disasters of Hurricane Laura and Delta. It served as a good example of the different kinds of environments that you can be in with a Team Rubicon deployment. I went from my first Op, an international Op on an isolated island, to a stateside Op. Our Dorian response was more of a flood-based type of work, while in Orange it was more of a wind-damage workload.

I met a lot of amazing Greyshirts in my time in Orange and heard a lot of stories. One of the more spectacular—although not surprising—stories was when Greyshirts realized there was an emergency at a home near where they were working and, without hesitation, did what they have done their whole lives: unselfishly served.

Relief items delivered for distribution in Durban city

Dow’s Chase Roberts helps distribute food in Freeland, MI

I served in the US Navy on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis CVN-74 as a Gunner’s Mate Second Class Petty Officer. I have served as an emergency responder. Each group has a very similar lifestyle and outlook on life. We all have this commonality to serve no matter what. What those Greyshirts did on that day in Orange, any other Greyshirt would have done without hesitation. That is why I am proud to be a Greyshirt.

I know there are a lot of veterans, and potential Greyshirts, at Dow because Dow’s hiring rate of veterans is higher than the national average. The VetNet team is consistently trying to improve our hiring and retention of veterans. Already Dow allows people with four or more years of military service, at any rank, the equivalent of an associate degree. And, many military roles at the E6 rank in the U.S. have characteristics, responsibility scope, years of experience requirements, and duties similar to degreed roles within Dow. That includes jobs in supply chain planning and logistics, reliability and operations, IT networking/cybersecurity, legal, HR, and public affairs. Dow recognizes that veterans bring unique experiences and thinking paradigms to the job force, such as, effectively performing and leading in high-pressure environments, people and team leadership skills, and are strongly goal and objective orientation.

Dow realizes the experience, leadership capabilities, and dedication a veteran can bring to the organization. That is why we have the military leave policy, a new military degree equivalency program, and are in the process of developing a veteran mentorship program.

On Veterans Day 2020 Dow officially rolled out its new military degree equivalency program (MDE), which, in addition to the associate degree equivalency, grants those with relevant military experience at a rank of E6 or greater (or OR6 in Canada) the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree for U.S. and Canada job postings.

My role as the Team Rubicon leader at Dow is to ensure the partnership grows, and especially to make sure our Dow veterans know of this great benefit. You may be a great process operator, safety technician, or IT support rep, but if you still seek that feeling of duty, worth, or comradery that you experienced in the military, being a Dow VetNet participant and Team Rubicon Greyshirt can fill that void.