DoD Secure-Working with National Industrial Security Program

Working in a virtual environment with a security clearance.

April 25, 2020 jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP, SAPPC, SFPC, ISOC
DoD Secure-Working with National Industrial Security Program
Working in a virtual environment with a security clearance.
Show Notes Transcript

I sat down with Kimber Hill of Virtforce.us to discuss how they help military spouses and veterans.

I really appreciate their mission of:
"We reduce the unemployment rate for Active Duty MilSpouses and Veterans by connecting employers seeking to diversify and distribute their talent network to qualified virtual candidates within the military community."

Links and Resources  

VirtForce Podcast on Apple Podcasts   

VirtForce Podcast on Spotify  

Kimber Hill LinkedIn  

Jeff Bennett LinkedIn   

Support the show (https://www.redbikepublishing.com/insidersguide/)
Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to another episode of DOD secure and today I'm excited to be speaking with Kimber Hill avert force, the vert forces I'm located at vert force that U S and they are a great capability that helps military spouses be able to keep their job and one of their great claims to fame is that they are able to reduce the unemployment rate of military veterans and their spouses. So hope you pay attention, take notes, and go to vert force us to figure out what they're all about.

Speaker 2:

Welcome back to another intriguing episode of DOD secure with your host Jeff Bennett.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible]

Speaker 4:

yeah , it's so good to be with you all today and thanks for joining us today. We have Kimber Hill and she is from workforce and Kimber. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company.

Speaker 2:

Hello. Hello. Thank you so much for having me, Jeff. My name is Kimber. I'm the founder of vert force. I'm an active duty military spouse, which means I am following my significant other all around the world. PCs , PCSing permanent change of station every one to four years, just depending on what the military feels like during that year. And I'm also trying to maintain a career a while doing that. So my organization is called vert force VA , R. T. F. O. R. C. E. We are a candidate community providing human resources and staffing solutions to companies who thrive with remote workforce. So we help companies who want skilled, remote team members connect with other active duty military spouses to fill those remote roles. Our big why here is servant leadership and that the military spouse unemployment rate is three times the national average, which is absolutely unacceptable. That's borderline epidemic. And we are here to help get military spouses hired. What you will find in that demographic as you will find a lot of spouses with clearances, you will find a lot of spouses with educational attainment twice that of the average civilian. We're talking master's degrees, PhDs and um, grossly under employed. That's Burt for us . We saw 200 military spouses hired in 2019. We are on to get 700 military spouses hired in 2020. And that's our mission.

Speaker 1:

Well that sounds like an excellent mission. I am one of those older soldiers who came in a long time ago when we didn't consider our family members as much as we do now. And um, but now I see more opportunities for um, a family member to be employed. Those are some great statistics. I didn't realize they were that high. And, and people like you are giving possibilities for I imagine a um , family member, be it a husband or wife to have a career as a follow their significant other around is. Um, for example, my wife , um, we moved to LA and she had many different jobs. She could not keep a job because she had to quit when she moved and find a new job where we're um, wherever I went to next if there was one available. Um, so is that different now with the vert force and capabilities like you have

Speaker 2:

with the current economic landscape and technological landscape? There is no reason why a military spouse should have to leave their career just because of a PCs. If you want to pivot your career just because you're not happy or you're bored or you want to try something new, go for it. But what we're trying to educate employers about and what we're trying to educate military space spouses about is you don't have to leave just because your PCs in your job can be done from the comfort of your home office, which can be a secure environment. So yes, it is changing and it has changed and you're right, we do have the luxury to think more about our family members now, and I just want to bring up the concept of identity because I don't think that anyone really understands unless you are a military spouse or you are in the military or you have served, you don't understand how big of an impact the constant moves have on your family. Some people thrive in reinventing themselves every couple of years. Some people love that. For me. I had about 10 years of an education and several years of government contracting experience when I married into those service and our first duty station was 500 miles away from my industry, from the closest service provider in my industry, which meant there was no way I could stick with that. So unless I was able to transition to a remote role and I was very blessed and given that opportunity, but so many other spouses are not just because the organization has not developed a remote strategy,

Speaker 1:

you know, sometimes it just happens in spite living your life above

Speaker 4:

reproach. You have an event that could put your security clearance in jeopardy and you know you should self-report that. However, before you do, you should talk with Ron sixties immediately before you discuss it with anyone at work or your facility security officer because Ron can help to self report in the best possible way. If you have questions, call Brian at two five, six seven one three zero two, two one or you can email him at our six , that's R S Y, K S T, U [email protected] . Or visit his [email protected]

Speaker 3:

[inaudible] .

Speaker 1:

So we have situations like we have now and, and again, you're bringing great opportunities not only to , um, the military workforce, but I imagine there are other clients that you do have , um, and you've got experience in this virtual workforce that some of us like me , um, I've been sent home to work out of my home office and I, I'm struggling not with work, but just getting organized. I have a laptop at my kitchen table , um , so I can keep it away from my personal business that I do afterward . And , um, do you , um, so some of us are learning. Wow. Um, what I thought about working at home is quite opposite than what the reality is. I'm really productive at home. I'm really productive and I'm learning new things. My boss is learning new things, especially um, folks that say , um, we can actually get work done and, and we're able to, to focus and not being in an office environment is not, does not mean you're not productive and something you've probably known for a while .

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you're right. I have known that for a while and people don't believe you when you say it. I think it kind of goes in one ear and out the other until they have to experience it. And our current pandemic has put us in a position where we all can experience it. And you see two different types of people, people who do not thrive without an in office structure. And you see people who do thrive who can just go above and beyond. And it's so funny because we've released a podcast episode about this on the vert force podcast a few weeks ago, which was famous remote workers who did incredible things from home during pandemic or plague or war. And you just see that for example, I work on a team of five and one of our team members has just recently been introduced to remote work and she just says, I hate it. I hate it so much I can't stand being this close to my spouse all day. Which is another problem really. It sounds like a personal problem, but you know , um, I guess he's retired and she's not. So they , they're struggling with that. But for me, I get so much more done from home to the point where now if I go to the physical office to get work done, I ask myself, how, how do you guys get anything done here? There is someone at my desk every five minutes just coming by to say hi or there's some kind of, you know, fun thing going on down the hall. Everybody's laughing and you get up and walk away and I'm just blown away by how little I actually get done in the office. But at home it is just this Haven where if you, if your gears are turned by productivity and you are excited about what you can turn out and the contributions you can make, your home office can be such a Haven. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

And you're really not alone, especially if you want to collaborate because there are tools out there, secure tools that allow you to collaborate and in a secure environment. So you're not at home. You're, you know, if somebody is worried about your product productivity, I would say focus on the work product and not on the hours away from the office. And once I wrap my head around this, Hey, we're delivering work products still, I don't need to be focused on the old status of a timecard or, or, you know, what did you do for me for three hours? Oh yeah. You know , there's a , there's a , there's a huge trust issue we had to overcome. And once we did, it's been working great.

Speaker 2:

That's amazing. And that's, we offer consulting to businesses who were transitioning to this re remote , uh, employee workforce. Because listen, it's managing a remote team is not intuitive to everyone. And being a remote team member is not intuitive work with someone who can help you get there. Right? And one of the big things that we love to talk about is don't stress yourself out by how often your team member is sitting glued to their computer screen. Encourage your team member to get up and take breaks throughout the day. Go take a walk, go outside, get some fresh air , uh, nourish yourself and focus on the work product. Our entire team is paid based on project based pay. So what that means is you have deliverables, right? I'm a project manager, my PMP . So that's, that's how my mind thinks. You've got a deliverable on my team that you're responsible for. As long as you're turning out that deliverable. I don't care how long you're in front of your computer. What we use is Microsoft teams, which I'm not sure if you guys have explored that yet, but it's been incredible for us. We keep at Microsoft teams channel open, and the team's channel is just called availability. So if you're, if you're leaving the house to go get groceries, tell us I'm leaving the house to go get groceries. I'll be back in an hour, my projects are finished, but I have my phone. And what's wonderful about teams, I know if your phone is encrypted, you know D far as compliance and whatnot, you can still have teams on your phone. But what's wonderful about it is the application is just as useful on your phone as it is on your computer. So if I need to reach you and I know where you are, I can still reach you through teams. I can call you through there. I can video chat you through there, even if I'm outside walking or whatever it may be. And we just really encourage that healthy work life balance. The team members are 30% more productive , um , in that environment than they are in the office.

Speaker 1:

Well , well I've seen that myself and yeah, we do use teams and the people who really like to collaborate and be with others are very active on it. Yet people like me that tend to be more technical, that want to study and work the product. I'm only on there when I need to be. And uh, and so yeah, you're absolutely right. It does work. And , uh , I think we talked about this earlier, believe it or not , um , for you in the listening audience, you can be approved to work on classified , um , projects at home. Um, there are a lot of home based businesses that are um, established as clear defense contractors and , um, you can get your home approved for that kind of work. The keyword is approved. Um, you have to be established and , um, uh, um, pass reviews by what used to be defense security services, which is now called defense counter intelligence and security agency, the D C S a lot of changes going on. And so these are possibilities in

Speaker 4:

your work environment. Well now I'd like to tell you about another one of our sponsor in that is our friends at mission driven research. You know, mission driven research is a growing company providing technical services to the U S federal government. Their goal is to continuously improve performance in three core values. And this mission focused is the core of mission driven research. It fosters a highly satisfying work environment, motivating their employees to excellence. And so I would say visit mission-driven research.com to find out about more of what they do, their core values that I mentioned earlier, three as the go to extra mile for their customers, grow our employees personally and professionally in give generously to their community. And again, I mentioned before that they do give generously to their community. He, because they sponsor a lot of charity events including 5k races. That's how I met them. They sponsored me and my racing for awhile and I really agree, appreciate what they do for our community and that's mission driven research.com

Speaker 1:

and uh , so that , that's what I do a lot with my business. I do , um, light, very light consulting cause I have a full time job on security clearances and um, a lot of my audience knows. Um, I, I put out books and training. Right now I'm doing something called derivative classifier training. I'm filming it using this technology right now that we're using. And , um , I film it, record it and share the slides and then I put it up on, on a website. I'm actually starting my own , um, online courses where people can log in and take , um, I've used other ones but I wanted to do my own. And so yeah , that's labor intensive.

Speaker 2:

Building courses is very time and labor intensive. What courses are you offering?

Speaker 1:

So I have an introduction to this Palm course and it is about 25 hours long, believe it or not. Um, I've built , well I misspoke. It's, it's a fundamentals of this Palm and so it goes through all the chapters and every single one of them. And , um, I used to teach it at college, at night school and, and uh , so I still have the slides update and when the new, when this pump changes, which stands for the national industrial security program, operating manual. And um, and my honest knows you can find it on red bike publishing.com. And that's where I keep all my information and goal . Did you teach at? I taught at the university of Alabama in Huntsville and it was their continuing education course. That's where I got my master's degree. Go. That's a great school.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's an amazing school. I, I had a great time there that , a lot of my program online.

Speaker 1:

Well , um, yeah did which uh , what was your master's in

Speaker 2:

a masters of information systems and I also got a graduate certificate in enterprise resource planning system .

Speaker 1:

Okay, excellent. Very technical. You are a very, very smart person. It sounds like.

Speaker 2:

I really like systems and technology. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well good. And so , um, uh, I'm trying to think of of some way that um, some of our audience can get in touch with you if they're interested in uh, pursuing a career. Do you have like job announcements? How do you marry up applicants with jobs? Well, I'll , I'll say

Speaker 2:

that we have been building this candidate community for two years. We have over 30,000 active duty military spouses seeking remote employment. So we are always looking for business partners who can hire from this community, what we provide our matching services to our candidates. We know our candidate community very well. We're very much in tune with them and we can take your need, scope it, and then deliver a product to you in the form of a candidate that uh, that meets your needs . So if you want to work with us, you can just email Kimber [email protected] That's V I R T F O R C E. Dot us . If you'd like to launch a military hiring initiative, if you'd like to launch a military spouse program, we would love to help you. If you're going remote, maybe you don't need talent, but you just need help and support and building out your remote processes. We have several packaged processes that we would be happy to deliver you and just help you stand up that remote program. If you're a remote team member, we would love for you to listen to our podcast. It's just the vert force podcast. We just have so much fun stuff going on there. We do cater to the military spouse demographic, but the kind of things that we talk about are applicable to everyone.

Speaker 1:

Wow . That is a great rundown. And , um, we really appreciate you joining our show today and I think you've given us something actionable. In fact, I'm going to , um , I'm going to actually listen to your podcast now that I have the link to it. I, I'm looking forward to it and , um, it's great to get back with you again. We met at pod Fest 2025 the last week before everything was shut down.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. We barely got out. We barely made it to that. I keep going over that in my head. How we almost did not get out of Orlando. It was February. No, no, no, no. It was March six, eight . And as soon as I got back home, I think the travel ban happened within 48 hours.

Speaker 1:

Oh, it was , we were so lucky.

Speaker 2:

So, you know, his , um , is it the HIMS conference that happens? Um, anyway, it's this big government contracting conference that happens in Orlando every year. It was supposed to happen at that hotel the week after. It attracts like 40,000 people and they canceled it.

Speaker 1:

Oh, well, probably a good , um , time to cancel it . Like everything. I want to do is canceled, but we're grateful for you and bringing opportunities to especially military spouses and even helping us change our focus on how we do business. Because I do that after it's all said and done after we go back, it's not gonna be back to normal. It'll be back to better. And I think, yeah, I think, I think when we come back we'll relook at how we do our work and I think you're cutting edge. If you don't have a book out, you should because I think you have excellent , um, information to share with , with , with people who are willing to take it in.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much Jeff. It was really a pleasure being on your show. I appreciate the opportunity.

Speaker 4:

Well, thanks again for visiting our show and we really appreciate Kimber Hill from vert force and I encourage you to go out and reach out to them through their website and it's at vert force dot U S and give them a chance. All right . I spoke to you a little bit about some of our upcoming courses that we have, and if you want to visit our courses and learn more about this Palm and security clearances, we are hosting Bennett Institute at Bennett, B E N N E T T institute.com and as usual come visit red bike publishing for books and services that deal with security clearances and the national industrial security program. Until next time.