Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Orion 25th Anniversary Spotlight: Founding Partner Jim Tully

Tully in 1991
Army veteran Jim Tully is one of the founding partners of Orion International. While working at a different military recruiting firm, he, Bill Laughlin, Randy Nelson, and two other former JMOs, all had ideas to make their services better. But, when management didn’t seem interested in these changes, Bill pulled the group together and suggested they start their own firm, and Orion was born. 

On Orion’s 25-year anniversary, Jim was good enough to share his memories of the early years of Orion, as well as his insight into the company moving forward.

What was the most fulfilling part of starting Orion? We were all friends and had a common work ethic and culture about changing and improving the industry. That spirit propelled us.

What was most challenging? None of us were particularly well-off or established at that point, and we all had kids and bills to pay. We had roughly six months to be solvent or place ourselves!

Tully today (on the left)
What were the circumstances and how did you feel when you matched a veteran with a career for the first time? We all had plenty of placements before starting Orion, but when the first one at Orion came through, we celebrated the arrival of the check at Bill’s house. All of us had helped pull the deal together, and it happened pretty quickly. It kept the lights on for another 30 days.

Is there an Orion candidate that sticks out in your mind? If so, what about them? I still run into quite a few people that we have found careers for over the years. Some have become extremely successful. I also get LinkedIn connection requests from people that I don’t know all the time. But when I scroll down in their profile, they are Orion alumni. It’s always nice to see the success of our candidates.

What has your career path been since moving on from Orion? I remained self-employed through almost all of it, except for a few years working back in the Dept of Defense. The network we built and the way we conducted ourselves kept a lot of doors and opportunities open in and out of the human capital world. I served as a GVP in a $13B oil firm overseas, because the Head of Supply Chain was one of our early placements.

What advice do you have for other would-be veteran entrepreneurs? Don’t overthink your decision, but have a business plan that works and that you are truly passionate about. Belief in changing the world has made a success out of many high-risk ideas - from Normandy, to man on the moon.

Thanks to Jim for sharing his memories and advice! His hard work 25 years ago led to company that has been able to help more than 36,000 veterans find civilian jobs. 

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