Not every veteran who fills out an application is hired to work on the team of Finley Fire Equipment Co. Inc. But owner John W. Finley has learned over the years that more often then not, military service, fire service and fire equipment sales/service enjoy a relationship that’s both profitable and friendly.
Finley Fire is a leader of fire and emergency apparatus and equipment for Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. It sells all the top fire equipment brands including trucks, gear, hoses, air, etc.; offers service such as refurbishing vehicles, grant assistant, SCBA repair, and some custom truck fabrication; plus services all makes and models of fire trucks. Most of the 11 veterans employed by the company held firefighting positions during their years of military service: Often they specialized in mechanics, working on the diesel engines similar to those required by fire engines, aerials, pumpers, rescues and the like.
“We definitely look for someone who’s well-versed in the field of firefighting and large engines, and so often veterans have that experience,” said Bailey Buchanan, marketing representative for Finley. “They know what a customer is looking for. They know what to suggest, if they’re sales representatives; they know how to troubleshoot problems, if they’re mechanics.”
Finley is proud word seems to have gotten around that veterans with fire service and large engine experience are welcome job applicants. “It does seem like the majority of people who apply have that experience and are vets,” said Buchanan.
The value of military service was proven to John W. Finley as he grew into leadership of Finley Fire. His father, John K. Finley, established the company in 1972 and instilled an atmosphere of family and camaraderie. That gels well with veterans, who have a strong work ethic and a sense of respect, said Buchanan.
“We are a family. That’s how we look at our employees. We have events and gatherings for everyone and we share in celebrations. It’s our priority. People who come from a background of military service or firefighting seem to understand that focus and share it.”
The typical military personality works hard and plays hard. The combination produces outcomes widely embraced by Finley Fire, and is a culture of which customers take note: They ask frequently about the background of employees.
Not that you’ll hear about military service from the veterans themselves, though. They’re reserved about their time in the service, Buchanan said, and prefer to let their work and their demeanor construct their professional personas. Finley Fire makes its appreciation for that known on a regular basis.
“There’s a bond and a trust there: We’re all fire professionals and we’re family. It all comes back to that.”