• LaBella Associates

Honoring Veterans Day


November 11th is Veterans Day. We are fortunate to have an amazing team at LaBella and are so grateful for the strength that our differences offer within the workplace.


Veterans Day began as a celebration marking the official end of World War I, and in other parts of the world is celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, still commemorating the end of WWI. In the U.S., the holiday began to focus on the veterans themselves and was renamed in 1954. The holiday is meant to celebrate all who have served the U.S. military. Please join us in celebrating and honoring this portion of the United States cultural heritage.


At LaBella, we strive to ensure that we are a great place for all, and the best way to achieve that goal is to understand and leverage our diversity. As with past celebratory months, we are featuring interviews of LaBella employees here. Please join us in celebrating our volunteers, who have been courageous enough to openly share their experiences with us.


Mike Simon

Branch of service: Army

Years served: 1981 - 1983

Specialty: Military Police

Favorite Part of Serving: Meeting a lot of people with diverse backgrounds and traveling to Germany for four months.

Is there a veteran currently or throughout history (in our industry or not) that you find inspiring? Why?

I find that any person who has served our Country is truly inspiring and thanks to all who have, and are currently serving. I worked with a former Vietnam veteran during and when I got out of college, and he not only taught me a lot about carpentry, but also about courage and bravery. He served 3 tours so his brothers did not have to go over, that, my friends, is inspiring.

Have there been any changes (cultural, legal, etc.) regarding progress towards equality in the workplace that have made you hopeful?  Any that worry you?  What changes would you like to see in the future?

I continue to remain optimistic about the changing culture in the workplace, it seems to always be moving in a positive direction and I see no reason that it will not continue. We should always look to the future, but not look too far ahead, focus on the present and all the good we can do.

What advice would you give to other veterans just starting out in your profession?

Use what the military taught you in our profession or any profession for that matter. Honor, discipline, and leadership will always advance your career and gain the respect of those around you.

What has been your biggest career and/or personal achievement?

After 3 decades (wait what? that’s a long time!) I have worked on projects ranging from $1,000 to $500,000,000. I consider all of these great achievements, taking care of the client and bringing the project into fruition is first and foremost, no matter how big or small. My biggest personal achievement is seeing my two daughters grow into their own successful careers, with a lot of help from Mom, of course!


Jake Youmans

Branch of service: United States Marine Corps

Years served: 2013-2017

Specialty: 3531 billeted as security element leader

What is your favorite part of serving?

Creating a bond with brothers and sisters that will last a lifetime.

Is there a veteran currently or throughout history (in our industry or not) that you find inspiring? Why?

Yes, James Mattis. He is one of the most respected marine corps generals of all time. His faith and fortitude towards this country has been unwavering. He speaks with intelligence and he continues to evolve with the world around him, but stays true to his principles. He is someone I think anyone would want to aspire to become. Someone who is respected and renowned in his craft of being a military leader both from a tactical and intellectual standpoint.

What has been your biggest career and/or personal achievement?

When I received my eagle, globe, and anchor and became a marine. There isn’t anything I have done that has made me feel as proud, relived, and emotional then that moment on that parade deck.


Dave Myers

Branch of service: Army

Years served: 1968 - 1971

Specialty: E-5 Combat Medic

Favorite Part of Serving: The people you meet. Both in the service and civilian.

Is there a veteran currently or throughout history (in our industry or not) that you find inspiring? Why?

I could not single out one special person. But I found that when things were darkest there was always someone beside me saying “Doc! We got your back!” That’s why in my life I have never been anywhere I did not hear their voices saying “We got your back!”

Have there been any changes (cultural, legal, etc.) regarding progress towards equality in the workplace that have made you hopeful?  Any that worry you?  What changes would you like to see in the future?

If there was any place in this world people are equal it is in times of stress. We are in one those times and here at LaBella we face them on equal terms. I just want to see people feel safe and trust each other again. I want them to know there is always someone who’s “Got their Back”.

What advice would you give to other veterans just starting out in your profession?

Just stop and listen to those who are leading and those who are following. They will both be "watching your back".

What has been your biggest career and/or personal achievement?

I never lost a ‘Brother’ during the darkest days, and that I have grown into a person that people can trust, and know that I‘ve “got their back”.


Matt Smith

Branch of service: Marines

Years served: 1983 - 1989

Specialty: Infantry

What made you interested in serving our country: Ran out of money for college and wanted to do something interesting and challenging.

Favorite Part of Serving: Making new friends with people from different parts of the country.

Is there a veteran currently or throughout history (in our industry or not) that you find inspiring? Why?

My nephew, Zach. He was a Marine killed in Afghanistan in 2010 and his name is Zachary Smith, from Hornell, NY. Zach was a big, strong, tough, wholesome, patriotic man who desired to serve and protect his Country. He was a happy, confident, top-notch Marine, who I was, and remain, very proud of.

Have there been any changes (cultural, legal, etc.) regarding progress towards equality in the workplace that have made you hopeful?  Any that worry you?  What changes would you like to see in the future?

Equality in the LaBella workplace seems to be quite good. My hopefulness has always been positive, so there is no change in my hopefulness. It is still good. As long as employees work hard and are smart they have always been treated equally in my experiences at Labella. I would like to see no changes in the future; all seems fair as it is.

What advice would you give to other veterans just starting out in your profession?

Work hard, treat others fairly, expect to make sacrifices, and treat others respectfully. Same as the advice I would give non-veterans.

What has been your biggest career and/or personal achievement?

My biggest personal achievement is working at Labella Associates. Rick Rote training me to have a fruitful career and LaBella keeping me on through lean times at the beginning of my career.



Thank you all for your sacrifice and service to our nation.