It’s National Invest in Veterans Week, and what better way to celebrate our veterans than by sharing the story of MediaSource’s very own veteran success story — our Creative Director Jerred Ziegler!
Jerred’s budding production career was briefly interrupted when, after spending six years in the United States Air Force, he deployed to Kyrgyzstan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2013. At the time, he was a producer and editor with MediaSource, and would go on to work at the base’s aerial port, running logistics for cargo, vehicles, troops and anything else that went onto an aircraft.
“That’s why I’ll never fly in a helicopter,” he said with a laugh. “If I can fold it up and load it onto a plane, I’m not flying on it!”
It’s not easy to leave your job for months at a time, and for a small business, replacing an important employee can be even more challenging. But MediaSource President Lisa Arledge Powell never had any hesitation about supporting her long-time friend and colleague when he broke the news.
“MediaSource views our team members as family,” she said, “so when Jerred was deployed, we wanted to support him in every way we could.”
That support made breaking the news to his bosses much less stressful.
“Lisa was 100 percent supportive when she heard the news,” Jerred said. “If I remember correctly, I think the first thing she did was get up and hug me. There was never a question about what the future of my job would be, and I knew she’d keep it waiting for me.”
Before and during Jerred’s deployment, his MediaSource family made sure to keep in touch and show their support. They threw a going away party (MediaSource never misses a chance to have a party), sent him care packages, called him during work meetings and made sure to keep him caffeinated, which was one of his lasting memories.
“I knew they had my back,” he said. “They sent me a few care packages while I was over there. I remember they loaded me up with Starbucks instant-coffee, which was a life-saver from the awful coffee we had.”
While he was gone, MediaSource was named one of Columbus Business First’s Best Places to Work. Jerred couldn’t make it back to the celebratory luncheon, but was a big part of the team’s culture. So the MS team made his mom and sister honorary guests of honor in his place.
Jerred kept MediaSource in mind, too. Over the holidays, he sent a framed American Flag that had been flown on a KC-135 refueling mission, a real-world deployment scenario. When he came home, he had his family drive him straight from the airport to MediaSource to surprise his team before heading home.
And when he returned to work a few weeks later, he was greeted with an extra surprise — a new title!
“I was actually greeted with a promotion when I got back,” he said. “Before my first day back in the office, leadership took me to lunch and offered me a new position! It was a lot of transition coming back, but that made it even more of a positive and exciting time.”
Four years later, Jerred has now been with MediaSource for eight years and has gone through a few more promotions to become the team’s Creative Director. After being the company’s first intern, working the phones and doing coffee runs, Jerred has worked his way up the company ladder on both sides of a deployment.
So for this National Invest in Veterans week, we’re thanking Jerred and all who have served, and reminding everyone to invest in the veterans who are important to your company family.