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STILL SERVING: HONORING 10 VETERANS IMPROVING NEW YORK

Drexel Hamilton’s Managing Director of Capital Markets featured in City-State’s New York List

The 10 extraordinary people selected by City & State’s staff to be honored in this year’s veterans issue demonstrate the rich diversity in experience that we often find in the our nation’s military ranks.

The list includes a Marine Corps captain who heads the organization responsible for the largest veterans parade in the country; a mother who left the Navy after reaching a rate of E-4 and is now a program coordinator for veterans at LaGuardia Community College; and a kid from the South Bronx who served in Vietnam, became an Air Force sergeant and now gives backs to children who grew up in similar situations through his work at New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development, just to name a few.

In reviewing the nominations for these profiles, we received passionate pitches from community members, family and friends for nearly 100 people who continue to make a positive impact in our community. While we could only select 10 to highlight in this annual section, we thank all of those nominated for continuing to serve our country and our state as community leaders, government employees, heads of nonprofits or advocates for change.

JOHN MARTINKO
Managing Director, Capital Markets
YEARS SERVED: 2001-2009
BRANCH: Army
HIGHEST RANK: Captain

The road home from war, and integration into the civilian workforce, is no walk in the park. John Martinko made it with a little help from fellow veterans.

“The community of veterans really was behind me, helping me get a seat on Wall Street, and that is something that I will never forget,” said Martinko, who first joined the Army in 2001.

Though originally recruited to West Point as a swimmer, Martinko was following in the footsteps of family members from previous generations. He would deploy seven times to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom – including during the initial strikes into Iraq – and receive three Bronze Stars for his valor.

Martinko began his Wall Street career with Credit Suisse, and later joined the veteran-owned Drexel Hamilton, LLC. Nearly half of the firm’s staff members are veterans, and more than 20 percent of those have a disability. “I thought coming here would be a good way for me to remain involved in the financial industry, but also give back to other veterans in a more significant way,” Martinko said.

One thing that Wall Street and the military have in common is a predilection for acronyms. Still, entering the financial industry can be like learning a new language, and Drexel Hamilton makes a point of pairing each newly arrived military veteran with an established Wall Street veteran to ease their transition. “You basically have like a left feet, right feet ride,” Martinko said. “It’s like one of those situations where the veteran is being trained by both his left and right flank as they go through the day.”

Once that transition is complete, Martinko believes that the sort of skills that veterans obtain in the military serve them well in the fast-paced financial services industry. “Service members in general make great employees because of their integrity, persistence, and also, I think, their cohesiveness working together in a unit,” Martinko said. “A lot of the problem sets that we had overseas were extremely difficult, and the stakes high, and I think having that kind of experience, especially in the financial industry, kind of keeps a calmness about any banking activities that you have to work through day-to-day.”

Drexel Hamilton’s efforts on behalf of the veteran community are not limited to the culture and practices maintained within the office itself. “We’re working both up and down,” Martinko said. “We’re working directly with veterans, but we’re also working with other hiring managers to help them find candidates who are a natural fit for the investment banking and financial industry.”

The firm partners with bulge-bracket banks, private equity firms and other industry players to maintain active dialogue around best practices with respect to veteran hiring and integration, and strengths and weakness of particular veteran programs. The firm has even advocated before regulatory bodies for changes that would facilitate the integration of disabled veterans into the financial industry.

“Every day for us is Veterans Day,” Martinko said. 

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