Gary Dillman is a retired officer of the United States Army Reserve, serving from 1980-2004. He is also a senior Wealth Strategist at PNC Bank, where he is among 1,000 employees with military experience. Dillman is involved in various military employment support groups where he is committed to increase veteran hiring.
As a wealth strategist, Dillman provides advice on complex estate and other wealth planning issues. He has worked in the financial services industry over 25 years, but that wasn’t always his plan. “I was in a career change from active duty in the military into becoming an officer in reserve component,” he says. “In doing that, I didn’t have a job; I was going to school at night at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne to obtain a degree in business. One of my colonels was with a financial services firm and thought I would be a good fit for the industry—I had no clue what I was getting into! I started with his small boutique firm and immediately realized I needed to attend school to become a Certified Financial Planner™.”
Prior to serving in active duty during the first Gulf War, Dillman became a Reserve officer and Lieutenant. He remained in the financial service world, working for smaller companies called Registered Investment Advisors. In 2005 JP Morgan recruited him to its wealth department. “I knew I wanted to be on a specialized team of advisors, which is exactly what I found with PNC Bank,” he says.
The mentoring environment is something Dillman appreciates about working with the wealth team at PNC. “Like the military instilled in me, there are many certified specialists but we all make up one cohesive team,” he says.
He is passionate about supporting military veterans, and appreciates PNC’s commitment as well. Since 2013, the bank has increased veteran hiring over 25%. It has also assembled a Military Advisory Council of executives from across the company who help develop recruiting strategies. Additionally, PNC partners with leading non-profits dedicated to hiring veterans, allowing the bank to build pipelines to recruit military talent.
Veterans possess a certain skill set that is valuable to companies, Dillman explains.
“There is a clear ability to develop junior folks, because in the military we are really strong in the training aspect,” he says. “There is an opportunity to succeed and advance, to avoid staying stagnant in your position. You’re always in a position where people are mentoring you and developing you, bringing you up to the next level. There’s always a mentor saying, ‘Come on soldier, you can do this.’ The trainer/mentor mindset crosses over into the financial services world as well, where I try to encourage people to learn by experience to achieve success at the next level.”
PNC also is involved with the Employer’s Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a group sanctioned by the Department of Defense, as well as the Fort Wayne Community Base Council. “We are doing a better job at employing veterans,” Dillman says. “We have recently made a more diligent effort nationally and locally, as our regional president Doug Wood and his peers have made a commitment to the ESGR groups nationally to seek out talented, qualified veterans to work here. In the last year we hired Seth Marshall, a Marine Corps veteran, to work on my team, who is a perfect example of someone with that skill set and leadership ability we are looking for. I work with the Fort Wayne Community Base Council to find qualified people who are retired from the military or who are ending their active status and may be available for us to hire.”
Dillman also works with PNC’s internal Employee Business Resource Group, which meets quarterly to discuss issues affecting veterans to identify stumbling blocks and possible solutions. Military family support is something else Dillman has a passion for. “We want to retain that employee when they return from deployment, so we try to keep a level of continuity keeping the families engaged. We also work in the community to increase awareness of these support groups that are available.”
Working as part of a team is integral in the military. “Fostering teamwork has been a big thing for me helping assimilate folks transitioning from active duty back into civilian, team environment,” says Dillman. “I’m very fortunate to be part of a team that is always looking for opportunities to help out members of our military family.”