Veteran Stories

Hiring veterans is an important part of building a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive culture at ONEOK. Recognized as a Veteran Employer Champion since 2017, we know veterans have a deep understanding of teamwork, leadership and the value of a strong work ethic. They know how to solve complex problems and can adapt quickly to changing circumstances and situations. They have worked with cutting-edge technology and are comfortable in cross-functional environments.

At ONEOK, we consider perspectives from veterans of the United States armed forces a competitive advantage and work hard to promote a culture where all employees feel respected and valued for their contributions.

  • Casey Jardot
    Security Specialist

    Casey Jardot – Security Specialist

    The mission of the Air Force is to "Fly. Fight. Win … in air, space and cyberspace."

    It's rather fitting that Casey Jardot, a member of the Air Force Reserve's military police, also is a Security Specialist in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On top of that, he's a member of the police reserve in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

    Jardot joined the Marine Corps in 2003, serving in the infantry. He deployed in 2004 and 2018 with the Marine Corps and Air Force, respectively. While both deployments were vastly different, Jardot served in a security capacity in each.

    "These experiences and others in the Marine Corps and Air Force have helped me in the job I do now," said Jardot. He left the Marine Corps in 2011 but joined the Air Force Reserves in 2014. Two weeks out of each summer, he attends additional training.

    This year, Jardot will deploy for six months overseas.

    "ONEOK not only has been OK with it but also supportive," Jardot said of his schedule. "My management and co-workers have been awesome."

    Every company must allow employees in the military leave to deploy, he reminded. "But ONEOK goes above and beyond."

    Jardot's military compensation is less than his ONEOK salary. To help offset the decrease in pay while being deployed, ONEOK pays his salary difference. That includes when he is attending training days in summer.

    "I don't make as much money in military, so it's nice to be paid the difference," he said. "This isn't something ONEOK has to do."

    Those like Jardot who joined the military at a young age and are given responsibilities tend to develop strong leadership qualities – and quickly.

    "Not that nonmilitary people don't have those qualities," Jardot said. "But generally speaking, those with military backgrounds are going to show up on time, take charge, be team players, know how to communicate and have a get-things-done attitude."

    ONEOK has a Veterans Resource Group whose mission is to broaden and strengthen ONEOK’s culture, focusing on the professional development and engagement of military veterans and their supporters.

  • Jim Farrell
    Legal Counsel

    Jim Farrell - Legal Counsel

    Since high school, Jim Farrell had a desire to serve his country

    "Military service has been part of my family for generations," said Farrell, Legal Counsel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "I wanted to do my part to continue the tradition."

    After graduating high school, Farrell left for Annapolis, Maryland. It's where he met his wife. They graduated together – and married right after. They both served five years on active duty as surface warfare officers – and followed that with three years in the reserves. Farrell did numerous NATO deployments aboard the guided missile frigate USS JOHN L. HALL (FFG-32) and guided missile cruiser USS TICONDEROGA (CG-47).

    When they finished their time at sea, the couple headed to law school, after which they planned to live in Washington, D.C. Hurricane Katrina altered their plans. As his wife was a Mississippi native whose parents lost almost everything in the storm, the Farrells relocated to her hometown on the Gulf Coast to be a part of the community's recovery and rebuilding efforts.

    After practicing law and doing volunteer work for five years on the coast, the yearning to be closer to his own hometown brought Farrell back to Tulsa with his wife and their four children.

    "I couldn't have asked for a better job opportunity," said Farrell, who started in March 2020.

    "The Naval Academy taught me that you just don't ever quit," Farrell said. "It doesn't matter how difficult things seem; you find a way to get through whatever challenging moment you're in now. You take things one day at a time, one moment at a time."

    Despite only being here a matter of months, Farrell already has become involved with the Veterans Resource Group (VRG).

    "Veterans bring a natural humility to whatever it is they do," he said. "It's that idea of service, wanting to be a part of something bigger than yourself and wanting to do your part to make a difference. That's why a lot of veterans don't like the spotlight; they weren't looking for it in the first place."

    VRG’s mission is to broaden and strengthen ONEOK’s culture, focusing on the professional development and engagement of military veterans and their supporters.

  • Christine Barnes
    Intermediate Construction Project Coordinator

    Christine Barnes – Director, Intermediate Construction Project Coordinator

    In 2018, Christine Barnes, Intermediate Construction Project Coordinator in Tulsa, Oklahoma, started her family and transitioned out of the military. She served 12 years in the U.S. Army Reserve.

    Barnes was a paralegal in the Judge Advocate General's Corps and a drill sergeant on active duty in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She also was a full-time ONEOK employee.

    "Once we had children, I knew it was the right time to transition out," said Barnes. "My family deserved more of my attention, as did my career at ONEOK."

    Many civilians acknowledge the sacrifice and commitment veterans make while serving in the military. However, they may not understand the complexities that come with transitioning to civilian from soldier.

    "There was a big void when I transitioned out of the military," she said. "I felt that my purpose had changed, my fulfillment had changed. It was almost an identity crisis for me. I had to reevaluate my 'why' beyond day-to-day life and how to apply my military experience in my civilian life successfully."

    A major part of the transition experience is that you evolve, shared Barnes.

    "You don't lose your purpose, it just shifts," she said.

    Barnes is grateful for the support she received at ONEOK as she was making that transition.

    "ONEOK, in true form, was really supportive. I've experienced willingness from my leaders and peers to connect and understand my perspective and mindset as shaped by my service, and I am very grateful for that."

    Barnes commented that the attributes that make a good military leader are the same at ONEOK. Collaboration and communication, emotional intelligence, integrity and being open to feedback are leader expectations for the military and for ONEOK.

    "This is what we are trying to do and how we are going to do it, and then afterwards, did we accomplish the objective and how can we do it better next time?" she said. This approach, which is focused on executing a vision and learning from the process, works for ONEOK as well, and applying it has proven to be helpful in her role.

    Bridging the civilian/military gap as a means to promote collaboration, development and inclusion is just one of the goals of the Veterans Resource Group (VRG).

    VRG’s mission is to broaden and strengthen ONEOK’s culture, focusing on the professional development and engagement of military veterans and their supporters.

  • Scott Porter
    Manager, Mechanical Integrity

    Scott Porter - Manager, Mechanical Integrity

    To say Scott Porter had a high-flying career prior to ONEOK is quite literal.

    Porter, Manager, Mechanical Integrity in Alexander, North Dakota, served more than 20 years in the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

    Porter graduated in 1988 from the USAF Academy with a degree in engineering mechanics. While at the academy, he became a Federal Aviation Administration-certified flight instructor. For nearly two years after that, he was in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program.

    He served as a forward air controller from 1990 to 1992. This included serving in Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division. He was stationed at Air Force bases in New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho and North Carolina. He even was stationed at an Army base in Missouri.

    His duties grew throughout his career.

    In the 1990s, he managed programs within a unit, from combat training to aviation safety. Other duties included mission commander, scheduler, training officer, safety officer and aircraft mishap lead investigating officer.

    He decided to leave the USAF in 2001. Then, 9/11 happened, and Porter continued serving until January 2010, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

    "Military aviation training is really conducive to learning a different industry," he said. "This is especially true on the technical side. Flying a plane, you're not designing the hydraulic system or cockpit pressurization. But you do need to understand all of it in an operational context. Applying my Air Force experience gave me a method to rapidly learn ONEOK's moderately complex systems."

    Porter is involved in the Veterans Resource Group (VRG).

    "There are opportunities for us as a company to understand and apply some military methods in leadership," he said. "One such method is problem-solving, a skill that can transfer into the broader organization. It's also important to understand an individual's background. You need to know their capabilities and the unique challenges that may come from their background. This includes service-related disabilities.

    "VRG can assist our company in better understanding the needs of our veterans, as well as leveraging knowledge from the military for use in our work."

    VRG’s mission is to broaden and strengthen ONEOK’s culture, focusing on the professional development and engagement of military veterans and their supporters.