Keeping Pace

Wall Street urged to recruit disabled veterans.


Jobs may be hard to come by on Wall Street these days, but firms that are hiring should consider recruiting disabled veterans, says retired Marines General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Known for their loyalty and a willingness to serve with integrity and courage, Pace says, they’re just what the embattled industry needs.

“People are looking to give their money to somebody they trust,” he says, “and disabled veterans are of a unique character.” This kind of trust is what the financial world needs right now, he adds.

Pace, who stepped down last year in the aftermath of Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s dismissal, is heading the advisory board of the Wall Street Warfighters Foundation. Established by Drexel Hamilton, a start-up broker-dealer in Philadelphia founded by disabled Vietnam War vet Lawrence Doll, the new foundation is launching a training program dubbed Operation Wall Street to help veterans find jobs in finance.

“It’s an opportunity to get them into a work environment where their physical limitations really have no impact, to see that there really are limitless possibilities,” explains Pace, who has an MBA from George Washington University and is an operating partner with New York private equity firm Behrman Capital. Pace served in Vietnam with Doll, a land developer and builder who was shot twice in the legs in 1969.

The executives of Drexel Hamilton see the current market downturn as an opportunity. “Wall Street is very patriotic,” asserts Brooks Hulitt, a partner and business development manager. “Through this crisis, Washington and Wall Street are coming together.”

The first two trainees — both lost both legs in combat in Iraq — will start a six-month training program in January. They will study at Goldman Sachs University to prepare for securities licensing exams and then move on to internships at Drexel Hamilton or other participating firms, including Goldman, Sachs & Co., the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq OMX Group and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.