2020 Veteran Hero Awards
Veteran Service Officer or Mentor
Organization University California Irvine (UCI) Student Services
Position Convener OC Veterans & Military Families Collaborative/Program Manager
Jeff Pagano is a US Marine Corps veteran and a Second Lieutenant in the California State Guard, serving as the senior recruiter for the Army Component Command. I first met Jeff at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services where he served as the Manager of Operations for Veteran Services. He quickly became a mentor, battle-buddy, and friend. Currently serving as the very first program manager of the UCI convener program for the Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative, Jeff works alongside the partnership’s steering committee and its 10 working groups organized around veteran needs to improve their collective-impact model approach. Most recently Pagano served as the veteran services manager at the Tierney Veteran Services Center | Goodwill of Orange County. In his military career, Pagano served on the Presidential Helicopters Security Team for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. During his almost two years as the Program Manager for the Convener OCVMFC, Jeff has accomplished invaluable accomplishments for the benefit of all veterans and their families in Orange County. Currently convening and leading the Orange County Veterans & Military Family Collaborative (OCVMFC) as an Executive Board member, leveraging UCI talent and resources to build cooperation and collaboration between 100 non-profits serving veteran communities in Southern California • Within the first 90 days, implemented a 21-member Steering Committee strategic planning retreat, resulting in an OCVMFC 5-year organizational strategic plan and an action matrix • Working with the OCVMFC Executive Committee, assisted in the development of leadership for their 10 Working Groups and their 3-year strategic plans. • Maintained donor relationships and wrote grants and performance reports • Aided in development of the OCVMFC Older Adult Veteran Task Force addressing the growing needs of our underserved veteran population over the age of 50 • Developed, in collaboration with the OCVMFC PR Working Group, marketing and outreach tools to include: OCVMFC’s website (ocvmfc.info), printed collateral, Established and social media portfolio to include Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn • Produced a 1 day HR symposium at UCI educating companies and HR Managers on the value of hiring veterans while dispelling false narratives. 21 employment experts and companies volunteered their time to this event including Northrop Grumman, UnitedHealth Group, LA Metro and Crown Equipment • Le a committee that researched, reviewed and is recommending a case coordination platform for OCVMFC inter-service case coordination • Executed 4 successful OCVMFC General Meetings with over 100 in attendance for each, which included influencers from the veteran, academic and government agencies focusing on veteran suicide, homelessness, non-profit board development and strategic planning. While serving as the Manager for Operations, Veteran Services at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services, Jeff also served as the interim director for one year. Jeff was able to accomplish so much as a mentor to veterans, as well as establishing one of the premier veteran serving organizations in the county. Jeff served as the Division manager directing Outreach, Vocational Rehabilitation, Employment Services and Vocational Assessment departments. • Restructured, developed and managed 4 operational teams consisting of 20 employees • Increased veteran employment from 125 in full time positions per year to over 280 making the Tierney Center the number one veteran placement agency in Orange County • Improved average starting wage increase for veterans from $12.50 per hour to over $25.00 per hour through relationships and training • Improved collaborative and strategic relationships with other veteran service providers resulting in over 900 partner referrals per year • Led Peer Navigation Teams to identify, outreach and follow-up with over 240 veterans per month • Assisted in writing government and private grants resulting in over $500,000 in funding • Voted in as member of the Steering Committee with the Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative • Voted in as the Vice President of Veteran Business Network of Orange County, developed business social mixers from 40 veterans in attendance per month to over 120 • Created successful peer navigated outreach and marketing campaigns reaching and connecting with over 8,000 veterans though non-traditional approaches • Launched a regional Vocational Rehabilitation program and created a SOP in for other Goodwill franchises in California for program implementation. Jeff is a major leader in the Orange County Veterans and Military Families as the Program Manager for the Convener, served as Vice President for the US Veterans Business Alliance, Orange County Chapter mentoring veteran entrepreneurs, has served in numerous CEO positions in his private businesses, and is Vice President for the Jeanette Bertea Hennings Foundation, His recent volunteer work in the California State Guard has made incredible contributions towards establishing the Army Component Command's Recruiting Program, and General Staff Operations. He remains Always Faithful "Semper FIdelis" in his dedication to Orange County's Veterans and their Families.