Veterans Helping Veterans in a Civilian Workforce

Wells Fargo team member and U.S. Air Force veteran Mark Durazo knows what it’s like to transition from military to civilian life, and he enjoys sharing his experience — and support — with fellow veterans.
Nov 23, 2018 9:00 AM ET

When Wells Fargo team member Mark Durazo was 18 years old and growing up in the small, mining town of Bisbee, Arizona, he wasn’t sure what to do with his life, but he knew he needed to find some kind of purpose. His dad had been a cook for the U.S. Army, and his uncle had retired from the U.S. Air Force after serving for more than 25 years, so he decided to follow in their footsteps. 

“Those two inspired me to want to serve my country,” Durazo said. “I wanted to give back what they had given.”

He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the age of 19 and served from 1987 to 1991 during the Gulf War. He left the military at a time when many of his friends were graduating from college and starting careers, and he felt behind.

“One of the challenges I faced when leaving the military was I didn’t know how to connect my skills to the right position,” Durazo said.

He spent the next 13 years trying to find the right career fit. When he applied for a job with Wells Fargo in 2004, he interviewed with a fellow veteran who helped Durazo realize that his skills from the military — such as discipline, adaptability, teamwork, and trust in others — were transferrable to a role with the company.

Today, Durazo is a business banking manager for Wells Fargo in San Diego. For more than five years, he has been an active member of Wells Fargo’s Veterans’ Team Member Network, which is focused on advocacy and community involvement to improve the lives of veterans, service members, and their families.

Durazo also helps with recruiting veterans and service members. Since 2012, Wells Fargo has hired more than 8,300 veterans.

“Helping individuals to find their next role and develop their skillset is something I love,” Durazo said. “Wells Fargo offers tremendous benefits to our team members. Those individuals who transition from military life really need those resources and to know their company is behind them. When a company makes a commitment to recruiting veterans, I think it’s important that they have veterans help with transitioning.”

Wells Fargo has an ongoing relationship with Zac Brown Band, working with the multiplatinum group to support veterans, service members, and their families. Over the last few years, Wells Fargo and Zac Brown Band have honored veterans at concerts, met with wounded veterans to talk about difficulties military service members face in transitioning to civilian life, and awarded veterans with mortgage-free homes.

As part of Wells Fargo and Zac Brown Band’s long-standing commitment to U.S. military members, Durazo and his partner were invited as special guests to attend the Grammy Award-winner’s concert in San Diego on Sept. 22.

“Having this experience with Zac Brown Band and Wells Fargo has been an amazing demonstration of the dedication they both have for veterans and the veteran community,” Durazo said. Visit Wells Fargo Stories to watch the video.