Ever since he was a child, Derek Rugge had wanted to serve his country through meaningful and rewarding work, and he admits that the tragic events of 9/11 were the trigger for his decision. Rugge learned a lot about himself during his service in the U.S. Navy. He learned that he could endure very stressful situations without having this affect his duties or commitment to his fellow aircrewmen during a mission, many of whom have become like family.
With two deployments under his belt, Rugge was awarded an Air Medal for his missions. He left the Navy to go to college under the GI Bill at Michigan State University for a degree in Supply Chain Management. At MSU, he was also on the MSU Shooting Team and was a member of the Student Veterans Association. His transition into Ford Motor Company began as an internship last summer, after which he started working full-time for Ford in August through the Ford College Graduate Program (FCG).
Rugge feels that Ford helped him a lot during his transition into civilian life. He loves that he gets to work alongside many veterans just like himself, which feels as if one is meeting one’s extended family for the first time. It’s a unique experience that only a close-knit group could provide.
When he’s not working, Rugge enjoys off-roading and working on cars, something he’s been doing ever since he was kid. He’s currently trying to get into ice hockey, but most of all he enjoys traveling. Rugge is proud to say that he’s already been to 11 countries, with a goal of traveling to one foreign country a year, as he loves meeting new people from around the world and learning about their unique backgrounds and cultures.