The Navy celebrates its best recruiters once a year in 16 categories, and Fields received the top award early this year for the Nuclear Power Officer Candidate Program; very few individuals recruit for the Nuclear Power program, and they are trained to screen potential candidates heavily.
Many ideal candidates have bachelor's degrees or even master's degrees in physics or another advanced science. Fields attends events such as engineering fairs to put himself in the midst of the right kind of people.
Physical fitness and mental capability are two key hurdles a recruit must clear to be considered for service in the Navy, Fields says.
"A very small number of potential candidates are physically qualified to be recruited," he says. The second requirement is that all recruits score well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. "The ASVAB tells me about a potential recruit's ability to learn. I also evaluate high school and college transcripts."
Identifying an intangible quality in another person is what helps make a good recruiter great. Fields says, "The Navy is looking for people who want to be leaders, who want to be part of a team."
Fields lives in Colorado with his wife, Heidi, and daughter, Brooke. His recruiting district serves portions of six states surrounding Denver, and he is pursuing an online bachelor's degree from American Military University, based in Charles Town, with the Navy paying his tuition.
He says offering a qualified recruit the career opportunity and sense of direction the Navy provides is always a highlight of what he does. "Joining the Navy is the best decision I ever made. I've been able to have a career like no other. I love being able to share that with others."
Reach Elizabeth Gaucher at Elizabeth.Gauc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.