November 12, 2018
By Rick Rothacker
In one of his most memorable Air Force missions, Tim Tarchick helped oversee rescue operations in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Now in his latest role as the Veteran Program Director at Bank of America Merchant Services, the retired Air Force colonel is still focused on helping people – particularly veterans, guardsmen, reservists and family members of those serving in the military. His job is to recruit them to the company and support them once they’re hired
“What I have a passion for is getting our veterans, guard and reserve personnel and their spouses employed whether it’s for us or somebody else,” said Tarchick, who is better known by the nickname “T2.” “I want them to be employed by us, but I will help them however I can.”
Tarchick, who is married with six children, joined Bank of America Merchant Services in 2014 after 35-plus years of Air Force service. He has been Veteran Program Director since 2016 and also serves in the role of Vice President, Implementation and Service Operations.
He started Bank of America Merchant Services’ veteran program from the ground up, and one of his most notable accomplishments, the company’s Military Affinity Group (MAG), recently celebrated its two-year anniversary.
Launched in August 2016, the MAG is an associate organization that works to attract, recruit, hire, retain and develop military veterans, current guardsmen and reservists and military family members across the company. It also brings in guest speakers on a quarterly basis and sponsors community service projects that benefit veterans.
Any associate, regardless of whether they served, can join. The MAG now has more than 280 members.
As a boy, Tarchick wanted to be a Marine like his father, but his dad instead steered him toward the Air Force. He started basic training about a week after he graduated high school in June 1978.
Tarchick began his military career as an enlisted airman, first as an X-Ray technician, and then working as a loadmaster in the back of C-130 Hercules transport planes. After obtaining a business administration degree from Youngstown State, he went to officer training school and then flight school. Soon after, he started flying C-130s and then the KC-135 Stratotanker.
During his career, he held a variety of senior leadership roles. He was a three-time U.S. Air Force Wing Commander and two-time Installation Commander and led over 12,000 airmen over the course of his career. In his final role, he was the 94th Airlift Wing Commander and commander of Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia.
“I’ve had a lot of tremendous leadership experiences over the course of 35-and-a-half years, leading large organizations,” he said. “In my last assignment, I had the great honor and privilege of leading 5,000 of America’s finest with 35 direct reports, overseeing 2,200 acres and 15 airplanes. It was like being a mayor of a small town.”
Tarchick said the highlight of his peacetime work came in August 2005.
“When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, we were the first rescue helicopters over the Superdome in New Orleans,” he said. “We rescued 1,043 people in 12 days. We were flying helicopters and C-130s around the clock with our crews. We were extracting people off roofs for 12 days.”
He also counts numerous wartime accomplishments.
Tarchick flew combat missions in Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991 and in Operation Provide Promise, a humanitarian relief operation in Sarajevo in 1993. In 2005, his crews in Afghanistan picked up wounded Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his three fallen comrades. Luttrell’s story was later told in the book and movie “Lone Survivor.”
Focus on hiring veterans
Bank of America Merchant Services’ focus on hiring veterans comes from the top, Tarchick said.
It’s been a priority for CEO Tim Tynan since he assumed leadership of the company in May 2014. Currently, Bank of America Merchant Services has more than 50 veterans in its workforce, with plans to hire more.
In another sign of the company’s stance on the military, Tynan in 2017 signed a statement of support for the Guard and Reserve, part of a Defense Department program that encourages employers to advocate for employee participation in the military.