JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Evans and Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Thomas, both of Navy Talent Acquisition Group San Antonio, have been selected as national recruiters of the year by Navy Recruiting Command.
Evans, NTAG San Antonio medical officer recruiter, is the National Medical Officer Recruiter of the Year, and Thomas, NTAG San Antonio Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate recruiter, is the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Recruiter of the Year, Nation. The awards are for their accomplishments in Navy recruiting for fiscal year 2020.
Both of them were also recognized as recruiters of the year at the local level for NTAG San Antonio.
Evans, 44, has served in the Navy for 12 years and has been a Navy recruiter for more than two years. His primary recruiting area is the Waco-Temple area of Central Texas, where he focuses on recruiting college students to become officers in the Navy Medical Service Corps as physicians, dentists or nurses.
“I get a chance to bring in commissioned officers into the United States Navy and that is pretty cool,” Evans said. “I get to change people’s lives. They have a passion for service. I connect their passion for service into reality.”
When Evans started out as a recruiter, his biggest challenge was establishing connections at Baylor University in Waco, where he gets most of his recruits.
He said the campus had been underutilized as a recruiting area for years and it took him several months to make contacts and connections at the university. Once he did, Evans said he was able to gain access to building relationships with faculty, university administrators and students, which has increased Navy recruiting awareness and people joining the Navy.
According to Evans, his past service in the Navy as a hospital corpsman has helped in connecting him with college students who are in the medical field.
“I can speak not only their language, but I can speak to the exact experience they will have in the field of Navy medicine and address their concerns,” Evans said. “In general, I can paint the picture of what the next 10 to 20 years of their lives are going to be like.”
Thomas, 39, has served in the Navy for 17 years and has been a recruiter for five years. He became a Nuclear Propulsion Officer Recruiter, or NUPOC, recruiter two years ago.
Thomas’ recruiting focus is applicants who have science, technology, engineering and math degrees who want to serve as nuclear engineers on submarines and other ships that have nuclear reactors, or nuclear engineer instructors at technical schools.
“My recruiting job is unique because I get to recruit sailors who will do some of the toughest, most challenging jobs in the Navy,” Thomas said.
Thomas said one of the most rewarding parts of being a recruiter is the feeling he is helping to change people’s lives. He said he keeps in contact with the Sailors he has recruited and he takes satisfaction in their successes as they progress in the Navy.
“They have let me be a part of their life now,” Thomas said. “All of them are officers. It’s a rewarding feeling to see how they have grown in their Navy careers.”
Thomas, a San Antonio native, enlisted in the Navy in 2003 and then got out and became a peace officer. He rejoined the Navy in 2007 as a Reservist assigned to a Naval Reserve unit at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
He became a recruiter with Navy Recruiting District San Antonio in 2015, which became NTAG San Antonio last year.
Both Evans and Thomas were picked for their respective awards among those serving across the Navy Recruiting Command, consisting of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 26 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups, or NTAGs, and 64 Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers, or TAOCs, that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the world.