Mike Panus can’t begin to describe how happy he is to be working at FEMA. He called it a job that helped give him his life back. “A financial struggle is not a good struggle to have in life,” he said. “It’s a very stressful one.” And it’s a struggle Sgt. Mike Panus of the U.S. Marine Corps never thought he’d have to deal with when he left the military.

He spent years establishing himself as a motivational speaker. But then the pandemic hit, and Panus was out of a job. “I would turn on the app Uber when I did not have my daughter and drive 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 hours a night just to keep money coming in and my head afloat,” Panus said. But then Panus found something that changed his life: a virtual job fair. It was created using software from a Delray Beach company called Premier Virtual.

The software allows employers to connect with potential employees all over the world. “Every company can go out there and do a virtual hiring event because people can log in from anywhere,” said Steve Edwards, CEO of Premier Virtual. And because Edwards was once Corporal Edwards of the U.S. Army, many of the job fairs are geared toward veterans. “There’s better resources today than when I got out of the army, but to know that we’re a huge part of that, it’s absolutely amazing,” he said.

In just six months in 2020, Premier Virtual did over 2000 virtual events with 25,000 organizations and more than 250,000 job seekers. One of those 250,000 was Mike Panus. He said he landed the job at FEMA within a week of the fair. “It definitely helped me have less anxiety and be able to be myself and be the best parent and the best person I can be for my daughter,” he said.