team accomplishments over individual achievements — “and it
was difficult to exactly explain what I had done in the military.”
Rawlings had expertise in networking, but the military
networks she worked on have many more components than
civilian systems. Among other things, they might incorporate
technology called Blue Force Tracking, a GPS-based system for
identifying forces in the field. “It was hard to make all these
other devices I was working with sound applicable” in a civilian
setting, Rawlings says.
But she succeeded, receiving an offer from Humana shortly
after she separated from the Army. She is currently part of a team
that provides security consulting services to business unit leaders.
“When they have a business function that needs to happen, we
make sure they achieve their goals securely,” she explains.
military experienCe: U.S. Air Force,
1985-1998, noncommissioned officer.
Specialized in electronics intelligence for
the Air Force Space Command; served in
Colorado, Nebraska, Spain and Italy.
Civilian role: IT manager (responsible
for 18 project managers) at Progressive
Casualty Insurance, Cleveland.
As a veteran and as a manager who has veterans reporting
to him, Dennis Thoma says military experience teaches two
concepts that are key to IT: the need for strong security and the
importance of solid project management.
Security in particular is in the military’s DNA, Thoma points
out. “When you start to look at securing networks, securing
data, those times when you’re transferring encrypted data, even
Sarbanes-Oxley — a lot of that was new at one point to the civil-
ian world and to IT.”
In contrast, the military has been focusing on security for
“a long time,” he says. “They’ve understood hacking for years.”
Thoma himself came out of the Air Force with significant ex-
perience in worldwide program management. He says that skill
translates easily to companies that do business with the Depart-
ment of Defense — but not as easily to mainstream corporate
operations. For that reason, he picked up Project Management
Professional (PMP) certification following his discharge, a move
he recommends to veterans as a way of validating that their mili-
tary skills will cross over to the civilian side.
military experienCe: U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 2005. U.S.
Navy, 2005-2011; surface warfare officer, served as first lieutenant on
a cruiser and as navigator on a frigate, both out of Mayport Naval
Station; deployed to the Horn of Africa, Persian Gulf and the western
coast of South America.
Civilian role: Member of the sales and marketing development
program at Siemens Energy, Jackson, Miss.
After 10 years in the Navy, Jimmy Lamz was ready for a
change. With a wife and two young children, he didn’t want to
deploy again, yet the economy was in shambles.
Lamz set to work trying to translate a decade’s worth of highly
skilled military experience into layman’s terms, which was “kind
of a scary,” he says. “Some skills translate [easily] and some don’t.”
Lamz graduated from the Naval Academy in 2005 with a
degree in IT, but the course of study was heavy on engineering
as well. “I took thermodynamics, electrical engineering, [calcu-
lus] and physics alongside more computer-science-type courses
like networking and other IT-type classes,” he relates.
At a career fair, he made contact with Orion International,
a recruiting firm that specializes in military placements, and
Orion put him in touch with Siemens Corp., which has a
well-established veterans hiring program. “I never guessed in
a million years that I’d wind up working for an engineering
company, and that I’d be working in sales.”
The fit makes sense, though, he says. In the Navy, he gained
experience working with the gas turbines that turn ships’
propellers, for example. In his first three months at Siemens, he
assessed markets for gas turbines in South America, looking at
both economic fundamentals and technical requirements.
at&t »“there is the perception that veterans can be resistant to change,
but that’s not the case,” says rachel
Book, lead employee staffing manager/
recruiter at at&t. “imagine being in
combat, where you need to change
the plan and do something completely
different in a moment’s notice, while
people are shooting at you. after that, a
new email system is not going to be much
of a problem.”
Humana »“veterans are very familiar with a lot of the values that
we value: honor and commitment
and service,” says kevin stakelum,
talent acquisition director at Humana.
“those are requirements, really,
for a lot of our positions, and the
[veterans] that we hire demonstrate