BTU 266 - Army Veteran to Senior Security Administrator @ Amgen (Rene Berlingeri)

WhenI was deployed, the company supported my wife and family. I knew my job would be waiting for me when I got back from deployment.
— Rene Berlingeri

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Why Listen:
Rene work for Amgen in their Puerto Rico office, where he oversees an expansive security system. He talks about life at Amgen, about his work with military Veterans within Amgen, about continuing to serve on reserves and complete multiple deployments all while still working at Amgen, about passion and doing things with purpose in your heart and much more.

About Rene:
Rene Berlingeri is a Senior Security Administrator for Amgen's Manufacturing footprint in Puerto Rico. He served in the Army for nearly 30 years, retiring as a Command Sergeant Major. He lives with his wife and six children in Puerto Rico.

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Selected Resources: 

Transcript & Time Stamps:


Joining me today from Puerto Rico is Rene Berlingeri. Could you share a little bit more with us about your role at Amgen?

I work at a biotech company out of Amgen’s Puerto Rico office. I joined Amgen in 2003. I design security systems - I create them with the security department and I also support the day-to-day security operations of the plant. I support the operations of all of our various security objects.

I’ve deployed twice during my time at Amgen to support operations in the Middle East. During those times, the company supported my family. My wife was pregnant and they did a baby shower for her. They sent me care packages. I knew that when I returned from deployment, I could go back into my job. Those things made me feel like they really care about their employees.


What is a typical day like for you?

This morning I came in and checked our security systems. I check to see if there have been any incidents during the night. I also check in with our time to verify what is going on with operations and what they might need to support that. At the end of the day, I do an analysis of what we need to accomplish in the next week or month.

I act as a senior security advisor for our executive team. He tells me the route that he wants to take and I make sure that we’re able to meet that.


What was that like being in the Reserves?

Even though Reservists might have full time jobs outside of the military, they care about being Reservists because they want to serve their country. They make the choice to devote their free time to being part of the military and serving the United States.

I’ve been deployed three times during my time in the Reserves. It’s always been about serving my family and my country.


You head Amgen’s Veteran Employee Network. Can you tell us about that?

We have several affinity groups within Amgen. The veterans group is very diverse - there are women, men, and all kinds of backgrounds. We have pillars inside the organization that are based on supporting the diversity of our employees. We believe that empowered employees will make great products. We also value the company. Here in Puerto Rico, we do many community events. We do an event on Veterans Day to support local veterans. We also do job fairs in the community. Veterans from Amgen go with HR representatives to job fairs and other events to recruit other veterans to join us.


Why is Amgen a good fit for veterans?

Amgen is very organized. Everything is based on standard operating procedures. Military members will be familiar with that. What we create, we create with passion. We do this because we believe in the product that Amgen produces.


If someone wants to work in manufacturing setting like you do, do they need specific certifications?

When I started at Amgen, it was completely different than what I was used to. But it was easy for me to make those changes and adapt to the operations at Amgen. Amgen is very mission focused and goal centered.

Past experience in these fields will definitely help you but it’s not necessarily a must.


Can you talk about the different opportunities that are available at Amgen?

You usually start as a specialist and then move up to manager and then director. There are definitely opportunities for promotion for higher performers.

This company has something called “full potential”. That means that you have opportunities to cross train in other roles and functions that interest you.


You’re the Army Reserves Ambassador to Puerto Rico. What is that?

I was offered that role when I retired. The General here in Puerto Rico and she asked me why I was retiring so early. I told her there were other things that I wanted to accomplish. So she asked me after I retired if I would take on the role of Ambassador to Puerto Rico. It’s an outreach program and it’s completely voluntary for me. We serve as a tie between the community and the Army Reserve in Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria, the Reserves did a lot to help the community. We delivered a powerful message on all the different roles the Army Reserves take on.


Are there any resources you would recommend to listeners?

There are a few books that I would recommend:

From Good to Great by Jim Collins

Execution: the Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy

Seven Military Classics of Ancient China


Is there anything else you’d like to share with listeners?

I want to thank everyone that has served. Only 1% of our population has worn the uniform. If we don't have a military that defends our democracy, that is a bad situation. We do this because we are proud of our uniform and we want to serve our nation. I joined the Army as an E-1 and went all the way to E-9. So I thank military members for all of the sacrifices they have made for our country.