Engineering

BTU #236 - Verizon Panel with Tommy Jones, Robert Brandt and Hector Milan

BTU #236 - Verizon Panel with Tommy Jones, Robert Brandt and Hector Milan

Why Listen:
This is a unique interview in that (1) it's a panel of three employees and perspectives from Verizon, and (2) in addition to the audio podcast, there is a video version as well. This is a great look at what it's like to transition to a large company, and the advantages that provides. The three perspectives of Tommy, Robert, and Hector provide an immense amount of quality advice around interviewing, preparing for your transition, and why Veterans should consider a career at Verizon.

About our Panel:
Tommy Jones is a Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition - Enterprise Sales & Services, as well as the Leader of Military Programs. He has been with Verizon for 6 years, and served in the Army Signal Corps as a Non-Commissioned Officer, retiring as an E-8.

Hector Milan(mil-e-on) recently joined Verizon as a Field Operations Manager. Previously, he served in the Army as a Master Trainer, Supervisor, and Recruiter, retiring as an E-8.

Robert Brandt has worked with Verizon for 22 years, holding roles as Facility Tech, Local Manager, and now as an Area Operations Manager. In his current role, he leads 12 local managers and over 200 associates across six work centers. He previously served in the Marine Corps Infantry.

BTU #33: Brit Yonge - Navy to High Tech at Palantir Technologies

“Just being totally honest - you really are far behind. It's a better assumption that you're behind that you're ahead. It's not like  everyone else who didn't spend time in the military is out there playing Lincoln Logs. They've got a job and they're developing skills and they're learning. I went into my transition with the assumption that I was nine years behind every pedigreed person out there. And I feel that attitude helped drive my hunger to play a very intense game of catch up." – Brit Yonge

Brit Yonge is the Chief of Staff to the CTO at Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto based technology company that has raised over $2B in funding, and was co-founded by silicon valley legend, Peter Thiel. Brit started out at the Naval Academy and served as an officer in the Navy for 5 years, where he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) supporting Special Operations Forces (SOF) in kinetic and non-kinetic operations. Brit transitioned from the military directly to Palantir Technologies, first as a Deployment Strategist and then as their Head of Asia ex Japan, where he lead Palantir's Asia HQ, and now as the Chief of Staff to the CTO.

 

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • How Brit, while living on a friend’s couch in San Diego, used the motivation of “one conversation a day” to search for his first job out of the military
  • How Brit would explain Silicon Valley and the ethos of startups to someone on active duty
  • How persistence and serendipity helped him land his first job (because he didn’t go through the front door)
  • How you can use interviews to better understand a company’s values and how well it aligns with your own
  • How leadership outside of the military differs from leadership in the military
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

 

  • Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning essay: https://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/shawth/mans%20Search

Show Notes

  • 2:09 - Brit’s background
  • 2:57 - How Brit decided to leave the Navy
  • 4:32 - How Brit approached the Reserves and why he ultimately decided to not pursue the Reserves
  • 5:01 - The most surpassing aspects of Brit’s transition to a civilian career
  • 8:31 - How Brit, while living on a friend’s couch in the Bay Area, used the motivation of “one conversation a day” to search for his first job out of the military
  • 10:49 - How Brit would explain Silicon Valley and the ethos of startups to someone on active duty
  • 13:49 - How Brit found Palantir through his understanding of their product (and how to use the products you like to help in your job search)
  • 18:28 - How persistence and serendipity helped him land his first job (because he didn’t go through the front door)
  • 20:22 - How you can use interviews to better understand a company’s values and how well it aligns with your own
  • 22:12 - In the first couple of years out of the Navy, how Brit felt ahead and behind his civilian counterparts
  • 26:04 - The day-to-day life in a high-tech company in Silicon Valley
  • 30:47 - How leadership outside of the military differs from leadership in the military
  • 35:29 - How to prepare for a transition to the civilian world
  • 43:54- Final words of advice

BTU #16 - John Vardaman: Construction, Project Management, and Tesla

“And I think sometimes that was hard to admit to ourselves and to others in the military: it was a little scary looking out there at the job market and trying to figure out how am I going to make this work and make this happen? It is not that bad - and I would encourage folks to be confident in themselves and their skills. You've been equipped with the skills to land pretty much any job out there." – John Vardaman

John Vardaman is a Senior Construction Manager at Tesla. He started his career in the Construction Industry at DPR Construction, where he served as a Project Manager. While at DPR Construction, he earned his Masters in Sustainable Design and Construction at Stanford University. In the military, John served as a Human Intelligence Officer in the Marine Corps, and graduated from the US Naval Academy.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • How John used multiple recruiters over the course of a year to find his ideal job
  • What it's like to be a Project Manager, and how the military prepares you for this role
  • The benefits of pursuing advanced education once you have civilian working experience
  • How to explain your background to an employer in terms that will resonate with them
  • How to approach the job search with confidence and humility
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • [2:00] John's Background
  • [2:48] Making the decision to leave the Marine Corps
  • [4:54] Evaluating whether or not to join the Reserves
  • [6:30] Choosing his first job, and working with Recruiters (and the pros and cons of Recruiters)
  • [9:18] Starting to work with Recruiters one year from separation and the advantages of more time for interviews
  • [12:30] What drew John to Construction and Project Management
  • ** [13:20] John does an amazing job explaining his past as it would help in a Project Management role. I thought this was a great, tangible example of how to sell your background for ones desired role
  • [16:20] John explains how he would explain his military background in a Project Management role
  • [19:27] Day-to-day life of a Project Manager in the Construction industry
  • [22:40] Where John felt ahead of his peers based on his military service... and where he felt behind
  • [25:48] The most surprising aspect of John's transition to life as a civilian
  • [31:23] How leadership outside of the military differs from leadership in the military
  • [34:18] Pursuing a Master's at Stanford while working, and how John benefited from having experience before pursuing advanced education
  • [39:37] John's experience working at Tesla, and how great it is to work at a company aligned with your values
  • [44:44] Final words of advice for military personnel and other veterans

BTU #9 - Will Grannis: Boeing, Google, Startups and More

“Asking for help sometimes for some people implies weakness. If there's one thing I did that was semi-smart it was realizing that I wasn't going to be able to do it on my own and asking for help from those who were closest to me and had the most vested interest in my success." – Will Grannis

Will Grannis is the Managing Director of the Cloud CTO Office at Google. Since his time as an officer in the Army, he's had an incredible career prior to Google, including: Founding a company that was acquired after just two years; serving as the Chief Technology Officer for L-3 Communications, a company with over 38,000 employees worldwide; leading Boeing's Advanced Information Solutions team.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • His decision to leave the Army.
  • How he leveraged his closest relationships to land his first civilian job
  • How the Army most prepared him for his first job, and where he had to catch up to his peers
  • How overhearing a conversation in an adjacent cubicle changed his career
  • The advantages of working in a small office environment
  • How valuable industry experience is prior to pursuing an advanced degree
  • What it's like to work through the first part of a week, hop on a plane and attend grad school, fly back home and start the whole cycle over again
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • [1:45] Background info
  • [3:04] Approaching the decision to leave the Army
  • [5:40] Active duty to IRR... and then to the Reserves
  • [7:51] The Telecom industry and a role as Program Manager
  • [10:19] How Will approached his job start when he first left the Army
  • [14:38] Day-to-day life in Will's first civilian job in the Telecom Industry, and why small companies are so valuable for veterans
  • [20:58] How the Army was a competitive advantage for Will... and where he had to catch up
  • [22:52] The biggest surprise Will faced when he transitioned to civilian life
  • [25:35] Making the transition to Boeing after one year as a civilian
  • [32:31] Pursuing an MBA at Wharton while working at Boeing
  • [36:15] How to consider grad school or straight to industry and what degree to pursue
  • [38:48] Final advice to anyone on Active Duty