Comcast NBCUniversal was recently recognized by Military Times as the #3 best employer for veterans. With a commitment to hiring 21,000 members of the military community by the end of 2021, the global media and technology company is more than "military-friendly." It's "military ready." In this interview we talk about why Veterans may enjoy a career at Comcast NBCUniversal, what it’s like to be a test engineer, and how finding bugs and breaking products help ensure that customers don’t do either of these things. We talk about finding a community after the military, ways to give back, the unexpected struggles Veterans face in their military transition, and more.
Louis Daleandro is a Manager of New Product Introduction, Xfinity Mobile at Comcast. He served in the Navy for over 15 years, first as a Mess Specialist on board the USS Baton Rouge SSN 689. He then served from 1992- 1994 as part of the DECOM CREW where he was "SS qualified." He then transferred to the USS MCKEE AS-41, Submarine Tender based out of Point Loma, San Diego, CA. He also deployed overseas to support the war efforts for Operation Enduring Freedom- Noble Eagle. He has worked at Comcast for over seven years, and is a founding member of Comcast’s VetNet leadership team.
Why Listen: Ben’s first job out of the Army was at Amgen, and he has worked there for nearly 23 years. In this interview we talk about the variety of roles he has held at Amgen. We also talk about Ben’s extensive experience mentoring many Veterans through American Corporate Partners. Ben shares advice for listeners based on his mentorship work and common challenges he’s seen Veterans face. He talks about the importance of understanding why you are leaving the military. He shares advice about networking and how a connection with another Veteran lead to his work in Research & Development. He talks about how to explain one’s background to someone who is not familiar with the military. He shares why it’s important to be as close as possible to selling a product or making a product. And we talk about much, much more.
About Ben: Ben Chu is a Director, Global Program Management at Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company. Amgen’s mission is to serve patients by developing innovative and transformative medicines. He started out at West Point, after which he served as a Combat Engineer in the Army for over 6 years. He has worked at Amgen for nearly 23 years, starting out in Amgen’s Engineering organization, and then, with the help of the veteran’s network, landed a PM role in R&D, where he has worked in a variety of leadership roles (Pre-Clinical, Clinical, Regulatory & Safety, and now Commercialization). Ben holds an M.S. Engineering from UCLA and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University.
Why Listen: After the loss of her leg, Patty continued to serve on Active Duty and eventually competed for the US in the Paralympics. In this interview she talks about how her accident changed her view on athletics, and how to shift one’s thinking from Post Traumatic Stress to Post Traumatic Growth. We talk about the difficulties Veterans face in their career transition around finding a new identity, and how to get out of your comfort zone and find new goals to combat this. We talk about the “imposter syndrome,” workalike balance, consulting, and more.
About Patty: Patty Collins is a Principal at the McChrystal Group, which has leadership development offerings that are designed to equip leaders with the knowledge and tools to shape culture and cultivate performance within their organizations. Patty served as an Army Communications Officer for over 24 years, and spent over seven years assigned to Special Mission units within the Joint Special Operations Command. After her transition from the military, Patty was a member of the 2016 US Paralympic Team, representing the U.S. in the sport of Triathlon in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Patty holds a Master’s degree from the National War College and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University.
Why Listen: Elliot has a long history in startups and operations. In this interview, we talk about the hiring process on how to play competing offers off of each other in order to get the best outcome possible. We talk about a variety of ways to get a job. We talk about Elliot’s experience in the General Manager position, a role that may be appealing to many Veterans. We talk about changing one’s job title from a big to a small company and how to approach this. And we talk about operations - operations in a tech startup, as well as operations in the cost-driven physical products world.
About Elliot: Elliot Wilson is the Vice President of Operations at ZipRecruiter, which is the smartest way to hire and get hired. He started out at the Air Force Academy, after which he served in the Air Force for nearly three years. He has worked as a Senior Product Manager at Pictage, General Manager overseeing 250 employees at Lovejoy, and Area Director of Distribution at Sherman-Williams. He holds both an MS and MBA from Loyola Marymount University.
In the past I've interviewed veterans involved in Franchises. Gordon started a company that has become a franchise with over 1,700 locations, and many of their franchise owners are veterans. He gives an incredibly vivid look at what it is like to start and grow a company, how to remain fresh and grow with your business, and how failures are never final.
For those interested in a career in Management Consulting, Kristen does a fantastic job of breaking down what the projects and day-to-day life are like, as well as very tactical steps to prepare for your interview. But even if you're not interested in consulting, Kristen has great advice on how to explain your skills and make a connection with the person interviewing you for whatever job you pursue.
Trevor managed to go directly from Active Duty military to Bain & Company, something that less than 7% of military veterans in Management Consulting are able to do. He talks about preparing for one's transition to a civilian career as early as possible, and also being willing to take a step back and take the longview on one's career.
Jason Hodell is the CEO of Skullcandy, which markets headphones, earphones, speakers and other products. Skullcandy was founded in 2003 and acquired in October 2016 by Mill Road Capital for $200 million. Jason started out at West Point, after which he served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army for five years. After the Army, he picked up his MBA at Wharton.He had an impressive career prior to Skullcandy, which we’ll discuss in the interview, and joined the Skullcandy team initially as their CFO & COO. Since that time the company has grown revenue from $210M to approximately $300m, and he was appointed as the CEO of Skullcandy about one year ago.
Jim Vesterman is the CEO of Raptor Technologies, which is the nation's leading provider of integrated safety technologies for K-12 schools. He got his undergraduate degree at Amherst College, after which he worked at both the Monitor Group and for a software startup. He deferred his MBA to join the Marine Corps as part of 3rd Force Recon Company. After he got his MBA from Wharton, he started an entrepreneurial vehicle called a search fund - which we’ll get into - called Liberty Place Capital. Liberty Place Capital ultimately purchased Raptor Technologies in 2012 and he has been running that company for 5 years.
Matthew Caldwell is the President and CEO of the Florida Panthers and Sunrise Sports & Entertainment. Matthew started out at West Point, after which he served in the U.S. Army for five years, conducting combat operations in Iraq and peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. Matthew worked as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs in their Investment Management Division, and then transitioned to Chief Operating Officer for the Panthers before being elevated to President and CEO. Matthew holds a JD/MBA from Northwestern University School of Law and the Kellogg School of Management
Nick Taranto is the Co-Founder & CEO of Plated, a company whose "Mission is to Help People Eat Better, and Live Better." Plated has raised over $55M in funding, and been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, NYT, Wired Magazine and more. He started out at Dartmouth College, after which he worked at KOMPIP Microfinance before going on to Harvard Business School. After HBS, he graduated from the Marine Corps' The Basic School, where he Drilled as an active reservist for 3 years. He also worked at Goldman Sachs as a Private Wealth Advisor prior to starting Plated.
Jon Boggiano and Chris Boggiano are the Co-Founders of Versame, which leverages technology for large scale impact to improve early childhood education and language development. Versame has raised $2.5M in funding and is a team of sixteen.
John Gossart is the Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer of GoodWorld (www.GoodWorld.me), the FinTech startup revolutionizing philanthropy and social payments. GoodWorld was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2016 and D.C.’s Best Technology Startup. Prior to GoodWorld, John was an original partner at RideScout (www.RideScout.com), the tech startup acquired by Daimler-Mercedes in 2014.
Elijah Crane (Eli) is the Founder and CEO of Bottle Breacher, a company that creates hand crafted 50 caliber bottle openers made by Military Veterans. As President of Bottle Breacher, Eli has grown Bottle Breacher’s annual revenue to over $5 million in 2015, applied for and received 7 patents, and Negotiated a partnership with Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. Eli started out in the Navy, where he served as a SEAL for over 15 years. He started Bottle Breacher while on active duty and has run the company for nearly five years now.
Alex Stone is the Founder & CEO of Athletes of Valor, who’s mission is to help veterans transition from service to career by leveraging the power of collegiate sports. He started out as a Sergeant in the Marine Corps, after which he worked as a Product Manager at Wellpower Sports Co, and then at Under Armour as both a Development Manager and then Product Line Manager.
Christopher Perkins is the Managing Director and Global Head of OTC Clearing at Citi and founder of Citi’s Military Veterans Networks. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He then served as an officer in the Marine Corps for over nine years. After the Marine Corps, Christopher worked at Lehman Brothers as their US Head of Derivatives Intermediation. He is also the co-founder of Veterans On Wall Street - an initiative dedicated to honoring former and currently military personnel by facilitating career and business opportunities in the financial services industry.
Justin M. Nassiri is the Founder & CEO of StoryBox, a digital marketing start-up that helps companies transform their customers into brand ambassadors. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served five years as an officer onboard nuclear submarines. After his transition from the military, he went to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, after which he started StoryBox. He started Beyond the Uniform at the end of 2016 in an effort to help military veterans navigate their civilian career.
Jacob Martinez is the President of Market Traders Institute, a trading technology and education company with over 200 employees. Jacob started out in the Army, where he served for 4.5 years in military intelligence achieving the rank of sergeant. He started out at Market Traders Institute as Vice President of Managed Accounts and has held virtually every position in the company.
Phil McConkey is the President of Academy Securities, our nation’s first and only post 9/11 military veteran and disabled veteran owned and operated investment bank and broker dealer. Phil has served in this capacity for the last 6 years. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served for five years as a Naval Aviator. After his military service, spent 6 years in the NFL, with the Packers, Cardinals, Chargers and the Giants - where he won the Super Bowl.
Seth Jordan is the Founder & Chairman of Dog Tag Brewing Foundation, a brewery that provides the highest quality crafted beers that deliver a message of gratitude for the selfless sacrifice of our nation’s military. Dog Tag Brewing donates 100% of profits to benefit charities created or selected by Gold Star Families,the families of fallen warriors.
Joe Musselman is the Founder & CEO of The Honor Foundation. He started out at DePaul University. Joe enlisted in the Navy with intentions of becoming a Navy SEAL, but as he says, “God had other plans.” He sustained an injury that ultimately lead him to found The Honor Foundation. He is also the Founder of The NEXT Series and The SOF Garage.
Drew is a Founding Partner at Empire Growth Group, a hybrid consulting agency, services provider, and investment vehicle. He started out Harvard, after which he served in the Navy as an intelligence Officer for four years. After his transition from the Navy, Drew attended Stanford Business School. After a role at Commerce.TV in Business Development, Drew co-founded Design Public, an 'inventoryless' ecommerce company focused on the home furnishings market, which Drew bootstrapped from $0 to 7 figures in under one year, eventually selling the company after eight profitable years. Drew also runs the site NerdMarketing.com, where he writes about marketing automation and customer segmentation rules that have driven over $100 million in transactions in 2015.
Nick Karnaze is the Founder & CEO of Stubble & Stache, a new breed of skincare for men, and a company that also donates a large of profits to high impact charities helping veterans travel the road to recovery. Nicholas started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served in the Marine Corps for over 7 years as an Intelligence Officer and the Special Operations community. After the Marine Corps he served as the Co-Founder and CEO of The Stabilization Group, and then as Program Lead at Praescient Analytics.
Rhumbix is based in San Francisco and is a mobile platform designed for the construction craft workforce. They were founded in 2014 and have raised over $13M in funding from investors including Greylock Partners, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Spectrum 28, and Glynn Capital.
Mike is the President of the Health Physics Division at Mirion Technologies, a provider of radiation detection & monitoring products and services to the nuclear power, medical, military and homeland security markets. He started out at Northwestern University, after which he as an officer in the Navy for ten years, serving on submarines and on the Chief of Naval Operations personal staff. After the Navy he received his MBA from the Darden School of Business, after which he worked at Bain & Company for nearly six years as a Principal.
Michael is the President & Owner of M3S Networking, a small business that focuses on dynamic problem-solving, particularly with startups and small businesses. He Started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served for seven years as a submarine officer. After his transition from the Navy, he spent two years working on a spy satellite job with the National Reconnaissance Office as an Acquisition/Project Officer. Michael is also the Chairman of the Navy Nuclear Power Officer Career Conference (NUPOCC), a career fair helping veterans transition from the military or find new jobs- those of you who have listened to Episode #55 with Ashley Snyder will remember this as the organization that she credited with landing a job at Google directly out of the Air Force. Finally, he's a husband, dad of 3 boys and is a credentialed baseball media member.