In these conversations we explore the military-to-civilian transition and job search process, speaking with veterans leaving a positive mark on society every day in the world around them. We hear the stories of honorably discharged men and women of the US Armed Forces about the good, the bad, the ugly they encountered while building civilian lives for themselves and their families. If you're looking for good advice during your daily commute, workout, or ‘me’ time, start planning for your transition today with the Veteran Influencer Podcast.
Ralph Kauzlarich - Army Infantry Colonel Transitions to Financial Advisory
In this episode I interview Ralph Kauzlarich from First Command Financial Services.
Ralph graduated from West Point and served in the Army through the rank of Colonel, working in the education and energy sectors for several years after leaving active duty. He joined First Command as an advisor in the spring of 2019 to help veterans and military families accomplish their financial goals.
We discussed why Ralph made the transition to financial advisory, and his advice for service members to seek careers that include some form of professional credentialing.
Ralph also shares how getting into financial advisory became a new litmus test for his leadership abilities, broadening his perspective on how to counsel and serve his clients. He tells the story of meeting his First Command financial advisor in the officer's club on base as a young lieutenant, and how that advice set him on the path to financial security following his retirement from the Army.
To learn more about joining the First Command team as a Financial Advisor, or discover other positions within their culture of service, visit https://rmvets.com/3bKIkmt.
Josh Rojas - Navy Flag Aide Transitions to Facilities Management and Commercial Real Estate
Josh Rojas is a Facilities Manager with Jones Lang Lasalle, a leading professional services firm specializing in real estate and investment management. He describes his role as a great fit for the maintenance and operations leadership skills he developed serving as a U.S. Navy Surface Warfare officer for eight years following graduation from the Naval Academy in 2005. In today's conversation we discuss his path to this role as he went through his military-to-civilian transition seven years ago at the same time his wife was applying to medical school.
If you are considering your last set of orders before you plan your transition, this episode is full of advice based on Josh's experience transitioning while serving as an Aide to a three-star Admiral. Josh admits that it was a lot of work at a time when he was also dealing with the challenges of being a new father and trying to study to get into business school. The key to success was transparency about his plans with his chain of command. Through some key conversations with his Navy Detailer, Josh was able to extend his orders in San Diego while awaiting admissions decisions from the medical schools where his wife had applied.
Josh also emphasizes the importance of remaining associated with the Navy Reserves during his transition; he was supporting his spouse and her education while also managing his own job search and the kids. The Reserves gave him a place to reconnect with Sailors and remain grounded while everything else was new and different, and also develop a new network of fellow Reservists to help him achieve his career goals.
Finally, Josh shares some really genuine feedback about how he got it wrong when selecting employers for culture and fit to his personality, and what questions to ask to understand if the company you're going to work for will be a great match for who you are and who you wish to become.
Stan Walz - Supporting the Coast Guard Mission From the Private Sector
When Stan Walz hung up the uniform after a career in the U.S. Coast Guard, he knew he had more to contribute to the mission. Since becoming the CEO at VectorCSP in 2006, Stan and his team have been supporting U.S. Coast Guard acquisitions through the development of Integrated Logistics Support solutions.
Selected by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies seven years in a row, Vector CSP supports multiple aviation platforms and has expanded their logistics and engineering offerings to federal and military maritime communities. Their current portfolio includes the Special Operations and Nuclear communities as well, giving their team room to grow and evolve what they do to impact the government and military.
In this conversation, Stan and I discuss how he has used his values and passion for what he does to navigate his career. Unlike many previous guests, he found a role after military service that allowed him to directly solve some of the problems he had experienced during his active duty time. This unique focus not only created a clear path for him to apply knowledge and expertise gained in the service, but brought the government's investment in his military training and education full-circle by giving him a platform and a role to create meaningful improvement for the fleet from the private sector.
Ryan Sweeney - From Army Helicopter Pilot to GE Aviation
Ryan Sweeney transitioned out of the Army in 2016 and after an initial role in management with another brand, made his way to Madisonville, KY where he works as a Production Workflow Planner and the Plant Veteran Network Lead for GE Aviation.
Ryan also hosts a podcast called View From the Skies, where his guests and audience engage in discussions about transition and to share stories of leadership in regards to servant leadership, building trust, empowerment and accountability.
In this conversation we talk about how Ryan found a career after initially transitioning to a job he wasn't passionate about, and also how his organization has recently been impacted by the spread of Novel Coronavirus, and the changes to his manufacturing team and facility caused by this pandemic.
LTG (ret) Raymond Mason - Director at Army Emergency Relief
Lieutenant General retired Raymond Mason managed the Army’s $8B sustainment budget and oversaw the Army's global supply chain during his final role on active duty. In October, 2014 he began his first civilian job after a 35-year military career, facing many of the same transition challenges everyday solders encounter when leaving uniform for the first time.
Serving as COO at a for-profit company for a little over two years, he felt the pull back to the Army and a desire to contribute to the mission. When a friend approached him about a potential role leading the team at Army Emergency Relief, he threw his hat in the ring.
In this conversation we talk about his journey to what he’s doing now, and how his organization is responding to the national emergency surrounding COVID-19 infections. Our soldiers, veterans, and military families are facing financial hardships, so Ray and his team at Army Emergency Relief are focused on keeping the distractions and challenges of this crisis from impacting Army readiness.
Find out more about what Army Emergency Relief is doing to help during the COVID-19 crisis at ArmyEmergencyRelief.org/covid19/
John O'Grady - Executive and Athlete Leader Development
John O'Grady transitioned out of the U.S. Army after leading large teams tasked with challenging missions deployed to dangerous places around the world. In this conversation, we talk about how those experiences and his time at West Point as a Division 1 Athlete gave him a template for launching his own coaching and executive development practice after leaving uniformed service. John works with leaders in the athletic and executive spaces to refine their talent identification and mentoring, and provide intentional focus on leadership along with all the other disciplines necessary to organizational or team success.
We talk a lot about how his perspective as an Army Colonel gave him confidence to work with new clients and audiences as a civilian coach, and how now he gets to earn a living while remaining connected to something that gave him great fulfillment and joy as a young man: athletics.