AIS Veteran Spotlights

Matt, Program Manager

“As early as I can remember, I wanted to be a pilot and the military seemed like the most direct way to do that and have a lot of fun along the way. Many of my family members served before me and hearing their stories, seeing the bonds they formed and experiencing their love of our country motivated me to follow the same path while pursuing my dream.

During my time in the Army, I led numerous teams of different sizes, skills and responsibilities. Learning to lead and adapt, along with learning from a wide variety of good (and not so good) leaders has been incredibly valuable when transitioning from the Army to working at AIS.

One of my bigger fears on my way out of the Army was leaving behind a massive organization and support structure where we all had shared experiences, a foundation of trust and incredibly close relationships. I can say that the team I work with at AIS is outstanding and I love working with them every day. The people at AIS helped more than anything else with my transition from the Army to a civilian career.”

Matt’s advice to fellow veterans seeking a successful career in the civilian workforce:

Don’t be afraid to change your career path or field. The skills you learned and experiences you gained are far more widely applicable than they seem at the time.

David, Security Specialist

“I was going through a stressful period in my early twenties and was unsure about my future. As I was trying to figure things out, my stepfather, a Vietnam veteran, recommended enlisting in the United States Air Force to help give me the foundation I needed. I can still hear him saying, “The time is going to pass anyway, what else do you have going on?” I thought about that remark over the following month and decided to go for it. In 1998, this 22-year-old Yonkers native was sent to his first duty station, Langley AFB, loading munitions and troubleshooting the leaking pig they called the F-15. About four months later, I left my wife behind on my first deployment, all while unknowingly setting the stage for a demanding, yet rewarding, profession for the next 20 years.

During my first assignment, I found myself supervising others who were not much younger than I was. You realize there is more to life when you are put into a leadership role at an early age. You take the blame for others’ mistakes and reward the crew for your accomplishments. I learned not just to become self-sufficient, but to be part of a team, leaning on others when needed to complete an objective.

Although I have been retired for the last six years, there have been many times where I felt that I am still transitioning. My post-military life wasn’t seamless, and I felt lost at times along this new path. I joined AIS in 2019 and my department has been there each step of the way. We all understand what it means to be a Veteran and we support one other at every turn.”

David’s advice to fellow veterans seeking a successful career in the civilian workforce:

Take the journey in stride, stay positive and don’t let ego get in your way. Decide what you really want out of life and make that your goal. It might take some time to get there but don’t give up. Whether you served for four years or 20, make the next chapter worth it. During your service, many choices were most likely already made for you, but this time around, you have the opportunity to create your own. Combine your skills and values with what you love doing and go get it.

Jackie, Subcontracts Administrator II

Jackie Brown, Subcontract Administrator II, is a United States veteran and is now part of the Air Force Reserves. In October, she was promoted to leadership as an E-7 Master Sergeant In-Flight Refueler. Now, she has accepted an offer leading a much larger team in the flight maintenance department. Jackie is the first Boom Operator to ever move up to this position in the wing.

“I come from military family and always wanted to serve. After college I joined while I tried to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Communication, critical thinking and problem solving are skills I honed during my time in the military, and these have allowed me to be valuable to my team here at AIS. AIS has given me a great opportunity to learn a new skillset and gain entry into a new industry. My supervisor has supported me in many ways and constantly encourages personal growth and development. The entire team has been amazing when it comes to balancing my time between AIS and flying.”

Jackie’s advice to fellow veterans seeking a successful career in the civilian workforce:

My advice would be to use your network. Ask questions on how to navigate the civilian workforce from a mentor or supervisor (either inside the military or civilian). There are a number of resources out there to help transitioning military members.

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