Profiles in IT: A special Veterans Day edition

10/30/2018
The American flag with dog tags that read "U-M"

Military training prepares veterans for a career in IT by requiring technical proficiency, while teaching about teamwork, tenacity, leadership, and more. Veterans’ diverse backgrounds and knowledge demonstrate attention to detail, perseverance, and vibrancy focused on creating brighter futures at the University of Michigan. 

This Veterans Day, November 11, 2018, we are especially thankful for their service, and are appreciative of their efforts that contributed to U-M’s rank among best colleges and universities for veterans.

Below are profiles of more than 30 veterans from across the university who bring a wealth of knowledge to the IT industry. They share where they were and what they're doing now, and how their time in the service influenced the jobs they do today.

Learn more about activities happening at U-M during Veterans Week, November 5-9, 2018.

Joe Adams, Ph.D., U.S. Army, Merit Network

I was active duty in the U.S. Army for 26 years, from 1986-2012. Throughout that time worked in communications operations and engineering, and was stationed in Germany, Ariz.; West Point; and Belgium. I learned cyber security and IT from the operations side, then I taught those topics at the U.S. Military Academy.

I put that experience to work as the chief information officer at the National Defense University. All of that contributed building the Michigan Cyber Range that is used for workforce development throughout Michigan. Now I am the vice president for Research and Cyber Security at the Merit Network. I work primarily with IT and cyber security fields, and provide access to training through State and Federal programs. There are a lot of benefits available to veterans for job training and certification, and the Merit Network also provides training to U-M staff and faculty.

Timothy Ahlgren, U.S. Marine Corps, LSA Technology Services

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983-1992 as an admin clerk. Although, I should point out, that I had a SSgt who saw that I had a knack for computers. He taught me a 'little of this and a little of that,' and before I knew it, I was one of three supporting the computers in the Department (Reserve Affairs Division). So all of my computer knowledge/skills started with the Marine Corps and I have been self-taught since. I was stationed for the first two years at the Headquarters of the Marine Corps, then spent the next two years in Okinawa, Japan, at Camp Kinser, and the last four years at Quantico, Va., working with Military Police. I very much carry the Marine Corps with me in a lot of things I do today. My attention to detail, friendliness, and 'can do' attitude come from my NCO Leadership school that I attended at Quantico.

Now I am a senior desktop support specialist, and when it comes to customer service, my attitude is “how do we get to yes?” When a faculty member comes to you with an off-the-wall question about something they want to do for research, I will engage with them more, learn what they are trying to do, then figure out how we can make it work in our environment - 'how do we get to yes?’

I know a few people from “back in the day” at U-M. A few years ago, I learned that the Navy/Marine Corps ROTC - for the (combined) Navy/Marine Corps Birthday, would run laps around DIAG. They run one lap for each year of their birthday, since the Navy and the Marine Corps are the same “age.”  They start this a few days before the Navy birthday on October 13, and they run in shifts, 24 hours a day until ending on the morning of their birthday with a formation run of the last three miles. This year there will be 243 laps! I’m planning to bring my running gear and run with them for four to six miles. Then I will join them for their 0600 formation run while wearing my Marine Corps kilt. Last year, I got to call cadence for a short bit as well. It’s so much fun!

Klint Avant, U.S. Marine Corps, U-M alum, U.S. Department of Defense

From 2010-2015 I served in the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton in California. I was a special intelligence system administrator, working in a 24/7 Network Operations Center supporting forward deployed Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq from back here in the states. Without having been in the military and gotten the skills and clearance that I did, there is no chance I would be where I'm at today, working as an application engineer with the U.S. Department of Defense.

James Bergman, U.S. Army, ITS

The U.S. Army took me to Baumholder, Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo, and I served as a lift and load equipment operator and a fire support specialist. I find that the drive and attention to detail aspects of military are good building blocks for working at U-M as a data center technical analyst. The military teaches you to work in a team always and seek the best outcomes for the unit. This has allowed me to work to better the missions of the university, while maintaining understanding that no one is more important than the team. I appreciate how the University of Michigan embraces and celebrates the men and women who have served.

Michael Buhr, U.S. Navy, Student Life—International Center

I served in the U.S. Navy from 1976-1982 which makes me a post-Vietnam (peacetime) veteran. I was trained as an electronics technician and primarily maintained and repaired navigation radar systems. I was stationed at the pilot training base NAS Kingsville, Texas, and on the USS Ponce (LPD-15) out of Norfolk, Va. Although I wound up working in a field completely different from the electronics world of schematics, test equipment, and putting my hands in tight spaces with insanely high voltages, many intangibles from my time in the military continue to influence how I live and work.

Take my current position as a report writing analyst at the International Center, for instance. Many people might not see any connection between U-M’s International Center (IC) and national security but I attribute my military background to affording me this perspective. After 9/11, the federal government began requiring universities to maintain information about international students and exchange visitors in the government’s Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), and U-M uses M-Pathways to communicate with SEVIS. I provide database reporting from M-Pathways to support this required reporting.

Given all the services the IC offers to both domestic and international students, I can’t help but think of this office as being uniquely positioned at the intersection of higher education, cultural exchange, and national security. The point is that in addition to being team and mission oriented, which are hallmarks of military life, my military experience continues to influence how I see the world. Finally, I should mention that when I started at U-M in '91, there was no public acknowledgement of, nor appreciation for, veterans. Phil Larson, the program director for the Veteran and Military Services, has done a great job building and promoting the Veterans Appreciation Week activities. When I attended my first Veterans Appreciation Lunch at the university, I was surprised at the number of vets in attendance; we filled the Union Ballroom! There are probably more domestic and international veterans on campus (as students, faculty, and staff) than people know about.

Jeff Castle, U.S. Army, ITS

I was a microwave operator and repairer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and served in Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; Camp Humphreys, South Korea; and Fort Huachuca, Ariz. My family could not afford to send me to college, even with financial aid, so I turned to the U.S. Army for "high tech" training. The microwave systems repairmen training I obtained through the military provided me a very strong foundation in understanding information technologies and how to support and repair them. I still rely on those skills today in my position as an IT project senior manager.

The U.S. Army also provided me the opportunity to learn a disciplined approach troubleshooting problems which extends beyond technology and into everyday life. My time with the U.S. Army has made me a very tenacious person, which serves me well in my current role as a project manager with Information and Technology Services (ITS). I always see risks and issues in my projects as solvable challenges for teams to work through. I learned in the U.S. Army there is nothing a team of motivated people cannot overcome.

Shawn Chapman, U.S Navy, HITS

From 1990-1996, I served in the U.S. Navy. I graduated from boot camp at recruit training command, or RTC, in Orlando, Fla., and then was stationed at NAVSTA Great Lakes, Ill.; NAVSTA San Diego, Calif., and the USS George Philip (FFG-12). Our ship was home-ported at NAVSTA Long Beach, Calif., until 1993. The homeport changed to NAVSTA San Diego when Naval Station in Long Beach was closed due to the military drawdown in 1993. I worked as an electronic technician (RADAR tech, SATNAV tech, and shipboard mainframe Sysadmin).

My time in the U.S. Navy has proven to be invaluable. The confidence I gained during my enlistment has changed my life. I use the expert troubleshooting skills learned in the U.S. Navy to this day in role as of device support technician. I use the technical skills, knowledge, and organizational skills that I learned in the Navy on a daily basis.

Darren Cooley, U.S. Marine Corps, HITS

From 1983-1992, I served as an avionics technician/electrician in the U.S. Marine Corps, and my primary duty station was MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. I was deployed on “WESTPAC” for six months at a time, where we would be stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, and would take trips to South Korea or Philippines. I was also deployed for the Gulf War to the island of Bahrain for about seven months during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I have had the good fortune to have traveled from one side of the country to the other for various training exercises and deployments. I feel that my time in the military shaped my work ethic. It taught me to take pride in the work I do as an applications programmer/analyst senior, and never to give up.

William Custer, U.S. Army, LSA Technology Services

I was a specialist fifth class, acting sergeant, Company E,123rd maintenance Battalion, 1st Armored Division in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1974. I worked as a field radio repair and signal section chief when I was stationed in Illesheim, Germany. My time in the military gave me an understanding of the importance of teamwork. The U.S. Army had a plan, and we would make it work, same as I do here at U-M in my job as a desktop support specialist. I also learned how to work with a wide diversity of individuals.

Janette DeYonge, U.S. Navy, HITS

For 20 years (1985 to 2005), I served in the U.S. Navy, and was stationed in many locales: Boot Camp-Orlando, Fla.; NAS Agana, Guam; CINCPACFLT Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; NAVSTA Rota, Spain; CINCUSNAVEUR London, England; *USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) Bremerton, Wash.; USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) Everett, Wash.; and Reserve Officers' Training Corps ROTC at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

*Assigned to the USS Nimitz in early 1995 as part of the first crew of women onboard.

Yeoman (administrative duties) was my primary rate (job) in the U.S. Navy, however, there were many opportunities to serve outside the rate.  One instance was Operation Provide Promise, serving as aircrew support (a six-month deployment) when flying humanitarian relief operations to Bosnia-Herzegovina in addition to being the administrative support for this operation. We flew both day and night sorties (missions). Most of my assignments required Top Secret (TS) clearance for stateside and Cosmic (CTS) for NATO. I valued working together as teams, getting things done in a timely manner, and looking out for your fellow Sailors/Marines. “Can-do” attitudes were always valued and getting results against all odds was very satisfying.

William Garner Jr., U.S. Air Force, Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

I was active in the U.S. Air Force from 1998 until 2002. I worked as a facility maintenance technician 2MOX3 stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Madina Air Force Base in Texas; Vandenburg Air Force Base in California; and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. My time in the military provided me with the skills to work in 24/7 critical operation, matured my troubleshooting ability, grew my multitasking capabilities, improved my time management, honed my ability to adapt to change, and cultivated my communication skills. All of these attributes have allowed me to grow and manage projects that positively impact my job of Construction Services supervisor.

Michael Golden, U.S. Marine Corps, HITS

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1992 until 1995 when I was medically discharged, and I am a disabled veteran. I was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin in California, and Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan, where I worked as a Hydraulics and Pneumatics mechanic on CH-53E. My time in the military taught me how to be a good leader (i.e., what to do and what NOT to do), to do the job correctly, and to know that others rely on you and your work. That training helps me in my job as a desktop support team lead in HITS.

Randy Hall, U.S. Army, HITS

I was active in the U.S. Army from 1985-1988, working as a 73C finance specialist and a Prime 3000 computer operator stationed in Baumbolder, Germany. My time in the military helped further my IT interest and career, where I was one of three computer operators in my unit. Today I am a senior programmer analyst with HITS, and a War of 1812 re-enactor. I portray gentleman fur trader, Mr. Alexander Mackintosh. Sometimes I also Portray George Ironside, the Company Clerk to the British Indian Department. It is a fun hobby.

Dwight Hunt, U.S. Air Force, MHealthy

I was in the U.S. Air Force from 1979 to 1985, stationed at the Torrijon Air Base in Spain and Wallace Air Station in the Philippines. I enjoyed my time in the military, especially in Spain; it was the best time of my life. I began computer systems self-study in 1983 and got my first computer August 1984.

In this photo taken in Spain, I'm on the left standing next to my friend, an officer with the Guardia Civil. 

 

Jermaine “JD” Jordan, U.S. Air Force, HITS

I was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Air Force in 2003, and served on active duty until December 2010. My primary role was to lead IT professionals to contribute to the Air Force’s mission to fly, fight and win in air, space, and cyberspace. I served as a student pilot, IT maintenance crew commander, network administration team lead, Wing executive officer, IT officer training instructor, and device support manager. I was stationed and deployed to the following locations: Biloxi and Columbus, Mississippi; Ramstein, Germany; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. After seven years of service, I finished my military career at the rank of Captain.

My service gave me a strong work ethic, courage to speak truth to power, and a keen understanding of the importance of charismatic, engaged, and effective leaders in organizations. I use this every day in my role as a systems integration analyst at HITS.

Mike Kijewski, U.S. Army, ITS

I was active duty in the U.S. Army 1982-1986 where I was part of the Military Police. I am currently Active Reserves in the SFC 2-337th Combat Support Battalion MP Team. The Military Police is still my profession in the Reserves, but I am now an Observer, Coach, Trainer (OCT). I set up and run training scenarios to prepare other units for their mission during mobilization or deployment. I have been stationed in Germany and various places throughout the U.S.

I believe serving taught me an exceptional work ethic and the importance of reliability, quality, and dedication, which helped me rise up to the role of team lead in Identity and Access Management at ITS.

Mark Ley, U.S. Air Force (Retired), HITS

From 1976 to 1996, I served in the U.S. Air Force and worked as a turbojet/turboshaft engine technician. I was stationed at 1550th ARRS, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; 54th WRS, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; and 1st SOW AFSOC, Hurlburt Field, Fla. My time in the military made me detail-oriented and prepared me for troubleshooting a variety of problems—perfect for my job as a desktop support agent.

 

Liz Lind, U.S. Army, Michigan Medicine

I have been active in the U.S. Army since 1982. I started my career as a Cadet at West Point from 1982 until 1986. I was an active duty officer from 1986-1997, and was as a reserve officer from 1997 until 2014. I was stationed many places—Huntsville, Ala.; Indian Head, Md.; Tacoma, Wash.; Sinai Peninsula, Egypt; Leavenworth, Kan.; Atlanta, Ga.; and West Point, N.Y. I was a bomb squad/EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and faculty/professor at West Point.

My time in the military had a personal impact. I am a problem solver and driver, so I take many of my problem-solving methods working on EOD to HITS—analyzing the situation and finely crafting the fix. I have a scientific approach to my work as project manager at OCIO (Office of the Chief Information Officer). Sometimes my job [at HITS] can be more stressful than bomb disposal—people can be more complex than machines. The military provides a great opportunity for maturity and leadership skills, and to learn about the rest of the world. Not enough people take advantage.

Ron Loveless, U.S. Army, Facilities and Operations Information Services

I am proud of my service as the GI Bill helped me get a college degree while serving my country. My family could not afford to send me to college. So I joined the Army in 1973, served three years of duty as a Sergeant responsible for a team managing classified communications for RadioTeletype and Morse Code Operations, assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, 1/62 Air Defense Artillery Unit, Schofield Barracks Hawaii—I never saw combat, but our division was put on alert during the evacuation of Saigon in April 1975.

Having completed a GED and 1.5 years of college while on active duty, I was then admitted to the University of Michigan in 1977, finally earning my BA degree in April 1979. I was a first-generation college grad, coming from a proud working class family. I paid all my tuition and expenses myself with no help from my parents.

Back in the 1970s as a student veteran, I did not feel comfortable admitting I was a veteran. In fact, I concealed that I was a veteran. Due to the immense unpopularity of the Vietnam War, veterans bore the brunt of abuse and disdain from the public rather than praise for their service as is the case today. That really hurt back then, but I am glad times have changed. My time in the military has helped me on multiple fronts, including leadership skills, organization, discipline, and the basics of electronics and keyboarding.

John Loyd, U.S. Army, Law School

I was active duty for two years from 1983 to 1984, at Fort Lewis, Washington, attaining the rank Spec 4. Also spent twenty-eight months in the National Guard 1987-89. My MOS was Multichannel Communications Equipment Operator. In the field we set up line of sight radio for secure communications.

My time in the military has helped me understand the value of patience.

Jennie Miller, U.S. Navy, HITS

From 1995 to 2000, I served in the U.S. Navy. My rank was a Petty Officer Third Class, Electronics Technician (Nuclear Field), Reactor Operator. I received a scholarship to earn my bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan, and served as a Midshipman as part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program (during a summer cruise, I helped set up satellite networking and Outlook on the USS Carl Vinson, CVN 70—they almost didn’t let me return to U-M!).

My time in the military has been quite impactful on the job I do today for HITS: end user computing specialist/Service Desk team lead. My experience has led me to be extremely comfortable troubleshooting and fixing various complex technologies, to be neat and methodical in my processes, to report any issues as soon as they are discovered before they become larger problems, to take responsibility for my actions, and be accountable for my work and those for whom I am responsible.

I learned a lot of nuclear and electrical engineering theory, higher order math and physics, and thermodynamics, as well as the practical applications of these theories in real-world settings. It gave me a great base to understand the various departments and operations within HITS. I also gained a lot of experience in leadership and disaster response.

I use these skills and more in my daily work functioning as a team lead for the Service Desk, which includes end-user support, troubleshooting, and facilitation of Major Incidents. The military was a great teacher of the value of teamwork, professionalism, and being open to differing viewpoints. You learned to keep an eye on the big picture strategic mission and goals, while coming up with creative solutions to sudden obstacles.

Attention to detail was just as important as the mile-high understanding of the situation, and being able to hold both perspectives in tension and operate in that middle is where true success is achieved. We have a fantastic department here in HITS and there are so many opportunities for us to learn from each other’s strengths and perspective to truly excel and grow.

 

Adam Myers, Army National Guard, Merit Network

I served with the Michigan Army National Guard from 2002 to 2008. I was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom from December 2004 to March 2006, and served as a M1 Abrams Tank Crewman. My job now involves a lot of independence and responsibility.

Due to my experience in the military, I am well prepared for my role of network operations engineer to know what my mission is, and accomplish it successfully with minimal direction from leadership.

Evan “Buzz” Nau, U.S. Navy, HITS

I served in the U.S. Navy from 1979 to 1987, as an aviation fire-control technician first class (aviation warfare specialist), and held the roles of flight deck troubleshooter/supervisor and workshop supervisor. I also served in the Reserves from 1987 to 1991. I was stationed in in Yokosuka Japan (1981-84), Whidbey Island, Wash. (1984-87), and Sigonella, Sicily.

My time in the military has helped the way that I manage my Service Operations Support team; nothing matters more than being successful together. My military training also helps me with current troubleshooting methodology.

Michael Anthony Nolte, U.S. Navy, ISR

I served in the United States Navy from 1967 to 1971. As a weapons officer on board the USS Canberra (CA-70) in WestPac/Vietnam, I was introduced to gunfire control systems that used electro-mechanical analog (World War II) technology. On a technical level there wasn't much overlap with today's systems, but the seed was planted. I was introduced to digital computing as a grad student here at Michigan, and have spent the rest of my life involved in various IT-related activities.

I have always appreciated the benefits of military discipline and training in my job of research area specialist lead for the Institute of Social Research. If a database must be ready by this time tomorrow, I can comfortably say, “no worries, we've got 24 hours to make it so.”

Sherri Perry, U.S. Navy, Registrar’s Office

From 1981-1985 I served in the U.S. Navy, first stationed at Naval Weapons Station in Concord, Calif. Later, I was transferred to the USS Dixon (AS-37), and finally to Naval Air Station in Coronado, Calif. While in Concord, I worked in Service Craft, manning tug boats. We would bring in the weapons ships for restocking of munitions of all sorts. On the USS Dixon, I was a Quartermaster 2nd Class (Navigation, not supply). When I was transferred to Naval Air Station Coronado, I worked security at the front desk.

While my military service may not have directly translated to my current position of degree audit specialist, the training and attitude for living life that I learned while in the military has carried me through my civilian life and served me well. I learned a work ethic that has helped make me a valuable member of my current team. And so often I feel my military background in my everyday life. I wouldn't change that service or those memories for anything. It's an integral part of who and what I am now.

Andrew Rosenberg, M.D., U.S. Navy, CIO—Michigan Medicine

I was an U.S. Navy doctor and started as a lieutenant and ended as lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy Reserve from 1994 to 2002 (first in active and then inactive reserve). I joined the military after Medicine Residency and during my Anesthesiology Residency. I was in the Reserve Unit based in Baltimore, Md., and then Bethesda Naval Hospital during and after my Critical Care Fellowship.

I went through Officer Indoctrination but not Officer Candidate School (OCS); a very different experience than what the line officers had to go through. I told them, “I did two residencies!” They told me OCS was harder. We agreed to leave it at that!

I worked as a doctor with various U.S. Marine Corps units at Camp Pendleton in California and Camp Quantico in Virginia. Some of the work was designing and setting up mobile field surgical staging capabilities (echelon 2). My experiences reinforced value of service, team work, and esprit d’corps working with mission-driven men and women. Apparently, the Baltimore Naval Officer recruiter had not before had a board certified physician working on further medical specialties walk into their office, sign up, and not take any additional stipend. I just told them this was something I wanted to do since I was a kid and didn’t need anything else. Frankly, I did very little relative to most veterans, and wished I had a chance to have done more. It sounds cliché, but one really does feel a sense of honor to work among Marines and Sailors working in these capacities.

My current work in academic health IT as the chief information officer has many aspects of what I experience during my brief time in the military.

Jake Salazar, U.S. Army, School of Education

I was an infantry squad leader in the U.S. Army from 1993 to 1997, stationed in Fort Drum, N.Y., 10th Mountain Division. I also spent time in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Haiti, Panama, and Somalia. Serving in the infantry provides some long term perspectives useful for navigating life as a civilian. The concepts of teamwork, mission first, task standards, standard operating procedures, and good soldier translates well to being a great employee. Everyday that I have been out of the U.S. Army and out of the Infantry has been the easiest day of my life.

As a country, we generally do well to honor our veterans but I think we should do better. I believe serving your country is difficult. The standards are high and the consequences are monumental. If you perform poorly in a regular job, worst case scenario, you get fired. If you perform poorly in the military, worst case scenario, somebody dies or you get discharged dishonorably. Death is self-explanatory. Getting a dishonorable discharge stays with an individual the rest of their life, which makes life as a civilian more difficult. The rules are thick, hard, fast, and enforced. You are constantly reminded of this. Joining the military is an enormous decision. Simply completing the basic military requirements, training, and physical fitness are a huge hurdle. It is a tremendous responsibility to be held accountable by the most powerful country in the world. You don't fully appreciate what your doing until you are exposed to the bigger picture and what role you play. 

John Sdao, U.S. Marine Corps, HITS

I was a combat engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1984 to 1988, and was stationed in California, England, Japan, Korea, and Panama. The experience taught me a lot about discipline, listening skills, and problem solving. I certainly learned the values of regiment, being on time, working hard, and persevering. I apply these skills to my job of senior systems analyst programmer at HITS. 

Justin Sivils, U.S. Marine Corps, Information Assurance: Michigan Medicine

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2008. I originally enlisted as an aviation maintenance administrator and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. After a year in the Fleet Marine Force, I applied to and was accepted to Marine Security Guard (MSG) duty, serving at U.S. Embassy Conakry, Guinea, U.S. Embassy Port au Prince, Haiti, and U.S. Embassy Prague, Czech Republic. Our mission was the protection of classified material, government personnel, and property. We also provided security support for the President and other high-level diplomats on overseas trips. This was an exclusive role (at the time there were just over 250 of us worldwide), as it required a Top Secret clearance and the ability to operate in remote locations with little to no support from traditional military units.

A good portion of the skills I developed as an aviation maintenance administrator carried over to my current job of technical writer, which involves significant technical documentation. MSG duty was quite unique, but we also developed and maintained various technical documentation for use of specialized security equipment, as well as embassy response plans for various security situations.

Sean Sivils, U.S. Marine Corps, HITS

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2005 to 2010, and I was stationed in Japan, South Korea, Iraq, and Camp Pendleton in California. I worked in IT in the military, and system administration, building servers, workstations, satellite transmission equipment, and setup technology for deployment.

My time in the military impacted the job I do today because it taught me about interacting with people. I learned a lot about social graces in the Marine Corps, including common courtesies, which forced me to be confident, especially in my technical skills which are similar to my current role of supervisor of the Medical Center Device Support team at HITS.

Andy Stevens, U.S. Army, HITS

I was a specialist (E4) in the Third Infantry Division in the U.S. Army from 1988 to 1992. I specifically worked as a track vehicle mechanic in Schweinfurt, West Germany (I was there when the wall came down!).

Being a mechanic in the Army was a great primer for being in IT at hospital here at Michigan Medicine. In any job in the military you’re going to master the art of clear critical thinking under duress. For a mechanic having to work on tanks or trucks while the action is going on all around you is a great way to learn to deal with an operating room with an active case having some kind of technical issues.

I feel that the traits an individual picks up while serving in the military will always be a schematic for getting through tough situations in any chosen profession. I also went to college on the GI BIll, which helped to train me for this career of desktop support specialist senior for HITS!

Chris Stockbridge, M.S., U.S. Army, LSA-IT

When I was an engineer officer in the U.S. Army, I was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y. Out of four and a half  years in the 10th Mountain Division, I spent two and a half years in Iraq including one year in Baghdad, Iraq (2005-2006) and 18 months in Kirkuk, Iraq (2007-2008). My favorite job was working as an advisor to the Iraqi Army in Kirkuk. I lived on an Iraqi Army base and helped them plan missions and coordinate with the other U.S. forces.

The biggest impact from the military has been from the diverse people I worked with. I think this gives me good perspective when working with customers from different backgrounds, and helps me to communicate more effectively with everyone I interact with in my role as research support programmer at LSA-IT.

Jeff Wilkins, U.S. Navy, HITS

I served in the U.S. Navy from 1984 to 2006 as a hospital corpsman/medic and Senior Enlisted Advisor aboard Naval Medical Clinic, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. I was stationed on the USS Saratoga, USS LaSalle, USS Cole, as well as Commander Sixth Fleet. I spent a great deal of my time in the U.S. Navy at sea, and learned vital lessons in getting things done.

I earned my Surface Warfare and Air Warfare designations along with several awards: Navy Marine Corps Medal for Heroism, Bronze Star Combat V, and Air Medal Combat V.

All of this experience has matured me, improved my decision-making skills, and helped me be a better leader. You learn to think on your feet and fast when the bullets are flying. It prepares you for any situation life or work can throw your way. Healthcare was going to be the area I continued to work in after I retired, and I was lucky enough to be on the initial teams moving the U.S. Navy to computerized health records. It taught me many of the technical skills I use today as a senior desktop support specialist.

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