Transition Advice from Military Professionals in Civilian Careers

Get Advice from Orion Alumni for Your Military to Civilian Transition

In order to give you some insight from those who have 'been there, done that, we present you veterans who have successfully transitioned to civilian life and are willing to share their experiences. We hope that Transition Corner will serve as a forum for those transitioning out of the military to receive guidance, advice, and support, as well as to benefit from the experience of a fellow vet. Would you like to be featured in Transition Corner? Please contact Allison Thomas to learn more!

ANDREW SANDERS

U.S. Navy, Aviation Electronics Technician, Petty Officer First Class
Field Service Representative, ARxIUM

While my terminal leave was roughly 30 days, happily, there was only a five-day gap between leaving the military and beginning my career through Orion at ARxIUM. In order to prepare for my transition, I used TGPS, which was extremely helpful. If you attend this class, approach it excitedly and ensure ...read more

ELIZABETH WOOLFOLK

United States Army, CPT, Musician, Ordnance Officer, Force Management Officer
Senior Buyer, Honda North America

I served in the United States Army from 1999-2015. My original MOS was a musician, but I then went to Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a 2LT. My first branch was Ordnance (Logistics). Later, I was accepted into the Force Management Functional Area. Throughout my career, I've been assigned in Germany, Fort Jackson, SC; Fort Hood, TX; Fort Lee, VA; The Pentagon, and...read more

RYAN KAISER

U.S. Air Force, Force Support, O-3 Sales Education Representative, Medtronic
I was part of the Air Force RIF in 2011 and over 80% of those within my career field were cut, with no cross career-field transfers. Being forced to leave the Air Force was like having a close family member die suddenly. The hardest part of the transition was that I had not taken enough time to assess myself and where I wanted to go with my next career. I would recommend that...read more

KEVIN ROBILLARD

US Army, Aviation Officer, Captain Senior SIOP and Inventory Leader, Honeywell Aerospace
As a fresh graduate from U.S. Army Flight School in early 2012, following 5 years on Active Duty (I enlisted in 2007), I assumed that employers would be lined up and waiting to extend me job offers when I returned to Washington State. Boy was I surprised! I made finding a career my full-time job, beginning that summer. I reached out to Orion...read more

TIM GOERING

U.S. Marine Corps, Pilot, Major President, Makingluck, Inc.
Orion helped me find a civilian job with Cordis, Johnson and Johnson back in 1998. At the time, Cordis had just been bought by Johnson & Johnson. They hired nine other former military officers. We did a lot of networking with each other and got off to a stronger start than most because of it. We didn't go through the normal path to device sales. Most do...read more

MATTHEW HEID

Device Quality Specialist, AbbVie US Army, Engineer Officer, Captain
To be honest, landing a job was the easiest part of my transition. At the Orion Hiring Conference I attended in February 2013, I had six interviews, with five being very interested in me. I had a voicemail with an offer from my future employer, LMI, when I got off the plane in Texas where I was stationed after the conference. According...read more

BILL TILLOTSON

U.S. Navy, Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical), First Class Petty Officer Maintenance Technician, JBS
After serving 20 years in the Navy, I retired from the military and began my civilian career with JBS in March 2014. I was fortunate to not have a gap in employment between retirement and my new career, as I started working for JBS while on Terminal Leave. Prior to retiring...read more

JEFF MOEHLING

U.S. Army, Nurse Corps, Captain Executive Sales Representative, Eli Lilly and Company
I separated from the Army in June 2000 out of Fort Bliss, Texas. During my transition, I explored all options made available to me by the Army, including the transition program, but I found little value in the services offered based on my civilian career goals. I began communication with Orion in early 2000 and accepted a position with one of its clients in my...read more

BRENDAN FINNEGAN

Assistant Property Manager, Hines Interests L.P. U.S. Air Force, Reconnaissance Combat Systems Officer, JSTARS and AWACS, Captain
I interviewed for my position as an Assistant Property Manager with Hines Interests in October 2012 at an Orion Hiring Conference and began working for them the next month. Previously, I served in the Air Force as a 12R3 (Reconnaissance Combat...read more

JEFF TOWNSEND

Field Manager, Pulte Homes U.S. Army, MP, First Lieutenant (promotable)
I found a career with Pulte Homes through Orion Talent in October 2013. Previous to that, I served in the Army as an MP at Fort Polk and then worked for a logistics company for nine months after leaving the Army. While my actual move to Florida for my new career with Pulte was very easy with no issues, I did find...read more

NICHOLAS LINDSAY

Test Engineering Manager, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) U.S. Navy Reserve, Aerospace Maintenance Duty Officer (AMDO), Lieutenant U.S. Navy, Naval Aviator, Lieutenant Junior Grade
Orion placed me as a Propulsion Test Engineer with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in December 2009. I had an overlap between the military and my new...read more

KELLY KING

U.S. Army, Adjutant General Captain Assistant Vice President Advanced Systems, Kansas City Southern Railway Company
My transition from the military into the civilian world was exciting, but also proved to be emotionally challenging. When I first got out, I was just happy to start a new chapter in my life and excited to start applying my skills and knowledge to a new career. It was...read more

BEN SHAKMAN

U.S. Army, Logistics and Human Resources, Major Account Manager, Trane
I was a Major in the Active Guard & Reserve program, assigned to the Illinois Army National Guard. My specialties were logistics and human resources and I was joint-duty qualified. About 40% of my 26 years were served in the enlisted ranks, where I... read more

PATRICK ZIMMER

Training Instructor, Kongsberg Maritime Inc., Houston, TX U.S. Navy, Mineman Third Class and Sonar Technician Third Class
Crossing the brow for the last time and being rung ashore was one of the most bittersweet moments of my life, and I still look back on that as the day my world changed. Facing the uncertainty associated with change is the hardest part of transitioning...read more

ARTUR LANDA

Production Planner, Voltaix, Inc. US Navy, Engineman, Petty Officer - Third Class
Orion helped me find a job at Voltaix, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, as a Chemical Operator in March 2008 a month after separating from the Navy. Two years later, I was promoted to Production Planner, and I continue to enjoy my career with Voltaix. In the military, I was an E-4 stationed in San Diego...read more

JOSEPH CAPRA

Area Representative, Buckman Laboratories US Army, Field Artillery, Lieutenant
I was assigned to Fort Bragg and served in the Army in Field Artillery as an O-2E. My service ended May 12, 2008, and I began my new civilian career with Buckman on April 7. Seamless! I settled in Richmond, VA, because it was centrally located within my sales territory and would enable me to travel easily, and am still here after over four years with my company...read more

HALLIE BREWER

Administrator-in-Training, Surgical Care Affiliates U.S. Army, Ordnance Officer, Captain
I served in the Army Ordnance Corps and separated from the military as a Captain in September 2009. During my time in the service, I was stationed at a few different locations in Germany, with a 15-month tour in Iraq. When I separated, I got a job supervising a security department at a hospital and moved back to the Chicagoland area...read more

ANGELA PEARSON

Safety Regulatory Manager, Cargill U.S. Army National Guard, Supply Sergeant; U.S. Navy, Yeoman (1995 - 1998)
I found Orion Talent in November 2010, a month after the National Guard discontinued my temporary full time position as a Supply Technician. I spoke with Todd Phillips, who was anxious to get me started. I am a Supply Sergeant in the Kansas Army National Guard...read more

TRISHA KATULA

U.S. Navy, Electronics Technician Third Class Headend Technician, SuddenLink Communications
I was very nervous about the transition from the military to civilian world. You hear a lot of horror stories from people about their transition. But I was told at a very young age that you make things how they are, so I surrounded myself with a very strong support group. Also, I...read more

BRIAN SCHULZ

U.S. Navy, Naval Flight Officer, Lieutenant District Sales Manager, Medtronic Spinal and Biologics
I was hired by Medtronic as a Spine Consultant in March 2007 through Orion Talent and was promoted to District Sales Manager in 2013. Prior to my civilian career, I graduated from the United States Naval Academy and was active duty for eight years, serving as a...read more

ROBB ADAMS

Field Reimbursement Manager, MedImmune U.S. Navy, Hospital Corpsman Third Class (1990 - 1994) U.S. Army, Field Artillery, Captain (1996 - 2002)
A little more than ten years ago, I made the decision to leave military service after serving for ten years on active duty as both a commissioned and non-commissioned officer. It was a very hard decision, as I grew up a military brat, and that life was the only one I had ever...read more

MONIQUE JOHNSON

Field Reimbursement Manager, MedImmune Sourcing Program Lead, GE Aviation U.S. Air Force, Logistics Readiness Officer, O-4, Cincinnati, OH
My transition from military to the civilian industry was not easy. I served as a Logistics Readiness Officer in the U.S. Air Force and retired feeling confident that my education, military background, and training would set me apart from my competitors for...read more

JIM GREEN

Business Systems Analyst, EJ Gallo Winery U.S. Army, Career Counselor, Master Sergeant
Orion placed me back in 2006 as a Team Leader with EJ Gallo Winery. Previously I was an 79S54A4, E-8, in the Army assigned to 11th ACR, Fort Irwin, CA. I was not ready for the civilian world when I transitioned. I had done two back-to-back deployments to Iraq and had not taken time to prepare for my transition. When I returned...read more

WILL SIMMONS

U.S. Air Force, Office of Special Investigations, Captain Senior MRF Supervisor, Actavis, US
Orion placed me as a Manufacturing Supervisor with Actavis, a leading generic pharmaceutical company in November 2009, exactly two weeks after leaving the military. I have been here for a little over two years now and have received a promotion. Difficulties of transitioning aside, I can truly say that beginning a civilian career...read more

CORY DEMERY

U.S. Air Force, Nuclear Missile Operator (Missilier), Captain Sales Engineer, Tyco Electronics Los Angeles, California
Although it seems like just yesterday, I have now been out of the Air Force for over four-and-a-half years. Prior to my current career with Tyco Electronics, I was a Nuclear Missile Operator and completed my training at Vandenberg AFB in central California. My base station...read more

MICHAEL WORRELL

U.S. Air Force, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Captain, Director of Distribution, Acme United Corporation
Orion placed me with Target Distribution in 1992. I previously served as a Captain in the Air Force as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer for eight years. During that time, I was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, Howard Air Force Base in Panama, and MacDill...read more

CHRIS CANFIELD

U.S. Marines, 0203 Intelligence Officer, Captain Project Manager, RQ Construction, Inc. Carlsbad, California
I transitioned out of the Marine Corps in July 2008 and started my new job with RQ Construction at the same time. Since that time, I have been rapidly promoted, which I attribute to my time in service. From initial transition to my three years in the civilian workforce...read more

JON WELCH

U.S. Army National Guard, O-4 Large Commercial Production Manager, Trane
I am a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where I earned my B.S., and Regis University, where I earned my MBA in 2005. A former Nashville Metro Police Officer and a retired Major in the Army National Guard, I worked as Production Supervisor from 2000 through 2005, with an HVAC/Building Controls company. In 2005, however...read more

BRANDON LIEBERT

U.S. Army, AH64D Apache Helicopter Crew Chief Cryogenic Gas Technician, Linde
I celebrated my four-year anniversary as a Cryogenic Gas Technician with Linde, one of the largest industrial gas suppliers in the world, in February 2011. Prior to my civilian career, working with Nitrogen was the only cryogenic experience I had, but because I had great success in the military and have always been a fast learner, I knew I would succeed in this career...read more

ROBERT STAHLE

U.S. Army, OD Officer, Captain Supply Chain Manager, Ametek
I was a Captain in the Army serving as an OD Officer for five years in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I still have a military service obligation for another two years, so I am not completely out until that time elapses. For me, the decision to transition was based on my desire to have a better quality of life...read more

GEORGE BENJAMIN

U.S. Navy, Aviation Electronics, Chief Warrant Officer Quality Engineer, Honeywell
Transitioning was not a choice; it was mandatory for me to retire. In the Navy, when you are promoted to CWO5, you are only allowed to serve two more years to pay back your promotion. I did this and received my letter saying it was time to retire. Of course, when I was on terminal leave, I did get a call from my detailer saying...read more

TOM GRADY

U.S. Army, Petroleum Supply Specialist, Specialist Colorado Springs, CO
My transition out of the military was a little rough due to the economy and job market at the time of my departure. I was stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado, and separated in March 2006. There were a lot of soldiers getting out of the military in Colorado Springs, so jobs for ex-soldiers were scarce. I had 23 days of terminal leave saved up, and it ended up being about...read more