Spine Consultant

US Navy, O-3

I was hired by Medtronic in March 2007 through Orion International and am still in this position over five years later. Prior to my civilian career, I graduated from the United States Naval Academy and was active duty for eight years, serving as a Naval Flight Officer.

Being able to work with Orion and discuss a wide-range of jobs helped me narrow my career search to a specific career field, which helped save time and make my job search more efficient. A recruiter from Orion called up one day and said, “I had the perfect opportunity for you come across my desk this morning”…and that was it!

I was hired as part of a development program at Medtronic where they hire four people every six months that have either little or no healthcare and/or sales experience. These new employees spend six months in-house and learn the corporate structure. They then spend six months traveling in the field to learn the sales aspect of the job. Medtronic heavily recruits people with prior military experience, because they recognize the valuable skill sets veterans have learned while on active duty.

I have now worked in the healthcare industry as a spine consultant selling medical devices to neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, and interventional radiologists since 2007. I consult with them during procedures and help provide them with the newest and best technology for treating their patients. When I began, both the healthcare industry and the medical device field were entirely new to me.

In addition to the yearlong training program offered by Medtronic, I felt prepared for the job due to my military background. The diversity of duties I was assigned while in the military helped me become very willing and able to learn and succeed at a new job, or set of responsibilities, very quickly. Another important quality I took away from my military experiences was teamwork, the ability to stay focused on the team’s goals and overall mission above my own individual goals.

The leadership positions I had in the military have proved to be invaluable in my civilian career. I have found the flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to manage multiple priorities that I learned while on active duty have all been extremely useful in my current position. I did have to adjust my communication method slightly and focus on how to become a more effective communicator, especially in times when people might not have any interest in you or what you’re doing. The challenge is how to draw them in and get them interested.

Medtronic has treated me very well. It’s a solid company with a noble mission. In addition to being voted the “most valuable person” on my first district sales team, I received a “40 under 40 Award” given by the Billings Gazette and the Roche Jaune Award by the Billings Chamber of Commerce for Salesperson Excellence. My first award was especially rewarding, because it helped me recognize that while I had the least sales experience on the team, I was still able to be seen as an asset by my teammates. I discovered that the leadership, teamwork, and mission focus I learned in the military was directly transferable to my civilian job.