We’re excited to introduce another valued Employer Partner of The Honor Foundation and an Alumni who is now part of their family.
These are companies and organizations who have hired men and women from our program and/or who have generously given us their time, resources and connections in an effort to help build a stronger network for our Fellows after service — a community post community.
Q1 What advice do you have for those who are experiencing transition?
Peter Kerson (PK): You can leave the military on your own timeline. If you’re not ready, it’s OKAY to stay a little longer. I extended by a year, which allowed me to do a six month SkillBridge internship at Greensea, setting me up for a full time position.
Luis Mejia (LM): Trust in the process as each step will support the next. Being scared of transitioning out of the military is natural and expected, but you must consider that the accomplishments that you achieved in the military are equally as achievable within the civilian sector. Do not fear the change, embrace it and have fun with it.
Q2 What experience shaped who you are?
PK: All of them! But picking work and communities where I was surrounded by people who I admired was the most important. That way, THOSE are your influences, helping shape you.
LM: The experience of being in the military and Special Operations helped shape who I am today as it laid the foundation for my personal and professional growth.
Q3 What is your favorite interview question?
PK: As an interviewee: What do you love about working here? What is the company struggling with? As an interviewer: What do you see as the most important qualities for someone joining a new team?
LM: My favorite interview question is: “Are you ok with your boss being a civilian, can you handle this?” Well of course, being in Special Operations I have worked with all kinds of individuals, the fact that you’re not in the military makes me want to work for you more.
Q4 What similarities did you find between your role at Greensea and your previous experience in the SOF community?
PK: It’s still all about creatively solving hard problems, taking care of the team, and delivering.
LM: Uniquely, I work hand in hand with all members of the SOF community as the PM to SOF Technologies therefore it seems as if nothing has changed. My customers are goal oriented people that want to be the best. I speak operator to the operator and translate that to engineers in order to give the end user what they want; they way that they need it.
Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?
PK: We’re very collaborative, and we focus on solutions: getting the customer what they need to be successful.
LM: The culture at Greensea, places the customer first. There is no cloak and dagger game that the company places over our products. If the operator is going to use the equipment, then they should tell us what he wants out of it and it should exceed his expectations. Greensea uses me as a connecter to active duty SOF members, therefore their culture is dynamic which makes it a pleasure to work here.
Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?
LM: The question I get asked nearly daily is, do I miss it? Generally, I reply with “of course I miss it, but I miss the people more.” In my role at Greensea I still get to connect with the same type “A” personalities that I retired from. This has made my transition so much easier; I love working with people that want to move the ball, regardless of the obstacle in front of them.
Q7 What drives you every day?
PK: Working with smart people to solve hard problems that matter. I figured that plan out during THF, when we were trying to identify our ideal job. This felt too broad at the time, but actually, it’s been a really good guide for me. I KNOW when something meets these criteria.
LM: The unique thing that drives me every day is that I still get to support the people that defend our freedom day in and day out. Nothing is better than helping make the operators’ jobs easier.
Q8 What unanticipated skills, talent, and/or competencies did you gain for employing Special Operators at your organization?
Greensea: We didn’t anticipate how well our THF hires would fit into our corporate culture which is one of open collaboration. We pride ourselves on being able to work together to remove blockages that might keep us from doing great work that meets our customer expectations. Both Pete and Luis jumped in ready to work and quickly adapted to our culture. It’s a great fit for all of us.
Q9 What book do you find most valuable?
PK: The Anatomy of Peace and Leadership and Self Deception (they’re by the same people)
LM: Amongst the many books out there, I find myself repeatedly immersed in one book, which is the Holy Bible. Where else can you find stories, trials, and tribulations and how they were overcome. Numerous life lessons can be taken from scripture, the answers you want in life are in every chapter.
Q10 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?
PK: Ask for help! Any time I’m banging my head against a wall, or struggling to get something done, if I just ask for help, there’s someone who knows the answer, or can help me get unstuck.
LM: A lesson that I learned the hard way was that the civilian populace is not as responsive as the military in terms of customer to service provider. Everything is a lot slower and service providers do not seem as eager to push the limits as they work for the clock.
Q11 What defines a leader?
PK: Someone who can facilitate building a shared vision and a team, and then remove obstacles on the path to victory.
LM: A leader is someone who helps, mentors, and shapes others so that everyone can be better. A leader places his personal agenda to the side for the team. Without a team you can have no leader. Leaders are supposed to retain outside criticism but disseminate outside praise while still working to be better.
Q12 What is your favorite quote?
PK: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” This is especially true these days, but any time you ask, there’s usually something happening under the surface that you’re not aware of.
LM: Something must be said about an old man in a profession where people die young…