"I started my active duty career in the Army in May of 1989. I was assigned as an HR Specialist and eventually made staff sergeant and became a trainer for HR Specialists. I had many interesting assignments to include: implementing private sector quality initiatives in customer service in a military environment, consulting with the Ministry of Defense in Latvia, creating on-the-job Personnel and Information Systems qualification courses, becoming a certified Total Army Instructor, and was selected as Soldier of The Year for the State for Michigan in 1993. While I was serving my country, I completed both my BA and my MBA. I had difficulties with knee problems over my last service period and was eventually honorably discharged in 2001 due to medical reasons with over twelve years of service.
Due to my service experience in HR and my educational background, I found a job in the private sector as an HR & Training Director. When the economy took a downturn, I found myself in a couple of different roles due to layoffs as a Project Manager overseeing contracts for the Air Force Reserve and as a Senior Compensation and Benefits Analyst for a very large business process outsourcer. During my last layoff, I decided to apply for government positions and serve my country again in new way.
After several months of applying and interviewing, I accepted a position with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and am now working as an ePlanning Specialist. I can truthfully say without a doubt that my current career has been the best job I have had in over 20 years. I teach ePlanning software to employees at BLM offices all over the West.
I no longer have the stress many corporate employees are facing today and my boss is terrific. My military time counts toward my retirement, so the 12 years I served in the Army all counts for vacation time accumulation and I no longer consider it time lost toward a pension. I have been able to travel to some the most remote locations and have seen and been able to explore some of the most beautiful areas this country has to offer. During my off time, while I am training, I have; mined for garnets, explored the Great Basin, saw the Grand Staircase, experienced the thrill of Las Vegas, visited Lake Tahoe, traveled the loneliest (and most scenic) highway in America, experienced the Great Salt Lake, viewed the colorful and beautiful Salt Flats at sunrise and sunset, traveled through canyons, felt the hot sun in Phoenix on an August day, and reveled in the beauty of Jackson Hole Wyoming and, by the way, I experienced all of this during my first year and a half with the BLM (at no cost J). The people I have met and trained over my past year and a half with the BLM are some of the most intelligent, fascinating people I have ever met (and yes, many are fellow veterans). I consider it a great privilege to serve these people and look forward to every teaching opportunity I have in order to meet and get to know these extraordinary individuals. I have met; Biologists, environmental experts, people who explore abandoned mines, hazard materials specialists, fish and wildlife experts, scientists, recreational specialists, air quality experts, water quality experts, economists, Native American tribal experts, reality specialists, landscapers, architects, historians, archeologists, park specialists, technology gurus, and numerous others.
Even though I do all of this, I am still able to volunteer part of my time as a Special Emphasis Program Manager for People with Disabilities. I educate BLM employees about people with disabilities and assist disabled veterans with applying for government jobs by informing them of schedule A and veteran’s programs. I also assist our HR department with the Wounded Warriors program and other technical programs as well. I am very grateful for my current position and look forward to traveling to even more interesting places and meeting more new students, whose stories are both interesting and fascinating as well. I would highly recommend a career with the government."