Military Appreciation Month, officially designated by Congress in 1999, takes place every year throughout the month of May. This May, three veterans working in the channel share their paths to the IT industry with ChannelPro, discuss why it’s been a good career fit for them, and explain why hiring veterans who bring skills to the table such as discipline and team work can be a winning strategy for the channel as it looks to fill the hiring gap.
For Craig Fulton, chief customer officer at IT management vendor ConnectWise, technology was an interest that started at a young age. The library in his small hometown in Ohio, where his mother was a librarian, got an Apple II computer, and he was hooked. He joined the Marines after high school, and a major who recognized his aptitude encouraged him to test for a new field called Small Computer Systems Repair, so he did. Armed with those skills when he completed his time with the Marines in 1998, he landed a job on a help desk, then launched his own IT services business in 2006, and in 2007 joined ConnectWise, where he says the culture is a welcoming one for veterans.
“One of the core values that ConnectWise has is ‘play as a team,’ and obviously the military is all about team, especially in the Marine Corps,” he says.
When he first joined ConnectWise, Fulton says the founders, Arnie and David Bellini, “really had a lot of admiration for the military. And even when we were a small company, I was surprised how many veterans were there.”
Today, vets at ConnectWise actively support each other. “There's like a WebEx channel we chat on,” Fulton says. “We get together, we meet, share stories.”
Military training, he says, makes vets particularly suitable for high-stress jobs like cybersecurity.
“In the Marines you're given a standard operational procedure manual. You know, when you run into this situation, here's how you do it. And that's basically how security works. You have an incident, you follow these guidelines. I think that's why it works so well with military just because the military is a system, everything is a system. … It's a constant preparing you for high-stress situations.”
Dave Wisz, executive vice president of operations at US Signal, also had a knack for electronics, which he pursued in the Air Force in the 1990s. Through his work in voice and data communications and surveillance and by taking advantage of educational opportunties the Air Force offered, he gained skills applicable to working in technology and IT. And when he was ready to enter the civilian workforce, he took advantage of a transitioning program the Air Force provided.