Transition Corner - Military to Civilian Transition Resources
Resources for Military Professionals Considering a Civilian Career
Transitioning out of the military and into the civilian world can be an overwhelming experience, especially without the guidance of someone who has already been through the process. From signing out, to finding a new home and career, to dropping the military jargon, the issues that arise during transitioning are diverse and can affect every aspect of your life.
Learn from veterans who’ve already made the transition from military to civilian life, read our step-by-step articles on finding a career, and check out our resources for spouses and family members.
Advice from Orion Alumni
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 contactAllison Thomasto learn 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, CA, on the USS Ronald Reagan CVN-76. As an Engineman, my job in the Navy was to work on diesel engines. Just like a mechanic…
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.
I purchased a house with a VA loan. My final move went well…
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.
My transition went smoothly. I found that the Army had the…
Angela Pearson Safety Regulatory Manager, Cargill
U.S. Army National Guard, Supply Sergeant; U.S. Navy, Yeoman (1995 – 1998)
I found Orion International 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 and also a veteran of the US Navy from 1995-98 as a Yeoman. I had just graduated with my second Master’s degree when I attended the December 2010 Hiring Conference, where I interviewed with four companies…
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 asked a lot of questions. I did not listen to what people said about transitioning, instead I asked the experts. That is a big part of the transitioning process…
Brian Schulz U.S. Navy, Naval Flight Officer, Lieutenant
Spine Consultant, Medtronic Spinal and Biologics
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.
Working with Orion greatly helped in my transition from the military to a corporate career. I started my transition thinking…
Chris Pieczonka Sale and Marketing Development Program, Siemens Energy
US Navy, Surface Warfare Officer, Lieutenant
United States Naval Academy, 2005
I was commissioned into the US Navy in May 2005 as a Surface Warfare Officer. My first command was the USS LAKE CHAMPLAIN. During my two-and-a-half years onboard, I had duties as the Cruise Missile Officer, Force Protection Officer, and Assistant to the Air Defense Officer. While onboard, I also earned my Engineering Officer of the Watch qualification. This allowed me to accept orders to my next command, Destroyer…
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 known. The decision was difficult, but with the support of my friends, family, and the team at Orion International, the transition was seamless, and I landed…
Monique Johnson 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 employment; therefore, I was in no hurry to seek employment within the first six months of leaving active duty…
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 the second time, I was eight months from retirement with three months of terminal leave. I was behind the proverbial 8-ball. I firmly believe if not for Orion…
Carolina Gonzalez-Prats U.S. Army, 92 A-Quartermaster Corps (Supply & Logistics), Captain, Field Consultant/District Manager, 7-Eleven
It has been almost two-and-a-half years since I took the position as a Field Consultant with 7-Eleven Inc. in the Sierra Nevada region through Orion International and seven-and-a-half years since I left the Army. Although no longer the rookie or the “new kid on the block” in my job, I find myself as challenged and engaged as my first day…
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 with Actavis was the best move I've ever made.
My experience transitioning was one of the best experiences…
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 was FE Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming. After my transition, I settled in Los Angeles, California.
Transitioning out of the military can be a very stressful…
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 Air Force Base in Florida. By the time I transitioned out of the military, I had earned a Master’s degree in Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical…
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, I have learned some lessons that are useful for my transitioning colleagues.…
Patrick Zimmer U.S. Navy, Mineman Third Class and Sonar Technician
Global Navigation Satellite System Technician, Veripos
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 out of the military. Leaving the Navy after seven years was frightening when you consider that the Navy…
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 a Production Supervisor from 2000 through 2005, with an HVAC/Building Controls company. In 2005, however, I sought to change employers due to the shutdown of my local operation. I then turned to Orion…
Kelly King U.S. Army, Adjutant General Captain
Director of International Rail Operations Support, 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 fun to research different opportunities and industries; however, as each month passed, it turned into more of a test of my patience and endurance…
John Pelton U.S. Navy, Nuclear Trained Machinist Mate Second Class
Maintenance Operator, SSAB Steel
I separated from the Navy back in 1996 and have held various civilian jobs in the industrial gas, power generation, and steel industries since. During my time in the Navy, I was stationed on board the USS Abraham Lincoln, sailing out of Alameda, CA, and served as a Nuclear Trained Machinist Mate Second Class, or E-5. When I separated, I had used three weeks of terminal leave and found my first civilian job within about two to three months.…
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.…
Jeff Moehling U.S. Army, Nurse Corps, Captain
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 chosen field before my 20 days of terminal leave even began. I settled in Austin, Texas, shortly after leaving the Army…
Bradley Norman U.S. Marine Corps, CH53 Crew Chief, Gunnery Sergeant
Service Technician, Siemens Building Technologies
I separated from the United Stated Marine Corps in 2003 and acquired a job before my terminal leave ended. After working in the construction field for seven years, I was ready to make a career change. The biggest factor in this decision was the economy. Work in the construction industry really slowed from 2003 to present. I found that I needed to re-evaluate my future and find something that would be better suited for me in the years to come…
Zachary Humbles U.S. Army, Army Corps of Engineers, Captain
Project Engineer, Coastal Environmental Group
My transition experience was an interesting change from the routine of military life, and occurred very rapidly following my redeployment to CONUS from OEF. I was posted in Fort Riley, KS, and utilized the transition program on base to a limited degree, as well as the educational center, but found that although both were helpful, they seemed targeted to positions that were not pertinent to my education and specialties, or catered to individuals with slightly different academic goals…
Ryan Lohstreter U.S. Navy, Submarine Officer, Lieutenant
Field Engineer, Washington Closure Hanford
Orion put me in contact with Washington Closure Hanford, a company involved in the environmental cleanup effort at the Hanford Nuclear reservation. My position is Field Engineer, where I'll be involved in planning and executing electrical safety in field work of all kinds, including the deactivation and demolition of multiple buildings onsite scheduled for decommissioning. Prior to this I was a Navy Lieutenant and a submariner. I'd had experience working with…
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…
James Morreale U.S. Navy, Gunner’s Mate, Petty Officer Second Class
Field Service Engineer, Mafi-Trench Co. Houston, Texas
I have used Orion’s services twice; once in October 2007 when I was hired as a Pace Technician for an oil & gas company; and the second time in the beginning of 2009. I was placed with Mafi-Trench Co as a Field Service Engineer, and I started this new position in April 2009.
I served in the Navy and was a Gunners Mate, E-5, and separated in 2008. I was stationed at various locations,…
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 that the rules had changed and I could remain on active duty, but, by that time, I had a job lined up, and I didn’t want to go back to sea duty or go through the transition again…
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 30 days after I left the military that I was hired by my first civilian employer through Orion International, although I didn’t start my job for another six weeks. The job required a move…