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Meet

Robert

Meet

Robert

District Manager Southwest Region - Facilities in Aramark Higher Education
U.S. Air Force - Colonel, Squadron & Group Commander, Pilot
About

I support Higher Education Line of Business (College/Universities) accounts in Aramark's Southwest Region where we provide facility management services including Environmental, Operations & Maintenance, Grounds Landscaping and Engineering Solutions (Energy & Project Management). I am responsible for supporting site-based management teams in finance, contracts, relationships, brand execution and quality outcomes by "Delivering Experiences that Enrich and Nourish Lives." The most valuable tool in my kit bag is leadership ... leading through Aramark's Higher Education line of business by providing talent and experience to transform day-to-day uncertainty to an advantage and then leveraging that advantage of change through the managers I lead and serve to exceed client and business expectations – growth and profit metrics prove the results over the past 4+ years!

Advice

The number one piece of advice I can offer you is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to find a job. For me (and my family) this was an emotional roller coaster and more difficult than I ever thought it would be--not that it was difficult for me to find a job but difficult for me to find a second career I had a passion for. I did not know really what I wanted to do but I clearly knew what I didn't want to do. I remember talking to a counselor early on, and as I was seeking advice he asked me what I had a passion for and I told him leadership. I like leading people and providing a service. His response was that I have now narrowed down my job search to about 99% of the companies hiring because they all will provide a service and all executive managers will be leading people.

Takeaways

The number one career takeaway I have for my current success is networking internally with the company to know where to go for advice. One can argue that networking is also important to find a job and that may in fact be true but networking did not help me find a job. 

In general most organizations likely don’t care about what you did in the military, nor do they care how many medals/awards you have or that Top Secret Clearance. Most civilians know very little about the military and they likely have formed biases based on film and or people they may know who serves or has served … but they really may not understand how we operate and what we’ve gone through. Individually the people in the organization will say they're impressed, thank you for your service, listen to your war story and be polite and then move on. Because of these preconceived notions some people may be afraid of how they think you lead and interact this can be an advantage or a disadvantage. If you are not humble and don’t know how to influence (not give orders) take criticism or work across functional lines to leverage diversity as a team member you will struggle. Understand that it is pretty real possibility that if you join any organization that you may have more leadership ability then your peers and perhaps even the people you report to—you need to find a way to make that chemistry work and not get frustrated. Network and reach out to other vets in the organization--you might be surprised that the organization has an employee resource group to assist.

Lastly I will add that I’ve interviewed quite a few veterans for roles in our company. Make sure you understand the mission and values the company holds dear also realize that the interview is a two way street … you are interviewing the company as well as the company is interviewing you for a good fit.  

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