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Meet

Russ

Meet

Russ

Vice President, Territory Product Lead – Texas
U.S. Army - Captain, Field Artillery Officer
About

As the Territory Product Lead for Texas, I am responsible for the profit and loss statement for auto, home, and umbrella products in the state of Texas. To relate it to my military experience, I am the Division Operations Officer running a Tactical Operations Center. I have the responsibility to work with all areas of the company (e.g. sales, pricing, underwriting, claims, marketing, operations, IT, government affairs, etc.) to ensure that Farmers runs a profitable, growing book of business in Texas. Just like a member of the Operations staff in the Army, I have to coordinate a holistic strategy to win in Texas. It is a high pressure job that requires an incredible amount of team work, collaboration, and decision making. I absolutely love what I do, and I find it to be closest to some of the things I loved about working in an Operations Center in combat.

Advice

The main thing I tell anyone in the service looking to transition to the civilian workplace is to learn as much as you can about the environment you are about to enter. Knowledge is power. Similar to the military, you would not deploy to a combat theater without methodical preparation. You would prepare for different types of combat and non-combat scenarios. The same thing goes with the civilian world. There are numerous books and articles about transitioning that are helpful. Talk with veterans who have transitioned to get their thoughts.  Join various social media forums on LinkedIn, etc. Attend local veteran group events. There is no shortage of ways to engage. Preparation and knowledge are the keys to success. The civilian workplace is much different than the military. Do your homework and ask lots of questions.

Takeaways

Getting a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business was the most important decision I made during my civilian career.  When I left the military, I knew I wanted to take on roles with increasing responsibility.  But I was also aware that I lacked a plethora of civilian experience including accounting, finance, marketing, corporate strategy, etc. I could have tried to gain that experience on the job, but I decided to accelerate my learning and go back to school to get my MBA. It wasn’t easy.  I was married with two young children.  For me it was important spending time figuring out how I could make myself better…not on how to make excuses.  You have to earn respect and continuing my education was absolutely the most critical decision I made. I am much better prepared for my role as a product leader with the education I received.  Like I said before, knowledge is power. Force yourself to learn as much as you can.  

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