NEWS + ADVICE
Five Military Transition Questions with Engility’s Mike Snodgrass
Mike, tell us about yourself
I joined the Air Force in 1978 after graduating from the Air Force Academy. I flew F-4s, F-16s, F-15s, C-130s and more. It was mostly a storybook career mix of operational and staff assignments at all levels. After 33 years I decided it was time to move on, so I retired. I initially built a small consulting business to reset perspective and stay engaged. Business was good, but I decided to look for a permanent position after about a year. Several months later I was hired by Engility as the Director of USAF and FAA programs for the company .
Do you consider your transition a success
My transition was a success due to planning. My wife and I started planning several years prior to my terminal leave date. We knew where we wanted to live after retirement, and positioned ourselves for that outcome. Part of that process was keeping in touch with and relying on my close network of about a dozen friends. Some of them were still in uniform, some in government and some in industry. That network provided helpful feedback and advice. I also went back to school in 2009 and in 2011 graduated with my MBA to better position myself for work with private industry. That education helped me in my uniform job, during transition, and also in my current position.
I attended the Air Force’s transition TAP workshop in 2009. I understand that since that time the program has been updated and improved. It’s a free option that every transitioning service member should take advantage of prior to retirement.
What was the biggest mistake you made in your transition
One of my mistakes was that I initially limited my network. I didn’t reach out to as many people as I could have, including some of my previous managers. I wanted to do it on my own, but in a job search you really need to rely on your network of contacts to move things forward.
I would also recommend if someone is looking at consulting that they take into account the amount of time it will take you to handle all your own administrative work, such as billing your clients according to their distinct requirements.
What did you do well in your transition
When I transitioned I was very upfront with my consulting clients that I was seeking full-time employment. I gave them 110% and completed the work, but I didn’t want them to think that I was going to be a long-term solution to their mission since my long-term goal was full-time employment. The consulting process gave me the opportunity to look at different companies and positions and the interviewing process certainly made me a better interviewee.
Any other recommendations for transitioning service members
In your transition you may be contacted by companies that want to take advantage of your experience with certain programs, weapons systems, etc. Be careful not to put yourself in an uncomfortable ethical position while you are still in uniform.
Join Mike at Engility. Check out these open positions Engility is seeking to fill.