Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Veteran Spotlight: Patrick Zimmer

Patrick Zimmer, a former Navy Mineman Third Class and Sonar Technician Third Class, separated from the Navy in January 2006 and found employment in the oil and gas service industry with the help of Orion. Since then, his career has taken him from Seismic Engineer, to Field Engineer to Geotechnical Support Engineer to Associate Sales Manager. Having experienced both being laid off and changing companies in the search for career growth, Zimmer understands how a civilian career path can seem daunting to veterans.

We recently caught up this Orion alumnus, who was recently promoted to Associate Sales Manager with VERIPOS, a company that provides precision navigation services (equipment, training, signals, and continuing technical support) to the offshore oil and gas industry. Patrick started out with the company in 2011 as a Global Navigation Satellite System Technician and enjoyed the fact that 8 of the 10 people at his office were prior military. He believes this is because the work ethic and technical skills that veterans possess are highly valued, especially at companies like VERIPOS. In his new position, he is focused on business development, relationship repair/maintenance, and technical sales, but is still involved with global technical support and testing.

“My area of responsibility for sales is the US Gulf Coast, Mexico, and Canada (with occasional business in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Singapore). I regularly travel to all those places and have never felt more challenged or like a fish out of water. It’s a truly international role,” explains Zimmer, “I speak with colleagues and clients every day located around the world. But I’m doing well and have already won work that will net my company almost USD $500,000/year by the end of 2014. And I get to travel the country and world to represent my company in a way that is rewarding and enjoyable on both a professional and personal basis.”

Patrick’s post-military career has taught him that veterans are highly trainable, above all other skills. Another asset he says veterans have is the ability to be flexible when circumstances change and to provide an appropriate response to those changes. He has a few suggestions for his fellow vets: First, he says to never let your resume go more than a few months without revisiting it and updating it, because you never know when your secure life will be upended by change. He also advises to not be afraid to reach out with SOS emails to former employers and coworkers, as well as friends and family, because you never know what contacts they might be able to help you make in your job search.

Most importantly of all, Patrick explains, “Don’t be afraid to undertake the transition process and its uncertainty, and don’t be afraid to sell yourself (awards and recognition, both documented and unofficial) to prospective employers.”

To learn more about Patrick and read more of his tips, click here

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