Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Veteran Spotlight: Brendan Finnegan

From the Battlefield to the Boardroom recently caught up with Orion alumnus Brendan Finnegan, who began a career with Hines Interests in October 2012. He shared insight into his own career progression, and some great advice for transitioning veterans. Finnegan, a former Air Force Reconnaissance Combat Systems Captain, found his position as an Assistant Property Manager with Hines through an Orion Hiring Conference. And while his wife was thrilled he was out of the Air Force, Finnegan tells us that it was harder for him to let go, as he had planned on a long military career.

Finnegan now works in Property Management, which is fitting with his Air Force career. In the Air Force, he was the Director of Facilities for the 552d Operations Group at Tinker AFB, OK, as his additional duty. This experience in project management and budgets was exactly what Hines was looking for.

When asked about other ways his military and civilian careers relate, Finnegan stated, “My military experience helps in some small way every day at my civilian job. Checklists and safety were drilled into my head as a flier. When you're managing hundreds of moving parts around a 1.3 million square foot skyscraper, having a checklist and safety oriented mindset coupled with the technical understanding demanded in military flying is exactly what it takes to manage a skyscraper from the engineering plant systems to the operation and safety demands of a roof mounted 133 foot retractable window washing boom.”

While Finnegan makes less in his civilian career, the cost of living is actually lower where he lives, and the performance and training bonuses he’s received have made up for his Flight Pay. He also plans to start a second Masters and will receive a housing allowance through VA benefits. All this combined brings his pay up to being equivalent to his military pay, plus benefits, before he hits two years on the job. Additionally, Hines is paying for him to obtain a Texas Real Estate license. Finnegan plans to move into a senior Development and/or Marketing role with Hines, as they continue to grow their presence in the international commercial real estate and building development markets.

Finnegan tells us that there was no easy part to my transition. Every bit of the transition took effort and thought. “If you think anything is going to be easy, you're wrong. You're completely changing gears in life, so you better prepare, work hard, pay attention, and shift gears when you need to,” advises Finnegan,  "Remember, too, that the military is drawing down, and if you have the opportunity to get out and beat thousands of others to the civilian market place, it's a no brainer.”

Click here to read more about Finnegan's transition and even ask him a question.

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