Military-to-Civilian Transition Story: A Success Story Waiting for You
Article Sponsored by: American Military University
A ComSonics employee
Great things are known to come in small packages.
Such is the case with ComSonics, Inc., a growing electronics company living large on the cutting edge of groundbreaking technology. With its corporate headquarters in Harrisonburg, Va., ComSonics is an international manufacturing and services firm in the electronics industry. Founded in 1972, much of their 40 plus years of electronics expertise was developed in the highly-technical cable television industry.
Today, ComSonics' operational capabilities include a state-of-the-art electronics manufacturing facility, three dedicated bench repair facilities in California, Indiana, and Virginia, and four regionally-located mobile laboratories offering onsite certification convenience.
"We are a smaller, employee-owned company, having 215 employees. In the past ten years, however, we have grown and diversified so much," said Pam Snyder, director of human resources.
Looking for the best employees
Depending on the specific position, presentation, customer service and technical skills are also required. As the company expands, it finds itself seeking candidates with a varied skill set.
"Many of those skills are found within the Navy electronics career field, Air Force avionics and Army signal occupations," said Salzman, who is based out of the Austin, Texas BMI office.
The strengths of transitioning military personnel
BMI is equally devoted to ComSonics.
"ComSonics is special to me. We've enjoyed a long-lasting relationship. We fully understand their varied needs and do everything we can to fill them with the best possible matches," said Salzman.
"In interviews for positions that require traveling, we ask them if there are any issues with being away from home for a few weeks at a time. They simply laugh. Many of them are so used to being deployed for such longer periods of time that our three week on the road, two weeks at home work schedule seems easy in comparison," said Snyder.
What ComSonics has to offer you
"In 1985, ComSonics became a 100% ESOP corporation, which means ComSonics is 100% employee owned. All our full-time employees who are 21 years of age and have worked for the company for at least a year own a part of the company, so our employees have a vested interest in every product or service we provide. We all want to succeed because we all benefit as a result," said Snyder.
According to Snyder, the organizational culture of ComSonics is a comfortable one having an open door policy.
"We are not a formal, stuffy kind of company. We are friendly, open to new ideas and respectful of our employees," said Snyder. "Our reputation and many years of success are built upon a quality commitment to our valued customers. And at the heart of our success are the employees of ComSonics."
ComSonics also offers competitive salaries and lucrative benefits. This includes not only employee ownership but also medical, dental, and 100% tuition assistance.
Advancement opportunities are also a reality.
"We like to promote from within wherever possible," said Snyder.
"Employee ownership also creates a different work culture. Everyone wants to succeed because everyone has skin in the game," said Snyder.
"We aren't able to offer as big of a compensation package as a very large company might, but we offer good salaries with additional benefits that could never be realized in a larger organization," said Snyder.
"I enjoy working with ComSonics. It's a good company and it was the best choice for me. The job itself is fun, offering a nice variety. We get to do a little bit of everything," said Voelkers.
Transitioning from military to civilian life was not without it challenges, according to Voelkers.
"I had only had one job in my life and my employer that whole time was the U.S. Air Force. I wasn't sure what to expect," said Voelkers.
"The number one thing I would tell someone thinking about leaving the military now, is to contact BMI. They made the whole process of finding a job easy and smooth for me," said Voelkers adding that it also helps to be open to moving to different geographical locations.
Voelkers learned about BMI when he attended the mandatory transition assistance briefings provided by the Air Force. There he met Chris Stevens, a BMI candidate recruiter / regional operations manager, who arranged for him to learn about the company and interview for a position with it.
"In January 2006, I contacted BMI and started working with Chris [Stevens] to locate potential job opportunities. I attended a BMI hiring event in the springtime and within two to three weeks I was offered the job as a Technical Support Representative with ComSonics," said Voelkers.
Within a year and half, he was promoted to Supervisor of Technical Support.
Janet Farley is the author of "The Military-to-Civilian Career Transition Guide" and she writes the JobTalk column for the Stars and Stripes newspaper.
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