Tell us about your military background

I was a Tactical Intelligence Analyst in the Army, a 96B at the time. I did basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Fort Huachuca for Advanced Individualized Training (AIT). After AIT I went to Germany with the 11th Aviation Regiment, out of Illesheim. I was there for two years and some change due to being deployed to Iraq as well. I then came down on order to go to Fort Hood at the same time my unit was headed to Kuwait. And so I thought, “I want to stay and go to Kuwait with the 11th.” The Command told me that once we got out of Iraq, I could go wherever I wanted.

After Iraq I got stationed at Fort Irwin, California at the National Training Center. This was good as I wanted to transition out in California where I’m from. That was a long time ago, but I remember it pretty well.

How was the transition for you?

I think, like everyone else, I underestimated what the transition would be. I remember that the Army does a good job of really showing you how much value you’re getting (by being active duty in the Army), you don’t pay for food, you don’t pay for clothing, you don’t pay for housing.

To get the same lifestyle outside of the military you’re going to need to make something like $65,000 (as an E-5 Sergeant). In 2004 that was a lot of money and I remember being kind of intimidated by that. I remember having the temptation of staying in since it was what I knew… and it’s all I knew.

For the typical enlisted person, which was me, I was coming in just out of high school with one year of community college. I was 19 when I enlisted and 23 when I got out. My world view was really formed in the military and that’s all I knew.

Later on I went to college and got my bachelor’s degree in business, and then geared up to go to grad school in 2010 at UC Davis and got my MBA.

Photos by Thomas Mort

What did you do to find success in your job search?

I was able to make a connection to a classmate at UC Davis, who was one of the first interns at Tesla. I stayed in touch with him and he introduced me to some other people. After I finished my MBA, I had to go through interviews and then I ended up joining Tesla inside sales. I joined the week that the Model S launched and was there from 2012 to 2016. I got to see the company go from 2,000 employees up to 15,000 and it was quite a ride for sure.

What do you do now?

I am the Vetforce Program Manager here at Salesforce. I saw an opportunity to introduce this world, the Silicon Valley tech world, to the military.

How can veterans thrive at your company?

At Salesforce you have a lot of flexibility and responsibility for your own career. A lot of it is the team that you build around you and the people that can help guide you. Military folks have a unique perspective: a commitment to mission accomplishment. Anyone who hasn’t served may have had similar experiences but it’s less common.

Do you have a story that would inspire other veterans?

Email us at to share your story with our veteran community.

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