Profiles in IT: A special Veterans Day edition (photo gallery)

November 12, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

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Military training prepares veterans for a career in information technology by requiring technical proficiency, while teaching about teamwork, tenacity, leadership and more. Veterans’ diverse backgrounds and knowledge demonstrate attention to detail, perseverance and vibrancy focused on creating brighter futures at U-M.

This Veterans Day, those in the IT community are especially thankful for their service, and are appreciative of their efforts that contributed to U-M’s rank among best colleges and universities for veterans.

Below are profiles of veterans from Michigan Medicine who bring a wealth of knowledge to the IT industry. They share where they were and what they’re doing now, and how their time in the service influenced the jobs they do today.

Shawn Chapman, U.S Navy, HITS

From 1990-1996, I served in the U.S. Navy. I graduated from boot camp at recruit training command, or RTC, in Orlando, Fla., and then was stationed at three different naval stations. Our ship was home-ported at NAVSTA Long Beach, Calif., until 1993. The homeport changed to NAVSTA San Diego when Naval Station in Long Beach was closed due to the military drawdown in 1993. I worked as an electronic technician (RADAR tech, SATNAV tech, and shipboard mainframe Sysadmin).

My time in the U.S. Navy has proven to be invaluable. The confidence I gained during my enlistment has changed my life. I use the expert troubleshooting skills learned in the Navy to this day in role as of device support technician. I also feel more equipped in my technical skills, knowledge and organizational skills.

Darren Cooley, U.S. Marine Corps, HITS

From 1983-1992, I served as an avionics technician/electrician in the U.S. Marine Corps, and my primary duty station was MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. I was deployed on “WESTPAC” for six months at a time, where we would be stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, and would take trips to South Korea or Philippines. I was also deployed for the Gulf War to the island of Bahrain for about seven months.

I have had the good fortune to have traveled from one side of the country to the other for various training exercises and deployments. I feel that my time in the military shaped my work ethic. It taught me to take pride in the work I do as an applications programmer/analyst senior and never to give up.

Janette DeYonge, U.S. Navy, HITS

For 20 years (1985 to 2005), I served in the U.S. Navy, and was stationed in many locales, inclusing the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps ROTC at U-M.

Yeoman (administrative duties) was my primary rate (job) in the U.S. Navy, however, there were many opportunities to serve outside the rate. One instance was Operation Provide Promise, serving as aircrew support (a six-month deployment) when flying humanitarian relief operations to Bosnia-Herzegovina, in addition to being the administrative support for this operation. We flew both day and night sorties (missions). Most of my assignments required Top Secret (TS) clearance for stateside and Cosmic (CTS) for NATO. I valued working together as teams, getting things done in a timely manner and looking out for your fellow sailors/Marines. “Can-do” attitudes were always valued and getting results against all odds was very satisfying. 

Michael Golden, U.S. Marine Corps, HITS

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1992 until 1995 when I was medically discharged, and I am a disabled veteran. I was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin in California, and Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan, where I worked as a hydraulics and pneumatics mechanic. My time in the military taught me how to be a good leader, to do the job correctly and to know that others rely on you and your work.

Randy Hall, U.S. Army, HITS

I was active in the U.S. Army from 1985-1988, working as a finance specialist and a computer operator stationed in Baumbolder, Germany. My time in the military helped further my IT interest and career, where I was one of three computer operators in my unit. Today, I am a senior programmer analyst with HITS, and a War of 1812 re-enactor, which is an incredibly fun hobby in my spare time.

Dwight Hunt, U.S. Air Force, MHealthy

I was in the U.S. Air Force from 1979 to 1985, stationed at the Torrijon Air Base in Spain and Wallace Air Station in the Philippines. I enjoyed my time in the military, especially in Spain. I consider it the best time of my life. I began computer systems self-study in 1983 and got my first computer in August 1984.

Jermaine “J.D.” Jordan, U.S. Air Force, HITS

I was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Air Force in 2003, and served on active duty until December 2010. My primary role was to lead IT professionals to contribute to the Air Force’s mission to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace. I served as a student pilot, IT maintenance crew commander, network administration team lead, Wing executive officer, IT officer training instructor and device support manager. After seven years of service, I finished my military career at the rank of Captain.

My service gave me a strong work ethic, courage to speak truth to power, and a keen understanding of the importance of charismatic, engaged and effective leaders. I use this every day in my role as a systems integration analyst in HITS.

Mark Ley, U.S. Air Force (retired), HITS

From 1976 to 1996, I served in the U.S. Air Force and worked as a turbojet/turboshaft engine technician. My time in the military made me detail-oriented and prepared me for troubleshooting a variety of problems — perfect for my job as a desktop support agent.

Liz Lind, U.S. Army, Office of the Chief Information Officer

I have been active in the U.S. Army since 1982. I started my career as a cadet at West Point from 1982 until 1986. I was an active duty officer from 1986-1997, and was as a reserve officer from 1997 until 2014. I was a bomb squad/EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and faculty/professor at West Point.

My time in the military had a personal impact. I am a problem solver and driver, so I take many of my problem-solving methods working on EOD to HITS — analyzing the situation and finely crafting the fix. I have a scientific approach to my work as project manager at OCIO (Office of the Chief Information Officer). Sometimes my job can be more stressful than bomb disposal — people can be more complex than machines. The military provides a great opportunity for maturity and leadership skills and to learn about rest of world.

Jennie Miller, U.S. Navy, HITS

From 1995 to 2000, I served in the U.S. Navy. My rank was a petty officer third class, electronics technician (nuclear field), reactor operator. I received a scholarship to earn my bachelor’s degree at U-M, and served as a Midshipman as part of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.

My time in the military has been quite impactful on the job I do today for HITS: end user computing specialist/service desk team lead. My experience has led me to be extremely comfortable troubleshooting and fixing various complex technologies, to be neat and methodical, to report any issues as soon as they are discovered before they become larger problems, to take responsibility for my actions, and be accountable for my work and those for whom I am responsible. I also gained a lot of experience in leadership and disaster response.

Evan “Buzz” Nau, U.S. Navy, HITS

I served in the U.S. Navy from 1979 to 1987, as an aviation fire-control technician first class (aviation warfare specialist), and held the roles of flight deck troubleshooter/supervisor and workshop supervisor. I also served in the Reserves from 1987 to 1991.

My time in the military has helped the way that I manage my service operations support team; nothing matters more than being successful together. My military training also helps me with current troubleshooting methodology.

Andrew Rosenberg, M.D., U.S. Navy, Michigan Medicine chief information officer

I was a U.S. Navy doctor and started as a lieutenant and ended as lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy Reserve from 1994 to 2002 (first in active and then inactive reserve). I joined the military after medicine residency and during my anesthesiology residency.

I worked as a doctor with various U.S. Marine Corps units at Camp Pendleton in California and Camp Quantico in Virginia. Some of the work was designing and setting up mobile field surgical staging capabilities. My experiences reinforced the values of service, teamwork and esprit d’corps, working with mission-driven men and women. Apparently, the Baltimore Naval Officer recruiter had not before had a board certified physician working on further medical specialties walk into their office, sign up, and not take any additional stipend. I just told them this was something I wanted to do since I was a kid and didn’t need anything else. Frankly, I did very little relative to most veterans, and wished I had a chance to have done more. It sounds cliché, but one really does feel a sense of honor to work among Marines and Sailors working in these capacities.

My current work in academic health IT as the chief information officer has many aspects of what I experience during my brief time in the military.

John Sdao, U.S. Marine Corps, HITS

I was a combat engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1984 to 1988. The experience taught me a lot about discipline, listening skills and problem solving. I learned the values of regiment, being on time, working hard and persevering. I apply these skills to my job of senior systems analyst programmer at HITS.

Justin Sivils, U.S. Marine Corps, Information Assurance: Michigan Medicine

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2008. I originally enlisted as an aviation maintenance administrator. After a year, I applied to and was accepted to Marine Security Guard (MSG) duty, serving at three U.S. embassies. Our mission was the protection of classified material, government personnel, and property. We also provided security support for the president and other high-level diplomats on overseas trips. This was an exclusive role (at the time there were just over 250 of us worldwide), as it required a top secret clearance and the ability to operate in remote locations with little to no support from traditional military units.

A good portion of the skills I developed as an aviation maintenance administrator carried over to my current job of technical writer, which involves significant technical documentation.

Sean Sivils, U.S. Marine Corps, HITS

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2005 to 2010. I worked in IT in the military and system administration, building servers, workstations, satellite transmission equipment and setup technology for deployment.

My time in the military impacted the job I do today because it taught me about interacting with people. I learned a lot about social graces, including common courtesies, which forced me to be confident, especially in my technical skills which are similar to my current role of supervisor of the Medical Center Device Support team at HITS.

Andy Stevens, U.S. Army, HITS

I was a specialist in the third infantry division in the U.S. Army from 1988 to 1992. I specifically worked as a track vehicle mechanic in Schweinfurt, West Germany (I was there when the wall came down!).

Being a mechanic in the Army was a great primer for being in IT here at Michigan Medicine. In any job in the military, you’re going to master the art of clear critical thinking under duress. For a mechanic, having to work on tanks or trucks while the action is going on all around you is a great way to learn to deal with an operating room with an active case having some kind of technical issues.

I feel that the traits an individual picks up while serving in the military will always be a schematic for getting through tough situations in any chosen profession.

Jeff Wilkins, U.S. Navy, HITS

I served in the U.S. Navy from 1984 to 2006 as a hospital corpsman/medic and senior enlisted advisor. I spent a great deal of my time in the U.S. Navy at sea, and learned vital lessons in getting things done.

This experience matured me, improved my decision-making skills and helped me be a better leader. You learn to think on your feet and fast when the bullets are flying. It prepares you for any situation life or work can throw your way. Health care was going to be the area I continued to work in after I retired, and I was lucky enough to be on the initial teams moving the U.S. Navy to computerized health records. It taught me many of the technical skills I use today as a senior desktop support specialist.