Common Ground for Veterans
For more than 65 years, engineers have turned to Tektronix for test, measurement, and monitoring solutions to solve design challenges, improve productivity, and reduce time to market. Tektronix produces test equipment for engineers focused on electronic design, manufacturing, and advanced technology development. The company has locations throughout the United States. Headquarters are in Beaverton, Oregon.
The company traces its roots to the electronics revolution that followed World War II. In 1946, the year after the war ended, the company’s founders, C. Howard Vollum and Melvin J. "Jack" Murdock, invented the time-based triggered oscilloscope. Today, company products include – in addition to oscilloscopes – spectrum analyzers, signal generators, logic and protocol analyzers, power analyzers, and video-waveform monitors.
Tektronix has a military recruitment strategy within its service organization, targeting formally trained and experienced calibration technicians from all branches of the military. The company offers relocation assistance for many positions. Tektronix values veterans because:
- They possess a good work ethic and sense of discipline, are adaptable to change, quick to learn, and experienced at managing people or job functions.
- They are good leaders; they understand accountability and learn to adapt to overcome obstacles.
- They come out of the military with training and hands-on experience that often is directly related to the job they will be performing.
A VETERAN SUCCESS | DAVE MERRIS
Dave Merris served in the United States Air Force for 31 years, retiring as a senior master sergeant. He joined Tektronix in 2009 and is now an application engineer manager. His team is responsible for determining calibration-service pricing and capabilities for 23 labs across the country.
“My first civilian job was directly related to my military position,” he said. “Both were calibration technician roles, working on some of the same types of equipment.”
Many of the skills learned in the military quickly become habits. “The military taught me skills that are helpful in my civilian job, such as a strong work ethic – motivated, loyal, and mission-focused,” he said. “I was taught that if you are on time, you’re late – and that the job must be done right the first time, on time, every time, or someone could get hurt. These skills have become habits for most servicemembers.”
“I also developed interpersonal skills. I learned that the team is stronger than the individual, and effective communication with superiors and co-workers are imperative. I developed my leadership skills early in my military career, which fostered a confidence in my leadership abilities that is directly transferable into my current civilian job requirements. As a deployed servicemember, I had to work complex problems and find solutions that may not be covered in a manual. These problems required the ability to quickly analyze the situation and take the initiative to correct them.”
Merris believes that veterans will find the culture at Tektronix familiar. “A large majority of the technicians and management have prior military experience and still display that way of thinking,” he said. “There is some common ground for vets.”
He encourages servicemembers to utilize all the military has to offer them while they are still in the service. “I would advise future veterans to take full advantage of the tuition assistance, and get their degree early in their career,” he said. “Also, take advantage of any and all the additional training offered by the military. Not only is it adding tools to their toolbox, but it’s free. Seek roles of responsibility. Volunteer for projects that will enhance their leadership, planning, and organizing skills.
“Learn to communicate. Volunteer to give briefs to commanders or teams to develop oral communication skills. Take military leadership courses. Leadership courses will help sharpen management skills and provide structured guidance on building current skills. Obtain required licenses and certifications before leaving the military. It may be easier to attain a corresponding civilian license or certification while still in the military, and a lot cheaper in some cases.
“Lastly, be confident in the training received in the military. A lot of folks transitioning into the civilian sector have anxiety about being able to adapt because they are specialized in a specific area or industry, and the military has been their life for the past four years at a minimum.”
Merris also believes it is a good idea to find a mentor outside the military. “A civilian mentor in their field can help them keep abreast of trends outside the military, including information that can also help guide their career inside the military,” he said.