Season 4 Episode 147: Seeking Stability with Travis Pearce

On this episode of the Lessons Learned for Vets podcast, we welcome Army veteran Travis Pearce. Travis separated in 2009 with very little notice and without a defined plan. He stepped off an airplane with a cell phone, a duffle bag and his Army training. When Travis joined the Army, he started in EOD and was then reclassed as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. With his GI Bill benefit, he went to college to study engineering. His first job after the military was as a monorail mechanic at the Tampa airport. Today, he works as an engineer for that same company.


In 2009, Travis had just returned from a Joint Special Operations in the Pacific when he learned his unit was already prepping for another deployment to Iraq. His commander gave him the option of redeploying or ETSing with an honorable discharge – meaning released from active duty. Because Travis chose to ETS, he did not have the runway to prepare for his transition. Stationed in Hawaii at the time, his belongings were put on a ship, sent to California and then transferred to a truck headed for Tampa Bay, Florida – his hometown.


Travis relied on the skills he learned in the Army as a mechanic to help him find a job. Because there is no school for monorail maintenance or repair, Travis played up his ability to adapt to change, learn quickly and be flexible – all skills he learned in the Army. After Travis was offered the position at Alstom, the hiring manager disclosed that his background working on multiple pieces of equipment and managing the accountability of equipment valued in the millions helped him get the job. Alstom is actively seeking talent in a variety of fields.


One of the biggest hurdles Travis faced after he separated from the military was defining his goals. Once he began his college studies and shifted his focus to engineering, he determined his focus and the steps he needed to take to accomplish his goals. Travis has been employed with Alstom for almost 14 years. The stability, teamwork environment and benefits play a key role in his loyalty to the company. Alstom gave him flexibility when he was going to school full-time and working full-time to support his growing family.


As Travis reflects on his career with Alstom, he attributes his success and longevity to his management’s flexibility and support and his willingness to be honest and candid about his goals. Building trusting relationships is key to taking advantage of internal opportunities. Now that Travis has been out of the Army for 14+ years, he encourages all service members to learn about and understand their benefits. Find resources and organizations that can help you navigate the process of applying for benefits.

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