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Tech Qualled – Helping the Military Thrive In Civilian Life

Helping Those Who Defend Our Freedoms Thrive In Civilian Life: Tech Qualled

If there’s any institution in our nation that enjoys almost universal trust and support, it’s the U.S. military. A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 83 percent of respondents expresses high confidence in our military “to act in the best interests of the public.”

This positive sentiment, however, does not necessarily carry over into the job market. Many active-duty personnel labor under the mistaken assumption that employers in the private sector will be lining up to put them to work as soon as they retire from military service.

Sadly, that’s not the case. In another recent survey conducted by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), almost half of the respondents said they were unprepared to transition to the civilian workforce. According to IAVA Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino, “Expectations of people leaving the military are higher than reality. We need to do a better job to set them up for success.”

Setting veterans up for success in the civilian workforce is exactly what Tech Qualled aims to do. The company was conceived by leaders from Cisco and HP, Jim and Karen Sherriff, who realized that:

  • Sales is a vocation that can be taught.
  • Veterans are more likely to have the necessary grit, tenacity, and drive to succeed and deserve to find meaningful work once their term of service is complete.
  • The demand for effective technology sellers is almost infinite.

Our Founders

Jim and Karen Sherriff partnered with active-duty military personnel and veterans alike to found Tech Qualled in 2015. Since then, the organization has pursued an innovation-first approach to enhancing the opportunities and outcomes afforded to the veteran community.

Essential to that approach is Tech Qualled’s comprehensive — and cost-effective — curriculum. Developed in partnership with experts in technology sales, Tech Qualled provides this curriculum to veterans via a learning management system that blends self-paced, virtual, and in-person instruction. The company recruits veterans who have an aptitude for sales, puts them through a 7-week boot camp, then helps those trainees secure sales positions with Tech Qualled’s partners. As Tech Qualled CEO Todd Brown explains, “We like to think of ourselves as both a training academy and launching pad.”

Tech Qualled currently partners with more than 150 top technology companies, including Cisco, Salesforce, Dell, VMware, Presidio, Tektronic, and Check Point Software. In addition to hiring Tech Qualled graduates, many of these firms participate in the training program’s role-playing exercises.

But landing the job is just one of several victories Tech Qualled’s veterans must notch on the way to achieving their ultimate goal. Staying on the job in an exceptionally competitive industry that experiences frequent turnover is just as crucial. Statistics show that Tech Qualled more than adequately prepares its graduates to do so. Over 80 percent of the veterans Tech Qualled places in tech sales retain their jobs past year one. That’s 30 percentage points above the industry average.

To date, Tech Qualled has set nearly 300 veterans on the path to a meaningful, sustainable, and lucrative civilian career. But, like many other small businesses, Tech Qualled found itself battling a formidable enemy throughout the first half of 2020: COVID-19.

“Tech Qualled is not cash-rich by design,” Todd says. “Our funding is dependent on our veterans securing the positions for which they’ve trained, and we try to invest every dollar we make in placing more veterans. Unfortunately, by the end of March, 85 percent of our key hiring partners had implemented hiring freezes.”

Although Tech Qualled had done everything right and kept its organization lean, the company found itself cash-strapped and struggling to meet payroll. “We only employ five full-time employees,” Todd notes. “But, without their passion, we couldn’t function.”

Keeping that team together became Tech Qualled’s top priority. As soon the company’s leadership learned that the Small Business Administration (SBA) had created a COVID-19-specific lending program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), they contacted their bank. The PPP was a very new initiative, and public information about how it would help small businesses keep their doors open through the pandemic was scant and — in some instances — conflicting.

Understandably, Tech Qualled’s leadership was eager to participate in the program and find a financial partner who could provide the knowledge and support needed to weather a period of unprecedented uncertainty. But answers to Tech Qualled’s PPP-related questions were slow in coming. Worse, the responses the company eventually received from its bank were, in Todd’s words, “non-committal.”

Tech Qualled’s leadership realized they would need to retain the services of a new bank if they hoped to secure any emergency funding through the PPP. And they didn’t have time to lose. The program’s original $349 billion allocation was rapidly being depleted.

After reaching out to and never hearing back from several other banks, Todd contacted Guaranty Bank & Trust’s Fort Worth location. To Todd’s immense relief, Tech Qualled’s query was received very differently there. “Even though we weren’t his customer, Casey Tibbets treated us like one from the very start,” he recalls.

Casey immediately began assisting Tech Qualled in assembling and submitting its PPP application. Casey also did reconnaissance work and delivered valuable intelligence. “Casey was extremely responsive to our every concern — not to mention our moments of panic — and gave us daily updates on our application’s status,” Todd says. “His transparency about the process meant we could deal in facts and actions rather than having to wonder if the funds would somehow magically appear in our bank account. Casey was truly the savior of our mission.”

Three weeks after Casey submitted Tech Qualled’s PPP application, the company received more than $84,000 in financial assistance. With that infusion of cash, Todd and his team have continued to train veterans for rewarding careers, albeit on a reduced scale. However, Todd points out that “every day moves the needle in a positive direction.” Seven Tech Qualled graduates have secured new sales positions since April, several are currently negotiating job offers, and several more are participating in final round interviews.

Whatever the future holds for Tech Qualled, Todd is confident of one thing. Should his small business ever need to call for reinforcements again, its request won’t be ignored. “Guaranty is our bank now,” Todd affirms. “They truly understand the dynamics of our business, and they’re rooting for us to succeed. As we build future financial models for Tech Qualled, Guaranty will be our partner, helping us optimize our liquidity and ability to support our veterans.”

About Tech Qualled LLC

If you’re a veteran transitioning to the civilian workforce and are interested in a career in high-tech sales — or a tech company interested in hiring veterans — you can learn more about Tech Qualled’s training program either at the company’s website or its Facebook page.

About Guaranty Bank & Trust

At Guaranty Bank & Trust, we understand and appreciate the incredible diversity that defines Texas’ small business community. We also admire the courage and devotion it takes to start an organization that aims to make a positive impact. If you’re looking for a financial services provider who can help you make your entrepreneurial vision a reality, look no further than your nearest Guaranty Bank & Trust location. You can also contact our Custom Care Center at (888) 572-9881 or book a video appointment today. Our friendly, caring, and collaborative bankers can’t wait to learn more about your goals and strategies for success.

#GladToBeHere ~ John “Gucci” Foley Flyover with Tech Qualled Cohort 20

John "Gucci" Foley ~ GladToBeHereGladToBeHere ~ On May 16, 2020, Tech Qualled Cohort 20 began their 7 week veteran high-tech sales training program, Launchpad Academy, just days after the NBA, NHL, and NCAA postponed, eventually cancelling, their 2019-2020 seasons and tournaments due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Coronavirus. President Trump issued guidelines that same day urging people to avoid social gatherings of 10 or more. He also restricted discretionary travel, the first Coronavirus death was announced in Texas, and schools across America began to transition to distance / at-home learning.

As we learned to merge the words “Social Distancing” into our every day vernacular, the high performance leadership team at Tech Qualled quickly shifted gears to create their very first All-Virtual Launchpad Academy. Cohort 20 stood at the forefront of this dramatic shift in the high tech training business.

Day 1 was nothing short of success! As a surprise to the team for all of their hard work during the past 6 weeks, John “Gucci” Foley, former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels, greeted the team very enthusiastically.  Cohort 20 was 100% locked into their very own Zoom session with a real live Blue Angel. After John’s time with the Blue Angels, he discovered his second passion in leadership and keynote speaking. His #GladToBeHere message has been shared with over one thousand corporations, over 10,000 leaders, and over 1 million people.

John took us on a video journey behind the scenes inside the Blue Angel Debriefing Room. He shared his thoughts on operational excellence, confidence in uncertain times, and high performance sales tools and teams. John helped to show our cohort how to create AWE in every aspect of their everyday lives. He bridged the military and the civilian gap by using a very simply Connect, Align, and Commit exercise consisting of answering two very important, yet simple, although deep, questions.

“Who am I?”

“Why am I glad to be here?”

John "Gucci" Foley ~ GladToBeHereDuring the meeting, John got up, walked over to his bookshelf, and shared his helmet from when he was on the Blues. The bright yellow helmet is significant because the best of the best surrounded him as he aimed high for excellence. Cohort 20’s  time with John was truly amazing!

A special thank you to Ed Healy and John’s Director of Client Relations, Gregg “SUGAR” Wynne, for giving this spectacular gift to our terrific Cohort 20 team. You are truly appreciated. We are grateful for you.

#GladToBeHere

About John Foley

John “Gucci” Foley, of John Foley Inc., is a former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels. John is a top rated leadership keynote speaker, gratitude guru, and expert in the how of high performance teams. He graduated from the Sloan Fellows Program,  the world’s first general management and leadership education program for mid-career experienced managers, from Stanford School of Business. His exciting, rare journey inspires awe, triggering keynote audiences to take action and rethink what they believe is possible. You can follow John on his social media channels, listed below.

Instagram John Foley Inc. and John Foley Glad To Be Here

Facebook John Foley Inc.

Twitter John Foley Glad To Be Here

YouTube John Foley Inc

GladToBeHere

About Tech Qualled

We Identify Top Talent | We Train Better | We Serve Leaders in the High Tech Space

At Tech Qualled, we believe that enhancing the lives of military veterans will bring greater prosperity to everyone. Tech Qualled does not believe that placing; recruiting; or simply finding jobs for them is the right answer.

In 2015, Tech Qualled set out to uncover new, innovative ways to affect the outcomes and opportunities afforded to the veteran community. Additionally, Tech Qualled identified the high technology space as being an incredibly undermanned industry due to unprecedented growth.

Tech Qualled made a commitment to create a program, an Academy, which provides veterans with a personalized learning environment that promises access to new and previously barricaded career paths in high technology. Since then, Tech Qualled’s scope has expanded to now serve early-in-career talent in hopes of ushering in a new, more prepared sales force.

You can follow Tech Qualled on our social media channels, listed below.

Instagram Tech Qualled

Facebook Tech Qualled

Twitter Tech Qualled

YouTube Tech Qualled

GladToBeHere

My (Short) Story

Hello to whoever is reading this! My name is Sean, and this is my short (as possible) story about how Tech Qualled and its leadership saved my future. That may sound extreme but that’s why I say future and not life. Without their dedication and expertise along with the fantastic foundation that is the Tech Qualled program, I would not be where I am today and where I could be, in the future.

StoryI spent six years within the U.S. Navy as an aviation mechanic, separating from the service after an honorable discharge in 2018. In my short time, as many veterans and current members will know, I sharpened multiple traits such as decision making, working under pressure, dedication to not only my direct mission but the big picture, just to name some critical examples. After my transition back into civilian life, I ran into the same problem many veterans do and the entire reason Tech Qualled came to be.

Many employers love veterans and will rant and rave about them, but there always seemed to be a reason I just wasn’t qualified enough. Outside of civilian aviation, I was stuck. I used my G.I. Bill for a while but without a passion for my course of study that did not last long. Once more, I was stuck. One day I was at work, doing mindless manual labor that my large body and frame have always been used for, and a relative sent me a link through text. At lunch I clicked on the link out of slight curiosity and within the 30 minutes of lunch, I forgot to eat the rest of my food as I scrambled to read, review, google, and hell even yahoo search any and all information I could about what Tech Qualled is and how I could get myself involved. I had a phone call set up the very next day and spoke to an individual out of their amazing leadership and on that day, the road I was traveling split as I took the path to greater opportunities.

The program is all I could have hoped for and more. I struggle to truly put into words how valuable the lessons are. How insightful the roleplay’s and feedback can be, and how truly unique the array of coaches they bring in to volunteer their time in helping some veterans. Plenty of materials to help you learn from websites to books you can order, to be able to email the staff. They ask for your focus for the six weeks but understand if you have family obligations, prior commitments or even work here or there. Put it this way, I had a ZERO in the sales experience category and am currently a recent hire within the sales team of a large company, as an Account Executive. It was a whirlwind of the past two months but I am currently in the best job I ever had, working for the best paycheck I have ever had, and for once (listen up Veterans) I am getting paid equal to what I earn! I plan on hopefully being permitted to update this within the next few months and give more insight into how the TQ program has compared to my current role as an actual Account Executive.

StoryFor now, I will leave my final thoughts here: If you are a veteran, looking for either a career change or to finally be paid for the hard work and dedication you bring to the table, your chance is here. Better yet, veterans get in for FREE!!! Call, apply, send in the required materials and stick the guidelines of the course once you get in. Bring your best for six short weeks and you can be rewarded with opportunities that I personally, just two months ago, never thought I would attain. If you have further questions and want a non-TQ leader opinion, have them get us in touch and I will be forthcoming and outright honest with any pro/con sheet you have.

THANK YOU, TQ!!!!!

 

 


For more information about the Launchpad Academy for Veterans, email info@staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com.

#TQStories: Kevin Snodgrass

#TQStories feature Launchpad Academy coaches and graduates will a goal of sharing what technology sales is really like.

KEVIN SNODGRASS – COHORT 4

How did you get started in Technology Sales?

After joining the Naval Reserves, I ended up in the oil and gas industry. My job was a “clock in – clock out” type of deal where I would literally run spreadsheets all day every day.

What made you decide to join the Launchpad Academy?

I looked around at my life and realized I needed a change. Being in a monotonous job working 8-5 PM was not cutting it. I was ready for a challenge, and I had my wife and two kids as encouragement.

What was your placement experience during Launchpad Academy?

I was restricted to Dallas, TX at the time of my placement, so I had a much slower process getting hired than many of the other candidates. I ended up landing an Account Executive role at Cima Solutions Group where I sold hardware and managed services to smaller sized businesses.

How did you end up at AT&T?

Six months after I joined Cima Solutions Group, we began selling $2k/month subscriptions. It was tough to meet the quota, so when a friend reached out regarding a role at AT&T selling to Federal, I jumped at the opportunity. Today, I am a Client Solution Executive working Air Force bases east of Mississippi. I have a $1.4M Quota, and this year I have exceeded that by 3300%. I am so incredibly thankful for Launchpad Academy and my role at Cima Solutions Group. Without those stepping stones, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Kevin Snodgrass

What was the most challenging part of tech sales?

I took a pay cut to get started in tech sales which was honestly really tough on me and my family. I went from an 8-5 PM job to hitting the party circuit, going to luncheons, attending happy hours… it’s challenging putting in the hours and having to be out every night.

What was the best part of tech sales?

It completely changed my life financially and emotionally. My life was okay, and then I was happy. You can’t put success in your bank account.

What’s next for you?

I love AT&T and definitely want to stay here. I would like to continue moving up, improving,
and possibly taking a lateral project management route. I am always looking for the next challenge, and AT&T / Tech Sales is the avenue that is able to provide that for me.

_______________________________________________________________________

For more information about the Launchpad Academy for Veterans, email info@staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com

ABOUT KEVIN – Kevin is a graduate of Tech Qualled Launchpad Academy, Cohort 4. He is a Client Solutions Executive for AT&T in the Mississippi region.

Kevin Snodgrass

Purple Heart Recipient Receives 84 Job Rejection Emails…And Then TQ Happened

“84.

I counted the other day just to make sure. I have 84 rejection emails from companies I had applied to and not been granted an interview.

But let me rewind…”

The Marine Corps

From 2001 to 2005, I served as a rifleman with the 3rd BN, 8th Marines based out of Camp Lejeune, NC. Needless to say, it was a busy 4 years.

Following 9/11, 3/8 was re-designated as the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism). Our unit would go on to reopen the US Embassy in Kabul, cross-train with numerous foreign forces around Southeast Asia, re-establish order during the social unrest of 2004 in Haiti, and oversee an AO in Iraq stretching from Abu Gharib prison to Fallujah.

I led teams ranging from 4 to 30+, conducted numerous stability and direct action operations, and became proficient with various weapons systems. I learned land navigation, jungle warfare, and survival, close-quarters battle principles, M.O.U.T., helicopter operations, mechanized tactics, etc. I left active duty an E-4 with (2) decorations for composure under fire and a Purple Heart.

Here is perimeter camera footage from 2005 during the Abu Gharib prison break out. Kilo Company were in the towers, India (us) were on the ground:

And yet…I couldn’t get a job.

 

Maybe you can relate. Now, I know you’ve probably seen the same “veteran hiring programs” I have: “Wanted: Navy SEAL who was also a Fighter Pilot.” As if hiring managers knew what either of those things means aside from the last time they saw “Tears of the Sun”.

Deep down, I knew I had skills and abilities that could translate to the civilian workforce, but I was just not finding success in doing so.

Enter Tech Qualled.

Purple HeartTech Qualled is a great option for those of you out there struggling as I did, but it is also not a handout. You need to be ready to work. A lot. Much like Recruit Training, they are going to tear you down to the studs in order to equip you with the essential skills required to land a JOB.

They are going to ask you to invest in the program as much as they invest in you, which is a lot. Heavy hitters are going to volunteer their time to coach how on how to be better. The team will connect and advocate for you to employers. Online training, live forums, and “boot camps” will reinforce key concepts and knowledge areas you need to be successful in tech sales.

If you’re willing to hustle, listen, and apply, good things can happen.

For me, the 84 doesn’t matter anymore. Just the 1 – the offer letter I signed last week with Nutanix.

 

__________________________________________

Purple Heart About Nate:

Nathaniel Pache is a graduate of Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy, Cohort 17. Today, Nate has joined the Nutanix team as an Account Manager in Durham, North Carolina.

About Nutanix:

Nutanix software unifies private, public, and distributed clouds, and empowers IT to deliver applications and data that power their businesses. Nutanix solutions are built on the industry’s most popular hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) technology—a complete, 100% software-defined stack that integrates compute, virtualization, storage, networking, and security to power any application, at any scale.

 

 

Marine Pilot Joins Empirix Team

TRANSITION OUT OF THE MILITARY

Empirix

I spent five years in the Marine Corps as a pilot, and my transition out was a little unique.  The last few months of my time in the Marines was filled with quite a bit of uncertainty. I found out I was going to receive a medical separation which completely shook up my entire “career” plan.  I had worked hard to earn my spot as a pilot and planned to do 20 years in the Marines… now that had all changed. Following my transition, my family and I moved across the country back to the southeast and I began job searching.  Shortly after, I received a Linkedin message from Brian Wiktorski at Tech Qualled.  He told me about the Launchpad Academy program, and a career in tech sales, and how the skills and leadership experience I had in the military would translate into a civilian career. It was exactly the career I was looking for. 

EXPERIENCE WITH TECH QUALLED

Launchpad Academy was an incredible opportunity. I learned an enormous amount about technology, but most importantly I learned how to sell in a B2B Sales role.  Before beginning the program I thought I had the “salesman” personality, but Tech Qualled showed me how much more I had to learn.  They truly helped me develop the skills necessary to be successful in a tech sales role.

The most impactful thing I learned in Launchpad Academy was knowing when to shut up and listen. Silence is uncomfortable but if you stay silent for a few seconds, the project will fill the silence with more information or give ground in a negotiation. Tech Qualled’s “Expansive Questions” training was also a game-changer.

TRANSITION INTO HIGH-TECH SALES INDUSTRY

During the last few weeks of the program, we began applying to roles inside of Tech Qualled’s ecosystem. I was a geo-restricted candidate, but since I was willing to interview at companies a little outside of my geo-preference, I had many other opportunities.  The interview process was great; I applied to seven different roles and was able to interview with four different companies that were each very unique. It was a tough choice because there were quite a few companies each with a lot to offer.  Ultimately, I chose Empirix, and I have truly loved the company so far. I will say, it has absolutely been challenging, but my team has really invested in me and my success. 

       

ADVICE FOR POTENTIAL CANDIDATES

Empirix

    1. Trust the sales process.
    2. Learn to ride the emotional roller coaster and be focused on the goal.
    3. Learn to push, sometimes customers need it.
    4. You have a military background so people will look to you to have a strong work ethic, don’t disappoint them.
    5. Continue your development after you get hired, reading, podcasts, etc.
    6. Cold calling isn’t dead, (I have a few opportunities now from cold calling, and one will close shortly!)
    7. Network! You are the CEO of your own personal brand.
    8. Don’t just try and hit your quota. Set an almost outrageous goal, then reverse engineer how to get to that goal.  If you fall a little short, then no big deal, you probably still smashed the goal management set for you.
    9. Have fun and be competitive!

SALES QUESTIONS

What is it like being an Account Executive?

Being an Account Executive has a lot of highs and lows. You have to learn to ride the emotional roller coaster that is sales.  But, if you trust the process and apply what you learned at Tech Qualled, you will be successful.

What does your quota look like at Empirix for year one? 

My quota for my first “year” was pretty aggressive considering I only had about 2 quarters to meet it.  So here is my approach:   

  1. Based on the data our company collected, our sales cycle is typically 3-6 months. We converted our pipeline to a win rate which is about 1/3. So I knew my pipeline at the end of Q4 had to be about 3 times my quota to meet my number. 
  2. I started prospecting very aggressively.  I sent cold calls, emails and used LinkedIn. I took a multichannel approach and have received a pretty good response rate. I’m also prospecting partners. We operate in a niche of the telecom industry and it’s always easier for a partner like C1, Presidio, Avaya, AT&T or Verizon to bring us to a deal.  It is a win-win for everyone. I would say Jeb Blount is pretty spot-on, “you have to keep your funnel full with prospecting, whether it is directly into new accounts, partners or even expanding your footprint with existing accounts, you have to do it.”

  _____________________________________________________________________

Empirix

About Collin:

Collin Alexander lives in Greenville, SC with his wife and two kids (both under the age of 2! Shout out to those sleepless nights!) He graduated from the Citadel and commissioned in the Marine Corps upon graduation. As a former graduate of Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy Cohort 14, Collin now works at Empirix as an Account Executive.

About Empirix:

Empirix Inc. is a privately held company that designs and manufactures service assurance testing and monitoring equipment for IP-based communications networks such as Voice-over-Internet-Protocol, IP Multimedia Subsystem-based, next-generation network and 4G wireless networks.

Marine Enters the Cloud Security Market

cloud security

“I always knew I wanted to be in sales after the military. I remember the months prior to my transition out of the Marine Corps, I encountered several different “roadmaps” I could choose after separation. Many of them being operations or project management roles. There is nothing wrong with those roles, but I was ready for a new challenge – and a career in sales was the path that could reward me financially for facing that new challenge. 

Following my transition, I began working in medical sales. I thoroughly enjoyed my role, but with the way the market was changing, I wasn’t sure the earning potential was still there. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if my job would exist in a few years with the industry trying to save money. Simultaneously, I had several friends that were working in sales at Intel, and my interest in tech sales began to spark. I spent time with them on a regular basis, but they were never able to provide a roadmap of how to get into Tech Sales—it seemed like everyone I had talked to just got “lucky.”

A few months later I met Tech Qualled Alumni, Jake Graves at Grad School and we started talking about what we do for work. I learned that Jake was in technology sales and told me he had gotten into tech sales by going through a program specifically designed for veterans. I thought, Perfect!  He put me in contact with someone from Tech Qualled and I immediately began the lengthy selection process to get into the program.

My experience while in the program was great. I connected with like-minded individuals all with similar backgrounds to mine and all working to accomplish the same thing— a career in technology sales. It was tough! But I will never forget learning the sales process, how to investigate and qualify a deal, and most importantly – how to close with a win/win outcome. All the things I thought I knew in medical sales but truly challenged during my time in the Launchpad Academy.

cloud security

For those of you skimming this blog, wondering what technology sales is actually like, read on friends.

During the last week of the program, I accepted a position at Presidio as an Account Manager in Bellevue, WA. My go-to-market is now Cloud & Security with a year 1 quota of $300k in Gross Profit (or about $3M in revenue). I have only been in the position for six months, but I am confident I will be able to exceed this quota by continuing to build my pipeline while expanding my footprint into existing accounts. I truly enjoy the work I do, the company I work for, and the people I work with. Tech Sales is exactly what I had been looking for.”

 

To other veterans considering tech sales: It’s tough – but worth it: “Think of ‘yes’ as a commodity, and understand you are going to have to save up a lot of no’s to buy one.”

To the people that put me on the right track: 
Todd Brown: for helping me out throughout the Launchpad Academy and even after graduation. You have helped me connect with other people in the industry and given me some of the best advice for selling in SLED.
Lowell Patterson: You have been an enormous help for me. It’s always nice to connect with another Tech Qualled veteran and to discuss strategy or just keep the competitive atmosphere alive.

 


cloud securityAbout Parker: 

Parker Parent is a former Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.  He was also a Squad Leader and led several patrols in Afghanistan 2/10 Artillery. Today, Parker lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. As a graduate of Launchpad Academy Cohort 14, Parker is now an Account Executive at Presidio.

About Presidio:
Presidio is a leading North American IT solutions provider focused on Digital Infrastructure, Business Analytics, Cloud, Security & Emerging solutions. We deliver this technology expertise through a full life cycle model of professional, managed, and support services including strategy, consulting, implementation and design. By taking the time to deeply understand how our clients define success, we help them harness technology advances, simplify IT complexity and optimize their environments today while enabling future applications, user experiences, and revenue models.

Transition from Military to High-Tech B2B Sales

 

This summer I retired after 21 action-packed years of service in the Air Force. As a Pararescueman (PJ) or Combat Rescue Officer (CRO), our selfless motto was to “save lives and aid the injured.” We trained with a purpose each day to overcome challenging, complex situations so that our small team would be successful no matter the obstacles we faced.B2B Tech

As my family and I contemplated employment options beyond the military, we didn’t realize how significant the barriers to entry were for quality, rewarding jobs. Unfortunately, parachuting, scuba diving, and marksmanship are not skills that translate seamlessly into the corporate world.

Thankfully, an acquaintance introduced us to a small organization named Tech Qualled, which provides a veteran “launchpad” into the high-tech B2B sales industry. I had discovered my path forward and was thankful that such an opportunity existed.

Although there were no flutter kicks or firehoses spraying water, the 7-week Tech Qualled program was rigorous and of high quality. It started off by providing us a detailed overview of the technology sector, to include networking, data center, IoT, cloud and more. They used extensive role-playing to educate us on the sales process and to develop business acumen. The program is selective and they bring on only those who demonstrate leadership, integrity, resiliency and the ability to problem-solve. My fellow cohort members were talented, passionate individuals anxious to use the soft skills they attained throughout their military careers to add value to the high-tech B2B sales industry.

B2B TechI would like to extend sincere gratitude to those professionals who make up the Tech Qualled team (Todd Brown, Ryan Ketchum, Meredith Doran, Ruth Davis, Jim Sheriff, Karen Sheriff, Makena Collins) as well as the numerous coaches and mentors who dedicate time in support of Tech Qualled’s noble mission of providing valuable training to veterans. Industry leaders such as Jeff Heilman, Katie Bush, James Kessenich, Dowell Stackpole, Colleen Gobbi, Dan Staley, and many others invested their time into our success.

I look forward to starting this exciting new chapter with IMPRES Technology Solutions.     As a motivated small business, we’ll provide cutting-edge IT infrastructure and innovative solutions with a sincere focus on supporting the Air Force and Special Operations mission, which will forever be my passion.


 

B2B TechAbout Jesse:

Jesse Peterson lives in Denver, CO with his family. As a graduate of Tech Qualled’s Cohort 16, he now works as an Account Executive at Impres Technology Solutions.

About Impres:

Impres Technology Solutions delivers information technology solutions and services to the Federal Government. Coupling their mission-focused customer understanding with deep OEM partner relationships and small business HUBZone, and SDB, status – IMPRES is a “Go-To” prime contractor for a myriad of mission-critical programs.

An Army Captain’s Opinion on Tech Sales

If someone would have told me five years ago that I would be in tech sales after the military, I would have laughed. Me? A salesman? I was a Captain in the Army. I had eight years of leadership experience, and I was confident a career with the FBI would work out perfectly following my transition. It’s hard to believe that I almost passed up the opportunity that literally changed my life, but let me back up to the beginning: 

 

My name is Graham Carssow, I live in Durham, N.C. with my wife and 15-month old daughter, and this is my story.

Army CaptainU.S. Army:

I commissioned as a 2LT, Field Artillery, United States Army (active duty) upon graduating from VMI.  After Officer Basic and Ranger School, I was assigned to 1st Brigade, 25th ID in Ft. Lewis, WA. My unit was moved to Germany as part of BRAC (Base Regiment and Closure Initiative), and from there I did a 15-month deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  I served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Fire Support Officer, and ISF Security Liaison during my time there. Following that, I attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA (Russian Basic Course), and then following CCC, I moved to Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX.  I took command of C Battery, 2-3 Field Artillery, and then served as the Rear Detachment Commander before I ETS’d.

Transitioning:

My transition wasn’t easy.  For years, I had been planning on going into the FBI following my departure from the Military.  I had applied well before my ETS date and was fast-tracking in the process. I was essentially told I would be getting accepted.  2 weeks prior to my ETS date, the FBI pulled the rug out from under me, and I had no idea what to do next.

Being the giant stick in the mud I was, I immediately grabbed the first job I could find that seemed appealing and moved to Denver to begin my work for Tolin Mechanical.  (In retrospect, I wish I had taken more time to plan and think about what I wanted to do, and I really wish that Tech Qualled had been there when I got out…but we will get to that!)

Following my time at Tolin Mechanical as an HVAC-R Service Manager, I got into coding as the Director of Tech Support for a small software company.

When I was job hunting for tech jobs following my time at Galvanize, I connected with Lowell Patterson and Ryan Benson, both of them VMI Graduates and Tech Qualled Graduates.  I learned about Tech Qualled from them and was interested in the program, but opted to stick with coding and programming for a while. When it looked like the small software company I was working for was not going to make it, it seemed like a perfect time to explore the possibility of Tech Qualled.

Bridge to Tech Sales:

Launchpad Academy truly was excellent.  Yes, a lot of it is videos, some death by Powerpoint, and taking online quizzes. But it distinguishes itself by the emphasis on live-action role-playing and putting into practice the things you learn.  The instructors are phenomenal; people with decades of experience in Tech Sales who clearly genuinely care about seeing Veterans succeed. The fact that the program is free was, for me, the biggest selling point.  Not only for the obvious fact of just being free, but that’s what immediately communicated to me the faith that Tech Qualled had in its graduates and their ability to sustain themselves entirely on placement fees. Some people are able to do Launchpad Academy while still working full-time, but I would strongly recommend devoting yourself entirely to the program; I believe you’ll learn a great deal more.

Job Placement:Army Captain

Tech Qualled has its own portal that you apply through, which immediately told me that companies value our product.  Likewise, if you distinguish yourself in the program, don’t be surprised if companies come to you! Tech Qualled continues to support you after you have graduated, will help you make sense of the offers, and make sure your resume/LinkedIn look the best they can.  I never felt unprepared for my interviews with companies after (and even during) Tech Qualled. 

My Sales Career:

I currently work as an Inside Account Executive (IAE) for Nutanix, responsible for Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. 

I’ve only been at Nutanix for about 3 weeks, but when you get here it’s definitely drinking from the firehose.  You need to take the initiative and learn the products as best you can, get help from your peers and SEs who have been doing this for a long time, and essentially take the reins.  This is NOT a job for reactive people; you’re expected to be proactive and be asking what the next step is, not wait for someone to tell you. One of Nutanix’s beliefs is “get comfortable being uncomfortable”, and that is very true.  Be prepared to call customers and fall on your face, or not know what to say, or screw up. You’ll be on a three-month draw, so take advantage of it.

 

Advice for Transitioning Veterans:

  1. This especially applies if you’re single or don’t have kids, but take some time to genuinely think about what you want to do when you get out.
  2. Do some research on Sales, specifically Tech Sales.  When I got out, I thought Sales was nothing but cold-calling or being a sleazy Used Car Salesman.  What we do is much more complex than that: ultimately we sell solutions, not products.
  3. Despite conventional wisdom, you don’t necessarily have to be a social butterfly to work and succeed in Sales.  I am by no means the guy who walks into the room and immediately makes themselves the center of attention. As long as you can hold a conversation, be professional, know your stuff and what you have to offer, and have the will to succeed, you can do it.
  4. Talk to other Tech Qualled Grads about their experiences.  You’ll learn quickly that who you know is of the utmost importance (in this industry and others).  Likewise, ask them for interview advice! There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. 
  5. This is the real deal, Tech Qualled really did change my life.  You’re going to hear a lot about how being a Veteran means companies are just going to throw jobs at you.  It is, by and large, baloney. The simple fact is that most companies don’t really understand what you have to offer them, and how what you did can be translated into the skills they need.  TQ helps translate for you. I went from being on the verge of having to become a stay-at-home Dad to getting 3 offers (and that was within 2 weeks of graduation), including one offer for well over six figures.  I’m not going to promise you that your experience will be the same, but I can absolutely tell you this program is worth it.

 


 

Army CaptainAbout Graham:

Graham Carssow lives in Durham, NC with his wife and daughter. As a graduate of Tech Qualled’s Cohort 15, he now works as an Inside Account Executive (IAE) for Nutanix, responsible for Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Graham is also a 2004 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) with a B.A. in Economics and Business as well as a graduate of the Galvanize Web Development program.

About Nutanix:

Nutanix software unifies private, public, and distributed clouds, and empowers IT to deliver applications and data that power their businesses.

Why Tech Qualled Bets on Veterans

Tech Qualled is sure of itself as a program that breeds success – as it should be after placing over 200+ veterans in technology techsales roles. The organization has developed the “secret sauce” to revamp traditional recruitment by vetting elite military veterans who have 5+ years of leadership experience, training them, and then place them into customer-facing careers within the high tech sales industry. Because Tech Qualled is confident that their graduates will outwork, out-learn, and ultimately out-perform their peers significantly, the Launchpad Academy comes at no cost to the veterans. This assumption of talent is based on the following attributes and competencies found in the veterans that Tech Qualled carefully selects:

 

TENACITY and RESILIENCE:

Military Veterans are accustomed to delivering desired results within time, scope, and budget constraints regardless of the challenges faced. They tend to perform well under pressure and recover rapidly from adversity, mistakes, distractions, and any other obstacles in their path.

 

CROSS-FUNCTIONAL COMMUNICATION:

High-Tech Sales require cross-functional communication and professionals who know how to engage all stakeholders from administrative assistants to C-Level executives. Veterans routinely communicate cross-functionally from enlisted to officer, junior ranks to senior ranks, etc. This makes veterans a natural fit for Account Executive type roles.

 

CHANGE AGENTS:

Veterans know how to embrace, communicate, and implement change. They are able and willing to drive transformation, even while asking tough questions and requesting modifications or concessions to any aspects of change that they deem necessary to challenge.

Tech

DIVERSITY and INCLUSION:

The United States Military is perhaps the most diverse institution in the world. Inclusion and respect of persons are woven into the fabric of military service. Hire a veteran onto any team and they will likely be the initiators of synergy and empathy. Advocating for adversity isn’t a marketing campaign or a necessary means to an end for military veterans – it’s a lifestyle and a vital condition for a culture to thrive.

 

 


TechAbout Alexis:
Alexis “Lex” Brown is a candidate in Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy Cohort 16 graduating August 1, 2019. As a former QA Program Manager and Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, Lex is now a Content Engineer eager to begin his career in tech sales.