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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.


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:



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.



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.



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.



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. 


Is Recruiting At A Job Fair Worth It?

Job Fairs!  As hiring managers, we have all been to them.  Sometimes by design, other times by surprise, the conference you paid $2,500 to “Exhibit” at, quickly becomes filled with nothing but job seekers dropping resumes and taking your giveaways.  (Yes, I’m looking at you InnoTech).  I personally loathe working the booth at a job fair.  Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to always attract the theater major who happens to stop by on their way to class, who just thought it would be interesting to learn about my company and high tech while the 1:100 candidate who is actually a fit grabs a flyer and walks away.  When I was introduced to Tech Qualled, my perception completely changed on how this SHOULD work.

Tech Qualled Boot Camps

My first introduction to Tech Qualled was when Nick Breedlove, co-founder of Tech Qualled cold called me (very well done by the way).  After initial interest was generated, he suggested I attend Boot Camp in Fort Worth.  He suggested a half day of my time to come to Fort Worth, TX to watch 16 candidates in Cohort 5 do their final exercises of the 7-week program, or join for the Virtual Boot Camp during Week 6 via Zoom Video Conferencing if I could not travel.  These exercises are intensive role plays.  I ended up attending week 7 and spending the entire day there, jumping in and out of various rooms (They usually do 2-3 candidates per time across 4 rooms).

This was BRILLIANT! 

Immediately my sports brain kicked in, “this is like a sales combine!”  Here I am witnessing 16 ALREADY VETTED AND TRAINED job candidates in the BEST role play scenarios I have ever seen delivered by coaches with 20 plus years in the industry.  Why would I ever go through the job fairs, resume reviews, or the interview process again?  This is how it should be done.  I quickly centered in on the candidates that I thought fit my needs base, did on-the-spot interviews, and made offers.  Job Fair

The Art of Trolling

To use another sports analogy, the term trolling is used in fishing. Basically, this is when you are simply moving the boat to another location on the lake and drop a line in the water in the chance you might catch something.  At Tech Qualled, we have several partners who we see regularly at Boot Camp.  They may not even have open territories, but they join us just to watch for a candidate that is simply too strong of a fit for their company to pass up.


I love this participation for two reasons.

1) They are hiring our Veterans! 

2) They add tremendous value to our Cohort speaking with the Veterans, mentoring, and even coaching in some cases in the role plays. 


I haven’t attended a job fair in 5 years.  Instead, I have been a “troller” and coach at nearly every Boot Camp since Cohort 5.  This is actually how I ended up in the long run… joining the amazing Tech Qualled team and leading this mission.


Job Fair

Todd Brown joined the Tech Qualled team from Cima Solutions Group where he was the VP of Sales and Marketing as well as the Co-Founder and CEO of Cowork Suites. He has 25 years of experience in technology sales, marketing, and strategy including positions at IBM in various sales roles including IBM Business Unit Executive for Midmarket West and Global Midmarket Strategy Leader. 

Todd originally joined the Tech Qualled team as an advisor and training for the Launchpad Academy. Today, Todd leads the daily operations as CEO.

Army Reservist Ends The Job Hunt

job huntAround this time last year, I was at an impasse. I had just graduated from the Defense Language Institute and my Active Duty orders were about to end. As an Army Reservist, the better part of the past two years of my life was spent bouncing between different training opportunities.

I earned my Airborne Wings making five jumps and who knows how many Parachute Landing Falls at Fort Benning, Georgia. I graduated Basic Leadership Course from the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. Now I was about to drive back home cross-country to Pennsylvania from the Presidio of Monterey, California. However, this time I wouldn’t have an Army paycheck to go back to.

I had started my job hunt too late…


Over Christmas leave, I met with two companies and I thought I would get a job offer…I didn’t.


The only thing I could do, as I sat in a barracks room overlooking the Monterey Bay was to update my LinkedIn profile. I originally created one after graduating college but it was mostly blank. I decided that I had a shot to get into either Project Management or Sales, so I did my best to write a witty summary filled with SEO buzzwords as I began applying to anything and everything. And then…


Nothing happened.


I moved back to Western PA and picked up a construction gig to hold me over. Just as my orders ended and my travel reimbursement check was cashed, I received a Linkedin InMail from a recruiter at Tech Qualled. He wanted to call me about a “Free-for-Veterans”  training program to break into the Tech Industry…


It seemed too good to be true. I didn’t respond. FOR THREE WEEKS.


Fast forward, I had just got off the phone with a hiring manager looking for a sales representative in their Law Enforcement vertical. I got the feeling that she just took the call as a favor to a mutual friend, and didn’t see me as a viable candidate. Not only did I do a poor job of explaining my confusing military career, but I also struggled to articulate why she should hire a Civil Affairs and Infantry qualified, French-speaking, small team leader who jumps out of planes, for a sales role.

If you’re a civilian reading this, I’m sure you’re laughing by now – but the reality is, I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get a callback.


Frustrated as hell, I called the recruiter from Tech Qualled hoping he wouldn’t laugh as he hung up the phone.


To my surprise, we had a great conversation! Then a second! Then I went through the application process. I interviewed over Zoom meetings,  took aptitude tests, and all of my application materials were put in front of a selection board. Talk about a thorough vetting process!


After about two weeks of waiting, I got the call. I was accepted into the program! Unfortunately, I still was on the fence about committing…


That was until I interviewed for an entry level inside sales position at an insurance company. A position typically filled by recent college graduates. I even got a face-to-face interview this time, but the same issues I had translating my military resume came up again. They never got back to me. I couldn’t even get a second interview for an entry-level job – one with a salary that would barely cover my student loans.


That’s when I decided to fully commit to the Tech Qualled program, and that decision changed my life.

job hunt


Fast forward to Launchpad Academy Cohort 13, I renovated houses during the day and logged into the Tech Qualled learning portal at night. Going into it, I expected all of the training on the current state of the IT industry and consultative selling. What I wasn’t ready for, was the expert resume and LinkedIn profile tailoring, the interview coaching, and the buy-in that the career coaches at Tech Qualled had in me.


The interviews started towards the end of the online training and took off after the Advanced Bootcamp in Fort Worth. In a 6-week period between September and November of 2018, I interviewed multiple times with over a dozen companies. The previous 9 months, I had 4 interviews…total.

I was first introduced to the Check Point team in October 2018 during the Advanced Bootcamp in Fort Worth and I was thrilled to accept a position with their team in the following weeks.


Since joining the Check Point team, my life has been a whirlwind of conferences in Las Vegas, job training in Israel, and generally drinking through a firehose. Throughout it all, I’m still in contact with guys from Cohort 13, and I regularly get emails and texts from my former coaches just to check in and mentor me.


In a few months, I went from questionable job prospects to a career, all with a network of veterans and successful tech sales reps to lean on.


That’s why I will ALWAYS tell every veteran I know who is looking to make a change, “Give Tech Qualled a call.” 


About Lee: Lee Wyland is a Sales Representative at Check Point Software. As a former Infantryman in the U.S. Army and graduate of the Launchpad Academy Cohort 13, Lee now lives in Pittsburgh, PA and is thriving in his first tech sales position.


About Check Point Software Technologies: Check Point is a multinational provider of software and combined hardware and software products for IT security, including network security, endpoint security, cloud security, mobile security, data security, and security management. As of 2016, the company has approximately 4,000 employees worldwide.

Could You Triple Your Salary in a B2B Sales Role?

Sales roles and the personalities that gravitate to them have a complicated history. At its core, selling is about winning, but winning  – especially your professional life – almost always comes with more than a boost to your ego. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s focus on the top of the “sales pyramid” which is business to business (b2b), enterprise sales.

B2B Sales

The people that want to try their hand at this sophisticated, solution-based selling are eager for large challenges. They are also eager to be rewarded based on their talents and effort expended; much like high-level athletes. And like those athletes, where the competition is highest, often the reward is too. “You closed a deal with [insert Fortune 100 Company here]? That’s incredible! How long did it take? What were the dynamics? How high up did you go in that organization?” And eventually, but often shamefully whispered…. “What was your commission from that?”

We shouldn’t whisper that! There is effectively a 0% chance that the talented, motivated, and hard-working person who “closed that deal” did it only for the sake of helping the Fortune 100 company achieve their strategic or tactical goals. They did it to bring home some bacon too! We all know this, yet it’s still the elephant in the room.

At Tech Qualled, the company I co-founded, we have had thousands of conversations with smart, talented, driven men and women (veterans and non-veterans alike) explaining that there is not only room for but a need for their attributes in the complex IT selling arena. Ignorance is not bliss as a job seeker when you think sales is only in retail, it’s only transactional and should come with a gross feeling after the fact.

With the right intangible skills – grit, drive, competitiveness, resilience, ability to listen and communicate effectively – those eager for a new career can enter an industry where on target earnings (OTE) start in the low 6-figures and often run into $300K-500K/year after just a few years of success. It’s hard to find a role that comes with that much-earning potential but is completely disconnected from pedigree or previous academic and professional credentialing.

B2B Sales

In the spirit of economic mobility; rising tides that lift all boats; and the American Dream, each of us should celebrate an industry in an economy where this exists. A first-generation college grad, immigrant, or servicemember is no longer limited by a glass ceiling. Instead, he or she can truly break into a new tax bracket, create new opportunities, and achieve goals otherwise off-limits without certain privileges, introductions, and sheepskins.

For more information on Launchpad Academy’s training and placement program, email


B2B SalesNick Breedlove is the Co-Founder and CEO of Tech Qualled. He has 17 years of active duty military leadership experience where he flew and instructed in the MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter and the C-40A Clipper transport jet. His passion for helping transitioning veterans maximize their professional potential led him to found Tech Qualled where he leads daily operations. 

Nick is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and received a Master in Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. Today, he lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he enjoys his family, his faith, and soccer.

Searching for a Rewarding Civilian Career

Finding your Recipe of Success during a Military Transition

There is no simple formula to a smooth transition from active duty into a civilian career. I’d compare it to cooking.  A dish can still turn out differently from the recipe no matter how closely you follow it. However, there are four common ingredients that are necessary to a successful transition into tech sales: motivation, networking, faith and Tech Qualled.


1. Motivation

Civilian Career

Lieutenant Ansel – U.S. Navy

One of the inherent values that most of us came into the military with and practiced every day is ingredient number one- motivation.  Companies and managers look for this quality and judge from the moment they meet you whether you have it. Anyone can be motivated when a major opportunity is just ahead, but what separates the successful from the rest is being motivated before even the scent of an opportunity becomes a reality.

Your motivation will first be challenged when you are faced with the question everyone asks, “What are you going to do when you get out?” 

This can be very intimidating.  Most of us do not immediately know the answer to this; however, do not avoid the stress, struggle, and agony of putting in the time to zero in on it.  Since the military only provides so many different pathways in a career, transitioning is difficult because there is no detailer to narrow down the choices and then tell you where you are going. It all comes down to you.  The civilian world has much more ambiguity and competition.

Just like in the military, your motivation will determine your preparation.  You must prepare for your transition both personally and professionally. For me, Tech Qualled was a huge part of that.

Tech Qualled was a turning point in my life.  While I knew that a career in sales was the path for me, I thought I wanted to go into commercial real estate. When I did my research, I learned that tech sales provided much of the upside that commercial real estate had with less of the risk.  Tech companies offer base salaries and some of the best benefits of any industry.  After reaching out to probably 30-40 prior alumni, I knew it was the right program to prepare me for my new career.

2. Networking

Very few people figure out a good career fit on their own.  You need a balanced network.  At the one-year mark before your transition be sure to add ingredient number two- networking. Your network should include the people who know you in a personal way like family and friends.  The next group to include are peers who are ahead of you in their careers and transitioned within the last few years.  You should also take advantage of mentorship networks, such as ACP and Veterati. Lastly, you need to build a professional network by connecting with people in companies you would consider working for.  While this can be challenging, I found success by utilizing LinkedIn.  In my messages, I simply explained that I was a veteran transitioning and was interested in their field. I asked to connect with them to discuss their experience and gain mentorship. Most people love the opportunity and feel great satisfaction helping a veteran, so use that to your advantage.  You will be surprised to see how many doors can open. In fact, one networking opportunity I created for myself was to shadow an account executive for a day.  Being able to spend a day with this individual at an OEM gave me all the confidence I needed to know that this industry was for me.

3. Faith

The third and sometimes overlooked ingredient in the process is faith. While it can mean many things to many people, to me it was understanding that there are some elements out of our control.  It takes a bit of faith and a lot of hard work to be blessed with success in a great career.  If you are putting in the work required, you must keep the faith that with time those efforts will pay off. Sometimes success may come slower than you want, so remember to focus more on controlling the things you can control and keeping a positive attitude.  I am married with three kids living on a single income, so I know it is easier said than done. Keeping a positive attitude is important to keep your sanity!

4. Tech Qualled

Finally, the secret ingredient to my transition is Tech Qualled.  The sales training was top notch and I landed a dream job at Nutanix.  The culture at Nutanix is phenomenal!  I feel so blessed to have had the door to this opportunity opened by Tech Qualled.  I mean it when I say the first day I arrived at Nutanix and listened to the other sales reps having conversations with their customers, I felt so confident in my abilities to be an ultra-high performer.

I was extra fortunate to start with two other Tech Qualled graduates.  The three of us have a common bond and friendship that goes beyond just being veterans.  We are also Tech Qualled trained! As corny and cliché as that may read, it means something to us.  We regularly get to check-in with each other, share everything we learned, and keep each other motivated to do all the right things to find success. I made two sales within my first 5 weeks on the job, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am at post-military.

I had my stress, doubts, fears, and anxiety about getting out, but the Tech Qualled staff really took the extra time to help me get where I am.  I want to give a shout out to Chris Hurst who took the time to help me prepare for interviews with the upper echelon of companies.  I also want to give a special thanks to Kristina Hill who spent many “off the clock” hours texting, reading emails, listening to voicemails, and advising me.  I am sure I drove her crazy at times, but she was so committed to helping and providing useful feedback.


Tech Qualled is like everything else in life, what you put in is what you get out of it. Use the coaches, the staff, and especially use the alumni network.  I wish you all the success in your transition and future career.  Please reach out if I can ever help.


Civilian CareerAbout Sam Ansel: Today, Sam lives in Raleigh, NC with his wife and three kids. A former Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and graduate of Launchpad Academy Cohort 13, Sam is now an Account Executive at Nutanix, Inc.

About Nutanix: The Nutanix solution enables easy deployment of any virtual workload, including large-scale virtual desktop initiatives (VDI), development/test apps, private clouds, big data (Hadoop) projects and more. Nutanix customers can radically simplify and seamlessly scale out their datacenter infrastructures with cost-efficient appliances that can be deployed in under 30 minutes for rapid time to value.

Civilian Career

Does your recruiter provide sales training?

What is the value of a recruiter?

Traditionally, when I think of recruiters, sales training does not jump to mind.  I think “this is someone who will save me the time of locating candidates.”  Then, my next thought is, “but how do I know these are good candidates?”  There is value in a recruiter, don’t get me wrong, I covered this in a previous blog.  But what if that recruiter also provided training vital to future success and also continued the vetting process throughout that training as they watched them in action.  This would be extremely valuable to a sales hiring manager.

Combining Recruiting and Sales Training

Imagine a recruiter who specializes in one single area.  One so specific that they actually vet 100 candidates on the front end, arrive at the 16 best, and then…TRAIN them for 8 weeks.  Usually recruiting and training don’t always go together.  However, they should.  At Techqualled, the standard program is as described above, vet candidates, train them in a 7 week program called LaunchPad for Veterans.  This program provides training specifically for Technology Sales roles.  I participate regularly in the role plays and can tell you, this is real world, challenging sales training at it’s finest.

Come for the recruiting, stay for the sales training

As Techqualled evolves, our hiring partners and our Veterans are seeing the value of the training aspect of the program.  We are now fielding requests and building out programs to simply provide sales training for their existing employees.  That speaks volumes to the quality of this program.  So, expect more as you hire a recruiter.  Don’t just ask for a stack of resumes, ask them to see the syllabus for their training program.

Mission: Transition – My Journey to Nutanix

In the military, there are several things that are critical to a successful mission: you need a plan, a team, resources, rehearsals, and plan B’s. If you go into a mission without these key factors, you set yourself up for failure. I found the same to be true for my transition out of the military. I had a plan of transitioning into a civilian career, but not necessarily the team or resources, which is where Tech Qualled came in.  If it were not for TQ, I would be struggling to complete a successful mission and most certainly wouldn’t have a career at Nutanix.


I began planning my transition 9 months prior to my End of Obligated Service date. A big part of this was figuring out what “bridge” I needed in order to get to where I wanted to be. With a young family, going back to school was not a viable option.


After attending the Transition Readiness Seminar (TRS), 7 months prior to EOS and leveraging my network, things started to take shape. One of the most important things I did during the planning stage was to list my priorities:

  • Geographic Location
  • Salary
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Industry


Defining these categories helped clarify things immensely. After reviewing my plan and priorities, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to have great work/life balance in the technology industry, a competitive salary, in a medium to large city, with a mild climate. Yes, it was extremely specific, but I was on a mission!


Enter Tech Qualled:

Eight months prior to my EOS, a recruiter from Tech Qualled reached out to me via LinkedIn. At the time, I was still looking at the technology industry but focused on an operations or logistics position. I quickly replied to the recruiter “Thanks, but I’m not interested at this time.”


After attending TRS, I spoke to numerous people in my network about mid-level positions at the technology companies I was interested in. It didn’t take me long to realize that I would need a substantial bridge to accomplish this mission. From what I had gathered, I had three options:


  1. An advanced degree
  2. An internship
  3. Entry level role and rapid promotion


Frankly, none of these options were appealing, and I was not about to give up on my plan/goals. I quickly began looking at other ways to break into the industry. Tech Qualled kept coming to mind, so I set out to speak with several alumni about what Launchpad Academy is actually like. I began to realize that Tech Qualled really does bridge the gap for transitioning veterans, and was stunned that I would have an opportunity to enter the technology industry at no additional cost, while also having senior level training. I immediately reached back out to the recruiter and asked to be considered for the Fall cohort. Thankfully, they allowed me to begin the interview process, and I was accepted into the program shortly after.


Launchpad Academy:

During the seven weeks of Launchpad Academy, I had the opportunity to dive in deep and learn about the tech sales industry. The courses were interactive, fun, and very educational. The practical applications, exercises and videos combined to make it an extremely worthwhile experience. However, I would say the information and processes really cemented for me during Week 6-Virtual Bootcamp and culminated during the live Bootcamp in Ft. Worth, TX. It truly was an incredible opportunity to cement relationships, share knowledge, and learn from success and failure in a fun environment.


Transition to Nutanix

During the placement, ownership of the process is key. Tech Qualled was the bridge that enabled me to have a conversation with multiple Tech companies.  Learning how to leverage my past experiences and the soft skills generated, while combining them with the training, coaching, and partners Tech Qualled brought to the table was the key.

I accepted an offer with Nutanix on December 3rd (2 weeks prior to EOS) and started on January 7th. Looking at what my priorities were (Work/Life balance, Salary, Industry, Geographic Location) I am thrilled to say, it was a mission accomplished.


Thank you Tech Qualled for bridging the gap!



NutanixGary lives in Raleigh, NC  with his wife, and son. Previously, he was a United States Marine Corp Officer and Osprey Pilot active from 2008-2018. Having graduated from Tech Qualled’s Cohort 13, Gary is now an Account Executive at Nutanix.


About Nutanix: Nutanix is a cloud computing software company that sells what it calls hyper-converged infrastructure appliances and software-defined storage.  Nutanix Enterprise Cloud combines the agility and simplicity of the public cloud, with the security and control you need in a private cloud. Built on the industry’s leading hyperconverged infrastructure(HCI) technology, it integrates compute, storage, virtualization, and networking in a full-stack solution that runs nearly any application.

The Sales Career That Changed My Life: Jake Graves

My Naval Transition:

Everything my family and I had endeavored over the last 8-years was going to come to a screeching halt with my military transition. No more handholding during overseas moves, guaranteed job, and no more financial security. We had no idea what our next chapter in the book-of-life was, but we knew we had to come up with an idea and quickly!

With 6-months until discharge, I was able to secure a position in my hometown that would utilize a similar skillset as what I did in the Navy. I was relieved that financial security was no longer at risk. 

This was true until the day a Tech Qualled recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn. The message titled “Seeking Veterans for a World-Class Training Opportunity.” This grabbed my attention until I read the word “sales”. My first thought provoked an image of a car salesperson or the pesky telemarketer who will not stop calling. I was not convinced Tech Qualled was looking for top-tier talent with the word “sales” in their program. I did not want a sales career. Engineering, supply-chain management or information technology was my idea of a world-class training opportunity.

Tech Sales Career…Wait, What?

This pre-defined belief was quickly debunked – a Google search concluded that tech sales are prestigious, not to mention, the pay was much higher than the job I currently had lined-up. I was eager to learn more, and with a quick reply to the LinkedIn message, I had an intro call booked the next day. Following the call, I was hooked and knew without a doubt tech sales was exactly what I was looking for!  Meritocracy, high earning potential and a dynamic occupation all describe the IT sales world. 

I performed well during the selection process and the day finally came – I received the call from TQ’s CEO, Nick Breedlove, who was excited to announce I was selected as a participant for Cohort 11!  I was ecstatic!  Following the conversation with Nick, I quickly made a call to my wife to tell her the plans have changed – I was pursuing a sales career after all!

The Training:

The Launchpad Academy training was much more than what I expected. Not only was I obtaining valuable soft-skills, but they were also teaching me technical skills around data center, networking, IoT, cloud and more. I spent 20-30 hours per week working on homework, creating pitch videos and participating in live role-plays. This was an experience I had not envisioned when I initially joined the program. During the final week of training, the in-person boot camp takes place in Fort Worth, Texas. While there, I was introduced to Fortune 100 executives who participated in the live role-plays and stretched me far outside my comfort zone.

The Placement Process:

Upon graduation of the program, the final step was placement. I had my eye on a few different organizations, but one company stood out – Tektronix. Throughout my time in the Navy, I had the opportunity to use their products and I was a fan of the company’s long, rich history. Fortunately, Tektronix had multiple decision makers at the boot camp, thus expediting the interview process.  Within one week of graduation, I had a trip to Tektronix HQ booked which ultimately led to being offered a position.

Life as an Account Manager:

In my current role with Tektronix, I have the opportunity to work with the brightest engineers in the most innovative region in the world – Silicon Valley. Without the training and opportunities that Tech Qualled provided, I would be in my hometown working an unsatisfying 8-5 job with minimal financial security.

To all veterans considering Tech Qualled – if you are looking for a highly rewarding career with endless opportunities, Tech Qualled is the gateway!


Jake Graves lives in Santa Clara, CA with his wife and two children. A graduate of Launchpad Academy’s Cohort 11, he now works at Tektronix as an Account Manager for the SW Bay area. When he is not working, you can find Jake on the golf course, fishing, or having game nights with his family.

From Cisco to Dunn Growth, Sales Leader joins Tech Qualled to provide Technology Solutions.

Technology Solutions for Tech Qualled

With over 35 years in technology solutions, company leadership, revenue production, investing, board service, and high profile consulting, Bob Dunn, CEO and Founder of Dunn Growth Experts joins forces with Tech Qualled to offer expert training and advice to candidates in the Launchpad Academy:

In 2015, I watched with interest as Jim Sherriff, former Cisco executive, and colleague, founded Tech Qualled, an organization with the worthy mission and intended purpose of recruiting and training elite veterans for a career in IT sales.

What Tech Qualled has accomplished over the last 4 years is revolutionary and here’s why:

Technology sales are among one of the most rewarding professions but also one of the most demanding requiring a broad range of skills, knowledge, and character attributes.  Individuals in these positions will be challenged to learn and master complex products and technologies in an ever-changing marketplace.  As many in the sales industry have begun to discover, the skills required for an Account Executive in the high-tech sales align perfectly with veterans who have proven leadership skills, adaptability, and a performance-oriented work ethic. 


The Technology Solution:

Tech Qualled has mastered recruiting elite veterans with the intangibles to make them successful in sales and a 7-week training that allows them to outpace their peers when placed into these roles.  With over an 80% success rate, it is clear that these veterans are positioned for long-term success within the industry. 

Veterans face many challenges as they make the transition to civilian life, not the least of which is choosing a profession, getting a job, and supporting themselves and their families. The opportunity they have with Tech Qualled to break into such a profitable career with no post-military experience is really incredible. They served their country so all Americans have the good fortune to live and work in our great country. Contributing in some small way to their successful transition is the least we can do. 

I’ve always wanted to help veterans and Tech Qualled finally provided the avenue, connection, and the platform to do so. Over the past couple of years, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the TQ team and sharing what I learned during my career. The opportunity I have to help provide outstanding sales training by interacting directly with the veterans and early in career professionals is a distinct pleasure. 


Technology Solutions

Today, Bob Dunn is the father of two college student daughters, serves as the Chief Revenue Officer at InteliChart, invests and advises with a number of technology growth companies, and leads Dunn Growth Experts. 

As CEO and founder of Dunn Growth Experts, Bob distilled his knowledge into the DGE Revenue Supply Chain™, a complete systematic end-to-end approach to generating revenue growth and creating enterprise value. Organizations that have applied the DGE Revenue Supply Chain™ have had proven results, earning multi-million dollar returns by structuring their business in and across the five DGE Revenue Growth Pillars: Corporate Strategy, Product/Solution, Marketing, Sales & Channels, and Customer Success.