Kicking Down Doors is a series highlighting employees who are on the rise at ECS.
Will Klemen wasn’t always interested in information technology (IT). Growing up, his first love had been fitness, but after working for several years as a trainer and sales director in the field, Will realized he wanted a change. He looked around for an intellectually challenging career with opportunities for long term growth. IT seemed like a good fit. When a position for a tier 1 help desk analyst opened up at a nearby naval base, Will jumped at the opportunity to start his IT career.
The Journey to ECS
IT came easily to Will. The more he learned, the more the field seemed to expand before him. Opportunities were everywhere, and Will spent the next few years working as a contractor on a variety of IT government projects. The journey led him to ECS, where he initially began as a help desk analyst for an ECS subcontractor hired to aid in the management of a Marine Corps training and information system.
As his company’s subcontract wound down, ECS recruiters and project managers (PM) began to reach out to Will. Having heard great things about his intelligence, work ethic, and talent from his PM, they wanted to place him into other opportunities within ECS’ portfolio of projects. In a day, Will recalled, he already had two potential opportunities lined up for him at ECS. Shortly afterwards, he accepted a position as help desk team lead responsible for aiding Navy sailors as they conducted real-time, predictive assessments on impacts to the global information grid.
The Shift to Cybersecurity
As Will’s skill and experience grew, so did his responsibilities. He eventually moved on from his team lead position to become a configuration manager at ECS. While he enjoyed his roles in IT, Will knew he wanted to make a transition into cybersecurity, which he saw as a rapidly expanding field with near-infinite opportunities for growth. At ECS, Will finally got his chance to make the career shift.
Using ECS’ generous education benefits to develop technical skillsets in cybersecurity as well as cloud, Will found free reign to explore his interests. Will marveled at ECS’ investment in his personal development. Emails filled his inbox, urging him to sign up for upcoming certification classes and bootcamps. When Will conveyed interest in learning new concepts, he often found himself shadowing higher-level employees, sitting in on meetings, and picking the brains of industry experts in IT, cloud, and cybersecurity. Will said, “It’s nice to be looked at as somebody who could further themselves rather than an asset only meant to fill a specific role. In my last five years with ECS, I’ve learned more career-wise than in my entire life.” At ECS, Will has gone on to get his Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification, as well as his CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner+ (CASP+), and CompTIA Security+ certifications.
Will’s dream of moving to cybersecurity finally came after he received a call from Jason Stowers, portfolio manager at ECS. The company needed someone to help provide cybersecurity support on a new contract with the USMC.
“Would you like to be our new cybersecurity specialist?” Jason asked.
Will’s answer, of course, was yes.
“Will has an unwavering desire for professional achievement and growth. His hard work and intelligence continues to impress me daily and directly contributes to the ongoing success of our work.”
Jason Stowers, Senior Portfolio Manager, ECS
Will beams with pride at his journey from help desk analyst to cybersecurity specialist. He credits a lot of his success to the leaders he has worked with along the way: from Jason Stowers to Gretchen Gray, cybersecurity analyst at ECS, as well as Shalini Goel, Mike Scrivener, and Ross Serino on ECS’ cloud team. These days, Will serves as the Host Based Security System (HBBS) administrator for the USMC, helping defend the organization’s assets as they manage the needs of reserve forces. He is also the administrator for their web application firewall and helps provide any cybersecurity assistance needed by the information security officer (ISO).
“Without the support of ECS and the faith the company has put in me, I wouldn’t be anywhere. I would still be answering the phones. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had with this company and all the opportunities to come,” said Will.