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Retired from the U.S. Navy in 2022, Senior Capture Manager Joe Lemanek joined ECS in 2023 and quickly embraced our culture and community. Joe is a member of ECS’ Veterans MWR Employee Resource Group. He also joined our philanthropy efforts by nominating the nonprofit for an ECS Engage grant.

As a Cybervets advisor, Joe mentors veterans interested in private-sector jobs in cybersecurity — one of his areas of expertise. The nonprofit gives veterans enough training to earn a cybersecurity certificate (if they’re new to the field) and helps with resume-writing, interview preparation, and other skills crucial to securing a new role.

Six Cybervets graduates have become ECS employees, and Joe and his fellow Cybervets volunteers are planning to further grow the partnership between the nonprofit and our company.

We sat down with Joe to get his thoughts on private-sector work and to learn more about his penchant for helping other veterans find their way into civilian life.

Q: What motivates you to volunteer your time as a Cybervets advisor?

A: It’s one of the things I love about being retired ― giving back to those who are transitioning from active-duty service to civilian life. I have a heavy schedule, but I make time to attend Cybervets cohort meetings, and I’m always having coffee or meeting up with an advisee for a drink. It’s fulfilling. It’s that reward you can get only from focusing on others.

A lot of people feel confused and lost when they’re leaving the service and looking for work in the civilian world. I explain that this is normal and give them tools they can use to get started — practical things they can do — and I encourage them to put in the work. It’s a very worthwhile mentor-mentee relationship.

One of our best programmers from this last cohort came to us with little technical experience. He was a cook in the Navy for six years, and he’s become one of the most brilliant programmers I’ve ever seen. He just gets it. It’s fulfilling to help people out and then watch them grow like that.

Q: What are you enjoying most about working in the private sector?

A: The challenge. I’m responsible for helping our Business Development group capture opportunities that will drive strategic growth for ECS. I enjoy that challenge, and the people too.

ECSers are amazing to work with. There’s a camaraderie and a family feel here, despite it being a big company. So, you get all the resources you need, and you can also take time to laugh with colleagues. ECS is an inviting, welcoming place.

I also enjoy spending more time with my daughter and being able to tell her about my work. I was in windowless basements for much of my Navy career, working in cybersecurity and intelligence. So, it’s cool to be able to talk more freely about what I do and bring her into the office to show her where dad works.

Private-sector work has also been more lucrative for me, which is a plus. And I still get to serve. I still know what the government is doing in the intelligence and cybersecurity spaces, and I still help to support vital missions and make a difference.

Q: What’s the most important thing you learned during your 10-plus years in the Navy?

A: Don’t take things personally. There’s a mission to get done. You’re not an expert at everything, so stay humble. It’s the team that accomplishes the mission, not you alone. I may have some leadership skills, but I can’t get it done by myself. It takes the team believing in me and me believing in the team, to become successful.

“Mission Continued” is a limited series in which military veterans working at ECS discuss transitioning to a civilian work environment and building a successful career while continuing to support the mission.

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ECS is a Virginia Values Veterans (V3) certified organization. We are committed to recruiting, hiring, and retaining veterans for the value they bring to the workforce. Virginia has the fastest growing veteran workforce in the country, and we are now trained on best practices for recruiting and hiring transitioning military members.

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