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The Benefits of Age and Experience in the Military

Podcast featuring Dr. Larry D. Parker Jr.Lt. Col (retired), U.S. Marine Corps; Program Director, School of Business and
Dr. Wallace “Rope” Burns, U.S. Navy veteran; Faculty Member, Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Despite a life-long desire to join the military, Dr. Wallace “Rope” Burns didn’t enlist until he was in his 30s. Thanks to his advanced degree, he joined the Navy as a Supply Corps Officer, which took him into combat zones around the world where he had a critical role making sure troops had the supplies they needed. In this episode, AMU professor Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr. talks to him about his unique military experience, his initiative to continue his education while in the military, and his transition to academia where he uses his expertise to teach students about supply chain management and transportation logistics. Also hear advice for all servicemembers preparing to leave the military about why it’s so important not to downplay leadership skills or the ability to do hard jobs.

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Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: Welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr. Today, we’re going to talk about the experience of a Naval officer transitioning from uniform to success in the civilian sector. In the spirit of the podcast, we’re going to find out our guest’s perspective on his military service, and the edge it provided him in being successful after his service in the military.

My guest today is Dr. Wallace Burns, who is known to us and to some as Rope. Rope is a retired Naval officer of 25 years, a true supply chain management and logisticians scholar practitioner. He practiced and led supply or logistics related units throughout his Naval career, and continued to consult and teach within the field since retiring in 2017.

An award-winning and published professor of logistics and supply chain management within the Dr. W. E. Boston School of Business, I would like to stress that his rank is a full professor. I was actually a part of the university to witness his advancement, and that is an acknowledgement of the highest professional ranking as a college instructor. So again, congratulations, Rope. Rope, it’s great to have you on the podcast.

Dr. Wallace Burns: It’s my pleasure, Larry, always.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: All right, well, let’s start our conversation by talking about you, the man, the Navy veteran that served around the world. I want to first thank you for your service. And to give the audience a better perspective of the answers you’re going to give us about your success, and how you got here, let’s talk a little bit about where you came from, and how you even started. Why did you join the service?

Dr. Wallace Burns: Well, Larry, as many military folks do, many in my family served. My father was an Air Force officer. He was actually an Army Air Corps officer. When they transitioned to the Air Force, he rolled over as an officer in the brand new Air Force. I think it was in ’47, maybe in ’46. So he was an Air Force officer. I had two uncles I grew up with that were both Navy men, and both were on boat units that went up and down the rivers in Vietnam. So I got to hear a lot of their stories.

In high school, I went to a school in New Orleans called Jesuit High School that had a Marine Corps ROTC program, and so I did that, and I got as high as the second in command of that battalion. And it was funny, the officer in charge of that was a Marine officer named Captain Richard Neil. Richard Neil went on to become General Neil, who was General Schwarzkopf’s primary spokesman during Desert Storm. Yeah, so that was a guy that I really learned a lot from. In fact, Gunnery Sergeant MSgt Jefferson O. Cressionnie, who just died, as a matter of fact, a couple of years ago, but he was the one that really got me hooked on the Marines and hooked on military service.

He also served in Vietnam, and so he spent a lot of time telling all of us ROTC cadets about what the real Marine Corps was about. And it was something I wanted to do with every fiber of my being by the time I graduated from high school. So I went to college, and actually there decided to do Air Force ROTC, because they didn’t have a Marine Corps ROTC. And so I did Air Force ROTC for three years, but I got married and decided not to go into the military, and accept my commission at the end.

So long story short, once Desert Storm came and went, right after it went, I told my wife, I was married for several years, I told her that I blew my chance to get into the military as a youngster, but I always wanted to, and then it turns out that if you had a master’s degree in business, the Navy had a program where you could come in and over the course of the first two years, get the equivalent of another master’s in Navy business, and then become a “Ready for Sea” Supply Corps Officer in the Navy. And so that’s what I did. I joined the military when I was 34 years old as an ensign.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: Wow. Now, I wasn’t familiar with that program, and you actually led to that next question, because I was listening to you, and it sounded like you started out as an Army brat just like I was as a kid, and then you had Air Force family. And I was wondering how we got back to the Navy. That’s sound like a great program back then.

Dr. Wallace Burns: Hey, Larry, I actually looked, I really tried to go with the Marines first, but the Marines had a program that you had to be 35 by a certain age, so that you could have I think it was 24 years good service by the time you were 60. And so the Navy’s was 20 years’ service or 25 years, whatever it was, I just can’t remember the exact number, but I just made it in by the Navy’s requirements, but I couldn’t make it in based upon the Marine Corps requirements. And to be honest with you, I didn’t even check with the Army and Air Force. As soon as the Navy took me, I was in for the Navy.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: Hey, that works. Whatever it takes to get to where you want to be. And that really answers the question, “Why Supply Corps?” Because people go to it for different reasons, and it sounds like you were more business-minded, and in this program, it allowed you to not only build upon the education that you already had, gave you additional credentials. So that’s great. I often hear that individuals join the military because of education that they’re going to pursue. That’s mostly those that enlist, but you don’t get to hear a lot of additional credentials for commissioned officers. So just curious, do you know that that program still exists?

Dr. Wallace Burns: It does. As a matter of fact, it worked so well that, Larry, when I was in O-5, and I was striking for 0-6, several years ago, it turned out that I was one of our O-6 selects that was selected to serve on that community that rated potential folks like I was, to bring them into the service with already having a master’s degree.

And it turns out that they had done too many, so that the folks that came in after me, probably 10 years after I did, came in in such a groundswell that they were actually having to, unfortunately, cut it off after O-5. They weren’t allowed to go up higher unless they were a very, very quick hot runner, very, very competitive. And as a matter of fact, even willing to augment to the active core or the active service. So it worked so well that, bottom line, that it actually had to be curtailed. But as far as I understand, Larry, it’s still in place.

The Supply Corps components do a lot of things that are very conducive to bringing folks in later, for example, advanced degrees, business degrees, but also much of our mission, Larry, is a reserve mission, believe it or not. In the supply world, we do things like cargo movements, cargo handling, ship off loads or unloads. Duty that by definition is temporal, meaning you stand up as a battalion, and you go to a tour in country, or you go as part of a smaller unit, and you do an offload of a ship in Hawaii, for example, which isn’t conducive to using active duty folks. It’s actually tailor made for the reserve side of the house.

So it turns out, even though I was a Reserve Naval Officer, O-6, by the time I retired, I had served a total of almost six years boots on the ground in the Middle East, over six deployments. And every case, it was a hostile tour in support of whatever the major command was that was running the operation. In my expertise in the supply world, I was probably one of the lead DLA expediters to where my job was to go and serve a, for example, in Iraq. I was Camp TQ embedded with the Marines, and my job was to get a list of high priority items that needed to get on a plane in Columbia the next morning and fly into theater. And so my job was to fast track requisitions and so forth for the Marines to get high priority items.

For example, they may be running out of throat protectors. The Marines, I think they ate those things for dinner, but for whatever reason, the throat protectors didn’t last very long. And that was just an example where the General would call me up and say, “Give me a commander. I need some throat protectors here in two days.” And that was my job sort of a thing.

Even though I was Reservist augmenting in support in the Marines, I was right in the middle of the thick of it. Because of the logistics work that we do, it required advanced degrees in many cases, but it also required advanced knowledge of the supply systems.

That anything the military can’t provide itself in the next week, provided to themselves locally by their own distribution operation, automatically rolls over into the wholesale military sourcing, and that’s all DLA, and that’s where I came in.

Anything the Marines needed, in the example I gave you, of any sort of an urgent nature, I would get a disk of items from a supply clerk that was supporting this. I think they called it an SMU. I’m forgetting what the name stood for, Larry, but it was a Marine SMU that, by the way, I’ll give you a little hint.

The SMU was a very tight group of enlisted Marines, who did the work, same work that some of the supply sustainment battalions that I worked with from the Army and others. The Marines were just set up to do a great team with a few and with little money. You know how that goes, but I can tell you firsthand, I saw it in action. And they were always very appreciative. They always had a cigar waiting for me when their pallets came in, and the Marines could work the system like no one other.

Long story short, my experience, even though it was actually reserved-based, I was activated so many times that I consider myself as an O-5 and O-6, as an active member of the service.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: Well, I appreciate that, Rope, and for those listening that may know my background, I was a Supply Officer in the Marine Corps. And just to help out with that acronym, that might not know what the SMU is, that’s a Supply Management Unit, the SMU, what we’d use. And that’s exactly what he’s saying, that next level of supply to get you your parts.

And that really helps me understand how we as services work together. You served as what many of us in our field would call the expediter. We get out there, we can’t get it, and it’s taken a while to come, and it’s that interface with that wholesale or the outside, the service supply chain. And those are the individuals that if you can’t find it, or you can’t get it, they’re going to make sure you get it. And so I appreciate I know when I served, but I know those individuals that you served with truly appreciated that.

Dr. Wallace Burns: Let me add one more small Marine story, just so you can appreciate it. I got in trouble at Camp TQ in Iraq, because we made a nice stink to CENTCOM telling them that they kept shipping our items in “mixed” pallets, meaning it would be items that were earmarked for the Marine units, but it could also have been items that were earmarked for Army units. And when they tended to mix the pallets, and they put it into a CRSP yard, or a yard where you picked up their items, the Army saw an item that had their item on it, they would just take the pallet. They didn’t go in there and find their stuff. They just took the pallet. [Marines did the same thing.]

So we made a huge stink, and I told the General that I wouldn’t order, that no pallets come to TQ for the Marines unless they came as pure pallets. And this was not the policy of CENTCOM in 2005. I can promise you, because their heads blew off at Central Command because an O-4 who wasn’t even a Marine was telling the ELA expediters how to get things in the theater.

And I said, “Hey, guys, you can send pallets in 10 times if you’d like, be my guest. Problem is that they’re not getting into the units unless they come in as pure pallets.” And it turned out that CENTCOM would now lay out their pallets in their distribution centers, and they would lay them out until the pallet became full, meaning it may take an extra day, but in any event, they wouldn’t send anything except full, pure pallet to the units in theater.

And I take credit for making that policy change, because it was doing a lot of wasteful cargo movements. The units weren’t getting serviced. So I just want to let you know that sometimes policy changes if you’re doing the right job, and you have the right follow through and backing, and I had the backing of my Marine General at Camp TQ. And so CENTCOM very quickly stood down and complied.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: No, that’s a great story, because it’s an example that policy can be set sometimes, but it’s the individual that’s on the ground that sees how things are happening that can make the difference. Because we often see something that might be odd-sized, or packaged a certain way, or just even the layout of your lot may dictate something changes, and it won’t be the same as it is in a PowerPoint. The individual on the ground is going to have to be able to make that call to make some adjustments. And so I appreciate that.

Well, as we really get to the focus of that transition, that ability to take all those experiences like that and turn you into a successful veteran, as I’m listening to you, education was a big key of bringing you in. Did you complete any other education while you were in the service, or were there particular training that you completed that better prepared you for life after the service?

Dr. Wallace Burns: Terrific question, Larry. Absolutely. I wouldn’t have got into the service without going to school at night many years ago and got a master’s degree in business. So I wouldn’t have got in in my particular path without a master’s degree. But while I was in, Larry, I earned a second master’s that was actually in logistics. And so I did that.

And also got my doctorate while I was still in the service. In fact, I completed my dissertation and defended that in late 2014 while I was still in service. And in fact, one of the intermediate items I had to do, I did via a phone call while we were undergoing a mortar attack in Afghanistan.

So you kind of do what you have to do, but I had set it up to be able to utilize the items that were set up for the military person. They provided moderate internet connectivity when you weren’t in the hard field. Then they set it up so that it was very easy to be able to connect, to take online courses or hybrid courses that enabled me to take care of my educational goals and objectives actually while I was serving.

[Podcast: Military Tuition Assistance: Understanding TA and VA Educational Benefits]

So in my case, I emphasized education to the extent of an additional master’s, a terminal degree, and, Larry, while I was there, I also earned four certifications that I thought would help in the areas that I wanted to practice, and so I did that as well. So to answer your question, I think I utilized every cent of my Post 9/11 GI Bill, which, in effect, paid for a second masters and a doctorate.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: Well, that’s excellent. That’s truly not leaving any money left on the table. That’s utilizing your benefits to the fullest, and I’m just about to touch on that transition, where you become a veteran, but to give context, you said that you came in a little bit later than most. That plan that you spoke of, where you deliberately pursued education and things of that nature, was that something really promoted by the service, or when did you determine “This is the path I’m going to need to take? And did someone help you with that?”

Dr. Wallace Burns: Larry, about the 10-year mark, I was in my second or third year as an O-3, and it was at that point that I realized that serving in the military is not a guaranteed thing all the way to retirement. You’ve got to make grade at certain steps. I got a sense of urgency about 10 years in.

In the event that I wasn’t competitive, an O-4 is pretty much a certainty if you do a good job. Making O-5 or O-6 was really based upon numbers, and where you would fit. In other words, you had to have a job available, can be company commanders, battalion commanders, regimental, commanders, and division commanders, those things are handled by officers of a certain grade, and there has to be an available billet for you to do before you can get promoted.

So when I was halfway in, I realized, “I think I’m doing a good job, and I work harder as anybody here.” The problem is I knew it wasn’t a guarantee. So I’d started looking and found out there is a plethora of opportunities.

There were multiple opportunities on base to go to school at night. There were multiple opportunities on ship. In fact, they brought instructors on ship, college instructors on ship to teach courses. Now, they weren’t many of the higher level courses, but there was no reason on earth if you were an enlisted sailor, O-4, who’s just getting cranked into his career and didn’t have a degree, there was no reason in the world if he was motivated and had a little bit of initiative, that the opportunities were presented. It was just a matter of what did you do with your off time? Did you study, and set goals, and meet those goals, or did you not?

It’s kind of a Boolean concept. And in my case, my Boolean decision approach was to go all in to maximize the amount of education I could get while I was in. As a matter of fact, Larry, funny story, when I was mobilized to Afghanistan for 13 months as the commander of all DLA forces in Afghanistan, and I had a budget, by the way, three times the operational budget for the CENTCOM general. So it costs more for food, and for bullets, and beans, and food, and fuel, three times more, than it did the cost to outfit the troops there. So the school, I actually got my first offer of employment, Larry, during the tail end of my mobilization in 2015 is when I got offered a full-time position with American Military University.

And so I told them, “I would certainly be glad, I’d probably want to take a little bit less of a full load.” It was an example of where not only did I seek education while I was in the military, it was in the case where I landed a teaching position while I was mobilized, and while I was in a hostile country. And so there was a lot of times from either late at night or early in the morning, I was doing schoolwork before I mustered the troops, to give you an example.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: Well, that is an example of exactly what I was talking about when I read your bio and gave an intro, that scholar-practitioner, the individual that’s on the ground, that’s doing it, and that can actually say that they’ve put a lot of those principles into practice.

So all of that provided more context, and so as we focus on that transition, becoming that veteran, what was your transition from the service like? I know there’s a program. I think all of us who are veterans, we know, but what was yours like? Was it a good program?

Dr. Wallace Burns: Larry, it was. That’s one thing the Navy does when you career ends is probably a year before it ends, they start a formal transition sequence of events that prepares the veteran for not only landing, but like I like to say, every veteran, because of the skills that are obtained when you serve, you really do need to work extremely hard. Because I think it’s crucial that a veteran land, like say, land well.

In other words, you don’t want to land just to bag groceries if in fact you were an electronics technician, and you worked with a high level of network connectivity. My point was, I think it’s crucial that a military person take advantage of the networks that the military would create, and to seek positions that can marry up to what you learn in the military.

By the way, a lot of that is leadership. Most folks only give short shrift to the term leadership, and don’t know what it means to be a small unit leader, to be a company commander, to be a battalion commander, to be a division commander, you name it. The military teaches leadership, and a sort of leadership that’s called servant leadership. That really means that you’re not only a leader, but you’re a leader’s leader. You tend to work very well with the people you work with, because you’re one of them. You came from them, and it’s an effective form of leadership that military folks get in spades, because that’s who all their leaders are, in most cases. And that’s the lifetime leaders they become.

So one of the things I think a military person should do to land well is to look at your skillset, but also don’t downplay your leadership skills and your ability to do hard jobs. When you put a list of things, that what does it mean to land well?

In my case, it meant find something that matched my skills, find something that I want to do. Find something that was hard, that mirrored what I did in the military. I don’t mean hard physically, but hard, something that was a challenge, something that had a nice risk and reward associated with it, and that also utilized your leadership and your military connections to land well. And by the way, many military folks realize that the hiring manager that they best can present their wares to are ex-military, who know what it means to lead a squad in combat, for example.

And so that’s not necessarily possible in all cases, but if you go to job fairs, and you do other things, there is a sort of a military network that in some small way looks after its own to help them land well. Because in many cases, the military member is pivoting significantly from what they were used to doing to what they’re going to do next.

You’re not going to go from being an infantry man, and you’re not going to find that sort of a job unless you’re going to be a contractor back in the same central area. You’re going to have to find a job where you’ve got to socialize and integrate into a new world, and it’s not a military world. You can’t pop up and scream at your supervisors, not that you’d do it in the military. I’m just saying there’s a different culture that I think that needs to go into the equation.

And military folks need to be perceptive to make sure that they’re different, but they’re also capable of doing the tasks that the new job is going to require. And to break through that barrier from military to non military, you’ve got to sort of start acting and being a civilian. But it has nothing to do with your look. I’m talking about your… My doctorate is in leadership, interdisciplinary leadership from Creighton, and so one of the things that I’ve done a lot of research on is, believe it or not, is bad leadership. What entails bad leadership?

And so one of the things that bad leaders do is they tend to typecast military people right off the bat positively or negatively, depending on their background, normally to the detriment of the military person. So you have to go in, like I tell every military person I talk to, and you now have to please equally several masters. You’ve got to please your God. You’ve got to please your wife. You got to please your kids. You got to please your boss. When you’re in the military, you have to please your military boss, but now you have to start pleasing all of them equally well. You can’t pick one and say, “I’m a military guy, and that’s what I do well.”

You can’t do that. You’ve got to be equally adept at all facets to be able to fit in to new employment arrangements, so that you’re able not to be typecast by these bad leaders. Now, a good leader will see somebody with a great deal of potential and probably hire the person anyway, because they understand you’re hiring a capability. You’re not hiring what somebody did, you’re hiring for what they can do. Most bad leaders, they’re looking for the easy way out. They’re looking for decisions that meet their bias. They’re doing all sort of things that aren’t going to be conducive for military folks to be successful, unless the military person sort of shapes their approach to please all aspects, including that leader.

Find out what that leader, even if it’s a bad leader, what that leader’s push points are and focus on those. Don’t be striding saying, “Everything I do is the way I learned it in the military.” You have to be smart about it is what I’m getting at. So that’s sort of a side rant, Larry, in how you get hired.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: That’s important, because, again, we’re talking about the veteran’s edge. We know that just as individuals thank us for our service, we know our service changes us. None of us enter the service and leave the same individual. So there’s a change that happens, and I appreciate you speaking to that. With those nuggets of information, I’m going to hit you with one more question that really focuses on your success, that transition, and then we’re going to focus on the major bits of guidance or nuggets of information you want to leave us with. So with that, I’ve had this notion that veterans tend to fall into four immediate categories as they leave.

I’m sure the Navy is pretty much like the Marine Corps and all services, that the commander has to usually counsel individuals as they’re leaving, right before their re-enlistment, or as they’re considering leaving. I know first-termers anyway. And we usually ask them, “What are your plans?” And I just want to kind of see if I get your concurrence here, and then I’ll go to the next question. There are four categories, student, government contractor, corporate, and when I say, “Corporate,” it’s like some civilian job away from the military, or entrepreneur, they’re going to start some kind of business. Would you agree that that’s typically how individuals fall out?

Dr. Wallace Burns: Yeah. Larry, I think that’s a good list. I would add one thing about the entrepreneurs. One of the things that I hear from folks that are… I used to talk to my unit members all the time, is in many cases they… You mean be an entrepreneur, they mean by just going into business for myself, and in many cases, they don’t even know what that business is. So one of the things I would say is they have an entrepreneurial spirit, but I don’t think they have a plan of actually how to do it. And I see a pitfall in that 90% of all restaurants fail anyway. Can you imagine what percentage of military startup restaurants fail? It’s probably higher.

What I’m getting at is so that’s a touchy area, because when you leave the military, you normally don’t have a ton of capital, and starting businesses normally requires some capital. And so I would say, “Yeah,” that’s… I think what you’re hearing though in the entrepreneurial section is they just want to be their own boss. That’s how I read that, Larry. I don’t know whether that’s entrepreneurial, but I think it’s now they’ve been in a big organization. They’ve been told to get up at 5:00 in the morning and run, and now they’re looking at being able to dictate their day as being their own boss, and I think that’s what they’re really aiming for. Although, I do know of several folks that did start their business.

For example, I knew a military supply officer, Navy Supply Officer, who while he was in service, got a physical therapy all the way up to the point of his internship, and then as soon as he got out, he took his internship, and then he now has three or four clinics that are opened up on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. That’s somebody that had a vision. He knew what the education requirements were, and he had a plan. So I’m just saying that person would fall directly into the entrepreneurial bucket that you mentioned, but my fear is many military think entrepreneur, but really are thinking more their own boss.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: And what I find interesting, that actually has been on the books for a while. Definitely for discussion, I’d like to have you back to… They were going to utilize the GI Bill. Now, that’s been out there for a couple of times, or at least been proposed, to utilize the GI Bill to qualify for a business loan. I don’t know exactly where that legislation is. Someone sent it to me recently. I know just doing a quick search, it was proposed six years ago, seven years ago, actually, even before then. And then I think it’s been brought back again for individuals to be able to utilize that.

Now, my only concern is exactly what you just said, individuals who are not skilled in opening a business. I would really hate to see them, I guess no other word but squander, those benefits on something without being properly trained. At least with a degree, I know you’re walking out with a credential. You pass your courses, you’re going to get a credential. I would hate to see whatever the dollar amount that you have to spend, to go out and open one of those businesses that you said had a high failure rate, and now they have nothing. So I would hope that if that becomes the case, and that comes to reality, that there is a requirement to get some kind of certification that you were trained.

Before we put that forth and/or that there’s some other kind of restriction there. So that’s an aside for those that want to do their own research, that would be something for you to look at. Last question I have for you is, we just mentioned the student, the contractor, the corporate, entrepreneur, why did you choose to go your route? And you’ve been such a success. I know you mentioned early on that you felt like you were going to teach. You mentioned that earlier in your career, so I guess about the 10 year mark, and you stayed consistent with it. What drove You that way?

Dr. Wallace Burns: Yeah, my case, it was something I did in the military. I got to a certain grade. I became a training officer for a battalion, and I liked it so much. I love building up training plans that it involved an entire battalion, but I liked it so much that I actually made that sort of my expertise, where I went to the force training command, and actually did course development, and did all the other things you would do as an instructor or a teacher would do. In fact, I got a great deal of intrinsic pleasure out of teaching, way more than I ever thought I would.

And so in my case, Larry, I knew it was a fit. I just knew that the more I got involved with education… It’s not that I like being the smartest guy in the room, I’m far from it. I just like hearing a problem, and then providing the student with either knowledge or the tools to… Actually, it’s better to teach the student how to gain that knowledge himself or herself. I knew it was right for me, Larry, and it came to me from the military in the military. And I used the military benefits to be able to, like I said, land well in doing something I wanted to do when my military career was over, and education was part and parcel to being able to achieve that. So not most work does not correlate directly from credentials to job, but obviously [inaudible 00:32:47] getting a doctorate and a master’s degree that fits the specialty you’re teaching, it’s a direct correlation.

And for me, I’d wanted to teach logistics. I knew I would have good experience. I knew I could have the right education by the time I got out. And I knew it was just a matter of landing a job, and sure enough, I landed a job while I was still in. I consider myself very fortunate. As a matter of fact, Larry, I think you may have done the same thing. You may have been hired on before you fully got out of the Marines. I’m not sure, but I think that’s the case, right?

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: Yes, actually, and it’s interesting that you said about the transition program. The interesting thing is I actually found this listing for the job while I was sitting in the class. And you know in that portion when they have the instructor that teaches you how to review the sites, the different job sites, and they actually have a person walking you through? And they’re just saying, “Okay, here’s a practice search.” So a message to the audience, pay attention in those classes and actually utilize every minute that you’re in there, because I’m living proof. I found my job here while I’m sitting in the class.

Dr. Wallace Burns: And, Larry, one other thing, one thing about being an instructor is I teach 100 students a month. I can remember back in 2010 when I was doing a tour at CENTCOM that I took a class, American Military University class, in logistics to see if I liked it. And believe it or not, my instructor was Dr. Hughes, who is still in the program, and he and I talked a great deal. And he actually gave me a lot of advice about how I should shape my logistics academic credentials, and what he thought was important versus what wasn’t. And so it turns out that part of why I liked being an instructor is that little nugget that Dr. Hughes gave to me in 2010 is something that ultimately landed a position at AMU, and also getting promoted to being a full professor at AMU. It all started from that nugget that I got from Dr. Hughes in 2010.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: Well, that’s great to find, and actually you’re speaking of the team that we still have together, and Rope is at least giving credit to one of our esteem faculty members that gave him that a nugget of information. So as I get ready to wrap this up, I got two things for you. First, what I like to do is just recap the three major things that I’m taking away from this, and possibly, we’ve talked for a while, and I want to be able to at least make sure that the audience hones in on some points that I know I took away from this. And three things that I got from your messages, one, be deliberate. You did not waste time.

Some people might say, “Oh, he came in later. He may have been more mature or set in life.” Either way, whether you come in later or you come in early, the first message I got was be deliberate, because then you set about a path to make sure you can make things happen. The second thing I got was utilize the resources. You went through a number of resources that the military, even though we had that discussion about leadership, and everybody can talk of whether someone is a good leader or a bad leader, the resources around the service, or at least the service provides, are there.

And so you made an excellent point to utilize everything that was available to you. And then the last thing, which is a point of emphasis of your mindset, was to land well. If I could coin any phrase that you left us with was, “Prepare and plan to land well,” and that goes back to, more or less, the other two points, “Be deliberate, because you know what you want to do, and then utilize the resources to ensure you land well.” So those are those three points. I mean, would you endorse and say that that’s the message that you would leave?

Dr. Wallace Burns: Larry, 100%. You actually got it exactly right. I would add one thing about future hiring managers. One of the things that military people carry with them, and you somehow need to market this skillset, is a military person usually performs something that we call in the military, “Can do,” meaning no matter what the task is, the best military folks are the ones that can do. In other words, the Navy has a saying, for example, if you’re giving an order, and you don’t understand it, you can say, “Yes, sir,” and that means that’s telling your leader that you’ll get the job done, and if you don’t understand your last questions, but you’ll still get it done.

Or you can answer by saying, “Aye, aye, sir.” And that tells the Navy leader that not only will you do it, but you also understand it. And so that’s an example where in the Navy, we built a sort of a leadership between leader and follower with a certain communication regiment that gives the follower and the leader confidence going forward. And that’s one of the things that a hiring manager should be able to latch on relatively quickly with a military person, and that is you can morph him or her into just about anything where you really have a need in your business, because normally the military person is can do. And that’s my final word.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr.: All right. Well, Rope, this has been such a great conversation. I appreciate everything that you brought to us today, and I know the audience is much better for it. And that veteran that’s looking to leave or that individual that’s already left, I’m sure he can find something out of this. So thank you much for sharing your expertise today for this episode, and to our listeners, thank you for joining us. Be well and stay safe.

Dr. Larry D. Parker, Jr., currently serves as the Department Chair of Transportation and Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management with the School of Business. He serves as an adjunct faculty for various universities around the world.

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