For Memorial Day 2017, McKinstry is featuring Q&As from a few of the many veterans who are part of our McKinstry family. Pictured above in both his military (at far left) and civilian life, Chris Di Re is a U.S. Army veteran, former Camo2Commerce Corporate Fellow, and current Project Engineer on our Mechanical Majors team. Here’s what Chris had to say about his military service, his time as a military fellow at McKinstry, and the personal significance of Memorial Day:
Q: How would you describe your military service, from beginning to end?
A: I would describe my military service as something that was entirely a whirlwind of never-ending, constant “go-go-go”—yet was also an experience that was truly humbling. Getting to work alongside some of the nation’s finest young men and women was an absolute honor. It really put into perspective that, with teamwork, literally anything can be accomplished. Ultimately, my decision to leave the military was all about those who care about me and wanting to have more stability in my life.
Q: What drew you to the Camo2Commerce program as your service was ending?
A: I was introduced to the Camo2Commerce program through one of my mentors. I knew that the final 6-12 months of my military career was going to be focused on transitioning out and I saw Camo2Commerce as an excellent platform to help ease that process. The basis of the program just made sense: allowing real, corporate work experience prior to my separation. So I applied, and I’m thankful I did because McKinstry gave me a chance to participate! I came to work full-time in January 2017 and it has been the best transition I could ask for.
Q: What did you learn/are you learning as a military fellow at McKinstry?
A: When I was a fellow here last summer, I think the biggest thing I learned was that the skills garnered from military service are very transferable to the corporate world. During the program, you’re constantly told that the skills you learned from the military are transferable, but until you prove to yourself that they are, there’s always some doubt. The Camo2Commerce program at McKinstry allows fellows to prove that to themselves—making their transition more effective.
Q: What kind of work did you do/are you doing at McKinstry, and was/is the most valuable part of the fellowship program?
A: During my fellowship, I worked with McKinstry’s Safety team to employ a new way to organize and track safety training requirements by job category. It was a fun project that allowed me to interact with nearly every business unit and meet a ton of people in the process. I also think we were able to deliver a pretty decent product that is readily usable by all McKinstry employees—pretty neat to have that effect as a fellow! Now that I’ve come to work full-time at McKinstry, my day-to-day job is a Project Engineer in the Majors Mechanical group. So far, it has been nothing short of an excellent experience!
Q: What does Memorial Day mean to you, and what would you like people to know on Memorial Day this year?
A: Memorial Day is a time for remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice doing what their country asked them to do. I’ve had classmates and close friends who gave their lives for this country. Memorial Day is their day and it is our duty to be respectful and reflect on the holiday accordingly. I’m very appreciative and grateful that we have the nation’s best and brightest serving, and it’s important to remember those who are not with us anymore.