Jesse R: Combining Technical Skills and Teamwork

While family tradition drew Jesse to the Army, he didn’t have the same direction when transitioning from service. As an E4 63T Allen Bradley Fighting Systems Mechanic he maintained multi-million dollar equipment and supervised Soldiers, providing technical guidance and coaching as they worked to accomplish their duties. Jesse’s technical, teamwork and leadership skills combined created an excellent candidate for multiple career paths, and it took trial and error to find the right industry to advance those foundational abilities.

After trying several positions, Jesse excelled in the Food & Beverage industry at Phillips Distilling as an operations manager. There, he uses his skills in a fast-paced working environment, managing people from many different backgrounds, much like he did in the military. Because Jesse already had experience managing a diverse group of people, he knew the importance of tailoring his coaching and mentoring to fit the individual to help them meet or even exceed their potential as he drives results.

Jesse points back to other aspects of his military training that set him up for success as operations manager, including his practice and comfort in making decisions. As a Veteran, he has the flexibility to work adeptly in changing and uncertain environments—a skill that served him well in his first major project at Phillips Distilling where he is making a big impact. During this project, Jesse led a team with a budget over a million dollars in capital expense and a small window of time to complete it. In large part due to his military training, Jesse and his team unsurprisingly finished it before the deadline and under budget.

To help other Veterans make the transition to the Food & Beverage Industry, Jesse said, “I’ve learned that most situations that require a decision are all different in their own way and will almost always affect another person or department. Some decisions are quick and easy, and others require patience. Teamwork, and buy-in from others to get the result you’re looking for. Oftentimes a “no” decision is worse than a “bad” decision.”

Now, Jesse looks forward to continuing on his journey within operations leadership at Phillips Distilling and helping his fellow Veterans learn about this industry.