Are you a veteran or recently transitioned military member looking to join the corporate world? We strongly encourage veterans to consider Gartner as their next career step after the military because we are not just a team professionally, we are a family. Below, U.S. Navy Lieutenant and current Leadership Client Manager, Nick Petti shares why he chose to join Gartner.
My entrance and time in the military have by no means been traditional. I graduated college with a four-year degree and was working in a promising civilian career field with no intention of leaving. The interest in serving and the patriotism I feel for my country were always there, but I thought my time had passed in regard to making that life decision. I was wrong.
Upon graduating from Villanova with a business degree focusing on finance and accountancy, I decided to pursue neither as a career. Many interviews and phone calls later, I stumbled upon the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement or IDGA. IDGA provided the New York City grindstone experience and the small shop consultant lifestyle that I had decided was a good fit. It also had the side benefit of being incredibly interesting: I would get to talk to admirals, generals, academics, researchers and defense manufacturers from around the world and somehow connect the dots. I fell into the role and the job, working 80-/90-hour weeks but accepting it because that is what everyone does in NYC. I worked directly with the highest levels of not just the U.S. military but also Canada, UK, Jordan, Peru, Brazil, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Spain, etc. There was an area between the warfighter equipment needs not being fulfilled, research capabilities being developed/tested and manufacturers’ willingness to try to make anything for the right price where I was able to insert myself and satisfy that need. At the end of the day, if even a little of what my work did saved lives and/or taxpayer money, I was incredibly proud.
As time progressed, I specialized in a few areas given my interests, contacts and developing expertise. Countering improvised explosive devices, special operations equipment, military vehicles and their upgrades is what I became known for. We were a full-service shop, identifying the need, finding out what is out there to solve it, working the RFI/RFP/RFQ process and bringing everyone together to make it happen. At some point in this, I was approached by my colleagues who were all either military veterans or reservists themselves and was told that I should bring this expertise to the military itself. On their insistence, I learned about the U.S. Navy’s Direct Commission Officer or DCO program. They recruit civilians with plug-and-play expertise in areas of the greatest need in an effort to gain an outside-in perspective on the way they do things. It turns out I was a perfect fit for the U.S. Navy Supply Corps, which specializes in the areas of procurement, logistics and supply chain.
What followed next was a whirlwind of paperwork, emails and phone calls … because even if the government wants something, they refuse to make it easy. For my persistence, I was rewarded a commission as a Supply Corps Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves, and I swore in right next to the World Trade Center Memorial on September 11, 2011.
Newly minted in my role and given my experience, the Navy threw me at their latest problem: the Littoral Combat Ship or LCS. As a reservist, I worked hand in hand with the active-duty component to stand up their contracting and supplier management system for this brand-new ship class. It was a mess at the beginning and still is. With my experience, I offered my expertise and suggestions, but as a low-ranking officer and not a consultant, most was not heeded. I did this for a year and a half before being placed on active duty.
I then served five years with NRD New York, which is a Navy recruiting district that covers the Greater Manhattan area. I was made a Division Officer in charge of 30+ sailors in Northern New Jersey and later Long Island. I had managed a team toward the end of my tenure at IDGA, so this role was something I enjoyed and was good at. During my time at this command, I received several awards and recognitions for my work, ranked up twice and even managed to help out the local VA hospitals as a rogue qualified contracting officer who knew how to deal with overcharging suppliers. In my free time I enrolled at Indiana University and obtained my M.B.A. and a master’s in global supply chain management. Not at all your normal tour of duty.
With my time on active duty coming to an end, I was very ready for a change. Gartner came out of nowhere and offered me the opportunity to return home to Florida and pursue my passion for supply chain. I have truly become passionate about this job, believe in the value of the service we provide and am grateful for the opportunity to work with and for amazing people. Even though I had left active duty, I was by no means out of the military; I had returned to reserve service as a company commander for Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 11: my first real command. It soon became clear that I had a choice to make: pursue my Navy career or follow my passion for supply chain with Gartner. As I finalize the paperwork, send my emails and make the phone calls to get out of the Navy, I am thankful for the time I have served and excited for the career opportunities that lie ahead here with Gartner.
Are you a military veteran looking to enter the corporate world? Learn more about Gartner here.