Contributing to the Workplace and Community Every Day of the Year
As we recognize and thank our nation’s veterans today, we’re also reflecting on what these individuals contribute to Zayo every day of the year. With veterans working in our offices throughout the country, they play an integral role in all areas of the business. In addition to contributing skills and experience honed in their military assignments, veterans bring valuable leadership attributes to our workplace.
Erik Thomson, a Marine Corps veteran who served as a sniper platoon commander in Afghanistan, believes that veterans bring a mission mindset to the job. “One thing you’ll find with veterans in the workplace is that we’re obsessed with mission accomplishment,” he said. “I can’t sleep at night if I feel like my team isn’t making progress and getting closer to achieving our team’s sales goals and their personal life goals. This focus on setting, measuring, and achieving individual and team goals has led to a culture of leadership on the team where each team member can speak up and inspire action.”
Erik, who has risen through Zayo’s ranks to become a sales vice president, provides his unique brand of leadership within the company — and out in the community. He and other Zayo veterans volunteer their time to organize events and lend their leadership to veteran groups, local universities and community organizations. Erik has been involved with a University of Colorado Boulder Chapter of Boots to Suits, a program designed to help veterans transition from the military to the classroom and then from the classroom to the workforce.
Team and mission are also front and center for Kurt Hannah, director of the Fiber Solutions Network Operations Center in Tulsa, supporting our Private Network, Fiber to The Tower and Fiber/Facilities customers, spent nearly a decade in the Air Force as a Ground Radio Repairman, supporting readiness operations in the field prior to the INF Treaty between the U.S. and Soviet Union.
“One of my favorite philosophies and phrases is, ‘Got your six.’ When every teammate has every other teammate’s back, the job not only gets done but it gets done right and in the quickest possible manner,” Kurt said. When you feel like your teammates have your back, you feel safe in your environment and are more productive.”
Kurt has parlayed the electronics skills he learned in the Air Force into a successful career in telecommunications. “Veterans make Zayo a stronger company with our tenacity, a “never give up” attitude and pride in what we do,” he explains. “I strive to exemplify honor, trust, worthiness, commitment and true team mentality. While I learned much about these traits prior to joining the military, I feel that they were honed and driven home during my time serving.”
Like Kurt, Denver-based Scott Farrar is an Air Force veteran, who served as an Aircraft Hydraulics Systems Specialist, working on the B-1B bomber. “As a flightline specialist, our duty was to troubleshoot and repair hydraulic systems both at home and while deployed,” Scott said. “After I left the Air Force in 2011, I enrolled at CU Boulder to finish my college degree, where I was recruited into Zayo’s rotational development program that targeted veteran students for their first jobs in telecom.”
After more than six years of contributing in roles ranging from business analytics and intelligence to product management, Scott was promoted to Sales account director, overseeing one of Zayo’s largest customers in the carrier sales group. He says his military training and experience has provided a strong foundation for his career.
“The military is unique in that it specifically trains you to be self-sufficient from day one on active duty and performing your jobs and responsibilities without much oversight,” Scott explains. “Attention to detail and self-sufficiency are required at every level.”
Scott applies the principles of the military chain of command in his business communications. “In the civilian world, it can be difficult to lose sight of the mission when you are focused on day-to-day responsibilities. It’s often our job — the team manager — to make sure everyone has an understanding of the bigger picture by communicating the mission and goals of business leaders to our front line people.”
Jim McGuirk, veteran of the Army’s famed 10th Mountain Division, enlisted a week before 9/11. His infantry training included long days of rifle ranges, trench warfare training and combatives — training that he relied on during two tours of duty in Fallujah and Baghdad, Iraq. Infantry deployments included combat patrols, rescue missions and humanitarian efforts. It also meant that Jim’s unit faced continual dangers, including roadside bombs – one of the deadliest weapons of the war.
“When I was a squad leader, I focused on building communicating and mobilizing our team to work in the mission’s best interest,” he explained. “My leadership approach is simple: take care of your team and you will build respect, loyalty and trust.”
That philosophy now extends to both team members and customers. In his current role as Sales Director, Jim relies on a similar approach to achieve performance objectives with his team.
Like fellow veterans, Jim also incorporates service to the veteran community into his life. He speaks at events in Colorado and California, where he earned a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of California Berkeley and an entrepreneurship certificate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Jim is also involved with Team Rubicon, an organization that deploys veterans with first responders in disaster situations, including hurricane relief in the Caribbean.
These are just a few of the many examples of the leadership and contributions of Zayo’s veterans, both in the workplace and the community. Thank you to all of our veterans at Zayo — and to the men and women across our nation who have served, and continue to serve, our nation.