Brandon Rogers, Network Engineer, TOTE

What service were you in and how long did you serve?

Florida Air National Guard, 12 years and counting.

What motivated you to join the military?

I like the structure it provides and it became a family thing. It was all I knew at the time.

Were you aware of opportunities in the maritime industry? If you were, how? If not, how did you find out?

I was not, I found this opportunity by word of mouth from current employees.

What elements of your service career have helped you in transitioning to a private sector US-flag maritime position?

It’s easy to focus during time sensitive projects or busy days such as ship days.

Please explain the process you took to get your credential, and any recommendations you have for others leaving the military and transitioning into the maritime industry.

Most of my credentials that were required for my position I already held, such as IT certifications. I recommend that anyone looking to transition anywhere from the military see to it that wherever they land that culture is a good fit for them.

What training have you received in your new position — and what new skills have you developed through on-the-job training?​

I have received loads of training on port operations, vessels and how the heart of TOTE beats so to speak.

What is most familiar to you in your current position relative to your rating in the service?​

Everyone I work with has a dedication to the sport (IT).

What similarities have you found in the way the maritime industry operates in comparison to the military? Has this helped in your transition process?

Maritime Industry has a lot of hard deadlines that can lead to costs. Sometimes when I may not understand, there are other veterans in the company that can make military comparisons for me to better understand.

How does the pay, benefits, and working conditions of your current job compare to your military career?

They work well for me. It’s hard to compare compensation that is based on your time in service versus your qualifications and experience.

What advice would you have for a separating service member interested in this field upon leaving the military?

The first step is the hardest but there are plenty of people outside the military that want to specifically help you succeed.

What was your first position at the company?

Network Engineer.

When did you move to your current role?

August 2019, I am in the same role I was initially hired in.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your years at TOTE?

I have been at TOTE for 1.5 years now. The biggest lesson I have learned is that we are a team and whenever an obstacle is presented it will be treated as such. Whether it is directly related to the systems I manage or not​,​ it is a team effort ​to ​mitigate issues​ and no team member should ever feel isolated or alone. This is completely opposite in terms ​of my military career. When you own a system you own that problem. It is very refreshing to be part of a true team.

What’s your favorite part about coming to work?

TOTE is a family, the culture ​is ​like no other I have ever seen. Everyone is always smiling and genuinely happy to be there. It is not only seen​,​ but felt as well from the top to the bottom.

What advice would you give to anyone transitioning from Military to Maritime?

Hold on to your work ethic and operate as you normally would as it directly correlates to the industry. Rather tha​n ​getting jets in the sky you ​are now getting vessels off to sea. Keep that in mind and the transition will be nothing more than smooth.