Retiring from the military to launch a career in the civilian sector can be “a very difficult transition,” according Chris Albright, a former infantry machine gunner who served in the U.S. Marines Corps for more than two decades. A tight job market has made things even harder, he said.
Albright began looking at employment options in March, anticipating his June retirement. While serving with the Marines, he spent three years in Sao Paulo and Shanghai, guarding U.S. consulates and securing sensitive information and equipment. He also held executive-level positions in physical security, operations management, logistics and planning.
With a bachelor’s degree in information technology and a master’s in cyber-security under his belt, Albright was on track to finish his MBA this summer.
Still, he wrestled with the question, “What’s next?” He knew he wanted to own a business someday, but said, “There’s definitely a lot of fear associated with that.”
At a monthly networking meeting with other veterans, Albright met Phil Trigg, founder of Veterans’ Transition Forum, which connects former members of the military with franchising opportunities. Trigg told Albright about CMIT Solutions, a national company that provides information technology services to small- and mid-size businesses.
Early last month, Albright opened CMIT’s newest office, in Centreville, offering flat-rate, around-the-clock computer maintenance, monitoring and virtual technology packages. With support from the national office and a local bank, he was up and running in far less time than if he’d started a business from scratch.
“It’s a great fit,” said Albright, whose territory covers Centreville, Chantilly, and parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties. “My background in the Marines has prepared me well for this career transition.” He’s glad he could use his education, too, he said, “for something that’s in demand in the marketplace.”
Other local organizations are helping veterans transition to corporate life. Among them is Oracle, which is hosting a “Get Connected” event Nov. 21 at its Reston campus. Also, Northern Virginia Community College is welcoming members of the military community to an open house at its Annandale campus Nov. 9.