For more than three decades, Pragmatics has significantly benefited from hiring veterans due to their dedication to mission, plus their unique skills and experience in varied tasks and responsibilities. Here at Pragmatics, our professional staff with military experience find that their skills have straightforward applications in client services for our customers.
In honor of 2019 Veterans Day, let’s meet Leah Robison, the TRADOC Enterprise Classroom Project Lead as well as Program Manager , to learn how her military service experience successfully helped her transfer to the civilian workforce, and more importantly, why veterans love working at Pragmatics.
After a difficult childhood, Leah didn’t have any clue of life after high school. Meanwhile, her family was not able to afford her college though she did well in school. In her senior year, an Army recruiter came to visit, and Leah seized the chance.
Leah joined the U.S. Army at 17 and was out at 21 as E-4. She first attended Basic Training at Ft. Jackson, SC, and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for the Signal Corps at Ft. Gordon, GA. She also attempted Airborne School at Ft. Benning but failed after the second day during a run, she always hated running but once you’re dropped from a plane, picking up your gear and getting out of there as quickly as possible will save your life.
Then she received orders to be stationed in Baumholder, Germany for two years, “the rock”. There, she assigned to the 47th Forward Support Battalion and spent most of her first year and a half in the field supporting the infantry’s training missions until she was deployed to Kosovo to support NATO peacekeeping in the last six months while stationed abroad.
Never dreamed I could get so dirty. I remember digging a trench across a muddy road in the rain to bury a phone line that kept getting ran over. This 18 year old girl from Luray learned a quick lesson in how voice is transmitted over the wire; it shocks you if you hold one side in your mouth while you splice the other if someone happens to make a call at the same time.
Leah at AIT graduation.(From left to right: Leah's mother Lynn, brother Daniel, sister Katie and Jessie)
In her last year in service, she supported an Airborne Military Police company as a Signal Support Systems Specialist at Ft. Bragg, NC, which toughened her up a lot. The job was much more technically challenging than she thought. Learning with patience, Leah finally became professional in doing things she never dreamed she’d be able to do.
The structure, environment, and culture of the military were completely foreign to a 17-year-old girl who grew up in Luray with a difficult childhood. Leah once doubted that she could be a “good” Army soldier. “I was tough, but not well-disciplined; I was healthy, but not in shape; I never played sports as a kid; I was quiet and shy and hoped to go unnoticed,” said Leah. However, not until exiting the military did she realize being a soldier was exactly what she was supposed to do and the military is the place where she was supposed to be.
The first time I experienced life on my own was in the Army. All my memories of my Army service are bitter sweet. While I was there, I couldn’t wait to get out, but realize reflecting now; it was my second family
On September 3rd, 2002, Leah ended her active service. Interestingly, the last thing she remembers doing before exiting is getting all her wisdom teeth removed during her medical and dental examination, which was part of out-processing the military.
When transferring to the civilian workforce, Leah’s military experience directly influenced her career path. The Army offered her opportunities to receive higher education; later, the training for the Signal Corps built a solid foundation for her profession. Besides the technical skills, she thinks the most important skills she acquired were life skills — the confidence to try new things, face greater challenges, and the ability to regain faith even when she fails.
I’ve never been the most experienced in the room, but because of who the Army helped me become, that’s never held me back. I’ll adapt, I’ll learn, I’ll grow, and I take on any challenge and overcome anything that stands in my way.
Possessing a strong sense of teamship and leadership, Leah is always aware that she is stronger as part of a good team. She didn’t describe herself as a leader in the Army, but it was the Army where she learned the essentials to grow into a leader later in life. “I feel I am a natural leader, and I would never have realized that potential had I not jumped into the Army straight from high school,” said Leah.
As I progressed from supporting my leaders to becoming a leader myself, I learned when to rely on my team, I learned when to let my team do their job and keep out of the way, I learned how to make each person on my team know that they are also stronger as part of my team while helping them grow in their individual skill set.
As TRADOC Enterprise Classroom Project Lead, Leah’s team is offering a world-class service offering that helps to improve military training efficiency.
As a veteran employee, what does Leah value most of the company when deciding to land a career? Cultural understanding and the ability to continue the mission are two keys. She describes herself as a person that won’t fit in with people who only care about the paycheck and don’t take pride in their work. Here at Pragmatics, professional staff with military experience not only find that their skills have straightforward applications, but also their experience is highly appreciated.
I only go somewhere that I feel I can still be in an environment that supports the safety of this country, where I can work among people who have the same respects for their country and appreciation of those that help preserve their freedom.
Leah with her family. ( Left to right: her son jack, her daughter Ella, her niece Makayla, and Leah.)
Outside of the workplace, Leah is a mother of two kids. She is giving her children the life that she never had when she was little. “We don’t plan a lot, and we don’t stress. We’re free. We’re silly, we do what we want. When it’s time to work, I work, but when it’s time to play, we play; otherwise, what’s the point?” said Leah.