My name is Jesse Redmond. I was selected to participate in the first veteran-specific executive job shadow funded by The W. A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University. I spent three days in Dubuque, Iowa shadowing Brad Stewart (’87 Criminal Justice), the president of Rockfarm, a global supply chain management organization that specializes in moving products anywhere in the world. Stewart and his CEO, Todd Colin, founded the company in 2007. Rockfarm now employs more than thirty people and continues to grow.
Stewart served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a logistics officer from 1987 to 1990. Having these connections with a fellow Marine Corps veteran and NAU alumni on this executive job shadow was great. Stewart shared with me his experience of finding his first job after the Marine Corps, and how he progressed through his career. He talked about how he started his own company and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. He also introduced me to his family. It was nice to see the president of a company can manage a great career and a great family life.
Day One: I shadowed Stewart through a normal day as president. I sat through numerous meetings and visited with key people within the company.
Day Two: I interacted with various departments to learn what they did and how they fit into the supply chain management picture. I spent time with Colin as he explained what he does as CEO. When I told Colin I was interested in the accounting and finances of running the company, he showed me how they utilize QuickBooks to keep track of their financial records.
Day Three: I visited more of the departments and then went to lunch with one of Rockfarm’s UPS representatives. After a delightful work lunch, we had a meeting with the representative to discuss what is going well and not so well with their business arrangement. This meeting was a great example of how a friendly and cooperative business relationship can be prosperous for both parties involved.
My NAU professors stress the importance of communication and teamwork skills. While on this executive job shadow, I witnessed first-hand how strong communication skills are key for working in the corporate world.
I highly recommend going on an executive job shadow. It is a great eye-opening experience. It is the perfect opportunity to ask questions of people within the company and to bounce around their departments to find where you may fit best in such an organization.
Transitioning from the military lifestyle to the civilian workplace is not an easy task. Discussing the transition process with someone who has become successful in the business world was a great experience – one that is priceless! To all veterans attending The W. A. Franke College of Business, apply to the veteran-specific executive job shadow!