Alumni Spotlight: Greg Gemedschiew, FourBlock Seattle

“It was FourBlock that provided the ‘aha!’ moment that helped me realize what I would do next.”

The following was written by Greg Gemedschiew, a U.S. Army veteran and alumnus of FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program in Seattle. Greg is sharing his FourBlock experience and subsequent success story shortly before the launch of Seattle’s Spring 2019 Career Readiness Program. (Registration for which remains open through March 18).

My name is Greg Gemedschiew, and I separated from the active Army after 10 years of service. I graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology in 2007. I am currently an MBA student at Webster University. I am privileged to have participated in the FourBlock Seattle Spring 2018 cohort.

In August 2018 I began my next chapter as the Plant Operations Manager with a reputable company in the juice manufacturing industry. In addition to continuous learning and self-improvement, I enjoy snowboarding, running and generally being outdoors. More and more, my children participate in these activities, which brings my wife and I great joy.

Like so many veterans, I believe I have many valuable skills that the majority of employers seek. My background includes a strong foundation in construction and manufacturing before I volunteered in the Army. I also have a suite of skills acquired during military service like lean and six sigma experience and substantial involvement managing and supporting projects of varied scope and scale. Like most veterans, helping people and making a tangible difference will always be a priority. All of these diverse strengths created uncertainty and a bit of frustration as I tried to discern which attributes created the most value for employers. And that is where FourBlock was so beneficial.

Once my family and I agreed to transition from active military service, I began to consider the merits of each of the abundant organizations in the Pacific Northwest that assist veterans with career transition. Service members are fortunate to have many options for resume training services and interview preparation assistance. But more than any other, I heard my peers consistently speak favorably about their experience with FourBlock and the value proposition that [Western Regional Director] Monica McNeal’s program had to offer. Even post-transition I remain unaware of any service that provides the levels of exposure to so many widely acclaimed industry leaders like FourBlock does with every cohort.

While I was fortunate to participate in several programs during the transition process, it was FourBlock that provided the “aha!” moment that helped me realize what I would do next. Each Wednesday presented a new and exciting opportunity to have meaningful interactions with veterans, leaders and hiring managers from many of the most recognizable names in the Seattle area. I asked the same question enough times to establish what I came to recognize as truth: that a preponderance of employers place a greater emphasis on industry-relevant certifications than college diplomas. FourBlock helped me to highlight my substantial experience using lean, six sigma and project management methodologies in increasingly challenging leadership roles to obtain the goals my family I agreed upon: meaningful work with meaningful compensation in a place where my wife and I would be happy to raise our children. The self-discovery that is facilitated through FourBlock and its affiliations with Columbia University and premium regional employers is unrivaled.

As I previously mentioned, after completing the FourBlock Seattle Spring 2018 cohort I proudly accepted an offer to begin my new career in manufacturing. It is well documented that many veterans struggle to find tangible meaning in their post-military career. However, my career in the manufacturing industry satisfies that need because I know that the products we make adhere to the strictest food safety regulations and manufacturing practices. A lesser obsession could potentially harm the same consumers I once took an oath to protect when I earned my living shooting rockets and missiles.

Several friends and coworkers have asked me what advice I might give to veterans who are currently transitioning. I would offer two thoughts: understand what makes you happy and then pursue it, and leverage the suite of services offered through FourBlock to help get you there.

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