From Marine Corps to Civilian Success: Darby Mee’s Inspiring Journey

VSO’s steadfast mission is to support U.S. Military Veterans throughout their transition from military to civilian life. Our Veteran Conversations Series, The Eleventh, is a cornerstone of this mission, offering monthly insights into the successful transitions of veterans into the IT industry.

This month, we’re highlighting Darby Mee, the current VP of Federal here at VSO. Darby is a 3rd generation Marine whose story is a powerful example of the resilience, adaptability,  and leadership that veterans bring to the civilian workforce.

Darby’s transition from a commander in the Marine Corps to his position at VSO illustrates the critical role of self-awareness and continuous improvement in the pursuit of success.

Darby found his path by leveraging resources like the Post 9/11 GI Bill to earn his MBA and transitioning into a pharmaceutical sales role before finding his path in the IT sector.

At VSO, we’re proud to support veterans, like Darby, by providing resources and opportunities to translate military experiences into civilian career success. Darby’s journey from the Marine Corps to the IT industry embodies the potential for all veterans to thrive in their post-military careers.

Take a moment to watch Darby’s story and discover more about Darby’s transition. Curious to learn more about how VSO is helping veterans navigate their new missions in the civilian world? .Check out VSO’s guide to hiring veterans over at hirevetsintech.com and see how veterans can transform your business.

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A Veteran’s Reflection on Military Holidays

By Duke Birch, Director of Veterans Programs / SDM

With Memorial Day approaching I wanted to reach out and bring up a few points about military holidays. Memorial DayVeterans Day, and Armed Forces Day are different holidays created for different reasons and for different people.

Memorial Day:

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Veterans Day:

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Armed Forces Day:

Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May.  Thanks to President Harry S. Truman, it’s a day to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. President Truman led the effort to establish a holiday in order for citizens to unite and to honor our military heroes for their patriotic service in support of the United States of America.

On a personal note,

In the midst of BBQs, get-togethers, sales, and celebrations, please remember those who sacrificed all, who made conscious decisions to give their life for their brothers and sisters in arms and for their country, fully knowing that doing so they would never see their wife, husband, son, or daughter again. In all the commercialization, this is the forgotten part I believe around this day, sacred to so many who have lost their friends in combat, or who have lost that father, mother, brother or sister, is that they did so in this country for the most part as volunteers. So many made a conscious decision to go back for their brothers in arms, to keep engaging the enemy, to “Run to the sound of the guns”, to “Never leave a man behind” knowing that the decision they were making could very well be their last, but paying that price with honor, duty, loyalty, and dedication simply because that is what a Soldier/Marine/Airman/Sailor does, and sometimes because they had a little more intestinal fortitude in them than the rest of us. Those values are engrained in them, and they will meet up with their fellow heroes in Valhalla, Fiddlers Green, Heaven, or wherever the best of each generation meet to have a drink and be honored by those of us who did not pay the ultimate price.

So I ask that we all enjoy Memorial Day, see family and friends, and look around at the things we take for granted every day, full grocery stores, the right to speak our mind and act with conscience, the ability to travel where we want, and so many other freedoms we are blessed with, and wherever you celebrate Memorial day, raise a glass of beer, wine, or even iced tea to those who made it possible. Say “Thank you for your sacrifice” if you know someone who has lost that special person in service to our country, but please remember this day is about those no longer with us, real people who could be sitting at those same celebrations if not for their unusual bravery.

VSO Partners with SkillBridge to Assist Veterans Transitioning Into Civilian Work-life

It is well known at Virtual Service Operations (VSO) that our company’s founding principles are to utilize some of the most disciplined and deserving workforces that can be found: US military veterans.

Less known is that VSO is one of the 2800 companies that has partnered with SkillBridge– an effort from the Department of Defense (DoD) that helps connect soon-to-be-retired (or soon-to-be separated) military personnel to civilian jobs before they’ve officially separated. VSO began using the SkillBridge program to enhance its workforce and provide opportunities for military personnel to gain valuable experience. Since partnering with SkillBridge, seven veterans have taken advantage of the program at VSO with an eighth scheduled to start in May. To date, there has been 100% job placement for VSO’s SkillBridge fellows.  

Duke Birch, Director of Veteran Programs at VSO is a huge advocate of the SkillBridge program. “This program is beneficial to the service member and to VSO. It also lends itself to a diverse range of military ranks. At VSO, we’ve had ranks from corporate to colonel go through the program.”

VSO’s very first SkillBridge fellow, Trenton Keen came across a post on LinkedIn during his last year of service about an exciting opportunity for transitioning service members. After serving in the Army National Guard for eight years as a scout and three years as an artilleryman, Keen recalls being timid about entering into the civilian workforce.

“In the Guard, I was not technical at all and I was very nervous about coming into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cohort with no background in IT. It was quite a culture shock,” says Keen. “But I owe VSO everything and SkillBridge for connecting us. The soft skills I gained through this program are second to none. Having other veterans as my mentors and VSO in my corner was invaluable,” says Keen, who credits VSO with making his transition into civilian work life so much easier than it might have been.

“We have three different paths you could take as a participant in the SkillBridge program: network training, senior leader, or project/program manager. On average, we have about five people per month applying for a position at VSO through SkillBridge. If VSO doesn’t have a fit for them, I try to help them find a fit,” says Birch, speaking of how successful the program has been at the company. “We have 100% mentorship participation. Everyone at VSO is very supportive of SkillBridge.”

After completing his apprenticeship and going through the rigorous 16-week AWS cohort in 2021, Keen was ready to enter the civilian workforce, and he was hired by VSO full-time as a Military Apprentice – Solution Architect Apprentice. Now, almost two years later, Keen reports that work-life at VSO is going well. “I have a great working relationship with everyone at VSO that I have had the opportunity to work with. I really enjoy the veteran culture here,” Keen says clearly thankful for the work he gets to do with the VSO team.

“We just want more people to know about the program,” says Birch. To join in with over 2800 companies partnering with SkillBridge to assist military personnel in transitioning to a civilian career, visit the website http://skillbridge.osd.mil for more information.    

 

A Veteran’s Reflection on Memorial Day

 

By Duke Birch, Director of Veterans Programs / SDM

In the midst of BBQ’s, get-togethers, sales, and celebrations it’s often common to forget the origins of Memorial Day. Observed on the last Monday of May and originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season, which can mean summer vacations can sometimes overshadow the significance of our long weekend.

So before you pack the car with towels and beach chairs, or purchase far too many hot dogs and burgers for reasonable consumption, please pause to remember those who sacrificed all, who made conscious decisions to give their life for their brothers and sisters in arms and for their country, fully knowing that doing so they would never see their wife, husband, son, or daughter again. In all of the commercialization this is the forgotten aspect.

Sacred to so many who have lost their friends in combat, or who have lost that father, mother, brother or sister, is that they did so in this country for the most part as volunteers. So many made a conscious decision to go back for their brothers in arms, to keep engaging the enemy, to “Run to the sound of the guns”, to “Never leave a man behind” knowing that the decision they were making could very well be their last, but paying that price with honor, duty, loyalty and dedication simply because that is what a Soldier/Marine/Airman/Sailor does. Sometimes, because they had a little more intestinal fortitude in them than the rest of us. Those values are ingrained in them and they will meet up with their fellow heroes in Valhalla, Fiddlers Green, Heaven or wherever the best of each generation meet to have a drink and be honored by those of us who did not pay the ultimate price.

So I ask that we all enjoy Memorial Day, see family and friends in whatever way possible, look around at the things we take for granted every day, full grocery stores, the right to speak our mind and act with conscience, the ability to travel where we want, and so many other freedoms we are blessed with, and, wherever you celebrate Memorial Day, raise a glass of beer, wine, or even iced tea to those who made it possible. Say “Thank you for your sacrifice” if you know someone who has lost that special person in service to our country, but please remember this day is about those no longer with us, real people who could be sitting at those same celebrations if not for their unusual bravery.

If you would like to honor our fallen warriors and observe Memorial Day, there are BBQ’s that families and old friends have and many national, state, and local events along with many organizations that sponsor events and support family and friend survivors.

Check with your local community. Many municipalities and organizations sponsor or hold events Memorial Day weekend. I live in Central Texas and every year participate in the “Field of Flags” event. I encourage everyone to find an event they can connect with the military community through and participate in supporting families remembering their lost.

There are many organizations that help with grievance assistance, like Gold Star Wives, Got Your Back Network, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). Your personal and financial support of their mission directly gives back to those families who need it most.

Finally, I encourage every Veteran to take the time to reach out to those old friends from your units. Pick up that phone, call your battle buddy you haven’t talked to in a long time, call the spouse of a fallen friend and remind them that they and their husband/wife/loved one are not forgotten.

The most important thing for any Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine is to know that their loved ones will be taken care of. I was assigned as a casualty assistance officer as an additional duty, and the loss of a loved one to combat or training is more than most can imagine. The DOD and VA will ensure their benefits are delivered promptly, but that vacuum and loss nothing can fill. Support from friends and organizations is crucial. The person left behind now has a finite amount of assets and time to take care of everything. They are quite often left as a single parent of several children. Not only having to cope with the loss, but also guiding their children through it as well. The voice of a friend who knew their beloved spouse, son, daughter, or friend cannot be replaced – share your stories with them. They want to be remembered, every day, and especially Memorial Day.

VSO Wins NASA’s AEGIS Contract With Leidos

VSO Wins NASA AEGIS Contract with Leidos

RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2022

 

VSO WINS NASA’S AEGIS CONTRACT WITH LEIDOS

A 10-year, $2.5 Billion Contract Providing Cloud, Data Center, and Telecommunications Services Across All NASA Centers and Facilities.

 

[NOKESVILLE, VA] – Virtual Service Operations (VSO) has been awarded a position with Leidos on NASA Advanced Enterprise Global Information Technology Solutions (AEGIS). NASA AEGIS is a 10-year, $2.5 billion contract providing cloud, data center, and telecommunications services across all NASA centers and facilities. 

The contract is designed to provide a seamless communications infrastructure that encompasses both wide-area and center local-area networks while supporting cybersecurity, collaboration tools, emergency and early warning systems, telephony, cabling, and radio systems.

“We’re very excited to serve the critical mission of NASA while continuing the growth of our strategic partnership with Leidos. This is a significant milestone for VSO and a great opportunity to fulfill our mission of providing best-in-class IT services to the U.S. Government with our award-winning Military Veteran-led team,” Stephen O’Keefe, VSO Chief Executive Officer. 

VSO brings industry-recognized expertise in cloud transformation, network, and data center managed services. Advancing NASA’s mission through AEGIS strongly aligns with VSO’s commitment to innovation and supporting public service.

 

Virtual Service Operations is a U.S.-based managed services and engineering firm for infrastructure, cloud, and hybrid environments. Our military veteran workforce provides reliable, secure, and cost-effective solutions for companies in need of a flexible, affordable approach to hybrid architecture and data management. 

 

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If you would like additional information, please contact Karla Hester at 888-805-0510 or by email at marketing@vso-inc.com.