From Afghanistan to Amazon
This month, Army Staff Sergeant Kurt Erickson will begin leading a new team – one outside the military – at his new job at Amazon. Erickson found his position through a program run by Camo2Commerce that provides service members business training from City University of Seattle and internships at area companies.
As the education partner for Camo2Commerce’s Heroes Corporate Fellowship Academy, CityU taught business fundamentals like leadership skills and project management to service men and women transitioning from Joint Base Lewis McChord.
In the military, Erickson gained plenty of experience leading a team, but what he learned through CityU was how to empower the individuals he works with.
“This program has really provided me an understanding of humility,” he said. “I know now I can be successful not by being the smartest person in the room, but by surrounding myself with people who are smarter than me. And by not getting in their way, I can empower them to go get the answers.”
“Students appreciated the opportunity to learn project management and leadership skills, and ultimately how to effectively apply their military experience and training to the civilian job market,” said CityU’s Dr. Pete Anthony.
During the 13-week program Erickson was hosted by Amazon for on-site job training. The position turned out to be a perfect fit for the staff sergeant, and this month he accepted a job offer to help launch a Seattle site dedicated to Amazon Prime shipping.
Drawing from his military experience – and equipped to apply his expertise to the corporate world – Erickson said he’ll bring two important skills to his new role: the ability to tackle big issues and build lasting relationships.
Transitioning Positions and Translating Skills
Returning to the U.S. after facing combat on the front lines in Afghanistan, Erickson’s life turned significantly less stressful. But leaving the Army this year presented a new set of challenges for the former sniper team leader as he transitioned out of the military and into the corporate world.
“When transitioning out of active duty you’ve got to realign your priorities, start thinking about where you want to go, and about your family’s needs,” he said. “For me the transition has been intense, exciting and stressful, but I’ve been able to manage that stress through programs like this. That’s been the big deciding factor in my success.”