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Interview with a US Air Force Veteran & Intel Business Engagement Manager (HR)

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Note from the editor: You’ve heard from Rob before (remember his post on why he has one of the best jobs at Intel), well, he has more stories up his sleeves so we’ve made him a regular contributor to the blog. 

Most veterans at Intel have a natural connection because of our shared service in the military and this is no different with Scott. It is really cool to so easily connect with other veterans in a corporate environment. Having said that, with all of the great things happening with our military recruitment program, I’ve committed to becoming a regular contributor to this blog. I’m pretty excited about it and want to make sure I’m giving you what you want—so leave me a comment and let me know how I’m doing!  Without further ado, here is my profile with Scott. He is a Business Engagement Manager within our Human Resources organization and a very proud Air Force Veteran.

Scott_HolmanScott, we’re excited to profile you on the blog as an Intel leader as well as a veteran. Would you mind going over which branch of service you served in and what you did in the military?

Before I tell you about what I did in my Air Force career, let me tell you about what led me to join the Air Force. It’s really an easy answer—the Air Force was in my DNA. My father served 26 years in the Air Force and retired as a Full Bird Colonel in Albuquerque, so I was raised as an “Air Force Brat”! We didn’t move a lot, but we ended up in Albuquerque, which is where I went to high school and eventually college. Albuquerque is also where I joined the Air Force. I served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from 1983-1987. I went to Basic Training in San Antonio, Texas and attended Tech School in Aurora, Colorado. In Tech School I studied to be a Precision Measuring Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) Technician. PMEL Technicians are responsible for the calibration, preventative and corrective maintenance of all the avionic, navigational, radar, test and intelligence equipment that enable the USAF Aircraft to fly. Post graduation from Tech School, I was stationed at Homestead Air Force Base in Homestead, Florida where my family and I spent my Air Force career.

One might ask, “If you grew up in the Air Force and joined as an adult, why did you leave after 4 years?” To be honest, while I loved the comradeship of the military, my family was growing. I knew with the skills the Air Force provided me, I could earn more money in the private sector and better support my family.

What is your role here at Intel?

I’m currently a Business Engagement Manager (BEM) in Human Resources supporting both the Assembly Test Manufacturing and the Corporate Services Operations. My role as a BEM is to engage with my business partners (typical General Managers and Vice Presidents of major business units) to define organizational strategies and identify how HR can best enable them to achieve these strategies. HR has a strategic partner role that provides support with talent strategies, compensation and benefit strategies, workforce planning, succession planning, employee relations, and leadership and management development.

Since I joined Intel 20 years ago, I’ve had the privilege to work in many different capacities and positions. I started my career with Intel in the Fabrication Facility as a Manufacturing Supervisor in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over the course of several years, I’ve had over a dozen different roles which include being a Training Manager, where I managed a team of 16 training supervisors, as well as a Transition Change Management (TCM) Manager, where I managed and led a team that developed, facilitated and led the world-wide Silicon Supply Network through an organizational transition. This included evolving the organization structure, implementing efficiencies and reducing the workforce around the globe.

Eventually I made the jump from working in a business group to being a part of Intel’s HR Organization. Within HR I’ve had a few different roles, including time as the HR Manager for different business groups (Manufacturing, Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions) and an opportunity that took me and family to Chengdu, China for 2 years and Penang, Malaysia for 1 year. In my current role, I’m responsible for defining the HR strategies that will best assist the business to achieve their vision. I currently support two large organizations. One is Assembly Test Manufacturing (ATM), which is about 8,000 employees in Asia, Costa Rica and the US. ATM is one of the last steps in our products development. Products are assembled and tested in order to be delivered to the end customer. I'm also supporting Corporate Services (CS), which is about 2500 employees in almost every site around the world. Corporate Services is responsible for a variety of different things including constructing our factories, providing security, managing the air shuttle fleet and providing free fruit and drinks to all of our employees world-wide.

How did you find out about opportunities at Intel? Tell us about your interview experience at Intel.

Immediately after separating from the Military, I spent 2 years at Honeywell Defense Avionics and 5.5 years at Phillips Semiconductors. From what I remember (this was 20 years ago), I found out about Intel from several of my colleagues that had left Phillips and joined Intel. I remember them telling me how hard and challenging the work and culture was, but that with  challenges came great reward. Meaning, if you worked hard and delivered results you’d get paid well.

My interview experience was, in one word, shocking! The “interview” lasted about 5 hours and I was interviewed by a panel of 5 people (a technician from the functional area they were hiring, 2 other supervisor—who would eventually become peers—an engineer from the same functional area and the hiring manager). To be honest, it was a bit intimidating! While intimidating, I thought it was very fair and thorough as they inquired about my skills, capabilities and actual experiences. This was my first taste of “behavioral interviewing”.

A lot of companies have really focused on hiring veterans – what was about it Intel that made you say yes? 

At that time, Intel was the place to be in the marketplace. They were a fast growing company and the #1 Semiconductor Manufacturer in the World. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company with that title?!

Today, while we are experiencing many challenges/opportunities, we, as a company, continue to recruit the best and brightest. With this, Intel has realized that the training that our military provides produces a skill and capability that aligns with the culture and helps Intel maintain its status as the World’s top Semiconductor Manufacturer.

Now that you’re here at Intel, what are the two biggest things you wish you knew more about when you transitioned out of the military uniform? 

The biggest thing I wish I knew when transitioned was how to survive in a corporate culture. I knew how to get things done in the military, but coming into a work environment with a culture of its own (like the fast pace at Intel), I wish I had a corporate mentor that could have given me some tips, tricks and some advice on how to avoid the traps.

Second, was the realization that I had to learn a new set of skills. While the military gave me the tools I needed to be prepared, having to learn how to operate within a totally new environment and develop a new set of skills/capabilities was definitely an eye opener. When I joined the U.S. Air Force, I first went to Basic Training to learn how to be an Airman. After Basic Training, there was Tech School where I learned my job by developing the basics and getting to practice. Then I was off to my first job where I was expected to contribute and execute. While Intel today is much better in terms allowing a newer employer to “learn the ropes”, I think it is sometimes better to go a bit slower during the integration to enable the “go fast” in the long term.

That concluded my interview with Scott—it was great getting some time with a leader within Intel’s HR organization. I find it fascinating that Scott was able to work his way from a supervisor in our factories to his current position. Along the way, he even had the privilege to work at different locations around the US and even relocated to Asia for a few years! Being part of a global company allows for amazing opportunities. What made the biggest impression on me is that Scott was flexible and adaptable. He was able to utilize his training in the military and adapt to multiple roles at Intel, from manufacturing to HR. I think this is a hallmark of most veterans, the ability to improvise and adapt to accomplish the mission.

I’d like to sincerely thank Scott for his time. You may connect with Scott on LinkedIn and stay tuned for additional interviews from veterans who are now building great careers at Intel. To connect with other veterans who are transitioning to civilian life as well as other veterans at Intel, join our LinkedIn Group, Intel Military Veteran and Service Member Community, and check out our veterans’ webpage at www.intel.com/go/veterans.