Week #1 of my DoD SkillBridge Internship with the Global SOF Foundation (GSF) was a refreshing step into the civilian world. On Day 1 I found myself in my first virtual weekly staff meeting discussing an After-Action Report (AAR) for the Global SOF Symposium that occurred two weeks prior. It was nice to participate in an open forum with a respectful exchange of ideas and criticism – my first experience with civilian employee interaction.

That meeting transitioned into the weekly staff meeting and I was given an aggressive list of 15 goals to work toward during my internship. One of the goals–to join the small business committee and increase our touch-points with small business–requires access to, and training on, some online software platforms.

I met with a mentor, Mr. Ivan Roney, President and CEO of Farfield Systems, which is a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. My goal for the meeting was to better understand what information was publicly available and how to structure my queries to find small businesses that are doing business with the SOCOM enterprise. Ivan explained and demonstrated the System for Award Management (SAM) which I will use to reach out to small businesses that GSF may partner with. First business luncheon complete!

Later in the week I met with Meaghan Keeler-Pettigrew, the COO of the GSF, to better understand some of our existing IT capabilities. We met on the 41st floor of the Bank of America building in the Tampa Club–what an amazing view of Tampa! The training was great as well, and it provided me with an opportunity to get better acquainted with both Meaghan and Rick Lamb, another new addition to the GSF staff.

Finally, on Thursday I met with the new Chairman of the Small Business Committee, Dr. Jim Frey of Aero Simulation Inc. We discussed our committee goals and strategies, but first he gave me a tour of the ASI plant and even let me fly a flight simulator. It was very, very awesome (and educational)!

Since I am still in the middle of my transition, this internship is great because it still allows me to keep up with retirement preparation tasks. I checked some of those boxes with a few military medical appointments, a morning with AMVETS and the VA working on my retirement processing, and a morning cup of coffee with a local business as I continue to expand my professional network.

Full speed ahead and SOF for Life!

Chuck

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