Mark DavisI had the honor of speaking with one of our Hard Hat Heroes, Mark Davis, and let me tell you, I don't think I've ever spoken with a more polite person. The southern in me was proud of his liberal use of ma'am, even if it did have me looking around wondering who he was talking to. Mark is a veteran who, as Infantry, didn't have a construction MOS code. He started on his way to become a pipefitter through NextOp's NCCER Core class and was part of the very first Veteran Pipefitting Training Program through KBR. In fact, he chose to go into pipefitting because of the class instructor, Jacob Guzman. Mark has advanced quickly and was just recently promoted to Journeyman in October. He is working on a KBR site in Freeport, Texas, and, along with other veterans, has enjoyed the support of CM Terry Luumus and General Superintendent Robert Jackson, both champions of craft workforce development. Mark's service to our country is appreciated and the transition that he's made as a craft professional is inspiring. Mark tells us more about his experience below. Where did you grow up? I was an Army brat and grew up pretty much all over America. We moved a lot. When did you enlist? I enlisted in 2011. Why did you enlist in the military? Basically, it was a family job for me. Everybody in my family was in the military; everybody served. Also, my biggest role model growing up was in the military and I was trying to follow in their footsteps. What did you do in the military? Infantry - attached to special recon team. Did you deploy overseas? Yes, to Afghanistan. I was part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Resolute Support and a Security Force Advisory team. What was your proudest accomplishment in the military? My ability to lead different soldiers. There were a lot of us from different walks of life and I was able to form a family. We still keep in contact now. Why did you decide to separate from the military? I had become a dad while I was deployed in Afghanistan. I didn't want my daughter to grow up with me being gone and having to wonder if I was safe. I wanted to get out and be more involved in her life. How did you choose your civilian career path? When I got back from being deployed, I had to start transitioning. I didn't know what I was going to do exactly. I thought about being a fireman, but the pay wasn't very good. I ran into Jacob Guzman, a pipe instructor for KBR, and he told me about the pipefitting class. Jacob told me how he found a craft and learned, and that it was like being part of a family and taking care of each other. I like how he explained it and that it offered a way to take care of my family. I also liked that it was working outside. How long before you left the military did you begin preparing for your transition? I had just gotten back in the states and they told me I was being deployed again, this time to Iraq. I was on a time crunch and had to make a quick decision so I transitioned pretty quickly. I didn't want to be deployed again and be away from my kid. When did you begin working for your company? February of 2017. Is this your first job since you got out? Yes. How did you get this job? I went through KBR's Veterans Pipefitting program. They had just opened it up and let 8 of us in the class. I went through the school last year in August. What does your current position entail? It involves a lot of math work; I fit pipe from half inch to quarter inch. We're also involved in plant startups and shut downs. What do you like best about your civilian job? I like that I'm constantly learning something new every day. I also like the fact that the environment is outdoors.
Would you recommend construction to service members looking for a civilian career? Yes, I'd recommend it for combat MOS codes. They are used to working under pressure. When something is under a time constraint, they are used to working quicker and getting things done. For more information regarding KBR's Veteran Pipefitting Program, please visit here. KBR and Cecilia A. Clark at NextOp provided content to this blog.

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About NCCER

NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.