This Ten Question’s article comes courtesy of Scott Hoffman, a Navy Supply Corps captain with 27+ years of military experience. To this point, Scott is the most senior person I’ve had the opportunity to interview, and I truly appreciate his time for this article. As a Navy Supply Corps officer, he brings a wealth of experience in the navy’s acquisition and contracting communities. Let’s see what Scott Hoffman has to say about his upcoming transition.
- What’s your military background? Career, family, etc.
I am a 27 year Navy Supply Corps Captain whose most recent tours include:
- Command of a major Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) field activity that oversees 840 contractors across New England;
- Deputy for contracts at the Navy’s IT systems command;
- Deployments to execute operational logistics and supply chain management for Navy and Marine Forces; and
- Strategic planning at a geographic combatant command.
My wife, Jennifer, and I have been married for 24 years and are the proud parents of boy – girl 14 year old twins. We have moved 14 times during our marriage and have actually enjoyed the nomadic lifestyle, new experiences and friendships every PCS has brought us.
- What is it that you want to do after you leave active duty?
I have not yet transitioned. When I do, my objective is to continue to challenge myself as a senior director of contracts for a defense information technology (IT) services company and be around to observe my kids’ activities. My wife, who was a nurse, is also seeking to re-enter the workforce. However, she would like to move from nursing to a career in the business field. We are more than willing to move for a good opportunity as long as there are good schools for the kids.
- What is it about your service experience do you think has best prepared you for your transition?
I think the natural default answer for this question is the extensive education and training the military has given all veterans across a wide range of specialties. In my case, the Navy has done an outstanding job of educating and training me in the acquisition and contracting fields. However, I think that the military is famous for enhancing leadership, team building and communication skills. These skills are actively sought in the Federal civilian and corporate worlds.
- Think of the most challenging part of your life to this point. What is it that you’ve done that helped you through it?
As I mentioned earlier, we have a set of 14 year old twins. However, I did not mention that they were born at 26 weeks – 1 lbs 14 oz and 2 lbs 1 oz respectively. We experienced several months of touch and go, and a major surgery with life in the balance. This qualifies as challenging, especially since I don’t have a medical background. Fortunately my wife was a nurse so I relied on her and the doctors to explain the options, likely outcomes, risks and potential rewards. To close the loop, both kids are healthy, happy, successful and as normal as anyone can call any teenager.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you in your financial situation as you transition?
I don’t want to commit to a number, but we are as financially confident as any parents of college bound kids could be with two college bills on the horizon. We’ve been pretty disciplined and fortunate in building nest eggs, so the primary concern on the financial front has to do with the timing of the hiring action and location for the next career so that we can execute the PCS, get set up and ready.
- What’s your biggest fear about your transition?
Finding a challenging and enjoyable second career in a location that will allow my kids and wife to realize their full potential…and be happy with less than 9 feet of snow annually.
- If you had one question that someone could answer for you (not doing something for you, but a question that they could answer), what would it be?
I’d like for someone with a similar background who transitioned 7 to 10 years ago and has moved on from their initial job to find a better fit tell me the three things they wish they had known prior to transition that would have changed some of the decisions they made…I’m basically seeking their hindsight.
- What would you like to see “out there” that doesn’t exist, but if it did, it would solve a big problem for you, and other people like you?
A comprehensive discussion on the inter-relationships between determining family contribution for college aid; how colleges view this contribution from those assets in the child’s names to those in the parent’s names to include home equity and retirement; retirement and education assets and the advisability on using unqualified retirement plans to shield some assets from the family contribution calculation; and any penalty and tax implications for such actions if the asset is needed prior to real “retirement.”
- What person has helped you through your military career and/or transition the most?
Narrowing this down to one person is almost impossible, I’ve been honored to serve with fantastic Americans from:
- Several stellar admirals that were the very definition of leaders
- SES’ who earned the respect of the uniformed services members every day
- Officers and enlisted across a broad spectrum of the military that made “service” an action word
- My father and mother who instilled the credo of honor – courage – commitment in my being long before I joined the Navy
- My wife and kids who have been there to support and guide me
- The transition experts who are spending their valuable time helping to prepare me and my peers for the next phase.
Sort of a non-answer – so when I think back to my most vivid memory of pride in a Navy relationship I think of the time LSCM (SW/AW) Brian Jones and I spent aboard USS FORD (FFG 54)…me as a young LT and him as a Storekeeper First Class Petty Officer. That tour, his professionalism and later friendship validated an approach I have tried to maintain to this day – evaluate people based on their commitment, ability and skills not their collar devices, give them the responsibility and authority to act, then watch them astound everyone.
10. Do you want to be contacted by people who think you might be able to help them? If so, how do people get in touch with you?
Happy to help even though I haven’t transitioned yet, it seems to be a team sport. Linked-in or Facebook are the best ways to reach out to me.