Valdosta Daily Times


November 11, 2012

Veterans in business

Using military skills in the civilian world



Galloway wouldn’t say that working in the military was harder than his job now, but he does say that it is different.

While in the military, Galloway had people. He had a secretary and an executive officer that worked for and with him to execute tasks. At the airport, he does a lot of the stuff himself.

Another tool Galloway picked up in the military that benefits him today is the ability to remain apolitical.

“Today, the recommendations I make, I try to take what’s best for the airport or the organization,” said Galloway.

Despite the differences, Galloway couldn’t be happier.

“I love my job,” said Galloway.

He feels fortunate to be able to be a veteran in business when so many veterans are afforded the opportunity for so many reasons.

“My heart goes out to those folks that are struggling,” said Galloway.

Galloway’s only regret is that he had to retire. But he couldn’t be happier. He’s working with planes and is around really good people.

“To me, this is almost like a Cinderella story,” said Galloway.


Rickert spent more than 21 years in the Air Force before retiring in 2007.

“I went to the Air Force Academy and I got a degree in engineering,” said Rickert.

Despite having been a pilot in the Air Force, Rickert wasn’t interested in flying again.

“Being an airline pilot didn’t really appeal to me,” said Rickert.

He had a wife and a family, and after two decades of service, he was ready to plant his roots somewhere.

Both he and his wife, Anne, are from Georgia, and early on, they made the decision to retire here.

Valdosta was the perfect choice not only because of the town’s hospitality towards the military, but it was the first and last place Rickert was stationed.

One of Rickert’s earliest memories of Valdosta was the Red Carpet program at Ocean Pond. It’s where leaders from all over the community welcome and meet the new airmen at the base.

“That experience really had a big impact on me,” said Rickert.

As with Galloway, timing was everything for Rickert. Just as he was retiring, Jeff Lovell — the owner of Lovell Engineering Associates — was expanding his business.

“He was looking for someone with an engineering background and a military style of leadership,” said Rickert.

The job was a perfect match for Rickert who both spoke the language and had the knowledge for engineering.

“The transition for me was not as hard as I thought it would be,” said Rickert.

Though going from the military to the civilian world did pose some challenges.

While Rickert spoke the language of an engineer, he lacked the language of a civilian. Many civilians aren’t aware, life in the military can seem like another world. They have their own measure for time and speak in terms of multiple acronyms.

“Trying to speak the language of the civilian world was a big challenge,” said Rickert. “I had to learn how to do that.”

After working with Lovell Engineering Associates for more than five years, Rickert is very much aware of the positive impact that the military had on his current career.

Rickert said two of the biggest skills he gained were the hands-on experience of engineering and military leadership.

“I am very familiar with regulations and compliance,” said Rickert.

However, the biggest tool that Rickert uses the most everyday is the skill of multi-tasking.

“You cannot survive in the business world without multi-tasking,” said Rickert. “I probably multi-task more now then when I was in the military.”

Galloway and Rickert are both perfect examples of veterans who have found success in business. Though retired, they still embody the same military values and implement these values throughout their everyday lives.

So this Sunday as you honor veterans in Valdosta and throughout America, give a special thanks to those vets who continue to serve their community and their country in different ways.

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