Veterans Day honors individuals who have served in the United States Armed Forces. These individuals felt a call to to join a mission greater than themselves in the pursuit of public safety. At Axon, many of our employees are veterans of the United States Armed Forces and global militaries around the world. This holiday is an annual chance for us to honor their sacrifices and celebrate the values and experiences they each hold dear.
This year, we sat down with several members of the Veterans at Axon employee resource group to discuss what motivated them to pursue military service, and how their unique backgrounds have impacted them during their tenure at Axon.
Annalee Dziuk is a Customer Success Manager on Axon’s Enterprise sales team. Prior to Axon, Annalee was a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. She joined the Reserves in 2009, straight out of high school.
“Initially, I hadn't planned on joining the military, but after numerous unsuccessful attempts at the AIMS test for a scholarship, I saw the military as a way to fund my college education,” Annalee recalls.
Rachael Berkoff, a Senior Customer Success Manager at Axon, had a more direct route to the military. “My sister and I grew up as military brats; my dad was in the U.S. Army as a Special Forces Green Beret.” Rachael’s childhood took her all over the United States, as well as Germany and Japan. “When the time came to choose a college, both my sister and I chose to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where our father also went.”
But for many Axon Veterans, the path to the military wasn't so clear. “My military service came at an integral point in my life,” admitted Michael Rennie, Chief of Staff for Axon Federal. “I graduated college during the economic recession of 2008, and didn’t have a clear career path...My military service provided a unique perspective and appreciation for life and liberty. The ability to focus on a mission bigger than myself or the bottom line truly impacted me.”
A mission bigger than oneself. This phrase is often cited by veterans as one of the main appeals of military service. But what happens when individuals leave the military? What becomes their new “mission”?
For many of our veterans, the answer was Axon. “Being a part of a mission-focused organization, in my opinion, is the best way to accomplish something as a team,” shared Rachael. “Before I joined Axon, I was searching for an organization where I could continue my ‘sense of service’ from the military to a company that was doing good—I believe I have found that with Axon.”
Axon’s mission to Protect Life resonates with a community dedicated to protecting the freedom of citizens at home and abroad. For Annalee, this mission provides continued purpose. “Whether transitioning into civilian life from a military career or embarking on a military journey, I encourage everyone to find a way to serve others that truly fulfills them,” Annalee explained, emphasizing the “importance of having a purpose in life that extends beyond oneself”.
“Axon’s mission is the reason I’m at the company and have been here over 4 years,” agreed Michael. "I personally needed a company, culture, and mission that was similar to my military experience. Saving lives through Axon’s products checks all those boxes."
For Shea Stewart, Axon’s mission to Protect Life resonated even more thanks to the humanitarian work he did while deployed to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “While my time in combat certainly shaped my strict work ethics,” explained Shea, “it was my time providing humanitarian aid and emergency management/disaster relief in Sri Lanka and Maldives where I would become focused on protecting life”. Shea was able to utilize skills he had learned over the course of his military career to "employ training and write doctrine to help many from unnecessary suffering...These deployments helped shape my drive for my post military career working for Axon".
For Scott Rottman, a U.S. Air Force veteran, former member of the FBI and current Director of Axon Policy and Training, the need for a mission-focused job after leaving the public sector was a non-negotiable. “There is no other job in the private sector I can think of wherein I could continue my quest for serving others and protecting life,” Scott said about his role with Axon. “Finding a job in Axon Training where I could work with our amazing heroes in law enforcement and continue my desire for service and need to protect life has been theproudestmoment of my career.”
Of course, a mission only means something if the team in question is committed to maintaining the values and ideals that make that mission possible.
“There’s an acronym in the Army, LDRSHIP, which stands for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage,” shared Benjamin Morens, a former Green Beret and current Senior Director of Distribution and Logistics and Axon. “This acronym describes the core values that all Army soldiers are expected to live by...These values are very closely aligned with Axon’s values and directly aligned with our mission, which is ultimately the reason why I joined Axon.”
What advice did our veterans have for other service members looking to transition to a civilian career? “I’d say ensure you find a company that aligns with your values,” expressed Michael. “The camaraderie and mission of a company will shape its culture. There are tons of resources but the best resource that I used was other veterans that transitioned.”
At Axon, veterans are encouraged to connect with and support one another through our Veterans at Axon employee resource group, an employee-led group of veterans from the U.S. and global militaries that periodically meets for social events, networking and career development.
“My experience at Axon has provided me with a community of individuals who share my passion for making a meaningful difference in the world,” said Annalee. “It's a place where I can devote myself entirely to my work, knowing it has a positive impact...I have never doubted the significance of my contributions.”
“The military has instilled in me a fundamental lesson: It's not about me, but rather, it's about the mission and the team,” explained Jeff Murzda, former U.S. Marine Corps Logistician and current Director of Program Management at Axon. We are proud to welcome and celebrate the sacrifice and bravery of our veteran teammates as we work together to Protect Life and make the world a safer place.
To learn more about a career at Axon, visit axon.com/careers
To learn more about Axon’s employee resource groups, visit axon.com/JEDI
VETERANS AT AXON SPOTLIGHT