01 Feb Meet John Harrison, Senior Cybersecurity Solutions Architect
Criterion has many veterans and active reservists among its leadership and staff. Today, we’d like to introduce you to John Harrison, Senior Cybersecurity Solutions Architect at Criterion. You can find more profiles of veterans and other employees in our Life at Criterion category.
What branch did you serve in?
United States Marine Corps
What was your position?
I was an intelligence operator that focused on HUMINT operations and other intelligence operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and various other locations of interest.
What was the time frame you were in the military?
I was in from 1999 to 2007.
What was the most rewarding aspect of serving in the military?
Leading Marines into combat and getting them prepared. I liked watching how Marines came together like family, protecting one another and with so much focus and determination aimed at disrupting and dismantling terrorist networks around the world.
What lessons learned during your service do you apply to your job now in the civilian sector?
Only focus on what you can control, then, take care of your people first and they will do nearly anything for you and the team. Always tell your people the why and give them a purpose; without it what are they fighting for? Your employees, just like Marines, need to know why they may need to sacrifice personal time or, in the case of being a Marine, their life. The why is so important…
Why did you choose to pursue a job in government contracting? How do you like it?
I started government contracting in 2007, right after I left the Marines, doing exactly what I did in the Marines. I like the missions we support and the impact we can have on the bigger picture. Evil will continue to be among us, and its important that we have employees and service members collectively supporting one another to defend both the physical and the virtual sides of our democracy.
What advice would you give to military members who are about to re-enter civilian life?
Reverse engineer what you want to do a year before you depart the military (at the very minimum). For instance, if you want to get into cybersecurity and you’re not already doing it today, investigate the certifications and other educational requirements by reviewing job descriptions. This will give you a roadmap for what you need to get done to prepare yourself to be competitive in the market for that set of skills.