Employee Spotlight: Jaff Sangillo, VP, Technology Engineering & Operations, United States Navy Veteran

How long have you been with QTS? 

3 years 9 months (4 years in February)

What was your day to day like prior to QTS (in the military)?  

During my eight years on active duty, I served on two ships – a destroyer and an aircraft carrier.  A typical “daily” routine was actually a 15-hour rotation – 5 hours of standing watch and then 10 hours to cram everything else in such as drills, training, administrative duties, eating, sleeping, hygiene, and working out.  On watch, I’d either be supervising the team driving the ship or operating the nuclear reactor and propulsion systems.  

What was the transition to corporate world like?

Like many other veterans, navigating my transition to the corporate world was marked by uncertainty and opportunity.  I enjoyed my years of service and how much personal growth it afforded me.  Coming to the decision to “leap into the unknown” was very difficult because I was going from a pretty prescriptive path in the military to a nearly limitless set of possibilities.  In the face of that, it was important to start by fundamentally defining what my goals were and connecting with available resources.  Thankfully, there was plenty of help available including services provided by the military, hiring conferences, military talent placement firms, and advice from friends and family.   

What is day to day like now and what has been the hardest change?

Over the course of being with QTS, I’ve gotten exposure to a wide variety of work that has prepared me to be a business leader within IT – building business cases, managing budgets, designing and executing technology projects, and engaging with our customers.  In my current role, my day is focused on coaching various teams through critical projects or process improvement initiatives, reviewing operational performance and budget, and championing my team’s work to executive leadership and the board.  The competencies I developed in the military are directly applicable; however, I have to focus on “leading through influence” versus “leading through authority” to be successful with my team, peers, and executive leadership.  I would say this was the hardest change coming from the military.  Listening to learn, establishing credibility, and building consensus are the most powerful tools in the corporate world. 

How did you find QTS and what made you want to make the change?

I found QTS through a talent placement firm that focuses on connecting companies with transitioning military talent.  QTS has cultivated connections with companies that focus on transitioning military because we truly understand the value and applicability of the soft skills veterans bring to the job.  During the interview process, it became clear that QTS valued these skills and was confident I would quickly learn the technical aspects of the business while on the job.  I was also excited to start a career in a modern technology-centric industry.  Most importantly, QTS’s core values of Faith, Family, Community really resonated with me.  It was refreshing to find an organization that both preached and lived by the sentiment that family needs to come first for the business to be successful.  It’s important when making these types of life decisions that you never be running from something, but to something.   

What is your favorite thing about working at QTS?

I love my QTS family because I come to work everyday knowing that I’m surrounded by people who are invested in each other’s success.  When things get difficult, we support each other, and so we take these challenges head-on with enthusiasm versus stress. 
What advice would you give veterans actively looking to join the corporate world?
Don’t be scared to follow a different path from the crowd.  Don’t underestimate the value of being able to come into a smaller company and make a large impact.  Early in my transition I was overly focused on joining a Fortune 500 company for brand prestige on my resume.  Instead, find a company that understands and values your military experience and is committed to invest in you and give you the opportunity to rise to your potential.