Scott Bryant, ADS Inc.’s Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction Market Manager, has had a long and successful career. From humble beginnings in a small dairy and logging town in Washington State, he enlisted in the Navy at 18 years old and spent 28 years in service to the United States across multiple roles and branches. While serving, he went through dozens of military specific schools and multiple combat deployments around the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq, and was also able to complete his undergraduate degree and two Masters programs. We spoke with Scott to get insight into his military background, how he utilizes that experience at ADS, and advice for our military veterans transitioning into a civilian career.
Scott Bryant, CWMD Market Manager
Why did you decide to join the military?
At 18, I was living in a very small dairy/logging town in Washington State that presented no real opportunities for me. I decided the best thing I could do was to go as far away as possible and start completely on my own. I left the local farm I was employed at one day and headed straight to the recruiter’s office. I ended up enlisting for six-years without talking to any of my family or friends about it beforehand. I didn’t want anyone to bias my decision either way, so I only let those close to me know what I had done after I had already contractually committed to it.
What was your role/roles throughout your time in service?
I began my career as a Navy Deep Sea Diver. I attended dive school here in Virginia Beach, VA in 1990 and was one of only nine people to make it through the course. Our class originally started with 39 candidates, so graduating provided me with a huge bump in confidence, something I needed at the time. I spent nine years a Navy Deep Sea Diver, attaining the qualification of Saturation Diver (which basically means we did very deep, very long dives). Shortly before my ten-year anniversary in the Navy, I decided I wanted a change in careers. I looked at Navy EOD, SEALs, Air Force Pararescue, and Air Force Combat Controller. Because I felt it had the most transferable skillset to a post-military career, I ended up choosing EOD. Navy EOD operators are also divers, and because I was already dive qualified, I was able to bypass the dive school portion and go straight to the EOD academic portion. Navy EOD are also qualified as Naval Parachutists, so after EOD school I attended Army Airborne school in Fort Benning, GA. I spent the next 18 years in EOD, as both an enlisted operator (Chief Petty Officer/E7), as well as a commissioned officer (I retired as a Lieutenant Commander/O4). I deployed all over the world, including combat deployments in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I completed dozens of military specific schools during my time in, and also completed my undergrad and two Masters programs.
What is your current position and how does your military experience fit into your current career?
I am currently the Market Manager for the Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) team. I believe my military experience fits in to my current role in two primary ways:
- What we manage in my market is all related to what I did when I was on active duty. We call on EOD and CBRN customers and we manage EOD, CBRN/FES and Maritime suppliers. These are all skillsets and product types that I have many years of first-hand experience with.
- In the military, you are placed in leadership positions very early in your career. My first official leadership role was as a diving supervisor in 1992 where I managed a team of nine divers in high-risk diving missions. My leadership roles continued to grow from that point forward, culminating in serving as an Officer in Charge of a 200-person combat unit, as well as leading 1,100 people during a joint Navy/Marine Corps exercise. Just like the people here at ADS, the people you manage in the military are a microcosm of society, so there are many parallels between managing/leading in the military and managing/leading in the corporate world.
How was your transition from military life to your civilian career?
I found mine to be easy although I realize many veterans do not. What helped me was my higher education. At The College of William and Mary, half of my class had either served themselves or were directly related to someone who had served, while the other half had no association with the military. Spending time with the latter half, those that had no association with the military, was extremely helpful to me to gain a better understanding of differing perspectives. At Cornell University, I was one of only two people in our entire class who had served, amplifying even further the same benefits of getting exposure to differing viewpoints. Gaining a better understanding of non-military thinking, which altered my paradigm, as well as feeling that I had prepared myself the most thoroughly that I possibly could, all helped me feel very confident in my transition when the time came to make the switch.
What tips and/or advice do you have for veterans leaving their time in service and moving into the civilian workforce?
- Achieve the next level of education before you get out or have a plan to do it as soon as you get out.
- Don’t allow your previous rank/position in the military to be the foundation of your self-esteem. Your military accomplishments are things you should absolutely be proud of, and they deserve respect, but don’t let them define you. Remember that once you leave, you are no longer “Sir”, or “Master Chief”, or Sergeant Major”. You will no longer have the benefit of immediate credibility based upon the rank you wear on your shoulders or the insignia on your chest. Your credibility must come from your competence, work-ethic, empathy, and ability to lead, follow, and work within a team.
How does your past military experience empower you in your role here at ADS?
I believe that military experience can impart many qualities in veterans that can provide real value to an organization like ADS. Here are two:
- Selflessness: Veterans are forced to set aside personal interests for the greater good of the mission and the unit. I believe that many people in the workforce have a “me” mentality, when it should always be about “we”. The latter approach not only improves your chances of having a cohesive team that can consistently accomplish goals on time and with quality results, but it also helps each individual become the best version of themselves. My personal philosophy is that you should never strive to the best employee in the company. Instead, strive to be the best employee for the company.
- Servant Leadership: The core principle of servant leadership is dedication to the service of others before themselves. On day one of their careers, many military members can find themselves in high-consequence leadership roles, and servant leadership is a vital trait for improving their chances of success. I believe that the most important characteristics of a servant leader are empathy, awareness, and a strong commitment to the growth of their people. Even if you aren’t formally positioned as a manager or supervisor, you can still incorporate a philosophy of servant leadership in your day to day work with fellow employees, giving you a legitimate way to add positivity to the culture of your workplace.
Scott Bryant’s years of service provide a foundation for success at ADS. His expertise in EOD, CBRN/FES and Maritime equipment guides him in his day-to-day activities, assisting government customers in choosing and acquiring top performance products within the Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction field. The leadership training that he received throughout his service parallels his current role, guiding our CWMD Team to providing the best solutions for our service men and women.
Thank you, Scott, for your dedication to the United States and to the ADS mission.
More than one third of ADS employees are veterans or members of military families, providing a unique perspective on the work that we do. We are committed to hiring and training ADS team members from within the military community.