Bryan Shumway, Troops to Trades Scholarship Winner
by: Troops to Trades
June 9, 2016
Three-Way Plumbing, North Carolina
Bryan Shumway was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force for 18.5 years, a time during which he commonly flew Learjets and C-130s. He traveled the world and was deployed to the Middle East four times. He had been trusted with such challenges and faced them head on, and yet the job search after re-entering civilian life would prove to be one more unexpected challenge thrown his way.
Through the Nexstar Legacy Foundation’s Troops to Trades program, Bryan was able to find a great career. He said Troops to Trades was a big part of his transition into the civilian workforce—he needed the opportunity to tap into a certain skill set to make himself more hirable within a specific industry.
“[Troops to Trades] gives you a little bit of training to make that former military guy a little bit more marketable to the trade industry,” he said.
When Byran was nearing the end of his service in 2014, his mother had a stroke. Where he was going to live after retirement was decided. He would start looking for work in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. In July of that year, Bryan completed his time in the military and began looking for jobs.
While he hadn’t ruled out the trades, he hadn’t looked into heading that direction with his career yet, either.
“It’s not fair to say I would never be in the trades,” Bryan said. “I’ve always had an interest with doing things hands-on, tinkering with things, taking things apart and putting them back together.”
But his job search as a veteran proved to be a challenge.
“My experience in the Air Force brought a lot of other intangible skills to the table, and so I was hoping employers would be able to see that aspect rather than that I lacked a specific skill that they needed in that spot.”
Unfortunately, Bryan heard time and again that he just didn’t have experience in the certain area an employer needed. His luck started to change when at a job fair in August 2014, he met Danielle Martini, owner of Three-Way Plumbing Service in Concord, North Carolina. In his short conversation with her, he discovered that she was only looking for experienced plumbers, so he gave her his resume and went on his way.
A month later, Danielle called him and told him she wanted to create a position for him in her company as a skills coach. In this role, he would coach the technicians in the Nexstar Service System, among other things. She told him to apply for the Nexstar Legacy Foundation’s Troops to Trades program.
With funding from Troops to Trades, Bryan went to two Nexstar Network trainings before he ever set foot in Three-Way Plumbing. At Three-Way, he was a skills coach for around six months, and he was soon promoted to service manager after that, which is his current role. He was the first service manager at Three-Way Plumbing.
When Bryan is not working or spending time with his wife and three children, he has volunteered for the Nexstar Legacy Foundation. He recently traveled to Fort Bragg and met another Troops to Trades alumni to represent the foundation at a job fair, bringing his Troops to Trades experience full circle.