Shawn Kessler has worn many hats in his career. After joining the U.S. Marine Corps right after high school, he also got a job as a Comcast technician just a few years later, and would soon become adept at juggling his dual roles.
When he knew he was going to be deployed, he realized, “This is where working for a company that cares for veterans became really important to me.”
Comcast kept Kessler employed during his 18-month deployment and also covered the difference between his military pay and Comcast pay while he was on duty.
“That was a huge deal, and meant a lot to me,” Kessler said.
In honor of Veterans Day, we sat down with Kessler recently to talk about how his military experience has translated to his work with Comcast, and how the company has supported his journey.
Comcast: Why did you initially enlist in the military, and what were your key takeaways from your military service?
I joined the military because I saw it as a path to becoming a pilot. I liked the competitive atmosphere, and I moved up pretty quickly, advancing to corporal in 2003, and then sergeant and platoon sergeant while I was deployed.
I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. The military helped me to grow up and understand how to work with others. I learned great leadership skills, and I learned that a leader works for its team, not the other way around.
Comcast: How has your career evolved? What are some of the milestones for you?
I have had a lot of different roles throughout my career. I have been on the quality control and security teams, handling fraud and access projects, which were cool experiences. In late 2008, the security department was evolving, and I took on a manager position in Utah. I also went back to school at the time, which helped me think about how I could better myself to bring value to the company. Comcast offered tuition reimbursement for criminal justice, so I did that. With that experience, I moved into the Tech Operations team, where I have been a corporate security investigator, and now a manager.
Comcast: How does your military experience translate into what you do today?
Honor, responsibility, courage, and commitment were things I learned in the military. Those values have stuck with me, and they are critical traits to have in our work at Comcast.
The military is a natural brotherhood, no matter when you served. We have a lot of veterans across Utah that are a part of Comcast, so there’s a union there.
When it comes to my job, I try to build that same brotherhood among my supervisors and technicians. We don’t go through the same challenges in a professional workspace, but that military model is still one I look to as an example. I want to build that camaraderie at Comcast with my team. We’re all in this together.
Comcast: As a Tech Ops Manager, you interview and hire new employees. What traits do you look for in your team members?
In today’s space, we’re looking for the cream of the crop. We’re looking for the people that have integrity, responsibility, and punctuality. As we interview and look to bring new people into the business, it’s looking for the people who are going to care about the customer.
I give support to my team, and in turn they give support to our customers. We want to make sure we’re providing the absolute best customer service we can, so we are looking for people who are committed. If there’s a problem, we want to make sure our technicians are dedicated to providing great service. Regardless of path or experiences they have with us, we want to improve that customer interaction every time.
Comcast: What is your favorite part of coming to work?
I love to help people develop in their careers. I want to help people understand that they don’t have to have a linear career path. They can move around to different teams and experiences. You can figure out what you care about and set your goals so they align with that.
Comcast: What about Comcast’s culture works for you?
What turned it from a job to a career for me was the great leaders I’ve come across and mentors I’ve had over the years. I picked up traits from each one of them along the way. It is so important to model my leadership skill set after the positive leadership traits that I pick up in others.
Comcast has amazing benefits—from tuition reimbursement and retirement, to stock purchasing and team support. Comcast really cares about its people, and that’s remarkable. They are serious about their open door policy. I’ve been able to reach out to people I didn’t work directly with, and they were willing to give advice and mentor me in my career. I never had anyone shut me down. They are generous to talk about opportunities to grow and feel connected to what we do.
The leaders I’ve come across have had a huge impact on my career, and I want to pay it forward and do the same for others out there. I want to do whatever I can to make an impact while I’m around. I want to pay it back to the people I worked with.