"The USPTO cares about you and your family."
Veteran fellowship at work
When Collin’s Wounded Warrior program coordinator informed him of a veterans hiring event at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Baltimore native and 20-year retired United States Navy Chief Petty Officer decided to attend. After working as a contractor for more than 12 years, he wanted to be a federal employee.
The fair was hosted by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and led to Collin’s selection to a position within the Office of Organizational Policy and Governance (OPG) in 2014, where he currently serves as an Information Technology (IT) Project Manager. In this role, he works on creating financial dashboards and quality metrics for the Software Quality Assurance Division and Test Automation Branch.
Yet for Collin, his work experience and satisfaction extend far beyond the technical tasks he does so efficiently every day. In fact, when asked about his major career accomplishments and milestones, being elected USPTO Military Association (UMA) President is on the top of Collin’s list.
The USPTO Military Association (UMA) assists veterans, reservists, and military family members at the USPTO. With over 200 members, the UMA has one of the highest memberships of all 40+ voluntary employee organizations at the USPTO.
UMA hosts many events to recognize veterans and reservists, such as the annual Memorial Day Walk of Thankful Recognition. The organization supports military families through student scholarships, holiday donation drives, charity fundraisers, and care packages to deployed service members. UMA members also collected recycled flags and mailed them to the charity Stars for our Troops.
When Collin was UMA President, he conducted several membership drives to recruit new UMA members and was passionate about the organization’s scholarship program for children of UMA members attending college (one awarded annually). “Being able to [positively] influence veteran-related programs as UMA President is rewarding,” Collin says, as is “the fellowship with other military veterans.” The UMA community is a cherished connection for Collin at an agency that fosters work-life balance.
“The USPTO cares about you and your family,” says Collin. Valuable work-life policies allow Collin time for his other interests, like family, football, and of course, Corvettes. Collin is the treasurer for the Black Knights Corvette Club, of Stafford, Virginia, where members (90 percent of whom are veterans) enjoy modifying their cars and attending Corvette events across the country.
"Learn a little bit about a lot”
Collin credits some of his career success to being well-rounded in his IT skills. “Learn a little about a lot,” is his advice to others who may want to pursue a similar career path. He also notes the top skills needed to be successful at his job are time management, a collaborative mindset, and flexibility.
Veterans like Collin find plenty of skills from their military experience seamlessly transfer into the civilian workplace, often giving them strategies to tackle tasks and challenges. A can-do attitude rooted in dedication, work ethic, and prioritizing are also skills from the military that continue to drive Collin’s performance at work. “Never say ‘I can’t’,” says Collin. As for Collin’s career ambitions after the USPTO? “This is my last stop before retiring,” he says with a smile.