“I get to work with a truly phenomenal team of creative and motivated communications professionals.”
From service to service
Eric’s military service began when he enlisted in the Army Reserve at age 17. He served in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War and later became an officer in the Army National Guard, including two more wartime deployments in the Middle East.
Eric is also passionate about education. He holds a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Political Science, but didn’t stop there. He also pursued a professional certificate in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University and recently earned his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from George Mason University, courtesy of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
Eric retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2014 after 25 years of military service. But like so many veterans, retirement from the military service was only the beginning of another kind of service for Eric–using the skills he developed while serving in the military to continue serving in the federal government.
“I wanted to take the public affairs training and experience I gained in the Army to a [federal] agency that worked at the forefront of science, innovation, or both,” shares Eric. He knew America’s Innovation Agency offered both, making it the logical next step to his career. His wife also worked at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, as a supervisory patent examiner, making it a great fit.
“I get to work with a truly phenomenal team”
Life at the USPTO is “stimulating and fulfilling” for Eric. “It’s provided me some much-needed stability after my service…and helped me sharpen a number of critical public affairs and leadership skills,” he says.
But it’s the USPTO culture that really makes Eric’s current role as Director of Communications satisfying. “People here are friendly, they like their jobs, and the work we do is interesting and impactful with a long, rich history behind it,” Eric notes. It’s this combination of meaningful work with great people that creates a consistently gratifying work experience.
Eric’s team spearheads significant projects and initiatives, ranging from popular social media campaigns such as “Creepy IP” that share Halloween-themed patents in October, producing monthly Journeys of Innovation feature stories that give rare insight into what makes some of America’s coolest inventors tick, and even planning communications for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing!
“My previous service as an Army public affairs officer was great preparation for this job,” says Eric. The skills he draws upon to be successful in his role include strong writing skills, speaking skills, and experience in communications planning.
With such a variety of projects, what’s the coolest part of Eric’s job? For Eric, the answer is an easy one: “I get to work with a truly phenomenal team of creative and motivated communications professionals.” Taking the initiative to not only support this team, but help to grow it, is something Eric has become known and admired for. He is a mentor to many, finding dynamic ways to connect with his team as well as others, such as externs first experiencing the USPTO. His lifelong love of history also inspired him to continually advocate for the creation of the USPTO’s first-ever historian position, which was finally announced and filled this year.
Discipline, a can-do spirit, and a mission-oriented focus
Eric encourages others who would like to pursue a career in his field to consider a federal program like Pathways after college or graduate school, and to develop public affairs skills in the Armed Forces if they are interested in government service.
He credits the training he received in the military as a major support for career skills he still uses every day in his job as a supervisor, including training at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland, as one experience that laid the foundation for his success as a professional communicator.
Being a veteran at the USPTO has been positive and rewarding for Eric. “The agency values its veterans,” Eric shares, “and the unique backgrounds and skills they bring to their jobs.” He believes some of the most important qualities veterans can bring to the table at USPTO are discipline, a can-do spirit, and a mission-oriented focus–three qualities that are a true mark of someone who loves to serve.