Former Army tank commander writes book on returning to civilian life after serving in the military

Posted at 9:06 PM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-06 12:35:18-05

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For members of the service, transitioning from soldier to civilian life means changing language and sometimes mental approach.

West Point graduate and former tank commander Matt Louis created a manual to help veterans make the transition and succeed in a new career. "Mission Transition" is passion project for Louis that's been 20 years in the making.

"(The) average veteran goes through six jobs before they end up in a career field," Louis said. "All of that change doesn't help the veteran, their family, (or) their employer."

Since leaving the military, Louis has worked for Procter & Gamble, and withing GE's aviation and healthcare divisions.

"I struggled valiantly just leaving active duty and getting into graduate school and then from graduate school to the corporate world," Louis said. "I couldn't translate the three-letter acronyms and the military jargon that I had into something that resonated with a corporate executive."

Louis said standing out over the growing military gap is becoming more of a challenge.

"The percentage of executives in the Fortune 1000s that have any military experience whatsoever has dropped over 90 percent since, call it 1980," Louis said. "Today that number is two-and-a-half percent and falling.

The Department of Defense says more than 250,000 men and women left the service last fiscal year; 18,000 came back to Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

"It might be the first time they've pondered who they are and what they want to be," Louis said. "There's the translations of what they've done into something that resonates with a civilian. It's the first time they've likely interviewed for a role, first time they've had to ponder all the components of a compensation package and negotiate for that for them and their family's behalf."

Louis authored "Mission Transition" to provide in-depth guidance for those who need it. U.S. Census data shows that more than 3,100 veterans are unemployed in the Tri-State and Louis said he created his book to help veterans get the career that perhaps they never knew they wanted.

"Challenge you to take it all the way back to your core foundation and figuring out who your are and what you want to do - that takes homework," Louis said. "Chances are you haven't had to consider this in your entire adult life."