When Doing the Right Thing is Your Life’s Work
When Jack Wolcott stepped into his role as Program Manager of Corporate Compliance at Tucson Electric Power, it felt like the job he had been preparing for his whole life.
Right out of high school, Jack was looking for independence, adventure and experience. He joined the Air Force in 1997. He couldn’t have known how much of all three he would gain throughout his service, until he retired in 2017.
Jack initially chose a hands-on job as an aircraft mechanic. And even though he worked on a spy plane, which had a tinge of allure and excitement, he soon realized his strengths and interests lay elsewhere. He had intended to exit the service after only one tour, but just a few weeks before his first enlistment ended, nearly 3,000 Americans were killed in a terrorist attack. He wanted to be part of the remedy, so he decided to stay in the Air Force, but retrain into a different field, cyber security. He was assigned to an IT unit, just as the dotcoms and startups were booming. He liked that job, too, but it just wasn’t a passion.
A few years later, Jack pursued a new opportunity to become an Air Force recruiter and felt he had found his calling. It was hard work. It was stressful. It was numbers-driven. There was also a lot of travel with a young family – in fact, he was on the road for more 400 days in just 22 months in 2015-2016. It was a blur and he loved it. As part of this role Jack was responsible for operations, training, compliance and standards enforcement.
“When I began interviewing for a civilian job, people would ask, ‘You have experience in this, too?’ Anybody with a career like mine in the service, where you moved around and had a variety of different roles, you gain so much versatile experience. I just didn’t realize how much until I became a civilian, and realized many of these things were second nature in the military, whether it was in your job description or not.”
His time in the service broadened his perspective and ingrained in him the value of diversity. Through his work in recruiting he was able to inspire Americans from all walks of life to serve, from remote Alaskan villages to the Virgin Islands to Brooklyn, NY. And they all brought their own strengths and unique perspectives to the Air Force Family, strengthening his experience leverage diversity within an organization.
He met a recruiter from Tucson Electric Power as he was going through the military’s transition assistance program. He learned that a role was open in Corporate Compliance.
He’s been in the role three years now. “It’s a perfect fit for me,” he said. “I had tons of responsibility in the Air Force. It was like going 200 miles per hour and doing work that had a huge impact. Post-military service, I wanted a role where I could share all of that experience. I support decision-makers in this company every day and I get to use all of the skills I’ve acquired, from building training content to writing policy content.”
He also wanted to work for a company that was motivated to do the right thing. “There were a lot of companies I explored, but TEP was a clear winner for a bunch of reasons. You can’t serve for 20 years and then work for a company whose only objective is profit. I think this company is socially responsible because they want to be, not because they have to be. Doing the right thing is baked into everything we do.”