Chad Wendolek - Minnesota
Joe Kollasch - Minnesota
I would love to nominate Chad Wendolek for recognition as ACP's Mentor of the Month. Chad gave me much needed mentorship and advice after five years of active duty in the Marine Corps Infantry. Now, I'm a consultant with Optum Advisory Services gaining experience in my dream job. I attribute the vast majority of my successful transition to Chad.
When I began the ACP mentorship program, I was in the middle of a Department of Defense fellowship with a civilian healthcare plan in the Pacific Northwest. After living on the East coast for 9 years I was feeling nervous about my transition into civilian life. Through conversations about my interests in consulting and healthcare I was able to focus my thoughts and communication skills. The first tangible result of Chad's mentorship was my successful application process to Optum Advisory Services. While I was in the middle of a major transition in my life, Chad helped me prioritize the critical events that I needed to be successful. I would not be in my current consulting role today if it were not for Chad’s mentorship.
Chad's mentorship is ongoing and we communicate on a regular basis. I believe Chad is a cornerstone of my transition and I cannot thank him or ACP enough for pairing us. While my civilian journey is just beginning, I know Chad's mentorship will be an enduring relationship that will extend far beyond the initial requirements sent by ACP. I strongly believe Chad Wendolek is ACP's Mentor of the Month and I recommend him for congratulations from ACP!
-Vannara S., U.S. Marine Corps, North Carolina
I want to nominate Joseph Kollasch for ACP's Mentor of the Month. If I could nominate him twice, I would. He deserves all the recognition he can get. Joe and I began working together in November 2020, nine months before I left the Army.
Joe possesses all the best characteristics of a great Mentor: friendly, funny, loquacious, compassionate, knowledgeable, and more. Our regular meetings were never dull; he always had something interesting on the agenda. I would recommend him as a Mentor for anybody, not just those in the IT industry. Joe provided me with invaluable information about job searching, networking opportunities with professionals in the Cyber industry, and interview tips. I think the most important thing you need when you transition out of the military is unwavering support from someone, which Joe effortlessly provided.
When Joe and I partnered initially, I wanted to pivot from IT into Cybersecurity, which is a tough field to break into without prior experience. Joe advised me to take the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) exam and enroll in Sans Technical Institute to progress my Cyber career. This advice helped me out immensely for job interviews. With Joe's IT expertise, he made job-hunting less overwhelming by helping me with job applications and interviews. In addition, he even sent me recommendations for positions at his company, UnitedHealth Group, that he thought I was qualified for. At the end of my job search, I had two job offers for positions in Cybersecurity.
Today, I am currently an Information Security Engineer at UnitedHealth Group - Medexpress. Joe and I went from meeting once a month to seeing each other every week for our remote work meetings. Now, if I ever need anything, I send him a message on Microsoft Teams.
Thank you, ACP, for providing veterans with this wonderful platform and for introducing me to my friend, Joe. I am eternally grateful to have had the chance to be Joe's first protege. I am confident that I would not be in my position today without his moral support and expertise.
Joe, I hope we will have the opportunity to meet in person at a work meeting/conference. Dinner is on me! Thank you, Joseph Kollasch!
-Kanaipono R., U.S. Army, Hawaii