SkillMil recently interviewed retired US Navy Commander Steve Garza about his time in the military and his transition back to civilian life.

Commander Garza served in the Navy for 25 years on submarines in the Pacific. He completed his career in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he worked as the Fleet Training Officer at Commander, U.S. Submarines, Pacific Fleet and as of Submarine Force, Executive Officer on the USS Tucson.

Seeking a career as an engineer, he saw the Navy as a great opportunity to achieve both an education in engineering and gain applied experience. He enlisted as an electrician in 1992, and later was given the opportunity to attend the University of Arizona to complete his Electrical Engineering degree, and commission through the Officer Candidate School (OCS), at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. He quickly progressed through all of his training and qualification programs and advanced through the ranks of Ensign to Commander, serving on SSBN, SSGN, and SSN class Submarines.

As the Fleet Training Officer, it was Commander Garza’s responsibility to oversee all training and development and track qualifications and progress of fleet training programs, ranging from apprentice to highly qualified personnel. He developed and implemented a new fleet training software program which validated the effectiveness of training, exams, and detailed qualification and proficiency records for every watchstander onboard submarines.

Since transitioning, he has worked as an entrepreneur and co-founder of SkillMil. Serving as CTO, he is responsible for ensuring the successful launch of SkillMIl’s newest innovation in Veteran job placement and transition support services. In addition to being SkillMil’s CTO, Steve works as a Senior Manager of Logistics and Supply Chain Management for a Fortune 500 company in San Diego, CA.

Commander Garza’s successful entry into the civilian workforce was attributed to the military skills and confidence he gained while serving in the military. He developed leadership and communication skills throughout his military career, as well as program management and global-scale project management experience. Also, the teamwork, and mission accomplishments achieved while serving in the military, has helped Commander Garza apply those core values into his civilian assignments and tasks with a focused vision and leadership approach. While he didn’t leave the military with a background in logistics, the level of planning and oversight responsibilities he managed on a daily basis during his service prepared him for his current career.

Upon retiring, Commander Garza was surprised to learn that the pay in the civilian workforce is not all that different than military pay, due to the many tax benefits and allowances military members receive. Additionally, he recognized the difference in camaraderie within the civilian workforce, simply due to people working remotely or being spread out across various locations within the company in different parts of the globe.

While preparing for his transition, Commander Garza sought out several non-profit organizations, as well as VA services providing support to veterans in transition. Once such program he recommends is VetCTAP in San Diego which provides coaching and job placement preparation for veterans, including resume writing, interview skills, and significant networking opportunities, of which inevitably lead to his successful hire into his current supply chain management position.

Commander Garza recognizes the significant challenge that many veterans face in their transition to civilian life and work. Many veterans undervalue their military experience or simply do not know how to market or explain their skills to employers. He notes that one possible reason for this is that service members often move from one military position (or assignment) to another without ever having to interview or sell their experience. Transferring to a new military job or position is a natural part of military career progression and facilitated by a dedicated military detailer who tells the service member exactly where and when to arrive at his/her next job or assignment. He advises transitioning veterans to use as many of the available resource opportunities provided by veteran friendly companies and organizations out there dedicated to assisting veterans in transition. Get as much coaching and mentoring as needed to learn how to communicate and promote the transferable skills gained during service. “It’s not always easy,” Garza claims. “After retirement, service members not only have to find a new career, but also have to figure out a new way of everyday life.”

“SkillMil is here to help.” SkillMil provides significant value to transitioning veterans by translating military skills and experience into equivalent civilian profiles that civilian employers recognize. SkillMil aligns veteran job seekers with companies seeking confident, highly skilled team members to fill key positions within their organization. SkillMil is simple to use, and instantly converts VMETs and resumes into professional profiles. SkillMil’s “SkillScore” matching tool uses AI to find the best fit candidates for the job and directly connects the veteran with hiring professionals within the organization. Commander Garza recommends signing up for a SkillMil account to improve your transition plan and kickstart your network.

Visit today.

Your job: Use your resume, LinkedIn, and/or VMET and with the click of a few buttons, let our software help you create a great profile.

Our job: Highlight your military skill sets to Veteran friendly companies and get you hired.


Site and Multi Site Managers needed

Dallas, San Antonio, TX, Jacksonville, FL and St Louis areas.

Full Time

Are you looking for a career to directly transfer your military skills and experiences? Do you enjoy working in a dynamic team-based environment where safety, team work and camaraderie are essential functions? Zips is the nation’s fastest growing chain of express carwashes and is seeking veterans with leadership experience for immediate placement in management positions.

Zips Mission Statement: Make a difference in the lives of our customers and team members by providing a SAFE, RIGHT, FAST, FRIENDLY wash experience along with a progressive work environment through STRUCTURE, CAMARADERIE, & STRONG, FOCUSED LEADERSHIP.

Our Goal for Site Managers: Create and sustain an organization to provide outside only wash services to customers in a clean, safe, friendly and fast-paced environment.


- High school diploma or equivalent (college degree preferred)

- Enjoy working with customers

- Ability to work flexible hours including on-call weekends

- Desire to train and mentor junior associates/assistant managers

- Minimum 3 years of leadership/management experience

- Technical or mechanical experience is a plus


- Health, Dental, Vision, Life and FSA programs

- 401K with 50% matching up to 3%

- Paid Time Off and Vacation Days

- Six Paid Holidays a Year

- Opportunity to Grow and Prosper in the Company


- $47,500 -$65,000 a year for multi-site managers

To Apply:

If interested, please send an email to with the subject line ZIPS

SkillMil had the opportunity to interview Chief Naval Air Crewman Josh Avery and learn about his time in the US Navy and adjustment to the civilian world since retirement.

AWRC/NAC/AW Avery served in the Navy for 24 years and was stationed in Jacksonville, FL, San Diego, CA, and Norfolk, VA. His daily duties as a helicopter sensor operator involved maintaining the radar, sonar, and electronic detection of the maritime aircraft, and he also served as a rescue swimmer.

In July 2018, he decided it was time to transition to civilian life. Upon retirement, he began working as the Dean of Students at an aviation school house and was able to transition into employment right away. Before retirement, Avery did his homework and networking and among other options, he chose the aviation school because of the location and quality of life that it would provide.

Avery was accustomed to the work and procedures at the aviation school, because he had attended military school and at each job change in the military, he transitioned through similar schoolhouses. He also states that the military prepared him for his current career in many ways. To name a few, because of his service in the Navy, he was familiar with the standard operating procedures of a military facility, the language, procedures, culture, and expectations both in behavior and academic performance.

He was surprised to find out after transitioning from his time in the military, just how important networking is. Networking helped him get the job he has now and helps him stay engaged with other retired veterans. He was also surprised to see experience the difference in the civilian workforce culture. In the military, his peers, seniors, and juniors would take care of each other, and in civilian life, he doesn't see that as much.

A big challenge in transition from a job standpoint, has been getting used to the increased taxes! Managing work time has also been difficult, because in the military he didn't punch a clock, but was on "the adult program - you do what you’re supposed to do, and no one micromanages," but the civilian workforce is more stringent with time and task management.

When asked about programs that helped during transition, Avery was very complimentary of and grateful for Onward to Opportunity, a free program for transitioning vets. O2O is funded by the Schultz Family Foundation, and provides free education, training and job certification. Avery completed a project management certification course through O2O, which out-of-pocket could easily cost around $7000. O2O also provided an accelerated training program called Cohort Week, which taught service members to take all their skills and experience from their military time, and build a resume, practice interviews, negotiate salaries, and be better prepared to enter the workforce.

The advice that AWRC Avery has for veterans when applying for jobs is to focus on conveying military lessons gained, such as attention-to-detail, punctuality, reliability, trustworthiness, fellowship, and watching out for each other. Even if the job skills don't exactly match the job performed in the service, there are plenty of character markers and values that make vets better fit for many positions.

He also advises that retiring vets rely on fellow veterans who have already transitioned, especially if they've had obvious success making it back into civilian life. Avery recommends taking advantage of all the vet benefits provided by the military and private organizations such as the VA, advocate services like O2O, and the GI Bill.

Avery concludes that a service like SkillMil provides peace of mind for transitioning veterans, knowing that there is a service advocating for a successful re-entry that can help make that next step.

Visit today.

Your job: Use your resume, LinkedIn, and/or VMET and with the click of a few buttons, let our software help you create a standout profile.

Our job: Highlight your military skill sets to Veteran friendly companies and get you hired.

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