When Chris Jones landed a job with the US Navy after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics from the Worldwide campus in 2009, he contacted the Career Services Office to let us know how valuable his internship experience had been in directing his career path towards the field of emergency management. Before getting hired by the Navy, Chris started a small business, CJ’s Mobile Wash and Wax LLC, which he still owns and operates. We are thrilled to have the chance to share his positive and inspiring experience.
What professional endeavor have you been devoted to lately?
Over the past 18 months, I have been working for the Department of the Navy as the Emergency Operations Center Manager at Naval Station Everett. This career involves working with enlisted service members, military officers, and civilians, helping them to prepare for, respond to and recover from man-made and natural disasters.
We know that you are an advocate for experiential learning. Tell us why you feel internships are so important.
I am a solid advocate for the internship program whether paid or unpaid. Having spent a year and half in an unpaid internship in emergency management taught me the value of experiential learning. One of the tasks I was assigned included beta testing a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software program known as Depiction. I had no idea what a beta test was nor what GIS was for that matter. That endeavor gave me great insight into many emergency management areas, including where above- and below-ground utilities were in reference to schools and hospitals; mass-transit information such as the number of busses, how many they seat, how much fuel the hold; where sign boards are for notification purposes and so on. That training was one of the keys that I brought to my interview and later, my career with the Navy. Not only do I now know what GIS is, but I also know how to employ it for situational awareness for decision makers.
How do you utilize your network to help you in your career?
One of my projects with the Navy involved analysis of which of our public protection strategies would be best with regard to HAZMAT spill scenarios we were running. Earlier in my internship, I was introduced to Dr. Jerry Galt who wrote the algorithms for the air modeling program we were using. In a conversation with my boss, I mentioned my connection with Dr. Galt and that I would invite Dr. Galt down for a conversation. A few weeks later, Dr. Galt came by, presenting some basic and in-depth wisdom to our EOC staff and our HAZMAT techs. Simply invaluable!
What is one piece of career advice you would like to share?
The one piece of advice I would offer is to consider internships that might be out of your specific area of interest. For me, my minors were business management and safety. The internship I did was in Emergency Management. That was the best decision I ever made.