G4S | Structure, Standards, Accountability | Published in the November/December 2012 issue of print Search & Employ® | Patrick Dawson is a general manager with G4S. He manages overall business goals, objectives, and profitability. Before joining G4S, he was a command sergeant major in the United States Army. He served as a senior enlisted advisor to a battalion commander and worked in the military police.
Dawson has no doubts that his military experience led to his success at G4S. “My knowledge of leadership and my understanding of law enforcement made the transition extremely smooth,” he said. “But you must be able to adapt into the civilian culture.”
Problem-solving and decision-making are two skills that Dawson believes will help veterans succeed in their post-military careers. “Once during Airborne school, a soldier asked the instructor, ‘What do we do if our parachute fails to fully open?’ and the instructor replied, ‘You have the rest of your life to figure it out.’ This is true in civilian business. Your value to any organization hinges on your ability to think quickly and make the correct decision.”
Dedication to duty and integrity will also help veterans succeed, said Dawson. “As a service member, you are not trained to fail,” he said. “You receive a task, and you execute that task until it is completed. This is called duty – something that enhances leadership skills and develops task-oriented leaders. Integrity is another strong characteristic which civilian organizations are seeking. Some managers have a difficult time looking someone in the eye and telling them the truth.”
Dawson believes that G4S is a great place for veterans. “Our structure and professionalism align with our military,” he said. “All veterans understand the reason for standards and being held accountable – and this is why our customers seek our services. They know G4S has high standards and hires some of the best people.”
Dawson recommends that service members who are thinking about getting out of the military get help with their resumes, putting their military experience into terms that civilians can understand. “Most civilian human resources departments don’t understand military jargon or the depth of the responsibilities,” he said. “Attend the Transition Assistance Programs (TAP) at your installation, and have them assist you with resume writing and job opportunities. Be prepared to relocate. Some of the best opportunities may require you to move or travel. Most importantly, start early. Don’t wait until you’re on transition leave to start seeking a new profession.”
To get in the door at G4S, Dawson said that veterans should do their research. “First, learn about G4S and its customer base,” he said. “Know what it will take to become an officer or staff member.”