How Veterans at Outset Medical Bring Skills from Military Service to Their Work
At Outset Medical, Veterans play a huge role across our organization, bringing unique skills, mission-oriented mindsets, natural leadership and diverse life experiences to the culture of our team and the quality of service we provide to our Tablo patients and providers.
Veterans are also a significant portion of the dialysis patients that we serve: 11% of incident dialysis patients in the U.S. are Veterans, and through our partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, we help to both send patients home for dialysis and support nursing staff in VA hospitals who treat Veterans.
We’d like you to meet some of the incredible Veterans at Outset Medical, people who embody the spirit of what we do – making sure #BetterBeginsNow.
1. Vince Davenport’s Adaptability Sets Him Up for Success
As a Plane Captain in the Navy, as well as a columnist for the Naval Base Ventura County newspaper, Vince Davenport came to Outset ready for anything. Above all, it was his experience adapting to new circumstances and learning on the fly that set Vince up for success.
“The ability to learn how to troubleshoot and comprehend the intricacies of a medical device parallels the experience I had when first learning the ins and outs of the E-2C Hawkeye,” says Vince. “My job in the Navy was intended to be logistics and I had no prior knowledge of airplanes. I requested to work on the aircraft only after I arrived at my squadron and thankfully I was needed, so they let me. I had to hit the ground running and soak up all the knowledge I could. Not much different than when I arrived in San Jose with little knowledge of Tablo, or any medical equipment for that matter. Thankfully, the training team in San Jose, and the Field Service Engineers I work alongside, are awesome and have helped me tremendously.”
At Outset, where things move quickly and adapting to find solutions is a key part of the job, Vince’s skills learned in the military continue to help him be successful. “I am able to adapt to my surroundings quickly, while staying poised and focused on the task at hand,” says Vince. “Whether it’s on the edge of a dark flight deck inspecting a plane, in a confined hospital basement working on a Tablo, launching a plane in between spinning propellers and jet exhaust, or at a site with customers urgently waiting for the machine to get fixed. I feel equally comfortable throughout the mundane tasks or when the stakes are highest.”
2. Lionel Bihm’s Leadership Skills from Military Service Prepared Him for Mentorship
It’s no surprise that the leadership skills needed in the Marine Corps can prove invaluable throughout one’s career – few embody this more than Lionel Bihm. “I think my military background has helped me to hit the ground running and take the reins when the occasion calls for it,” says Lionel Bihm, Jr., a STAR Team Manager at Outset. Lionel’s patience and aptitude for leadership has made him invaluable to Team Outset Medical in one way that really stands out: his mentorship. “The opportunity to mentor teams and [sales reps] has been a new skill I have honed while here,” says Lionel. “I have been teaching numerous nurses and doctors for years, but getting to mentor new employees has been great.”
Lionel’s own career development at Outset has shaped the advice he now gives to Veterans seeking new career opportunities: “I would suggest my fellow Veterans look for a company that is willing to look at your military experience and leadership skills as a plus and look at your attitude, not just your aptitude for the job. A company that looks at more than your credentials will reap the benefit of having a dedicated and hardworking military person who knows how to be a part of a team and get the job done.” That’s Lionel!
3. Stephanie Waddell Finds Meaning Working with Patients and Learning New Skills
As a longtime Army Medic, Stephanie Waddell worked closely with doctors during her time in military service, which gave her the opportunity to cultivate additional medical knowledge that she’s been able to leverage at Outset. As her career at Outset has evolved, she’s had opportunities to continue to develop new skills — something that Stephanie delights in: “I love to continually learn,” she says. “Outset not only supports learning but they encourage it with friendly competitions like the Outset World Cup and offering things like LinkedIn Learning.”
Ultimately, Stephanie has found the most meaning in her work when she can witness, firsthand, the dramatic lifestyle impact that Tablo can have on patients. This really crystallized for Stephanie following one visit at a patient’s home: “She was so grateful she insisted on making me a sandwich and we ate lunch together,” says Stephanie. “I told her I was good but she refused to take no as an answer because she wanted to sit at the table and thank me and the company for saving her from having to drive 2 hours (one way) for treatment.” It’s moments like these that remind all of us what a true mission we are on – to change people’s lives for the better.
4. Sheldon Semon and Mario Moreno Know How to Get the Job Done under Pressure
Sheldon Semon knows a thing or two about working under pressure. As a radar specialist in the Air Force, he spent his time patrolling the No-Fly Zone in the Middle East. “I played a key role in detecting our system getting jammed by Saddam Hussein as he tried flying into the No-Fly Zone,” explains Sheldon.
When you pair Sheldon’s ability to stay cool under pressure with his foundation in electrical troubleshooting — accumulated through his time in the military along with his degree in electronic engineering — you have an all-star Field Service Engineer. “I can keep a customer calm and get the job done right the first time,” says Sheldon. Take this for an example: When one of our hospital partners faced an urgent deadline to bring their Tablo systems live with very little warning, Sheldon didn’t flinch. “I spent time getting them all up and running in perfect condition so the hospital could go live on time.”
Similarly, Mario Moreno, who served as a Fire Support Specialist in the Army and a Biomedical Equipment Technician in the Air Force, says that his ability to manage through high-stakes situations has proved vital in his role. “The ability to perform under pressure – with teamwork, integrity, self-sufficiency and effective communication – helps me perform as a Technical Support Engineer for Outset,” says Mario. “Both as a Field Service Engineer/Technical Support Engineer and a Biomed – you identify, isolate, repair and verify 100% functionality of the system.”
5. For Matthew Meyer and James Guzzo, It’s about Believing in Company Leadership and the Difference We Are Making
Matthew Meyer is a relatively new joiner to Team Outset Medical, having been with the company less than a year, though he brings with him 22 years of military experience from the Michigan Army National Guard. Matthew describes how, early on in his tenure at Outset, seeing Leslie Trigg’s work ethic made him feel that he had chosen the right place to work: “When I came in for training, seeing Leslie in the office every day showed me the dedication I was looking for from a leader. It is rare to see the CEO in the office first thing in the morning and still there when leaving late after a full day of training.”
As James Guzzo and Matthew Meyer have discovered, skills from military service can prove highly valuable in a post-military career.
James Guzzo was an electrician on submarines in the Navy, where he cultivated technical skills — namely, troubleshooting and water treatment expertise — that have proved invaluable in his role as a Field Service Engineer at Outset. “I was at sea on a ship without outside support so I’m familiar with having to do whatever it takes to get the job done,” explains James. At Outset, he says, he’s “trusted to work independently and make decisions knowing my boss will support me.”
Beyond the connection to leadership, both James and Matthew identify strongly with our mission of making patients’ lives better with Tablo dialysis. As Matthew puts it, “being able to serve others and being able to make a difference in others’ lives” is a commonality between his military service and his work at Outset. “This is a company really looking to help people,” James added. “Individuals matter, both employees and our customers. I love being part of making a dramatic difference in quality of life for our patients at home.”
6. Mike Cahill and Carlton DeCosta Know How to Spot a Veteran-Friendly Company
Following his four years of service as a Firefighter in the Air Force, Mike Cahill joined Outset Medical, first as a contractor. After growing more connected to our company culture and the impact of our work, Mike took on a full-time role as our Post Market Complaints Investigator. “After a year with the company, I learned that Outset employees work so well together to make a quality product and to make patients’ lives so much better. So, when I was offered a permanent position, I jumped on it,” Mike says.
Mike especially appreciates Outset’s hiring philosophy — a benefit for Veterans, as he sees it. “In my mind a Veteran-friendly company is a company that looks at the individual and not the degree. Outset is a company like that,” Mike explains. “They look at your skills, ability to be trained and your dedication.”
Carlton DeCosta, a Navy Veteran who’s forged a successful post-military career handling large customer bases, has his own thoughts and advice on identifying a Veteran-friendly company. “When looking to see if a company is Veteran-friendly, you should immediately notice the number of military personnel already actively employed and in key critical roles,” says Carlton. “Many companies can say they are, but companies that truly are will easily be able to show you their commitment.” When Carlton found Outset Medical, he recalls, he simply asked to speak to an employed Veteran about their experience, and from that he saw the authenticity of our commitment to Veterans.
Furthermore, working at a company that also serves Veterans has been especially rewarding, says Carlton. “Outset’s overall goal is to make a difference in the quality of life for dialysis patients, especially with VA facilities around the country for our Veterans.”
7. John “Jay” Bieske Found Continued Purpose in Outset’s Mission
John Bieske, known as Jay, developed his passion for teaching during his two decades of service in the Army — the last 10 years spent as an instructor/training developer. “I designed courses and taught construction engineer equipment and skills and combat training specific to the needs of the Global War on Terrorism, as well as teaching basic soldiering,” says Jay. “This is where I developed my love of teaching!”
Jay’s transition out of the Army was a challenge, and he took time to focus on his own education and passion for teaching, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Adolescent and Adult Development and a Master of Arts in Education-Instructional Design.
Ultimately, he landed a position as an Instructional Designer at Outset Medical, after being drawn to the organization for the opportunity to have his work make a societal impact. “I wanted to continue to make a difference,” Jay explains. “Helping dialysis patients take back control of their lives provided me an opportunity to apply my skills and to support yet another challenging but rewarding mission. There is no greater purpose than knowing that the training materials I create empower Service & Support personnel, patients and providers to meet the challenges of dialysis with confidence and compassion.”
8. Ivan A. Espiritusantos Found Familiarity in Outset’s Culture
From his time in the Army, Ivan Espiritusantos knew what it was like to be part of a close-knit team driving towards a shared mission. “In the military, we are a big family that works together to achieve common goals,” says Ivan. When he joined Outset Medical as a Field Service Engineer, Ivan was relieved to find such a comparable dynamic. As he puts it: “In Outset’s culture, we are a big family aiming to perform a common goal while working in unison — cog wheels working together to move the engine and make it GO!”
Ivan recalls one story in particular with an Outset patient that resonated with him… “I once was at a hospital’s dialysis department having a conversation with the manager of the department after taking a service call. Out of the blue, a patient’s brother came to me and asked if I was part of the company that created and built the Tablo. I proudly answered, ‘Well, yes sir, I am.’ The patient then proceeded to try to stand up from the bed in order to thank me and thank Outset for being able to provide him with the best medical equipment for dialysis he had ever experienced.” Ivan later discovered that the patient flew into the U.S. from Morocco with a sole purpose: to use Tablo.