In honor of Veterans Day in the United States on November 11, 2018, we’re dedicating a special series to our Veterans here at NuVasive. Veterans Day is a celebration meant to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism and willingness to serve and sacrifice for their country. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans, those living or who have passed, but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably. At NuVasive, our mission is to continue to change as many patient lives as possible. Having the positive and encouraging spirit of Veterans among our Shareowner family instills high values and work ethic in our workplace and beyond.
Featuring our first #VeteransInSpine feature, Larry, Leader of Operations at NuVasive Clinical Services.
Can you share a little bit of your military background with us?
I had been going to college for two years and I just didn’t feel like I had a good purpose. I wanted to be involved in something greater than myself. I joined the Navy and specialized in medicine. My career took me to Navy Dive School in Panama City, Florida, before being transferred to Japan and getting to dive in every ocean. From there, I was selected for advanced medical training in San Diego. I spent the next 14 months becoming a Health Care Provider, from delivering babies to internal medicine, trauma injuries in the middle of the desert, and all along I was gaining great medical experience. I was then transferred to the SEAL Team in Hawaii. From there I was involved with the Deep Submergence unit, Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG) in Dam Neck, VA, and the Department of State to work on National agenda items. This research position eventually led me to become a Director of Human Resources (HR). I learned how to manage on an enormous scale, with 26,000 employees and 17 direct reports on my team. Three years later I moved to San Diego as the Senior Director of Operations before filling the role of Naval Special Warfare Command Force Master Chief Senior Medical Advisor. I spent my last five years in the Navy creating programs and policy for Navy SEALs. Those years brought me to The Honor Foundation and ultimately to NuVasive.
What was the biggest challenge, if any, in learning and adopting new cultural norms in the business world?
The biggest challenge was finding a purpose. I spent over 20 years in all areas of medicine, helping and treating patients, improving health care, driving innovation, increasing research, and understanding the requirements needed for the future. In the military you build a very strong feeling of purpose, understanding where you add value and how you are supporting your family, team, and country. I was fortunate to be part of The Honor Foundation (THF). THF is a great non-profit that spends a great deal of time helping veterans find the “why”, their purpose, and their inner drivers. It helped me find NuVasive.
How did you end up working in the Medical Device industry?
My purpose is helping others through medicine. I met our Chairman and CEO, Greg Lucier, at a Harvard Alumni business event in La Jolla. He described his vision of “Taking over the OR”, how we strive to help patient safety and care from start to finish through innovation, technology, and services. I had just completed a similar task for Naval Special Warfare, bringing all of our capabilities of research and development, treatment, patient transport, clinical capabilities, logistic support, and training under one organizational umbrella. Our conversation turned into me meeting my future recruiter, Melanie. The best recruiter on the planet! Now I have transitioned from military medicine to civilian medicine, and specifically medical device.
Initially, how did you convince hiring managers early on that your skills would translate to corporate?
NuVasive Clinical Services was initially looking for someone who had a lot of experience leading large diverse groups through major transition, and NCS had the challenge of bringing three companies under NuVasive Clinical Services (NCS) and aligning them under NuVasive. Additionally, the organization needed someone who had an understanding of various teams and had the ability to drive those different teams.
The truly amazing part of being in the military is the unlimited opportunity to grow, learn, and take on responsibility.
I was fortunate to have incredible mentors that let me peruse every opportunity available. I was able to articulate my leadership experience in all of those teams and that experience aligned with the team’s needs.
In an interview setting, how would you describe the value of your military experience?
The ability to clearly verbalize past actions that lead to results with a detailed account is a true value. The military continually provides opportunities for question and answer scenarios. I have presented to crowds of over 900 people and I have briefed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe. After situations like those, an interview becomes a very relaxed event.
Sometimes the transition from military to corporate causes you to “reinvent” some parts of yourself. How would you describe your career and/or personal growth?
My career is moving in a wonderful direction. I could not be happier with NuVasive and my current position. It’s a perfect fit!
I don’t feel I had to reinvent myself at all. My core values and personal success drivers aligned with NuVasive from the start.
Stay tuned for the next #VeteransInSpine features rolling out on The Spot now through November 11. To celebrate and recognize Veterans Day, you can volunteer at Veteran facilities, attend local events in celebration of the holiday, and thank Veterans and their families for their service.