Veteran In Transition Q+A: Jon McCann

Each month, Capitol Post interviews veterans in their post-military careers to get their insights on how their military service has helped them succeed. This month, we spoke with Jon McCann, Assistant Operations Officer in transition. Here’s what he had to say… Name: Jon McCann MOS/Branch: Engineer Officer Current Job Description (in your words!): Plan operations for the…

Each month, Capitol Post interviews veterans in their post-military careers to get their insights on how their military service has helped them succeed. This month, we spoke with Jon McCann, Assistant Operations Officer in transition. Here’s what he had to say…

Name: Jon McCann
MOS/Branch: Engineer Officer
Current Job Description (in your words!): Plan operations for the Army’s only unit that provides temporary emergency power in cases of natural disaster.
Where did you grow up? Westlake, OH
Current home: Old Town Alexandria, VA
School: I received my BS in Economics and Operations Research from West Point.  I then attended The Australian National University, where I studied Economic Policy on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.
Role Model: Older brother, Ben, who was co-founder of Connectifier, recently sold to LinkedIn.
Favorite Restaurant: I try not to repeat restaurants, since there are so many good ones around the DC area!

Favorite Local Activity: Happy hours, bottomless brunches, wine bars.  Sensing a trend?  Plus the occasional game of golf.
Family: Wife, Elisha — I married way up — -is a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton.  Dog, Brady, is a six year old Australian (barks with an accent) Kelpie.
Little Known Fact About You: I founded a pretty successful lawn care business in high school that did so well that I (just this week) had to shut down the old Angelfire website because it was still generating customers.  On second thought…maybe that was a missed (second) opportunity!


QA

What did (or do) you envision life “on the other side” to be like after you transition/ed?

Growing out the hair/beard and getting fat! (Not really.)  I’m just looking forward to being in charge of my own career, challenging myself intellectually, and contributing to something bigger than myself.  I actually believe that you can should do your answer to the question “What would you do if money were no object?”

What has been the best part about transitioning from military service?

I’m still in the middle of transition and don’t have anything lined up, so it has been stressful.  But it’s also been really exciting and motivating to explore new ventures.  I feel like I did in high school, when I had that sense of “I can do anything!”  Plus, I like the chase.

What has been the most challenging about transitioning from military service?

Translating my experience.  I’ve had a successful military career and have a lot to contribute, but it takes some convincing for companies to take a chance on me.

If there’s one job you could have in another life, what would it be?

Country music singer.  But that would certainly be another life, cause I ain’t got the pipes.

Who has influenced you the most in your career?

I’m been lucky to have some bosses that really trusted and empowered me.  I try not to forget how good that feels so that I can equally empower my team.

What is one piece of advice you would give a transitioning veteran?  

If you don’t know what you want to do (or even if you do), put yourself out there, get outside your comfort zone, and expose yourself to as many companies, industries, roles, and individuals that you can.  It’s helped me eliminate many roles, but I still have a long introspective process in front of me of trying to find and pursue a passion.  Networking, and organizations like Capitol Post, have certainly helped me with that.

Briefly describe something you learned during your service. How does that benefit you today?  

Dealing with high stress situations.  If I find myself stressing out now, I can just remind myself that it’s nothing compared to “that one time…”

Top Questions to Ask When Choosing a Co-working Space

Working from your home can no doubt be great. It’s easy. There’s no commute. You don’t have to worry about the smell of burnt microwave popcorn in the afternoon. But as awesome as taking calls in your pajamas might appear, there are also some challenges to working from home or at a local coffee shop….

Working from your home can no doubt be great. It’s easy. There’s no commute. You don’t have to worry about the smell of burnt microwave popcorn in the afternoon. But as awesome as taking calls in your pajamas might appear, there are also some challenges to working from home or at a local coffee shop. Problems such as: collaborating with a group in person, needing to interact with another human aside from your dog or cat, or asking someone a tough question that Google or your crazy neighbor can’t answer. That’s why we created Capitol Post; to be the hub of the veteran business community and give people a place to create, collaborate, and connect. Because not all co-working spaces are created equally, here are some questions to ask yourself when considering space.

Space:

  1. What are the space’s amenities?
  • Wi-Fi – what’s the quality
  • Conference room access
  • Coffee & snacks & food?
  • Printer / scanning access?
  • Phones / answering service?
  • Mailing Address?
  • Parking? Metro access?
  • Basic office supplies (and supplies for purchase?)
  • Front Desk / Receptionist?
  • Bathrooms nearby?
  • Whiteboards?
  • AV?
  • Are there resources that I’d have to pay for myself?

 

  1. What are the local amenities?
  • Where can you pick up a gallon of milk and diapers on your way home?
  • Can you get coffee with someone nearby?
  • FedEx/ UPS
  • Places to bring clients for lunch / dinner?

 

  1. Does it offer any other “perks?”
  • Building concierge?
  • Gym?
  • Local discounts?

 

  1. How much does it cost?
  • Daily, weekly, monthly fees?
  • Most spaces here in the DC area range
  • What system do I pay on? Is it easy?

 

  1. Can I bring clients or investors in?
  • Does that cost $?
  • # of people for the amount of time.

 

  1. What are the hours and security?
  • HVAC after hours (think summer / weekends)?
  • Is it staffed on the weekends?
  • Can I store files and papers / inventory?
  • Can I leave and go the bathroom and not worry about my laptop getting stolen?
  • Do I feel safe here working at night or after hours?
  • Key card access?

 

  1. Does the space have “street access” or do I need to take an elevator?

 

  1. Can I grow my business here?

 

  1. What do people love/complain about the space?

 

  1. Can I try it out for a period (day or week) to see if I like it?

Culture / Vibe:

  1. What is the staff like?
  • Do they turnover often?
  • Are they friendly? Nice? FUN? Do they care about me?
  • Do they provide value?
  • How responsive / organized are they?

 

  1. What do the workspaces look like?
  • Are there offices?
  • Is it open?
  • Where are the power sources?
  • Are the chairs comfortable?
  • Is there enough services space?
  • Where do you put your coat and bag?

 

  1. What is the culture like?
  • Is it a “museum” or a fraternity house?
  • Is it collegial? Open? Closed? Library-like?
  • Everyone in a suit?
  • Average age?
  • Do I see myself working here?

 

  1. Who is currently working there?
  • Industry focus?

 

  1. Is it clean? Well-maintained?
  • Who does it? When does it happen?
  • Where can you eat?

 

  1. Are there “rules?”

My Own Considerations:

  1. What are my needs?  
  • Am I trying to professionalize my company? Or is still okay to have people come to my house or a Starbucks?
  • What are my norms?

 

  1. What is driving me to make this change?
  • Productivity?
  • Professional appearance?
  • My own sanity?
  • Community / resources?

 

  1. How much space do I need?
  • Inventory

 

  1. What can I afford?

 

  1. How long is it going to take me to get there? Can I park?

 

  1. Can my clients / customers easily get there?

 

  1. Am I am employee-based company? What does my growth look like?

Programs & Services:

  1. Are there any programs & services offered?

 

  1. Social / networking events? Opportunities to connect?

Meet the Staff Q+A: Harry Alford III

  Here at Capitol Post and Bunker Labs DC, we love to highlight the amazing founders, entrepreneurs, startups, staff members and mentors working in our space and engaging with our community through a fun and informative Q&A. Get to know the newest addition to our Bunker Labs staff, Harry Alford III! Name: Harry Alford III…

 

Bunker Team

Here at Capitol Post and Bunker Labs DC, we love to highlight the amazing founders, entrepreneurs, startups, staff members and mentors working in our space and engaging with our community through a fun and informative Q&A. Get to know the newest addition to our Bunker Labs staff, Harry Alford III!

Name: Harry Alford IIIHarry Headshot

Where did you grow up? I grew up in NW Washington, DC attending an all-boys school fourth through 12th grade.

School(s): I received a BA from the University of Maryland, an MA from Georgetown University and a current MBA candidate at Babson.

Military Branch & Service/Specialty*: I have not served in the military although my father is a veteran, my uncle is an Officer in the Navy and I am the grandson of one of the original five Tuskegee Airmen.

Favorite DC-area Restaurant:

I have a few! Currently, a restaurant I’m really digging is called Alfies. It’s a Thai restaurant located in the Petworth neighborhood in DC.

Favorite Local Activity:

Yoga and strength training

Tell Us About Your Family:

I have a twin brother and my parents are entrepreneurs. All currently reside in the DC area.

Little Known Fact About You:

I played professional lacrosse for two years after college.

Brief Business or Personal Description:

I’m a passionate entrepreneur.

Briefly tell us how you’ve come into your current role.

I want to help create the next generation of amazing startups and valuable companies. Bunker Labs is the perfect platform for entrepreneurs to realize and accomplish their dreams. I also want to be a good team member. The Bunker staff is phenominal!

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why?

My parents have definitely had the most profound impact on my life and business acumen. Seeing them run their business for two decades is an amazing education that I couldn’t acquire at any institution. I learned through a process of osmosis by immersion in entrepreneurship since an early age.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of?

Scaling and exiting my own company with my brother.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?

In the beginning, focus on things that don’t scale. Get out of the building and talk to your customers.

For more information on Harry and his interest, visit his blog

Veteran Owned Business Q+A: Dark Cubed

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Dark Cubed, a startup  focused on simplifying a new approach to cyber security.  Business Name: Dark Cubed Year Founded: 2014 HQ: Washington, DC CEO Name: Vince Crisler Key…

Dark CubedEach month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Dark Cubed, a startup  focused on simplifying a new approach to cyber security. 

Business Name: Dark Cubed

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Washington, DC

CEO Name: Vince Crisler
Key Members: Theresa Payton

Brief Business Description: Vince Dark Cubed
Dark Cubed is a cyber security company focused on developing a new, innovative product that focuses on simplicity rather than complexity.  We are developing a product that can scale and provide value to the smallest and the largest companies alike.  We take a different approach to information sharing, threat awareness, threat discovery, and triage.

Little-Known Fact About You:
I have been a DJ, Camp Counselor, and a Magician!

Briefly tell us how you decided to become an entrepreneur.
I am not sure I ever “decided” to become one, it has always been a part of me.  I started my first company in high school doing web design and have always enjoyed starting new and interesting projects.

You are a veteran-owned (or led) business. How has military service (Air Force, Communications) influenced your company?

Patience is probably one of the most important lessons I learned.  Everyone in the military has experienced the phenomena of “hurry up and wait.”  Many tend to get comfortable with the fact that things happen in their own due time, but when the moment happens that you have to take action, you must seize it.

What have you done that you’re most proud of to date?
The thing I am most proud of is starting the companies I am running now, Fortalice and Dark Cubed, and the team that we have built.  It is humbling to pull together people that you highly respect and see them give their all to a vision that you helped build.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a startup?
Constantly question your ideas and your approach and don’t get too invested in your current solution.  Time is limited and every day that goes by is a day that you won’t get back.  Many of our family and friends won’t tell us when an idea we have is bad, they try to be supportive.  Never be afraid to walk away from an OK idea to pursue a GREAT idea.

Where would you like to see your organization in ten years?
I would love to see our product fully deployed across the business and consumer markets and our team continually focused on bringing innovation to the cyber security market.  I also want to be in a position to financially support members of my team spinning off and building their own companies and products.

 

To learn more about Vince and Dark Cubed, visit DarkCubed.com