Breaking ground in the Coast Guard with a special accomplishment

By: Heidi Flato
A Tacoma, Wash., Coast Guardsman is the first ever to receive a significant naval honor.

Innovation is encouraged across every corner of Verizon’s business whether it be through the Innovation Centers building the products and ideas of tomorrow or inspiring students to create app for social good in the Innovative Learning Apps Challenge.

Jeff Egbert, a Verizon switch technician from Tacoma, Wash., also embodies the company’s vision of innovation.

Egbert currently serves as a Lead Petty Officer for the Maritime Security team of the U.S. Coast Guard. In January 2016, Egbert earned a naval warfare pin for Information Dominance — something no other Coast Guardsman has ever accomplished.

After beginning his career at Verizon as a sales and retail representative, Egbert showed an interest in the Verizon network team and earned a networking certificate. Meanwhile, he joined the Coast Guard Reserves and upon returning from boot camp, decided to make the next step in his career by applying to be a switch technician.

“I wanted to do something more with my life than just sales,” said Egbert of his decision to join to the Coast Guard and apply for the switch technician position.

Last year, Egbert activated with the Coast Guard and immediately set specific goals for his deployment. One of those goals was to earn the Information Dominance Warfare Pin for enlisted members, which seemed to fit Egbert’s position but is usually reserved for those in the Navy. The pin represents expertise in a certain field of warfare, but requires a broad test on subjects spanning from networking, intelligence and logistics to medical, meteorological and organizational information.

There are a lot of skills from my job that I’ve been able to apply here.

While fulfilling daily tasks and training, Egbert also completed numerous hours of classes, meetings and studying to prepare for a written and oral exam needed to earn the pin. Most participants in the program finish the required material and test prep in one year. Egbert took just four months and finished in the 99th percentile on the written exam.

Following the written test, Egbert passed in-person and video interviews with base leaders and military experts. Though the exam included sections on networking that Egbert knew from his experience as a switch technician, the majority of the material was learned while in the Coast Guard. He also credits his project management and organizational skills gained as a Verizon employee to his success as a communications specialist in the Coast Guard.

“At Verizon, I’m working with my team members and making sure all the pieces fit together for a strong network. In the Coast Guard, I’m leading a team, managing others and making sure all the processes are done correctly. There are a lot of skills from my job that I’ve been able to apply here,” said Egbert.

Before he returns to continue his career with Verizon, Egbert is aiming to earn the Port Security Pin, which is only earned by one percent of Coast Guard members.