11.08.2017People

U.S. Veterans continue to serve and protect

By: Eric Wilkens
Kat Hardy

Hardy spent time on several bases throughout the country and overseas, including deploying during Operation Desert Storm / Shield. Photo credit: Kat Hardy

The engine of the airplane hummed loudly as white, puffy clouds whizzed by the windows of the jumbo jet.

In the distance, the New York City skyline glistened. Thousands of lights illuminated the seemingly endless grid of buildings. It was 1994.

At the bottom of the airplane, rubber wheels expelled from their stowaway and slowly locked into position.

The plane prepared for landing at Newark Airport.

For Kathrina “Kat” Hardy, the visit to New Jersey was merely a formality, a favor to her former gunnery sergeant in the military.

“I only took the meeting because he was insistent,” Hardy explained. “I was content with my job in Texas and I didn’t want to move to New Jersey for a new position. That changed pretty quickly.”

Active service

Hardy, now a senior manager in threat intelligence at Verizon, is responsible for improving cyber incident response capabilities within the organization. At the role’s essence is a similar theme that Hardy took on in the military: the desire to protect others.

She is direct and forward, confident and poised. Her 12 years in the military shine through when speaking with her.

“I was a wild child at heart,” Hardy explained, somewhat surprisingly. “As the youngest child in a military family, we were always on the move and I was spoiled. It was good for me as a kid, but I needed more structure.”

After graduating from high school, Hardy enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where she soon found the direction she needed. Hardy was the honor graduate for her platoon in boot camp and graduated third in her class from non-commissioned officer school. 

“It was exciting to work in computer technology because its landscape was always changing; you needed to adapt to the times,” she said.

Hardy spent time on several bases throughout the country and overseas, and served in a variety of technology roles in her career, most significantly deploying overseas during Operation Desert Storm / Shield.

But deep down in her heart, she felt it was time to settle down and make a permanent home base for herself.

Life after the military

After being discharged from the military, Hardy searched for her first civilian job. She networked and applied for different jobs in the information technology sector, and ultimately found a role in Texas. She was happy.

But her phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Calling her was a former gunnery sergeant who insisted she take a meeting at a company called Bell Atlantic.

“I had no intention of moving to the northeast, but ‘Gunny’ was insistent about me just taking the meeting and having a conversation,” Hardy explained.

It turned out to be a good meeting.

Hardy moved to New Jersey and began working at Bell Atlantic, which after a series of transactions, became Verizon.

She was able to tap into her computer technology and military experience to succeed in her first role at the company in the IT sector.

“The military provides you with skills that will translate outside of the service,” she explained. “The military trains you to think outside of the box and empowers you to make decisions, and those are some of the fundamental traits that it takes to succeed here at Verizon.”

Hardy is one of more than 10,000 military veterans who work at Verizon, which prides itself on its commitment to hiring, training, and developing those who served our country.

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She added that she’s proud to work at a company that has such a commitment to hiring and developing military veterans and families. It’s evident in the way Hardy speaks about her experiences.

“I am tough and fair with my team, and I make sure they are taken care of and have the tools to be successful,” Hardy explained. “In the military you’re taught to love your team, that any accomplishments or successes are shared by the team. That’s the mentality I take to work every day.”

Hardy is one of more than 10,000 military veterans who work at Verizon, which prides itself on its commitment to hiring, training, and developing those who served our country.

“The security landscape is always changing,” she explained. “Even though the uniform changed, the core tenant of wanting to help people understand how to protect themselves and their company assets remain.”

Visit our Military page for more information about Verizon’s commitment to veterans and the military

For related media inquiries, please contact story.inquiry@one.verizon.com

About the author(s): 

Eric Wilkens is on the external communications team at Verizon. He is focused on next-generation public relations, brand storytelling, and digital campaigns. His background includes technology, broadcast, and higher education.