Veterans Day is a special time for each of us to pay tribute to the brave men and women in uniform who have served in the military. At Comcast, we recognize the importance of helping veterans transition from service into the workforce and civilian life.
Comcast NBCUniversal collaborates with organizations that support military communities. Since 2011, our company has provided over $197 million in cash and in-kind giving to these organizations. We also continue working with partners to develop programs and advocacy initiatives to increase access to the Internet, develop digital skills and career programs, and improve the wellness of veterans, service members, and military families. Our Team UP national employee volunteer program brings Comcast teams together to show their respect and support for military communities.
In California, we sat down with Trent Clausen who serves as Regional Vice President of Engineering and a former Captain in the U.S. Army. Trent took a moment to chat with us during a Q&A about his time in the army, his transition into the workforce, about his trajectory within the company, and here is what he had to say:
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Minnesota and lived there until I moved to California in May with my wife Kerry for this new chapter in our lives.
How many years have you been with Comcast? In what roles/locations?
I’ve been with Comcast for about 4 years now. I started in 2018 in Twin Cities working in Engineering, then I went into Technical Operations, and now I’m back in Engineering, but in California.
Our transition to this state has been a great adventure thus far. I’m blown away at the breadth of the California region and looking forward to taking advantage of all things California, which include enjoying the outdoors, wine country, the coast, and much more.
What initially inspired you to join the army?
My father was a former vet who served in the Navy. He worked as a Navy construction worker, but he never really fostered a military service attitude or required me or any of my siblings to join.
My interest came from wanting to be a pilot growing up. I had a classmate in high school who ended up going to the University of North Dakota (the top aviation school in the nation) and studied aviation and asked him for his insight. He suggested that I apply to the school and join the Army ROTC program.
The ROTC program had a scholarship that I applied to that had them not only pay for my tuition but also provide me with a job right after school. I started flying during my first semester at UND and spent 3 years doing so. I went from flying fixed-wing planes to helicopters during that time.
After college, I spent a total of 8 years in the active military and spent time across the United States on the West and East coasts, respectively, along with serving time in South Korea as well.
How was the transition from serving as a Captain in the Army to fulfilling corporate roles at CenturyLink and Comcast?
You would be amazed at the level of similarity and overlap there is between corporate America and the military. Aside from the number of acronyms each organization uses internally, the level of dedication and commitment individuals have to their teams and their work draws parallels as well.
So, my transition from active duty into civilian and corporate life wasn’t too far away or drastic for me. Following my years of service, I was also fortunate to hire a recruiting firm to help me transition into the corporate world as well.
What advice would you have for veterans who are aspiring to enter the corporate workforce as you did?
I think the best advice I could give is to say find a mentor who has made a similar transition or find a recruiting firm that can represent you well and transition your skills and resources into the job you’d like to do.
I’ve been lucky enough to provide that mentorship opportunity to several former active military personnel as they’ve looked to transition into the corporate workforce. I’ve also played an active role within Comcast is looking to hire more veterans on our engineering and tech ops teams here in California and in the Twin Cities.
How has being in the military influenced your leadership style and work ethic?
The greatest thing I learned is that communication is important and how I communicate with my colleagues and my peers matters. Through intentional communication, I can better understand how to express our key objectives to my team and what best practices we should implement to ensure they have the necessary tools and resources to complete their jobs efficiently and effectively.
In the military, you learn that leadership and management come in layers and those have resonated within my work ethic. I need to set the right expectations and also be accountable for my entire team for all of us to succeed. Working together is imperative to get the job done, and that is similar in the corporate workforce when meeting deadlines and finishing tasks.
Who is a person in history that would be your icon in leadership and work ethic?
President Theodore Roosevelt truly stands out to me. His stance on perpetual change, struggle, and accomplishment are things that have made me who I am today. He continuously, physically and emotionally, challenged himself to test his limits and expand his limits over time. I try to do that as well and learn from my colleagues to be a better boss and a better person as well.
How would you describe your role as the Regional Vice President of Engineering for Comcast California?
They say with age comes wisdom and I believe that to be true for me. The older I have become the more intent and understanding in my life changes. At this point in my career, my main focus and job are to bring the best out of my colleagues and help them achieve things they never thought they could.
I also want to continue learning and think of myself as a “lifelong learner” because I never want to remain stagnant in my life or career.
And I will share that to be a better boss and colleague, we should leave every conversation we have with teammates as an opportunity to learn from them or learn something new and adapt that into our best practices.
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
I am truly passionate about continuing to learn every day and being a better boss, colleague, husband, and father.
Aside from that, I am also a religious Cross-fitter. Fitness plays a huge role in my life and I’m passionate about staying healthy and active.
What does Veterans’ Day mean to you?
As a veteran, remembering and honoring everyone who has served and their families is especially important. Veterans have put duty and service before everything else and we owe them a debt of gratitude for that
I’m grateful to work for a company like Comcast which has been a huge proponent of hiring Veterans after their active service. Comcast was a lead corporation early on to begin hiring veterans and providing resources to them and their families during that transition. I’m thankful to work for this company and I applaud Comcast for taking that bold move years ago.
I look forward to seeing what else we will do to provide opportunities for Veterans and how else we can go bigger and better at Comcast.