#DutyToServe: Damon Hill

For those who have not had the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, it’s impossible to put into words the truly unique experience serving our country provides. Duty and service makes a person who they are and the bonds that are formed in the military can sometimes be stronger than family. At SDV Solutions, we understand the sacrifice that these men and women make because we’ve been there and we’ve made those sacrifices too. We know that there is no better pool of talent than the U.S. Military, an organization centered around learning and leadership. Over half of our team members are military veterans and we’re proud to tell their stories through a new series we’re calling #DutyToServe.

Meet Damon Hill, Global Field Services Regional Lead

As a child with an active imagination living in a rural community, Damon Hill learned early on that if you want to avoid trouble, it’s best to find something positive to involve yourself with and stay busy. In a childhood shaped by family, faith, and follow-through, Damon learned critical life lessons that would lead to a successful 20-year career in the Air Force, and ultimately to a career with SDV Solutions, in continued service to the federal government.

When he was 14 years old, Damon moved with his mother from Fort Worth, Texas, to Temple, Oklahoma, to be closer to his grandmother and to build a life with a foundation rooted in family. In Oklahoma, Damon’s discipline was shaped in part by his mother, who insisted that he be present in church every Sunday. His grandmother was also a force of nature, showing him through her own entrepreneurship how to be enterprising and remain committed to his cause.

Damon’s stepfather was another impactful role model and helped shape who he has become. As an Army veteran with no work responsibilities and who was doing well financially, Damon’s stepfather seemed to have a life worth striving for. He challenged Damon to think about what he wanted to do with his life. He taught Damon to always keep a dollar in his pocket, to dress to impress, to keep a healthy standard for himself, and to “take care of his business.”

The Call to Serve

When he was 17 and considering career paths, Damon took the ASVAB test and earned a high score, driving demand amongst military recruiters. The U.S. Navy recruiter who called on him recognized that Damon had valuable skills and was showing up at his house or calling on an almost daily basis. The extra pressure led Damon to hesitate about joining the Navy, but Damon found the Air Force recruiter’s approach to be more amenable to the pace of his decision making. The recruiter took the time to show Damon all of the jobs that he would be a good fit for and one of those jobs appealed to Damon.

Damon ended up taking the Air Force’s offer to become a telephone journeyman in May of 1998, and in August, he was off to orientation. After completing basic training in San Antonio, Damon led a 20-year career in the Air Force that took him to all corners of the Earth. He shipped out to his first duty station in Okinawa, Japan, before taking an assignment at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait.

Damon was in the DFAC (dining facility) at Ali Al Salem when what looked like a movie on TV turned out to be a real-world event that would change the trajectory of his career. Damon found out that what he initially thought was a movie was the live broadcast of the second plane crashing into The South Tower of the World Trade Center. It was on that day that he decided to reenlist for an indefinite tour.

In the years that followed, Damon’s role of Telephone Journeyman merged with the Telephone Systems and Networking jobs to become a Client Systems Support role. He leveraged his training in this developing field to bolster his technical skills, working to knock down career milestones and prove to himself and his commanding officers that he was worthy of greater responsibility.

Joining the SDV Solutions Team

Because of Damon’s demonstrated expertise in the Air Force and because of his versatility, he was well-respected by his peers and leaders. His opinion was often solicited on projects that weren’t even related to his line of work. Praise from leaders ushered him into new roles with more responsibility. Ultimately, Damon retired from the Air Force as an E-6 Technical Sergeant. It was his flexibility and experience that led to his career at SDV Solutions. Even though Damon’s focus was on hardware, his ability to conduct dialogue with clients on the full scope of their problems to ensure a successful resolution is what allowed him to succeed.

In our interview with Damon, he shared a critical life lesson that has helped him continue to strive for greatness: “Things don’t always go as expected, but being flexible and having patience are skills the military taught me and that I rely on for success today.” As a Global Field Services Regional Lead, Damon provides support to our clients located in the San Antonio area in Texas. The “hurry up and wait” style of preparation learned in the Armed Forces is a skill that enables Damon and the rest of our team to provide fast and reliable support to our customers today.

Outside of work, Damon is a father of four children and is married to his wife whom he met while serving in the Air Force. Faith continues to be a foundation for Damon and his family. As time has allowed, he served in the media ministry and as a deacon at his church. He makes it a priority to pass on the values that were shared with him as a child to his own children, teaching them about faith and instilling healthy discipline in their lives.

Damon’s Advice to Service Members

Having led a successful career in the Air Force and moved into his civilian role where he is now thriving, Damon’s advice to service members is simple: “No matter how long you spend in the service, that time is never wasted. You can be the very best civilian worker you can be by absorbing valuable lessons that some people will never get. You have a unique opportunity to take those lessons into the next chapter of your life.”