John Helmick

Having served for 24 years in the Army, John Helmick is quick to cite the success strategies his military mentors taught him. A first sergeant conveyed the importance of compassion when dealing with difficult personalities.

At an Army infantry school where John worked, a captain demonstrated how best to present data and effectively communicate ideas. Another taught him to “establish [him]self as the expert and never do anything to diminish that reputation.” Yet another helped him see the positive in all situations and always find a way to get the job done.

John brings all this practical wisdom to his work at DRT, where he serves his country’s farmers, ranchers, and crop producers with customer-friendly, equitable, and centralized IT services through DRT’s contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Services Agency (FSA).

A problem solver from the outset, John joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) while at Virginia Tech to help him maintain the required GPA and to keep his options option with conscription into the Vietnam War looming. “I figured that if I was going to see Southeast Asia I would rather do it on my terms -- as an officer and a helicopter pilot.

John went on to fly the CH-47 "Chinook" helicopter in combat, serving for a year with a "band of brothers" in Vietnam he says he will never forget. Other high points of his Army career included two stints of duty in Germany where he cruised the Rhine, skied the Alps, enjoyed Oktoberfest – and witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Lieutenant Colonel Helmick retired from the service in 1993 and launched into civilian consulting.

His advice for service members making the transition to civilian life? “Have a well-defined plan. Carefully review your military skills and experiences and see how they translate in the job market. Pick three of your strengths and find the best job descriptions for those assets. . . Learn how to network!

John finds his work at DRT similar to his best military assignments: “The team is very well organized, led by very talented, well-qualified people. There is a strong mission orientation and an ability to quickly adjust to changing priorities.” Like the environment his one-time mentor fostered, John says DRT is a very positive place -- where everyone has an opportunity to contribute and add value.