Written by Nicole Foster
It was an honor and a privilege for Victor Cotto and I to return as alumni to Norwich during the beautiful June days of the Residency Conference. I graduated in 2008 with a Master of Arts in Diplomacy as a young pilot in the U.S. Air Force. I have served 14 years, including 12.5 years on active duty flying air refueling missions in the KC-10. I began my civilian career at General Electric Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the Junior Officer Leadership Program (JOLP), which is where I met fellow Norwich alum, Vic Cotto. Vic Cotto graduated in 2015 with a Master of Business Administration while also serving as a Weapon System Officer, flying the FA-18F Super Hornet. Vic served the U.S. Navy for 13 years. When we met, we were instant friends, sharing the Norwich values of having finished graduate school during our time flying in and out of combat.
Now, we are both learning the ropes at GE through JOLP, which is an experienced leadership program designed for commissioned military officers. This blue-chip veterans program offers three eight-month rotations with a GE business, including training and professional development during our transition into new careers at GE Aviation. GE is the world’s Digital Industrial Company with one common mission to build, power, cure, move and connect the world. Vic and I have continued our passion for aviation at GE Aviation working in the Commercial Engine Operation business.
We returned to Norwich in June to spread the word about both JOLP and GE’s Veterans Network. The Veterans Network is an internal affinity network created to build a community of veterans to support, hire and grow veterans. Norwich has a rich military history, and we came to Norwich hoping to hire veterans. We knew that if we returned to the campus during residency we would find fellow veterans with integrity and leadership skills in both the officer and enlisted corps to join GE as direct hires.
Vic and I participated with the Transitioning Out of the Military roundtable at the Plumley Armory. It was wonderful to mentor fellow veterans starting their transition journey out of the service and into the civilian sector. There are so many strong Norwich students and alumni service men and women answering their nation’s call who have the tools to smoothly transition – we just want to help show them the way.
Finally, we shared our transition journey and recruiting efforts with the Class of 2017 and fellow alumni during the Alumni Reception at the tent on Crescent Avenue. It was a pleasure meeting President Schneider, Kevin Beal and Dr. Fred Snow. We collaborated about what opportunities and mutual benefits could come from developing a relationship between Norwich University and General Electric.
For more information GE’s Veterans Network, visit https://www.ge.com/careers/culture/us-veterans.