What is the Salute Military Community?
The Salute Military Community is a unique cohort of veterans and the military community who serve as examples of the value their experiences bring to our industry. The Military Community supports Salute’s mission and strives to achieve our shared vision of providing veterans and military spouses career opportunities in the data center industry. We are proud of the military community for giving back to other members seeking to start careers in this industry.
Lee Kirby, Salute Co-Founder, and retired Army colonel, interviewed Military Community member Scott Todd, Operations Manager at Salute Mission Critical and Air Force Veteran.
Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood?
I am the oldest son in a family of five, consisting of two older sisters, a younger sister, and a younger brother who tragically lost his life to cancer. Growing up in Texas, my upbringing was deeply influenced by the values instilled by my family and the community around me. As I embarked on my journey in life, I felt a sense of purpose and a strong belief that I was destined to serve a higher calling.
Motivated by a desire to serve and protect, I made the decision to join the Air Force. This marked a significant turning point in my life, as it presented an opportunity for personal growth, self-discovery, and the chance to make a difference in the world. Through my experiences in the Air Force, I have been fortunate to meet incredible individuals, forge lifelong friendships, and contribute to the defense and security of our nation.
My journey has been shaped by the love, support, and resilience of my family, who have stood by me through thick and thin. Their unwavering presence has been a source of strength and inspiration, guiding me in my pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment.
And what are you doing today?
As the Operations Manager for Staff Augmentation at Salute Mission Critical, I have the privilege of leading a dedicated team responsible for providing support to esteemed data centers.
In my role, my primary focus is to ensure a smooth onboarding process for new team members at Salute. I understand the importance of establishing personal connections and fostering a welcoming environment. We prioritize the well-being and satisfaction of our employees, ensuring they feel valued and supported from day one.
At Salute Mission Critical, we go above and beyond to take care of our people. We believe that when individuals join our organization, it is essential for them to see friendly and familiar faces, creating a sense of belonging and camaraderie. By providing a supportive and inclusive culture, we strive to create an environment where each team member can thrive both personally and professionally.
Through effective communication, mentorship, and ongoing support, we ensure that our employees have the resources they need to excel in their roles. We prioritize their growth and development, offering opportunities for continuous learning and advancement.
As the Operations Manager, my dedication lies in nurturing a strong team dynamic and fostering a positive work environment. By building relationships based on trust, respect, and open communication, we create a foundation for collaboration and success.
Can you tell us a bit about your military background?
In 1982, I made the deliberate decision to join the Air Force, fully aware that it would become my lifelong career. For twenty years, I dedicated myself to serving our country, but in 2002, my children approached me with a heartfelt request – they wanted me to be present in their lives more, prompting my official retirement from the military. It is worth noting that I have now spent more years outside the military than I did in it.
Throughout my extensive military tenure, I primarily served as part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit, commonly known as the bomb squad. If you’ve watched the film ‘The Hurt Locker,’ you would gain insight into the nature of my work. With great responsibility and courage, I confronted dangerous situations involving explosive devices, dedicating myself to protecting the lives of others.
In addition to my role in EOD, I also had the privilege of serving as a military training leader for three and a half years. This position allowed me to pass on my knowledge, experience, and values to the next generation of servicemen and women, shaping them into capable and disciplined individuals.
During the last two years of my military career, I assumed the role of an additional duty, First Sergeant. This responsibility required me to provide guidance and support to my fellow servicemembers, ensuring their well-being and morale remained high.
Reflecting on my service, I recall a conversation with my grandmother who once remarked, “You aren’t normal; do you realize the risk you face every day?” Her words resonated deeply with me, highlighting the inherent dangers associated with my line of duty. However, I carried out my responsibilities with unwavering dedication and a profound sense of duty to protect others, despite the risks involved.
Now, as I look back on my military career, I am grateful for the invaluable experiences, lifelong friendships, and the opportunity to serve my country. While my path has led me away from active service, I carry the lessons learned and the values instilled with me in all aspects of my life.
Can you share the most interesting story that you experienced during your military career? What “takeaway” did you learn from that story?
Throughout my military career, I had the privilege of undertaking various responsibilities that provided unique experiences and opportunities for personal growth. One significant aspect of my service was being part of the Presidential support team, where I had the honor of serving the Bush, Clinton, and Bush families. Ensuring their safety and well-being was a duty I took seriously, and it allowed me to witness firsthand the inner workings of high-level leadership.
In addition to my role in Presidential support, I served as a military training leader, dedicating my efforts to developing young airmen into capable and confident individuals. Emphasizing the importance of leadership, I focused on nurturing their growth, enabling them to thrive both professionally and personally.
One of the remarkable aspects of my military career was the opportunity to visit fascinating locations across the globe. I spent seven memorable months on the picturesque island of Diego Garcia, situated just six degrees south of the equator. This remote tropical island served as a launch site for B52 bombers during Desert Storm, making it a pivotal location in a historic conflict. Subsequently, I had the privilege of traveling to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, experiencing the beauty and cultural richness of these diverse regions.
The events of 9/11 unfolded during my time in the United Arab Emirates, where I held the esteemed position of Chief of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) as a Master Sergeant. This critical role required me to respond to incidents and ensure the safety of personnel and communities amidst an ever-evolving threat landscape.
Throughout my military journey, I developed a profound understanding of effective leadership. I learned the distinction between being a boss and being a leader. Rather than dictating commands, I embraced the role of a leader, dedicated to fostering the growth and success of those around me. By empowering individuals and helping them reach their full potential, I aimed to create a supportive and collaborative environment.
Do you think your experience in the military helped prepare you for business or leadership? Can you explain?
Throughout my Air Force career, one valuable aspect was the opportunity for continuous learning and development. Whenever one decreased in rank, it was customary to attend leadership schools. These schools provided essential education and training to cultivate working leaders. Prior to becoming an officer, attending a prep school was a crucial step toward building the foundations of effective leadership. As one progressed beyond the rank of E5, there was a focus on further leadership development, equipping individuals with the necessary skills to lead throughout their career.
John Maxwell has been an influential figure in my journey. His numerous books, particularly his work on the five levels of leadership, have profoundly impacted my approach. I strive to embody the principles outlined by Maxwell, leveraging them to enhance my leadership effectiveness.
Another significant influence on my mindset is Roy Vadin, author of ‘Take the Stairs.’ His powerful quote, “Success is never owned, it is only rented, and the rent is due every day,” resonates deeply with me. This philosophy reinforces the importance of consistent effort, dedication, and a relentless commitment to growth and excellence.
In my methodology, I emphasize the value of teamwork. I firmly believe that together, everyone achieves more. Recognizing the interconnectedness of our efforts, I appreciate how our collective contributions impact the overall success of our organization. This is what I find most fulfilling about my role at Salute Mission Critical.
I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance to lead and make a difference in various capacities throughout my life. From my military service to my roles in event security and professional sports security, I have witnessed the profound impact a dedicated team can make. It is a source of great joy and fulfillment to be part of teams that have left a lasting mark on the world.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped you get to where you are? Can you share a story?
When reflecting on the individuals who have played a significant role in shaping the person I am today and helping me reach where I am, I am most grateful for my grandfather and father. These remarkable men were not only my heroes but also exceptional role models.
They imparted invaluable life lessons that have guided me throughout my journey. They instilled in me the importance of family, teaching me how to care for and support my loved ones unconditionally. Their emphasis on honesty and genuineness has served as a moral compass, influencing my actions and interactions with others.
One of the most profound lessons they taught me was to judge individuals based on their character rather than superficial attributes such as race or color. They emphasized the significance of understanding and respecting where people come from, fostering empathy and compassion in my worldview.
I am forever grateful to them for their wisdom, guidance, and unwavering support. Their teachings have shaped my values and shaped the way I navigate relationships and challenges. Their influence continues to resonate within me, reminding me to approach life with integrity and a deep appreciation for the diversity and experiences of others.
You are a part of the Salute Military Community that shares a common passion for helping veterans and military spouses get into the data center industry. It is centered on veterans helping veterans. Why is this important to you?
Being a part of the Salute Military Community that shares a common passion for assisting military community members in entering this industry holds immense significance to me. I understand firsthand the sacrifices and dedication that these individuals exhibit, as I have experienced it myself. Each member of the military community, just like me, has willingly put their lives on the line and expressed their readiness to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
The unwavering commitment and loyalty displayed by military personnel, as exemplified in movies like “A Few Good Men,” deeply resonates with me. It serves as a reminder of the profound bonds and sense of duty that exist within the armed forces. I had the honor of knowing the very first Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Sergeant, and his memory continues to impact me every single day. His legacy serves as a constant reminder of the selflessness and courage that define our military community.
Assisting military community members in entering the industry is of utmost importance to me because it allows me to give back to those who have given so much. I am dedicated to providing support, guidance, and opportunities for those transitioning from military service to civilian life. I firmly believe that our military personnel possess unique skills, resilience, and a strong work ethic that can greatly contribute to various industries, including this one.
By helping military community members navigate their career paths, I strive to honor their sacrifices and ensure they can find meaningful employment that aligns with their skills and aspirations. It is my way of expressing gratitude for their dedication to our country and their unwavering commitment to preserving our freedom.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
If given the opportunity to inspire a movement that would bring significant positive change to the largest number of people, it would be the “TEAM” movement: Together. Everyone. Achieves. More.
The power of collaboration and collective effort is unparalleled. By fostering a sense of unity, inclusivity, and shared purpose, we can unleash the potential within each individual and harness the strength of diverse perspectives. The “TEAM” movement would emphasize the importance of working together, breaking down barriers, and celebrating the unique contributions of every person.
By rallying individuals from all walks of life, we can create a society where cooperation and collaboration are valued above all else. This movement would encourage people to recognize that when we come together and leverage our collective skills, knowledge, and resources, we can achieve far more than we could on our own. Through collaboration, we can tackle complex societal challenges, promote equality and justice, and foster a sense of belonging for all.
Furthermore, I am immensely grateful to be married to my best friend and the love of my life. Our partnership exemplifies the strength and joy that can be found in deep connections and mutual support. In sharing life’s journey together, we inspire and uplift one another, amplifying the positive impact we can have on the world around us.
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can follow me on LinkedIn.
If you are a veteran or military spouse looking for an exciting career in a growing industry, contact us at Salute. We can help put you on the path to success.
If you are looking to close the data center talent gap with individuals committed to bringing military precision to their careers, contact us. Employ the heroes of today, tomorrow.