MYM Episode 40 with GEORGE KOVATCH copy 1

#40: Planning Your Military Career For A Successful Transition With George Kovatch

A 20-year US Coast Guard veteran, George Kovatch rose to ship command in USCG ships before moving on to Washington where he served as a Coast Guard Fellow on the Senate Appropriations Committee.  At the 20-year mark of his Coast Guard career, George decided to retire from active duty and transition to the private sector. He later returned to serve in government, most notably as Deputy Comptroller (Budget & Appropriations Affairs) in the Department of Defense.


While studying business in his senior year at college, George took a summer internship with the US Coast Guard where they actively tried to recruit him for active duty.  George completed his senior year of college and chose a full-time civilian role at a USCG district office in Boston.  His decision to transition to active duty came after the famous perfect storm rescue off the coast of New England on Halloween, 1990. 

George attended Officer Candidate School and set out to be a Coast Guard Ship Captain.  His afloat assignments were on larger Coast Guard medium endurance cutters and a patrol boat out of Miami.  George obtained his MBA from Columbia Business School in New York and transferred to Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, DC where he served as a financial manager.

George then served on the CG Cutter Vigilant at Cape Canaveral before returning to Washington, DC as a Coast Guard Fellow on the Senate Appropriations Committee.  That brought him to the 20-year career mark and the decision to transition out of active duty.

His post-military career includes being a Senior Advisor for a medium-sized private sector company seeking assistance in selling to the Department of Homeland Security. After two years in the private sector, George returned to the US government in a Senior Executive Service position with DHS before becoming the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of the Navy, and later as the Deputy Comptroller (Budget & Appropriations Affairs), Department of Defense.

Episode Highlights

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00:01:42 – 00:08:51: George shares what lead him to Officer Candidate School and a 20-year career with the United States Coast Guard.  He also shares his “afloat assignments” as and the various ships he served in.  He obtained his MBA and later served as a Coast Guard Fellow on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

00:08:52 – 00:22:31  George talks about the decision to transition out of active duty after serving 20 years with USCG and his post-military career journey.

00:22:32 – 00:30:39 Gene and George discuss how to prepare for a post-military career transition.

Your Move

Show Resources:

 I believe those with prior military service often possess enormous untapped potential. Service offers all members a framework for success, but learning to apply those lessons takes effort. I hope the shared examples of adapting to new situations during service will remind you of your own hard-won lessons in courage, leadership, and diplomacy. After retirement from service, you must draw on your senses of situational awareness and discernment to create your own light list. Blooming where planted has certainly worked for me time after time. But after military service, you really can choose where you want to plant yourself.

Connect with Gene on LinkedIn for more useful tips and proven strategies to maximize your post-military career success.

Connect with George on LinkedIn.

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Gene Moran

Gene spent nearly 25 years in uniform, serving in six ships and more than ten duty stations, and visiting over 50 countries serving as a US Navy Surface Warfare Officer and retiring as a Captain. In corporate, he led legislative affairs for a large international defense company from the Washington, DC office. In doing so, Gene gained a detailed understanding of the defense industrial base and supply chains of myriad platforms, systems and capabilities. Then in 2013, he took the leap to start his own business, Capitol Integration. Since then Gene has helped scores of companies improve their federal positions.

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