FEATURED /// Nov 08, 2022
ATLANTIC DIVING SUPPLY VETERAN HIGHLIGHT: MELISSA MATIS
Melissa Matis' path to C5ISR Business Development Manager at Atlantic Diving Supply has been one of service, dedication, and determination. We are honored to highlight her exemplary career and outstanding achievements as we celebrate ADS' valued veteran employees.
Growing up in Arkansas, Mel moved often. At times she lived in places with no running water or electricity, and she remembers doing her homework by the light of a kerosene lamp and visiting the nearby fire station to fill water buckets as her only water source. She was determined to rise above the early challenges she faced, was successful in school, and earned multiple scholarships to local colleges. With a goal of moving away from Arkansas and seeing more of the world, Mel ultimately decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps at 17, just nine days after 9-11. As an All-American cheerleader and beauty pageant winner, she was seeking the biggest challenge and the most contrast to everything she had achieved so far.
Mel began her 10-year career in the USMC as an Avionics Technician on Light Attack Helicopters. She deployed to Iraq in 2004, where she performed weapon and laser upgrades on the aircraft and served for a couple of months on the Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) team. During her deployment, Mel also established and taught boot camp fitness classes an abandoned restaurant in Iraq for her fellow Marines. After her deployment, Mel served at a recruiting station in Denver, CO. While there, she trained to be a combat fitness instructor for the newly implemented Combat Fitness Test that gauges readiness to deploy. She finished her career stationed at HQ Marine Corps in Quantico, VA where she was the direct assistant to the Combat Arms Majors Monitor.
During her time in the Marines, Mel had the opportunity to study and train at some of the very best facilities. She began her undergraduate studies in Aeronautical Sciences at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, earning her undergraduate degree in 2016 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Human Factors of Systems Engineering - all covered because of her time in the Marines and by the Montgomery GI Bill. While stationed at Quantico, Mel achieved her black belt, first degree, at the Martial Arts Center of Excellence, in addition to completing combat water survival training and testing new equipment for the combat pistol range.
"Everything I have, the houses I've bought, my education, and ultimately my career is because my service in the Marine Corps made it attainable."
After her separation and honorable discharge from the Marines, Mel realized how much she missed wearing a uniform, being part of a team, and the camaraderie she had felt during her service. Being a Marine was so much a part of her, and defined who she was, that her separation left her feeling as if she had lost a part of her identity. While she continues to pursue her undergraduate degree, Mel joined the Police Department in Culpeper, VA as an officer, and served for 10 months before deciding that she was ready for a different career path. She contacted a friend from the Marines who was working at a recruiting company and had a round of interviews that brought her to work at ABB for nearly 7 years in multiple engineering sales roles. In November 2020, Mel shifted her focus to supporting the military once again, taking a position at Crescent Technologies as the Global Sales Manager. During her time in this role, she met an ADS Representative at a trade show, and a year later joined the ADS C5ISR team.
As part of the ADS team, Mel values how she can stay connected and support the military community, and it gives her a sense of purposed excitement in her work every day. She especially likes that she is able to be part of the conversation about defense strategies and mechanisms in support of our warfighters.
Mel's extensive technical training, undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as having served with all different types of people in diverse working environments have given her a unique understanding of how hard work and diversity cultivate success in an organization. She feels she owes so much to her time in the Marines and is grateful to be able to serve those that are serving our country and help provide them with the very best equipment and technologies available.
"Because of my military experience, I think the value I place on helping customers find the best equipment and solutions for our warfighter has been an integral part of being successful. My military experience and how ADS helps our brothers and sisters in arms gives me an uninhibited drive to help customers in their success."
Mel, thank you for your exceptional service to our country and for sharing your unique story with us. We are grateful you are part of the ADS team!