In honor of Veteran’s Day, Noblis was proud to feature a Veteran Spotlight Series to spotlight the service of some of our employee veterans, including Noblis NSP employees Neil Gensler (U.S. Army), Lauren Pesin (U.S. Navy), Alex Smith (U.S. Marine Corps), and Michael Norkus (U.S. Air Force).
Read the spotlight below to learn more about their honorable service, and visit the Noblis website to read the rest of the series. The leadership skills, sense of duty, and commitment our 200 veteran employees bring to Noblis is invaluable—and we’re proud to spotlight their service.
Neil entered the Army in 1988 as an enlisted soldier on active duty, working in military intelligence. In 1992, he received an ROTC scholarship, and commissioned into the Army Reserves in 1996. Today, he still serves in the Reserves, supporting the European Command J2 (Intelligence).
Since joining the Army, Neil has developed a strong sense of duty, and shared that the strongest memory he has from the military was the day he heard Iraq invaded Kuwait on the radio.
“My roommate and I looked at each other [after hearing the news], and I remember time standing still, as we agreed that the world as we knew it was about to change,” said Neil. “Through Desert Shield, Desert Storm, the Gulf War, the War on Terror – everything ties back to that one moment, and that one seemingly inconsequential statement on the radio.”
Neil continues to help protect our homeland in his role at Noblis NSP, as he supports the Department of Homeland Security’s Advanced Analytics effort.
Said Neil, “I think my views on duty and commitment match well with the Noblis environment.”
Lauren served in the Navy for seven years, following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather. Her family connection to the Navy, desire to travel and meet new people, and interest in supporting intelligence and national security missions is what inspired her to serve.
“I thought joining the U.S. Navy would honor my family, provide me the opportunities and training I wanted, and help me to serve beyond the military,” said Lauren.
Lauren recalls that an early morning call to “turn on the news, and get to work ASAP” set the stage for one of her most memorable times of service. It was September 11, 2001, and she was stationed in Hawaii.
“9/11 was a time when janitors, linguists, analysts, airmen, sailors, and soldiers came together seamlessly all in the hopes of helping our country and citizens in need. We were a team,” said Lauren. “I knew I was fortunate to be alive and in a position to make a difference. That is when any lingering doubts I had about joining the military evaporated. I knew I made the right decision to serve.”
Lauren’s service in the Navy has heavily influenced her career path. She entered the civilian world with diverse experience supporting a joint command, and had training and skills that could open up doors for her in the contracting world.
“I’m thankful for all the U.S. Navy has given me,” said Lauren. “I’m one of the lucky ones who served, survived, and thrived because of my military experiences.”
Today, Lauren is a cyber threat intelligence analyst at Noblis NSP, supporting DHS and DoD. She said that Noblis’ dedication to mission and passion for serving the public influenced her choice to work for the company.
“Working for a company that understands and shares these values is important to me,” says Lauren.
Alex served in the U.S. Marine Corps for more than 23 years. A family connection and childhood love of superheroes is what drew him to join the military and serve others.
“My dad served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam, and similar to most boys I wanted to be like my dad when I grew up,” said Alex. “I also liked Saturday morning superhero cartoons as a child, and no matter which cartoon I watched, the message seemed the same— the main characters fought for people who would not or could not fight for themselves.”
Alex says that the camaraderie he experienced as a Marine is his greatest memory. A 1985 quote from Former President Ronald Regan comes to his mind when he reflects on his time on active duty, which reads: “some people spend a lifetime wondering if they’ve made a difference in this world. The Marines don’t have that problem…”
Today, Alex is a cyber threat intelligence analyst at Noblis NSP.
“Working at Noblis allows me to continue to serve the country,” says Alex. “During my time with the company, I’ve worked alongside USCYBERCOM, NSA, DHS, and FBI. In my mind, I’m still fighting for people.”
Michael served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years. He was inspired to serve by his family, his interest in “all things air and space,” and his desire to serve a greater good.
“By age 13, my decision to join the Air Force had been made,” said Michael. “To serve is more than a career choice, it was and is still seen as a vocation…a calling.”
Michael recalls that serving in the Balkan and Kosovo conflicts was a profound memory of his service, especially because those conflicts took place only a few years after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
“I found myself standing side by side with my former adversaries, planning and executing operations together,” said Michael. “We were integrating Western and former-Soviet forces in one concerted effort against a shared threat, which was ironic having lived most of my life during the Cold War.”
Like many other veterans, 9/11 also shaped some of Michael’s most memorable times in service, that had a profound effect on him and his family.
“Taking my children to see the Pentagon to explain why Mom and Dad devoted their lives to service, it brought us together in a way no other means could.”
He shared a memorable conversation with his five-year-old son following the attack, while playing with his Legos. “When I asked what the structure was, he said it was a new and stronger Pentagon to stop the terrorists and help you protect the people better.”
Today, Michael is a cyber threat analyst at Noblis NSP, developing new tools for integrating intelligence and network/security operations.
“I continue to seek opportunities serving the greater good for the Nation and Noblis was a natural transition,” said Michael. “In many ways Noblis displays the same cultural, ethical values and way of life from my time in the service.”