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A Mission to Serve — Josh’s Veteran-to-Fed Story

Ask people around the Richmond Fed about how they got here and you’ll get a different story every time. That’s what makes our workforce unique. For example, meet Marine Corps veteran Josh Barrett, whose quest for a second career led him to the Fed’s Information Security area. Here's his #MyRichmondFed story


Barrett prepares to stick his landing.

I started my career in special warfare, going from the Navy to the Marine Corps, landing as a recon Marine. I was on the rescue mission after the USS Cole was bombed, and stayed in Yemen to provide security details to the State Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Following that, I was recruited as an intelligence specialist, which eventually morphed into a human intelligence-counterintelligence case officer role — in layman’s terms, I basically recruited spies from around the world, and then countered spies through double agent operations.

Fast forward to March of 2017. A friend of mine was working for a large cybersecurity company in San Francisco, and suggested that I create the insider threat program for them in Virginia. So after 25 years in federal service, I entered the private sector. The money was outstanding but the company — and the commute — was not. So, I resigned and took the next two months off, spending time with my wife, newly adopted son and my college-bound daughter. It was really nice to sit back and enjoy life.

Barrett and his daughter share an emotional moment.

When I began looking for a job again, I made three promises to myself: no more crazy commute, find something aligned with my morals and values at a place with a true sense of mission and real goals, and never take a job solely for the money.

And that’s where my Fed journey began. Someone suggested the Federal Reserve System, and in particular, National IT, so I applied just for kicks without knowing much. But as I started researching and talking to people, I learned about their very important public service mission and also how the leaders are employee-focused and the people truly enjoying working here.

What clinched my decision, though, was how I was treated when my mother, who lived in Ohio, had a brain hemorrhage. I explained to the Fed recruiter what was going on. They were so accommodating. They told me to stay as long as I needed and even connected me with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. They went out of their way to extend the interview and hiring process, making arrangements for me to travel to Cleveland if need be.

I’ve been here about a year and half and genuinely enjoy coming to work every day. Having experienced both government and private sector organizations, this is a unique institution. Everyone here wants to do the right thing, to continue the mission in the most efficient and just way. There is an open mindedness to talk about things and explore them. And, you’d be hard-pressed not to find leaders who are willing to help the younger folks as you do throughout the Federal Reserve System. I’ve seen that firsthand, and am a mentor here myself.

One thing I try to impart among my peers is that no matter how stressful things get, it’s how you respond to them that makes the difference. At the end of the day, my boots are dry and no one is shooting at me — life is good!

Barrett and some of our other veterans are featured in the July issue of Virginia Business magazine.

Want to become part our #MyRichmondFed story? Search our current job openings and apply today.

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Jim Strader (804) 697-8956 (804) 332-0207 (mobile)