Grant on Entering Government Contracting

Entering the government contracting field felt daunting at first to Grant. “The clearance process was an unknown, so that and feeling as though my educational background and the core capabilities of the company were a bit mismatched caused some concern in the beginning.”

Grant’s educational background in mechanical engineering and math did not stop him from being one of seven computer science interns in May of 2017. After graduating in 2018 from James Madison University, he started full-time at AnaVation. “Fears over the security process subsided early on, and when I realized that even seasoned professionals were striving to learn new things daily, my initial concerns of mismatched skillsets waned as well.” He continued:

“Worries tend to accompany new experiences, so becoming comfortable with the feeling of being uncomfortable keeps things new/interesting.”

Since starting full-time at AnaVation, Grant has held many job titles in several departments including Business Analyst, Program Manager, and Team Lead with each role increasing in depth and responsibility. In addition, Grant has used his time to further many AnaVation initiatives. Grant’s experiences at AnaVation have included creating and authoring the Leadership Development Program, leading the internship program for two years, involvement in the swag committee, and providing certifications/education assistance. “From managers who are understanding of me wanting to contribute to different kinds of work while still doing my day job, to soliciting the help/input from AV SMEs on the program/corporate-sides on internal initiatives, most everyone I’ve worked with has been very willing to help and give generously of their time,” he said.

It also helps that Grant has enjoyed working with his fellow AnaVators. “It’s always been the people that make the culture for me. Everyone is incredibly busy, but I’ve yet to find someone who wasn’t willing to make time to get to know them, and I especially enjoy hearing about people’s AV origin-stories. For the folks who’ve been at the company for a while (and there are SEVERAL), they all have great anecdotes to share about others at the company, and how things were 6+ years ago (and for some, the relationships/experiences go back much further),” he said.

No job experience is always sunshine and roses though, but the best employers provide ways to support their employees through trying times. In the times he felt like giving up, Grant said he adopts a mindset that he is incredibly fortunate to be in the position/situation that he is in both workwise and life-wise. He said:

“Life consists of a lot of work, and sometimes even things that you don’t expressly want to do, but I feel as though I’ve received far more than I deserve. That mentality is surprisingly helpful when feelings of entitlement, hopelessness or languish set in.”

His favorite ways AnaVation has supported him are through education, a flexible work schedule, working from home, and generous paid time off.

While he does not use much of his PTO and appreciates the January PTO-roll over payout, Grant’s favorite times off work have been his honeymoon to Ireland and Scotland, followed closely by his brother’s bachelor party in New Orleans (“Both very fun, in vastly different ways,” he said).

Besides attending company picnics, holiday parties, poker nights, win parties, happy hours, and leadership dinners, Grant hosted a paintball event for his team in 2021. “Very much enjoyed the bonding experience of being lit up with paintballs by my team! It seems oddly cathartic for them…,” he said.

Grant’s message to the partners: “Thank you! I’ve had the great fortune of getting to spend a significant amount of time with ToddScott, and Charles during my time at AV. They’ve always backed up the company mission/vision in tangible ways, whether meeting regularly to catch up on life, recommending books to read or sharing stories from their experiences. I feel like they listen and encourage others in convicting ways to follow in their footsteps of taking care of your people and customer first and allowing all else to fall into place.”

Grant celebrated his fifth work anniversary of starting full-time in August.