In the Meet Our Veterans series, we’re proud to recognize Netsmart associates who have worn the uniforms of the armed forces. It’s sincerely a privilege to work alongside individuals who have served our country. We thank them and all military members and their families across the U.S. for their service yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Continue reading to follow Gregg’s unique journey from the U.S. Navy to Netsmart.
Gregg Jacoby, Senior Proposal Writer
- What motivated you to join the military?
My family could not afford to help me through my secondary education. When my SAT and ACT scores were published, representatives from the Army, Airforce and Navy began showing up at work to discuss what they had to offer. I had no interest in the Army, and the Air Force said that I could not be a pilot due to my glasses. The Navy was relentless, and they interested me with their Nuclear Power Program. In 1975, nuclear power was the future. They promised to start me at Petty Officer (E-4) pay, but I had to sign for six years. My grandfather was also a retired Navy/Coast Guard vet. I loved that guy. He was proud too.
- Why did you choose the military branch you did?
The Navy was the only service that offered Nuclear Operator education. I ended up working as a certified senior reactor operator instructor for five different civilian power plants over 15 years.
- What lead you to a career at Netsmart?
I ended my nuclear career in 1996. I was tired of moving around from plant to plant and wanted to settle down. After moving to Long Island (my favorite place), I started working in a family business. By 1998, I knew it was time to find something new if I wanted to stay on the island. Newsday, a local paper, had an ad listed for a technical writer position for a behavioral health software company called Creative Socio-Medics. I applied since I had a heck of a lot of experience in technical writing. They called me in. They hired me. Yada, Yada, Yada, it is now 2019.
- Described the transition back into the civilian workforce.
I had a job waiting for me in Ohio when I got out. Living in NYC at the time, I did not want to leave, but the pay was over five times my Navy salary. Since the rock star track wasn’t paying, I moved to Cincinnati. It didn’t feel like much of a transition since most of my fellow operators were also Navy vets. I did however have to adjust from the plant not rocking side-to-side relentlessly and not being at sea over 85 percent of the time.
- How do you recognize Veterans Day?
I do think about those who gave their lives and feel for the loss their families have. I am proud that I gave the USA six years active duty in the Navy. I am proud that I am Honorably Discharged. However, these are feelings that I have every day. Veterans day is more for the civilians to contemplate the many stresses that I am intimately familiar with.
- How has your service and experiences impacted your work at Netsmart?
I was discharged in the middle of 1981. However, between the Navy and civilian nuclear programs, I developed a never quit, can-do work ethic that I have used for the last 20 years with Netsmart.
- What was the one thing you learned that surprised you from your time serving?
I learned that although I made many great friends, I was not a big fan of the service. I missed everyone that I loved back home. Besides letters, I had no way of communicating with them. Conversations would take two to four weeks, requiring great patience when you ask a question and wait for an answer. There were no phones. In Europe, on liberty, it cost a dollar a minute to talk with someone on the phone. I did that a few times even though the Navy pay in the 70s did not support that price. A call would cost three days’ pay!
Even though I was not a great military fit, I learned that I could summon the strength to do the right thing, excel in school, serve and be honorable enough to have earned my Honorable Discharge. That was one of the happiest days of my life. I ripped the rearview mirror out of my car and threw it in the woods 😉. Don’t look back. Lean forward.