Join PCI Mid-Atlantic in celebrating military personnel making significant contributions to the precast concrete industry. Our May “Veterans in Precast” blog series highlights a few individuals who have cultivated successful precast and prestressed concrete industry careers. They represent roles in production, engineering, sales, various administrative positions, and purchasing, to name a few. These professionals have found meaning, purpose, and success in the construction industry, manufacturing products for our nation’s infrastructure and many buildings across the Mid-Atlantic region.
Service Background Skills are Fit for the Construction Sector
When speaking with veterans and researching the many reasons for hiring qualified former military personnel, the benefits are substantial—veterans bring the following attributes and characteristics to the workplace:
- Proven leadership and readiness for leadership roles
- Mission-focused approach to work
- Experience working in diverse teams and organizations
- Ability to adapt and make immediate contributions
- Strong work ethic
- Capacity to perform under pressure
- Creative problem-solving skills
- Self-starting initiative
Brandon Duffel, Sales and Business Development Manager of Shockey Precast/Metromont Corporation shows us how the journey from military service to the precast concrete industry is never linear. Each veteran brings a unique and valuable perspective to this industry.
Brandon continues our Veterans in Precast blog series by sharing his service history, educational background, and work journey.
PCI-MA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I joined the Navy after graduating high school in 1992. After boot camp in San Diego and Air Traffic Control School in Millington, Tennessee, I spent the entirety of my military service at Point Mugu Naval Air Station in Southern California, where I became certified as a Terminal Radar Approach Controller. At Mugu Approach, we guided military, commercial, and recreational pilots approaching and departing from three airports within eight miles of one another. I was discharged in 1997 without one day spent on a Naval Ship.
My post-Navy career began as a deckhand on a cruise ship, and for the first time, I felt what it was like to go to sea—albeit on (mostly) calm waters in a vessel that served rack of lamb and whole lobsters. I spent a couple of years between cruises on the East Coast, the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe until I decided to attend college. I received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York City in 2006. After graduating, I had a chance encounter on a basketball court in California and heard of a good opportunity for recent engineering graduates at a precast company in Sacramento. I had never heard the word precast before, but I sent a resume and was immediately offered a position in project management. I managed architectural precast cladding projects for five years in California before relocating to New England. I continued in the precast industry as a Sr. Project Manager and later General Manager of a small architectural precast producer south of Boston. I joined Metromont in 2020 and moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.
Family and Interests Outside of Work
I have four daughters: two teenagers, a 3-year-old, and a 9-month-old. My wife and I have our hands full, juggling their schedules and our own. When space opens for free time, I enjoy sport shooting and hunting.
PCI-MA: How did you learn about the opportunity at your company?
Brandon: I contacted a placement firm specializing in the precast industry, and they introduced me to Metromont. From my first impression to today, I know I made the right choice. The Metromont family supports each other and our clients and creates high-quality products.
PCI-MA: How have the skills you learned in the military helped you in the private sector?
Brandon: Adaptability; the military demands flexibility to change—you see this in changes to your work location and environment and personnel changes within the environment. And although the job or task may be the same, the equipment and technology available will change between settings. This background allowed me to enter a new environment with new people and adapt to their culture and process.
PCI-MA: What do you like most about your role and the company you work for?
Brandon: Researching and developing new opportunities. As a Sales and Business Development Manager, I have the pleasure of engaging with clients during the development phase of a project. This is most exciting when their design is in the schematic phase or earlier—when they start to develop the form or shape of the structure needed to accomplish their goal.
PCI-MA: What project or initiative have you worked on that was particularly impactful to you?
Brandon: As a Sales and Business Development Manager, I discovered that my success depends on my ability to identify and contact key people outside my company and show them the benefits of precast systems. As a result, I pursue every opportunity to get in front of teams of designers and developers to share our experience and solutions. I’ve found that the presentations become Q&A sessions that plant seeds for future pursuits.
PCI-MA: What advice would you give a veteran interested in working in our industry? Tell us a little about your transition to the construction sector.
Brandon: Cast a wide net within the area/region where you’d like to live. Remain flexible and open to opportunities—they are out there.
Find more of our Veteran in Precast series on our blog, and if you’re interested in carving out a career in precast concrete construction for yourself, browse our career center to get started!
About Metromont Corporation
Metromont was founded in 1925 on the principles of faith, honor, and passion, and 96 years later, those values are still the foundation of who we are and everything we do. With nearly 1,500 associates across six manufacturing facilities in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, Metromont is a leader and pioneer in the engineering and manufacturing of precast concrete. Most of all, we’re a trusted partner, working side-by-side with our customers from the earliest stages of project design through the turnover of the completed structure. Across the eastern seaboard, the southeast, and even as far west as Arizona, our customers rely on us to provide innovative precast solutions and the best quality for their parking structures, data centers, multifamily housing, office buildings, warehouses, and distribution centers. And we do because a trusted partner is who we are – and who we’ve been for nearly a century.