The First 90 Days: Transitioning from Government to the Private Sector

Frank Helmick 067A.jpgThis week, SOSi’s Vice President of Mission Solutions Group (MSG), Lieutenant General (Ret.) Frank Helmick joined senior government executives who are transitioning to the private sector at WashingtonExec’s “Navigating Your Transition to Industry Seminar.” Helmick discussed the “First 90 Days” including sharing dos and don’ts and tips for a successful transition.

What I’ve learned in the Private Sector – Frank Helmick

  • Managing $1 billion is much easier than making $1 billion. Succeeding in the private sector is hard.
  • The windshield is larger than the rear view window. Once you decide what your next career step is, take the challenge by the reins and go for it, and don’t stop to look back.
  • Understand the size, benefits and culture a company offers before you make your choice. All will have a huge impact on your transition and future success.
  • Read all of the company’s policies and procedures before you start, and you’ll already be a step ahead of most.
  • Make a concerted effort to maintain your former relationships. It’s a small world and they will come in handy in the future.
  • Make original mistakes. You will make mistakes. Use failure as a learning opportunity.
  • Listen to everyone in the organization. Some of the best ideas will come from coworkers lower on the totem pole.
  • Don’t talk badly about your competitors. Your competitor on this contract could be a partner on the next one.
  • Don’t wear your former rank or position. Get ready to work with every member of your new organization and don’t think you or your program will be the #1 priority of the team on day one.
  • Be yourself and get ready to work hard. Enjoy your success!


ATMa.jpgLTG Helmick retired from the U.S. Army after a distinguished 36-year military career, including as leader of the U.S.’s only Airborne Corps and the nation’s largest military installation. He completed three tours of duty in Iraq, including overseeing the drawdown of U.S. combat forces.

SOSi’s Missions Solutions Group enables the U.S. government and its partners around the world to focus on their core competencies by providing logistics, engineering, procurement, construction, training and other vital support services. One of the first contractors with "boots on the ground" in Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2002, SOS International (SOSi) has been operating successfully and continuously in Iraq for over 12 years in support of the U.S. military and private companies.

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