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Member Spotlight: Boots to Business with J.P. Snyder

Our member spotlight this month falls on J.P. Snyder, Director of Business Operations at Zero Eyes, founder of Transition Sensei and DOD SkillBridge Program manager. J.P. sat down with Treehouse to talk about his own journey of leaving active service, translating the skills he learned in the military into the corporate workforce, and providing advice to those starting their own journey from boots to business.

From an early age growing up on the beaches of Jacksonville, J.P. remembers having military presence around. Both his grandfathers served and he grew up admiring the tall strapping marines walking around the Naval Air Station. He went through JROTC in high school and on to ROTC at Virginia Tech with the core of cadets for college. From there he did his initial trainings at Quantico and Camp Lejeune before coming to Hawaii in 2017. After spending almost 5 years on active duty in Hawaii, he came to a realization. He didn’t want to have the job of his boss or his boss’ boss. Then came the question of what next.

After some reflection, a little perspective, and a few good mentors, he came to the realization it was time to focus elsewhere. He left active duty in October 2020, right in the height of the pandemic. Everyone was staying home, no one really knew what was going on, and there was a stop order for guys moving around the country, so his career opportunities became limited fast. He pivoted and took the restriction of not being able to leave the country as an opportunity to explore and find out what he really enjoyed. This journey took him through all of the National Parks west of the Mississippi, across the Blacks Hills of South Dakota to visit with Lakota tribe servicemembers, to a 10,000-acre bean farm, and across the threshold of many friends’ homes. The throughline through this whole journey was the presence of his fellow servicemen.

“Through that experience I was able to spend a lot of time, specifically with my military friends, and the connections I had made through my service…I knew I wanted to continue with that. No matter where I went next or what I did I was always going to have that affinity or connection, that unspoken bond with men and women who have served in the armed forces.”

These experiences opened his eyes to the rich diversity of opportunities available outside of the traditional corporate world. Finding his way to a startup called Zero Eyes, which offers an AI weapons detection solution, JP started on the next step of his post-service journey. Beyond helping the company grow from 20 to 200 employees with operations expanded across 40 states, J.P. also helps manage their DOD SkillBridge Program which provides a platform to support fellow veterans in their transition from active service.

Taking this calling a step further, he has now started the social media page @TransitionSensei which aims to bridge the gap between veterans seeking employment and the companies looking to hire them by providing helpful insights and guides for those starting on their transition journey.

While the opportunities and resources for veterans are vast, here are some quick tips from JP to help get you started:

1. Embrace Change: Transitioning doesn’t mean you have to know your dream job right away. Embrace change, try different roles, and discover your true passions along the way

2. Leverage Transferable Skills: Military service instills valuable skills such as teamwork, discipline, and adaptability. Recognize and leverage these skills in various roles, not just in traditional military fields.

3. Seek Self-Awareness: Understand your personal interests and preferences before you start looking. What makes you happy? What does your ideal day look like? Are the career paths you’re considering lining up with those things? Self-awareness will help guide you in what works for you

4. Explore Resources: Don’t limit yourself to one resource or organization. Explore various programs, support groups, and mentors to find what works best for you.

5. Enjoy the Adventure: Transitioning out of active service is an adventure, not a strict roadmap. Approach it with a sense of curiosity and an open mind.

J.P.’s dedication to helping veterans transition successfully is not only commendable but transformative. Transitioning from military service to the civilian workforce may be a significant change, but with support like Transition Sensei, the DOD Skillbridge Program and many other programming in place, veterans can embark on this adventure with optimism and excitement. J.P. is a compassionate, knowledgeable, and tenacious pillar of the Treehouse Community and we’re so happy to call him one of the ohana.

J.P. Snyder

Director of Business Operations

Zero Eyes

Treehouse Kahala

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