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Interview: Wireless executive and Marine Corps veteran, Manny Hernandez, named 40 Under 40 in San Diego Metro Magazine

Manny Hernandez is a decorated veteran of the United States Marine Corps, who has established a successful career in the internet of things (IoT) industry.  He is the vice president of North America at Queclink Wireless Solutions – one of the leading suppliers of wireless telematics and IoT devices.

While Manny has developed a formidable reputation in the industry over the last 15 years, his former military career sets him apart from the rest. Recently, Manny was recently named in the 40 Under 40 by San Diego Metro Magazine – it’s very impressive!

We asked Manny a few questions about his military career and how it has shaped his life and subsequent occupation.

Interviewer:

Hi Manny, thanks for joining us. Congratulations on being named 40 Under 40 by San Diego Metro Magazine.  Just looking at the list of honorees, it’s quite an accomplishment and you are the only military Veteran on the list, serving in the United States Marine Corps.  How does that feel?

Manny:

I am very humbled that someone would even consider my nomination and at the same time immensely proud to represent for the veteran communities and especially the Marine Corps veterans of the area.  In San Diego County, veterans make up about 12% of the population, and so I am surprised to be the only honoree. I would love to see more success stories from our veterans to motivate the future generations.

Interviewer:

When did you join the Marine Corps, and what was your primary motivation?

Manny:

I joined the Delayed Entry Program in 1999, I left for boot camp in 2000 and exited after my deployment to Iraq. As far as motivation, I guess it was a calling or something I felt compelled to do at that time. I wanted the discipline, I wanted to be both physically and mentally strong and above all else to be part of the most elite fighting force in the known universe.

Interviewer:

What was your role in the Marine Corps, and where did you serve?

Manny:

I was a Logistics Management Specialist.  I would manage the operational readiness for communications and transportation. I spent most of my time at Camp Pendleton until 2003 and about 10 months in Iraq.

Interviewer:

Did you find that your military training helped you with your career?

Manny:

The short answer is yes. Every Marine has the makings of an incredible leader because we are subjected to the same rigorous training and discipline.

In the military, we are all exposed to so many different styles of leadership, both good and bad, and if it doesn’t break you, it sharpens our ability to adapt and overcome, which makes us more mentally resilient.

But let me not paint a perfect picture.  Towards the end of my enlistment, I had become jaded, unapproachable and a bit too aggressive, I had to teach myself how to be a civilian. I had to listen more and leverage my training to motivate others around me. It took me a few years to figure it out.

Interviewer:

How did you decide to pursue a career in IoT?

Manny:

It’s a funny story because I applied for a Logistics Manager job in the wireless industry and I had no idea that it would turn in to a career.  Luck put me in front of the Chief Operating Officer of Franklin Wireless, David Lee, and he took a chance on me to be his rand hand.  I spent four years with him as the lead Product Manager and we grew revenues from a $3M to $100M. I am still very appreciative and still good friends.

Interviewer:

You have three kids and a wife of almost 20 years, how did you maintain this balance as you were growing your career?

Manny:

It was difficult.  Getting started in my career in the wireless industry, I was in a very high profile job, while learning.  So I would leave the house at 6:45a and come home by 6:00p, spend time with my family until 10p and work some more until 2am – and I did that for about four years.  Of course, when I could, I would dedicate myself on Friday nights and Saturday to my family almost exclusively.

As my career took off, the balance became more difficult as I was traveling for weeks at a time overseas and traveling every other week.  We had one car at the time and my wife and our three kids would see me off and pick me up – it was very tiresome for her, but my wife is what keeps us balanced.

Interviewer:

Has your military service left any permanent emotional or psychological scars, like post-traumatic stress disorder? If so, how do you cope with this?

Manny:

Sure, I am partially deaf in my left ear and I do have PTSD.  Coping with not hearing so well is actually not so bad, I speak loudly and in turn people speak up when they respond.  In regard to PTSD, that’s a bit different, I have trouble sleeping and focusing.

Not being able to sleep was difficult because my mind is always going, so I use the time that I am awake late at night to volunteer, learn or just think of new opportunities.  I keep my mind busy and I am pretty diligent about making checklist.

Everyone is different, I was able to take control of my own issues and work them out with the support of my family.

Interviewer:

What advice would you give to military servicemembers transitioning out of service?

Manny:

The world is big, keep an open mind and be patient with yourself and with others.  The military taught you everything else.

Thank you Manny for your time!
You can follow up with Manny Hernandez on Twitter @mannyhernandez to learn more about Queclink visit
www.queclink.com

 

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