Sgt. 1st Class Esteban Sepulveda: Charting his own path to success
Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and TransitionARLINGTON, Va. - "The military is a success pool, and it's what you do with the opportunities that are presented that make all the difference." - Sgt. 1st Class Esteban SepulvedaSgt.1st Class Esteban Sepulveda says he first saw that pool of success in his own family."I come from a family that has served since World War II. My father, step-father and several other family members had long successful careers in the military. I believed joining the military was a no brainer," said Sepulveda.The Texas native says his own journey towards success began in 1999 when he joined the military as a bridge crew member in an effort to provide a better life for his family. In 2003, after deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, he suffered his first back injury. Many years of pain would follow and after having corrective back surgery in 2016, Sepulveda says he knew it was time to make a career move."I was upset, angry with myself and confused because I didn't know what to expect next. I felt for the first time in my career it was in someone else's hands and I had no control. The reality was my Army career was coming to an end," Sepulveda said. "I started to look at the successful things my family had accomplished through our time in the military and it reminded me that things could be worse. The military provides you with the opportunity to grow and be successful and have a sense of belonging."Sepulveda says he began utilizing resources at the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Bragg, North Carolina to write the next chapter of his life, what came next was a domino of blessings."The Chief Information Officer at a local hospital asked me a very important question. He asked if I wanted a job or a career. He suggested that I lean towards the health field or computers," Sepulveda recalled. "I shadowed Mr. Michael Leach, the WTB Information Management Division specialist, from that point on, I was sold [on information technology]. I selected everything that said information technology along with receiving sound advice and guidance from the transition coordinators including Lisa G. Ordukaya, Larry Lingenfelter, and Cedric Minor," said Sepulveda."Sgt. 1st. Class Sepulveda has been a leader since the day I first met him. He is proof that hard work, practice and the power of networking are very important to any person who is trying to find a new purpose and opportunities beyond the military," said Minor. "Sepulveda embraced his own transition from the military and our programs. He is an example of someone who understands the importance of being the best, knowing what's best and doing the right thing," Minor continued.Sepulveda enrolled in Fayetteville Technical Community College's Transition Tech Program and the United Service Organizations' Pathfinder Program where he received a host of certifications, completed a project management course, earned his Lean Six Sigma yellow and green belt and graduated from the Cisco Cyber Training Program. A short time later, he found himself attending a job fair."I recall Mr. Minor giving me advice as I attended the job fair event. He told me to network, pay attention to the movers and shakers in the room and convey to them that I am ready and willing to be trained. I knew the power was within me at this point and I could stand on my own," Sepulveda said. He took the advice and made the most of his interactions and it worked. Sepulveda has two job opportunities to decide between by the end of the month thanks to the job fair.Sepulveda credits his accomplishments to believing in himself and the love and support of his wife, children, family and friends. "I live my life according to a quote from motivational speaker Les Brown: "Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else."