Educating the Workforce

Government contractor SoBran Inc. invests in its employees to boost its bottom line

problem and made me go for it.” So in 2005, Sweatt enrolled at the University of Baltimore, where he’d eventually earn his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Sweatt later earned his M.B.A. from Towson State University.

He then proceeded to become certified as a Lean Six Sigma Sensei from the University of Villanova while taking courses on proposal, management, and technical writing. Over the years Sweatt went from mail screener to director of business development for SoBran’s engineering and logistics division. His responsibilities now are to develop a pipeline of new projects, focusing on everything from engineering classically to software engineering, logistics, chemical/biological research and defense. His next plan: possibly earning another degree in Homeland Security from nearby Georgetown University, while continuing at SoBran. “I don’t see myself leaving,” he asserts. “The way that they have treated me, the way that they have given me stability in my life, the least I can do is give back by trying to get more people on board to be treated the same way I was.”

A Harrowing Experience
The transition from military officer to entrepreneur wasn’t difficult for Otis. After all, his 20-plus year career in the U.S. Air Force included a stint as Titan ICBM Missile Combat Crew Commander back in the 1960s. To put this into context, shortly after the U.S. and former USSR were on the brink of nuclear Armageddon via the Cuban Missile Crisis, Otis was part of a four-man team that would regularly be called on to spend 30 hours at a time in a birdcage-like capsule nine stories underground behind a control panel that could launch a nuclear missile at a specific Soviet target. “You had messages coming over constantly,” he reflects. “You couldn’t sleep.”

There they would pray they’d never receive orders to launch a nearby hydrogen bomb so powerful it could destroy an entire city. “You didn’t know from moment to moment, or day to day when you went into that hole whether the next message you got was to launch the missile,” says Otis. “It was a stressful job.” He recalls an incident where an officer was overcome by the pressure and had to be removed by medics after going catatonic. Otis did this for four years and retired with a rank of major.

After a brief stint with Dayton, Ohio-based Universal Energy Systems, a science and technology services provider, Otis turned to

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