Honoring our military veterans who step forward every day

As we approach the annual recognition of Veterans Day on November 11, we are reminded of the brave men and women who serve and protect.

We are proud to recognize our General Communications employee veterans:

Army – David Owen

Navy – Jason Harry, Gene Langsdorf

Air Force – Brian Bierman, Gary Pelletier, Philip Preston, Mark Rossignol

Marines – Cory Meinholz, Jeff Tober

Veteran Philip Preston recently joined our team as a radio frequency technician at our Madison office. He served in the same capacity with the U.S. Air Force at Beale Air Force Base in California and remains active in that position with the Wisconsin Air National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Madison.

A graduate of Kettle Moraine High School and UW-Waukesha with an engineering degree, Philip spent some time recently talking about his role with General Communications, what he enjoys about his profession and what it means to serve his country.

Q: What motivated you to join the military? Were you influenced by family or friends who served?

Philip: I wanted to experience living in a variety of locations around the world, and learn and work with all kinds of technology.

Q: Have your perceptions about life in the military changed since signing up?

Philip: I recognized how the military environment is incredibly diverse. There are soldiers with relatives who have been in the armed forces for generations and those who are the first person in their families to join. I met men and women who have never left their hometowns and those who never needed a driver’s license. The military is a wide range of backgrounds where everyone comes together to complete whatever task is set in front of them.

Q: You enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 2010. How did this experience impact your career choice or were you already aware of what you wanted to do?

Philip: When I joined, the book was simply thrown at me on frequency signals and how the military uses them in its operations. It was not until I was released from active duty and went into the Air National Guard that I saw how radio systems are much more involved in networking and software. It is definitely a large field to explore and the team at General Communications has tons of knowledge and expertise. I hope that I can learn from everyone here.

 Q: You joined General Communications in September 2020.  What is it like being a radio frequency technician?

Philip: I currently test, tune, encrypt, and program radios. It is mostly new radios that are being ordered from customers, but I sometimes travel straight to the customer. I reprogram or update their radios without the hassle of shipping in order to keep their downtime without radio communication to a minimum.

Q: What do you love most about your job and working for General Communications?

Philip: There’s a family connection here, even in these eventful times. I like how the company owner, Greg Vlack, says “good morning” and asks how the employees are doing. The kid in me enjoys how closely General Communications works with fire departments for all of their radio needs. Getting an up-close look at all of those firetrucks is a definite plus.

Q: Tell us something that others may not know about you, professionally or personally.

Philip: Both of my parents are deaf, so I grew up in a household where we used sign language to communicate. I quickly learned to become a good middleman for my parents. I think it helped me grow in understanding, and trained me to translate someone’s wants and needs in order to pass on information as smoothly as possible. It is a helpful trait to have in the military and at General Communications when dealing with customers.

Q: Is there anything you want people to understand about military service and what it means be a veteran?

Philip: There are so many people who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces. It’s always great to experience the local, state and nationwide support from Americans, and hear from those veterans who are eager to share their military experiences and stories.