Shaun Gray’s brothers, father, and grandfather all served in the U.S. military. So, when Shaun was just 17 years old, he too quickly enlisted. “My father was in the Navy and my brothers were in the Army, so I had to somewhat upstage them, and I joined the U.S. Marine Corps,” says Shaun. Throughout his five years in the Marine Corps, Shaun had a variety of roles but he mentions his engagement in Operation Desert Storm as a memorable one. Upon being honorably discharged, Shaun enrolled in college where he pursued degrees in construction technology and engineering. After graduation, Shaun quickly got to work as a project manager in the construction industry. One of his most challenging and rewarding projects was building a gas station within 90 days – the first time this was ever done in the history of the organization!  

Unfortunately, in 2020 when the pandemic was in full force, Shaun could no longer work in-person. He was able to successfully complete several projects remotely which sparked his interested in Information Technology. He first began a bootcamp in website development, and he wanted to learn more about IP addresses, servers, and other technical features. Always in pursuit of more knowledge, Shaun enrolled in a veterans-only opportunity at The Chicago Cook Technology Academy via National Able Network. This opportunity would provide training for two certifications: CompTIA Net+ and Microsoft Azure.  

“It was a very good course,” says Shaun, “It was absolutely eye opening and it allowed me to connect the dots on a slew of different concepts. The hands on that the instructors provided gave me the clarity that I needed. National Able Network and the type of instructors they had gave me clarity. It was one of the best courses I’ve ever taken.” Currently, Shaun is seeking his next opportunity. He is working closely with National Able Network’s Business Service Representative, Summer Alnuaimi, for his dream job. “She is relentless in making sure I’m getting chances and opportunities,” says Shaun.  

Shaun credits his military service for being able to transition quite seamlessly. “I think my experience in the military and my growth from the military actually catapulted me into a better headspace going into the IT field. The education from the Marine Corps and being resilient enough to overcome barriers of entry was about grit and grime… I learned to stay on the path. Without military experience and being relentless in achieving a goal, it would’ve been a lot of more difficult to stay focused and stay the course. I’ve learned that the only way to fail is when you quit.”