Alumni Stories: Brian Knapp

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US Marine Corps 2006 to 2011
Salesforce Consultant  SparkOrange

Why did you join the military? 

It is hard to say I joined the military for just one reason. I joined the military because of 9/11, because a good number of my family has served, the benefits, wanting to be part of something larger than myself. And I was looking to be challenged.

What were your role and your responsibilities while you were serving?

In the Marine Corps I held several positions. My military specialty was 0431 Embarkation/Logistics. As a 0431, I would strategically plan the deployment of our equipment and people using an automated system to make load plans for aircraft. I successfully deployed my company to Afghanistan, and while on deployment I oversaw our base logistics (supplies), maintained two large generators and drove MRAPs on combat operations.

What are you most proud of? 

Becoming a better version of myself. Almost dying really opened my eyes and make me self-reflect to work on becoming a better person.

What is the one thing you miss about your time in the military? 

The one thing I miss the most is the guys I deployed with. We built a bond that is tough to recreate in the civilian world. 

Where did you grow up, what kind of family did you come from? 

I grew up in the heart of the Finger Lakes in NY. My family wasn’t rich by any means. If I wanted something, I had to earn it. My parents divorced before I was a teenager, my father raised me.

What challenges or blessings stand out from your history? 

On August 4, 2008, just 9 days before my 21st birthday, I hit a roadside bomb that changed my life forever. I was knocked unconscious for a brief period of time from the impact. Among the injuries I received, I have struggled the most with my Traumatic Brain Injury. I went through about a year and a half of cognitive therapy to basically learn how to learn again. My short-term memory loss was impacting my life more than I knew. I remember my cognitive therapist telling me “this might not ever get better but we will teach you skills to cope with the problems.” I’ve never let my injuries become my crutch, I am still here walking this earth. I am going to be the best version I can be and try to instill that in other people.

How did you find Merivis? What about the program made you join? 

I was sitting at the America’s Warrior Partnership National Conference, enjoying lunch with a friend, when he introduced me to a gentleman that used Salesforce and knew of Merivis. He immediately made a connection for me and explained how it could help my career by getting involved. 

What is your #MerivisMoment? 

My aha moment was during an interview. I was asked the difference between Profiles and Permission Sets. Lucky for me, my awesome instructor for PAB hammered into us the difference between the two. I was able to correctly explain the difference and show I had a true understanding.

What are your career goals now that you are Salesforce certified? 

My career goal right now is to become a Junior Consultant at my current place of employment, with the intention of becoming a Senior Consultant.

What is one skill or value military and/or military spouses have that would benefit a hiring organization?

One motto we have in the Marine Corps is “Semper Gumby”—in other words, always be flexible. Veterans and spouses are always adapting to new environments. Whether it’s a deployment, new job or changing duty stations, they adapt to the job that needs to be completed.

Sum up your Merivis experience in just one word.


If you could give one piece of advice to new students going through the Merivis program, what would that be? 

Just breathe. It may seem overwhelming at times. But know there is a community of people eager and willing to help you achieve your goals. 

How has your life and/or career changed as a result of the Merivis program, resources, and community? 

Merivis has helped me earn my Admin and Platform App Builder Certifications. They laid the groundwork for me to build my career. Without Merivis, I would not have pushed myself to earn new Certifications at such a rapid pace. I was an Admin for a nonprofit when I first learned about Merivis. Today I am a Business Analyst hungry to learn more and advance in the Salesforce Ecosystem. 

Of the people you met in the military, who had the biggest impact on you and why? 

Without a doubt it was a Two Star General. After I was wounded in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb I struggled physically and cognitively. I would often struggle with forgetting even the most basic words like gate, cabin and even names of people I know. I went through Physical Therapy and Cognitive Therapy for roughly a year and a half. I had to relearn how to learn to work through my short-term memory problems I was experiencing. I was assigned orders to a new unit about a year into my rehab, the General learned about my orders in his weekly meeting. He took it upon himself to keep me at the unit to ensure I received the care I needed. I felt like I was wasting a space at my unit because I was attending several appointments a week. At one point I attempted to apply to the Wounded Warrior Regiment which would open the slot up for a new Marine. The General pulled me aside this time and asked me to stay in the unit and take whatever time I needed to heal. His leadership is something I never will forget. He did not have to do anything for me, yet he went out of his way to get weekly updates about my health and wellbeing. 

What’s something that you get out of Merivis that you don’t find anywhere else? 

A group of like-minded individuals who have similar backgrounds and want to continue to grow their career after the military. 

A lot of people talk about community when we talk to them about Merivis. What do you like about the Merivis community? 

The Community has become a family. We often provide encouragement, guidance, assistance with employment and networking. There are many opportunities for Alumni paths to cross. When we mention we are a Merivis Alumni, an instant bond is often created. 

How would you describe the people you’ve connected to through Merivis? 

People who thrive on others successes. We are all very supportive of each. Whether it’s to lend knowledge or congratulate you on passing an exam. 

If you could add something to Merivis, what would it be? 

Swag, I would love to purchase a hoody, or t-shirt to rep Merivis, especially when I travel to SF events. I have a Vetforce T-shirt. why not Merivis?

Connect with Merivis Graduate, Brian Knapp on Linkedin

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