Honoring Our Veterans: Leo Magadia

Leo served in the Army Reserves for about 28 years. During this time, Leo was a 12H vertical construction supervisor, an assistant program manager for the Army Corps of Engineers and was a 12B combat engineer where he specialized in demolition and route clearance. Leo is currently a lighting developer for McKinstry and based out of Austin, Texas.

In the Q&A below, you can learn more about Leo’s experience in the Army Reserves and as a veteran.

Learn More About Leo’s Experience:

What is your current role and duties at McKinstry?

I am a lighting developer based out of the Austin Metro. I started as a 21W carpentry/masonry out of our Hawaii unit. I moved to Austin, Texas and there were no carpentry/masonry positions in the Reserves, so I reclassified as a 21T technical engineering specialist (surveyor), later reclassifying to 21B combat engineer. 

What branch of the military did you service in?

I was in the army reserves starting in Guam and based out of Hawaii, later moving to Texas and working in architecture. Soon after I found a reserve unit, 9/11 happened and I was deployed. Since I was the only guy who knew AutoCAD, I did most of the drawings for deployment in Iraq. I became a combat engineer specializing in demolition and route clearance which was my favorite job and returned for another deployment, clearing IEDs and the roads. I enlisted in January 1990 and retired in November of 2018.    

What was the most memorable/proud moment you had while serving?

My most memorable moment when I joined McKinstry in March of 2020 (I am a McK Covid baby) was the companies call with Dean Allen when assured everyone that the company and the people will not be affected by the pandemic. I was afraid that I was going to get let go since I was one of the new guys. The culture and what I’ve heard and seen, the involvement at McKinstry with veterans has surpassed what I’ve seen in my career. I’ve run into several people at the company who have been in the military, and it’s been great to talk to them. Makes me proud to be part of the McKinstry family. 

How have you been able to utilize skills you learned from serving in the military in your current role at McKinstry?

Our comradery in the military. I was never in a leadership role in the army but here, if anyone needs help I’m there. Supporting of team members and me trying to support other team members, it’s just how it goes.   

What advice do you have for recent veterans moving into the civilian workforce?

Depending on what you’ve gone through and where you’ve been, if you get stuck, hung up, always reach out to somebody. Whether in your job or just social, just reach out to somebody, talk to somebody. Always ask for help. It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t make you look weak, someone is always out there to help.  

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