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Veterans Day Spotlight: John Kesel


John Kesel has been our Academic Account Manager here at EMA for about eight years. He is responsible for supplying all colleges and universities with our software products and ensuring their success. John is a former veteran of the US Army (Army Security Agency), serving as a Specialist 5/ E5 from 1975-1978. We are so glad we were able to chat with John about his time in the service and how it has influenced the person he is today. Thank you for your service, John.


1.    Why did you pick the service branch you joined?

I went in after I graduated from college and was looking to do something completely different.
I qualified for it, but honestly, I had never thought about doing this—it was classified and sounded interesting.


2.    Where did you serve?

I served for one year in different schools and two years Okinawa, Japan.


3.    What was your job/assignment?


4.    Tell me about a couple of your most memorable experiences.
Well I have a few. One was getting to live in Japan for two years and the other was meeting the pilots who flew the SR-71 Spy Planes.


5.    Were you awarded any medals or citations? If yes, how did you earn them?

  • 1 Letter of commendation (maxing a physical fitness test)
  • 1 Letter of Commendation (classified)
  • 2 Army Commendation Medals in two years for the work I did on two projects (classified)


6.    What types of technologies did you use while in active duty?

  • Some of the very first computers: Data General reel to reel
  • Teletype with punch tape readers


7.    Is the work you do here related to the work you did in the military?
In a way, everything I learned in the US Army has had an influence on all the jobs I have had since.


8.    How did your service and experiences affect your life and career?
It gave me the opportunity to hold jobs/positions I would never have thought of. It also taught me to always think out of the box and gave me the chance to lead groups of people—this proved to be extremely useful in later management positions.


9.    Is there anything you would like to add that we have not covered?
Yes, I am very proud to have served!


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