Alumni Spotlight: Ron Abate ’97

Career Coach and Consultant

 

Captain Ron Career Coach and Captain Ron Consulting

 

UCF Degree in Industrial Engineering

 

Describe your job and responsibilities:

I am self-employed and own/operate two businesses. The first, Captain Ron Career Coach, CRCC, (CaptainRonCareerCoach.com), is fairly new. I deliver a series of career seminars, offering tools and techniques for overcoming a variety of challenges encountered by job seekers in their search for employment. The second business is Captain Ron Consulting, where I am a contracted consultant for the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) as a Cadre speaker in the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP). In this role I present to deploying and returning military reserve and national guard personnel.

What motivated you to start your business after you retired from the Navy?

When I was a working as a civilian at the Naval Air Warfare Command Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), I was a Systems Engineering Supervisor and developed the hiring and interviewing skills for my businesses through on the job training, seminars, formal training and tons of practical experience at work. I loved mentoring, coaching, interviewing, and counseling, so the transition into doing this as a business when I retired from NAWCTSD was easy. I wanted to continue helping people to achieve success in job hunting, in their careers, and to offer guidance along their journey. That’s what I enjoy doing most in life, just helping other people.

Eventually, I would like to retire completely, close down my businesses, and just enjoy life with my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love working in my two enterprises, but eventually we all have to step aside and allow others an opportunity to work and help others. And then I want to go on vacation, when it’s safe and there is no threat of becoming sick or infected by traveling!

What do you consider your proudest professional accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment so far was being asked to become a Cadre speaker for OSD under the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. You don’t just apply for this position; you are referred by people in the program and must compete for the opportunity to serve with them. After serving as a YRRP volunteer speaker for 10 years, I was nominated in 2018 by an anonymous sponsor, but I think I know exactly who that was. I believe it was the person who asked me for help with their resume a year or two prior, and as a result of my recommendations, that person was hired by OSD in a key YRRP position. It is truly an honor to serve in the Cadre of speakers. This was an awesome opportunity to support our military in my retirement, and to give back to those who serve our nation.

Describe a moment that you felt particularly proud to be a UCF Knight.

This happens to me a lot. When I graduated, my in-laws bought me a beautiful Seiko watch with the UCF Pegasus logo on the face. I’ve had the watch now for over 23 years and I get so many compliments about that watch. The best part is when somebody proudly says that they or a relative are either attending classes at UCF or have graduated from there. I offer them kind words of encouragement and thank them for sharing, and that interchange makes me proud to be a Knight.

Who was one of your favorite UCF professors, and what would you say to that professor today?

Dr. Charles Reilly was one of my favorite professors. At the time, he was the Chair of the Industrial Engineering Department, and taught several of our classes. He had a great teaching style that made us want to learn more about the subject. He knew his subject matter very well and helped to shape us into the successful engineers that we are today. I know he’s moved on to higher positions at UCF, he was very deserving of that honor. The other department professors were also great, and I still remember the important things that each of them taught me.

If I were to see Dr. Reilly today, I would thank him again for all that he did to help me and my fellow classmates along our journey to becoming an engineer. I would thank him for his patience, guidance, and leadership. And then I would invite him have lunch with me to discuss times past. Thank you, Dr. Reilly!

What would you say to a student who is considering UCF to study engineering or computer science?

UCF has a reputation for being one of the best universities in the country, especially for engineering. I would give them many examples of successful people who graduated from UCF and tell them that we earned many scholastic awards over the years in competitions against other universities, especially in engineering and computer science. I would talk about the Senior Design project, the first hands-on technical experience for many of them, where they will learn how to work as a team, develop leadership and technical skills, and learn how to present their findings to judges during the Senior Design Day competitions. It’s a blast!