It’s All in the Details

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Initial success or total failure.

That was the motto Matthew J. Allen’s team lived by day in and day out. His team was responsible for decommissioning Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s) during active wartime in Afghanistan. Allen and his Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team were on call 24×7 to defuse IED’s as they were discovered to clear the way for troops.

In October 2013, his team was called in for what has been dubbed the “Block Buster Truck Bomb,” one of the largest Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBID) ever discovered.

Two members of an Explosive Ordinance Disposal team with remains of vehicle-borne-improvised explosive devices

In comparison to the truck bomb that leveled buildings and killed 168 people in Oklahoma City back in 1995, this bomb was estimated to be more than 12 times larger at 61,500 pounds. If that wasn’t distressing enough, the massive bomb was composed of a chemical compound that proved deadly to Allen and his team.

In the 12 hours it took to decommission the massive VBID, Allen and his team continually inhaled the chemical compound which has been known to cause respiratory trauma. For Allen and a few of his teammates, the prolonged exposure led to cancer. Lucky for Allen, during a routine medical visit, his esophageal cancer was detected.

“They caught it extremely early so it was really good, they took care of it, took it out and I just get monitored now,” says Allen. Due to his early diagnosis, the rest of his team were tested and treated as well.

Allen initially joined the Army as a young college kid looking for direction in his life. What he came away with was a lifetime of memories and experiences that he now uses in his daily life and his job at Dell.

Attention to detail is key here, as one small misstep causes orders to break, be miss-shipped or wrong items/pricing to be placed.

“Attention to detail was a big thing for us.”  Allen said, “In schooling and in the field, you make a mistake, you fail. With my job here at Dell, I am very detail-oriented, making sure I get everything right the first time.”

Matthew Allen stands with his military patches in the lobby of Dell headquartersThat attention to detail has garnered the appreciation of his management team and his customers at Dell.

“Allen has been a home run hire for us,” raves Allen’s manager, Greg Smith.  “Allen manages the tactical execution of our Federal consumer program business.  Allen had some legacy customer issues that he needed to solve before he was really able to be proactive. He had no problem jumping in, researching the root cause of the issues, putting a plan in place to solve, and then putting that plan into action. Attention to detail is key here, as one small misstep causes orders to break, be miss-shipped or wrong items/pricing to be placed. I have several customer ‘raving fan’ emails for Allen, which only further cements his place as a rockstar on our team.”

With Allen’s days of defusing intricate and enormous bombs behind him, he now repurposes his talents to calmly defuse potentially detrimental customer issues for Dell, ensuring the success of his customers’ organizations and proving himself invaluable to his Dell team.

We’re actively recruiting the next generation of movers, shakers and innovators and we think military experience fits the bill. Learn more about how you can discover what it feels like to focus on a healthy lifestyle after your military service, meeting personal and family needs all while empowering career growth at Dell.

About the Author: Amy Winebright

Amy Forbes Winebright Amy’s current role as the Global Employment Brand Project Manager at Dell seamlessly melds her earlier career in marketing and sales with more recent experience in brand marketing and human resources. She has worked with small start-up businesses where everyone wears several hats to large corporations. At the heart of it all she is a brand advocate who is thrilled to advocate for Dell, a powerhouse company that values innovation and growth much like a startup, truly the best of both worlds. Outside of work Amy spends time with her family, tries her green thumb out in the garden and loves to see the world through her Canon lens. Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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