Polycom Employee

Every November, we celebrate the courage, heroism and honor that our nation’s veterans have displayed in keeping this country safe and free. At Polycom, we’re privileged to have many working with us today. In honor of Veterans Day, we put together a small selection of commentary from some of our Polycom colleagues who’ve served in the US military. Thank you to all the veterans past, present and future, for your service.




Chet Stedman, Staff Solution Test Engineer IV / CESC, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1995-1999

Location(s) of service: Yokosuka, Japan

Organization(s): US Navy


“Being in the service taught me a lot about teamwork, respect and honor in what you do. This has impacted me in a positive way because I hold those areas close to my heart even to this day. I strive to be a great teammate at Polycom and feel I am doing it. I love what I do and I am committed to doing the best I can each and every day at work and at home.”




Drew Stone, US Federal Civilian Systems & A/V Engineer, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1988

Location(s) of service: San Diego, CA; Mare Island Vallejo, CA; Norfolks, VA

Organization(s): US Navy


"The highlight of my Naval Career would include my participation with UNITAS 32. The annual UNITAS deployment is a primary means of supporting regional stability in the Western Hemisphere. Five months each year, regular and reserve surface combatants and P-3C aircraft, a submarine and Marines embarked on an amphibious ship, circumnavigate South America. The largest annual field exercise south of the U.S. border, UNITAS has been conducted for nearly half a century. In the early years of UNITAS, a single U.S. Task Group would circumnavigate South America and conduct bilateral exercises as it steamed from country to country."


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Eric McNeal, Systems Engineer, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1989-1994

Location(s) of service: Fairfield, CA

Organization(s): US Air Force


"Service taught me discipline, team work and no excuses! God bless all of our veterans and their families; they deserve so much respect and honor for protecting and serving our country."




Frank Schaeffler, Federal Strategic Systems Engineer, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1983-1993

Location(s) of service: NJ, VA, AL, IN, Belgium, Korea

Organization(s): US Army


"#1: Taught me how to work with people from all aspects of life and cultures. #2: Taught me how to listen, formulate a plan and sell an idea for the good of the organization. #3: Taught me how to get the willing cooperation of others by demonstrating how it would benefit them. I also enjoyed leading others to help them learn more about the importance of selflessness."






Jay Berry, US Federal Systems Engineer - Advanced Programs, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1990-1999

Location(s) of service: Biloxi, MS; Anchorage AK; South Korea; Pentagon

Organization(s): US Air Force


“The Air Force allowed me to meet some of the most dynamic individuals in the world, pay for my college, travel to almost every continent (haven’t been to Antarctica), and it provided structure in my personal/professional life. It was also the reason I met my wife (when I was at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi), whom I’ve been married to for 22 years.  Also, I learned how to fold my underwear in 6-inch squares and make a bed.  :) ”




Jim Smith, Partner Consulting Engineer, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1975-1981

Location(s) of service: Limestone, ME; near Bossier City, LA; and Biloxi, MS 

Organization(s): US Air Force


"There is a sense of teamwork that military service fosters that is unmatched anywhere else."




Mike Smith, Senior Director of Global Sales Enablement & Training, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1984-1998

Location(s) of service: Brunswick, ME; Iceland; Spain; Azores; Sacramento, CA; Alameda, CA; South Weymouth, MA

Organization(s): US Naval Academy and Navy Reserve


“Service taught me the value of teamwork, taking care of your people (Job Number 1!), planning and executing, and especially how to have a good sense of humor when things weren’t fun – and they weren’t fun A LOT of the time. : )


Being in the Service was a real honor. We are fortunate to have incredibly dedicated men and women who spend a good deal of their careers away from family and friends to do what they do. I missed a lot of things like Christmases, birthdays, and ‘firsts’ like first steps, first words, and even the birth of my second child (by one day). We often think of the sacrifices our veterans make in terms of the ultimate sacrifice of their lives, but happily most of us never face that situation. Even in peacetime, veterans do miss a lot of ordinary but nonetheless important events like the ones that I mentioned above that most of us take for granted.


My two oldest sons followed me into the ‘family business.’ They are also Naval Academy graduates, and both pilots serving on active duty. One is on deployment in the Middle East, and the other is a Marine F-18 pilot in San Diego.”



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Russ Colbert, Director Government Solutions and Market Development, US Public Sector & Board Member Federal Government DLA, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1972-1994

Location(s) of service: Norfolk, VA; Naples, Italy; Diego Garcia; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Organization(s): US Navy


“My naval service molded me for everything in life. It was a great opportunity to develop leadership skills, professional processes and technical experience. As a Surface Warfare Officer and while assigned to USS Theodore Roosevelt (photo below), I was required to become qualified as Officer of the Deck Underway. This was a huge responsibility for the safety of the $12 billion ship, 75 aircraft and nearly 6,000 personnel. Flight operations were always the most intense times, without a doubt. We had many guests onboard including the President of the United States and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. I was Sen. Kennedy’s host/guide underway for one entire evening bridge watch. He and I made all the decisions together. He was the Chairperson of the Senate Appropriations Committee studying the effectiveness of US Aircraft Carriers. Shortly thereafter, the decision was made to move forward with procurement of several new ships! Guess you could say this was my first sales position!”


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Steve Burkett, PMP Global Services Business Operations, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1984-1990

Location(s) of service: Groton, CT; San Diego, CA; Charleston, SC; Holy Lock, Scotland; Bremerton, WA

Organization(s): US Navy Submarine Force, Atlantic & Pacific Fleets


"Serving taught me how to persevere to completion by staying focused on outcome. As a civilian, everything since my service has been easier. Also, it turns out I was running a mission-critical VNOC (video network operations center) years before anyone was calling it that."




Steve Erickson, Executive Director, Polycom

Date(s) of service: 1975-1999

Location(s) of service: Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Minnesota

Organization(s): US Air Force and affiliated divisions – Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve


"I learned a number of valuable life lessons -- the importance of teamwork, the opportunity to develop leadership skills for use in a variety of settings, deeply understanding the blessings of freedom and the importance of preserving our way of life. Few things in life carry a greater risk, invoke a larger cost or deliver more personal satisfaction than having the honor to serve our country."



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