During his four years in the military, Woody McOmber saw a lot that put his American freedoms into perspective. In the early 1990s, he spent time in the Caribbean Sea rescuing Haitian refugees, which made an impact on him at a young age, and it made him appreciate the freedoms he had in the U.S.
As a vice president at Burn & McDonnell, McOmber lives in Splendora, Texas, a small town northeast of Houston, with his wife of 33 years. Together, they have four children and one grandchild.
Drawn to the coast
“My family has a long history of military service. With my first attempt at college going poorly, I decided I needed more structure in my life. That structure came in the form of the Coast Guard as I felt drawn to their mission, and I wanted to be close to the coast.”
“From November 1990 to August 1992, I served aboard the USCGC Forward, which fell during a time of political unrest in Haiti. Several of our Caribbean patrols were spent rescuing Haitians from small, crowded boats who had set out to reach American shores. On our patrols, we would intercept those refugees, bring them aboard the cutter, feed them and then take them to the Navy base in Cuba for processing. As a young person, seeing the life these people were fleeing from really taught me to appreciate the opportunities we have as Americans.”
Caring for the community
“I am currently on the board of directors for a charity in my community, the Community Assistance Center of Montgomery County. This organization helps people in Montgomery County, Texas, who have fallen on hard times. Our Basic Needs Crisis Intervention service has a significant impact on veterans as we assist with mortgage/rental assistance, emergency shelter vouchers, utility assistance, food and clothing, homeless care kits, transportation vouchers and prescription assistance, along with information and referral services.”
“I think veterans entering the industry as recent college graduates brings a maturity that isn’t seen in other recent graduates. They tend to have a stronger work ethic and a better ability to work in a team environment. They bring a ‘do what it takes to get the job done’ attitude that is very valuable in the workplace.”
Learning to lead
“I learned many lessons while serving in the military that has helped me throughout my professional career. My years of service taught me attention to detail, which is an essential attribute of a design engineer; how to stay calm in high-pressure situations, which helped me succeed as a project manager; and how to lead a diverse team of people, which is critical in my current role as a vice president.”