Biocom Institute’s Veterans Initiative provides veterans access to a variety of life science industry professionals and executives. Complete with job skills workshops, an industry-focused career fair and mentorship pairing, this program provides a holistic approach to addressing skills gaps, hiring and job-search challenges, and a unique direct connection between veterans and the life science industry.

For more information, or to get involved with our Veterans initiative, contact us.

Veterans Committee

Our member-driven Veterans Initiative Committee is comprised of veterans currently working in life science. The committee discusses the needs of current veterans transitioning to or working in a career in life science, as well as the best strategies they can implement to succeed. By sharing experiences and discussing solutions, the Veterans Initiative Committee helps Biocom Institute’s veterans programs be relevant, helpful, and successful.


Veterans Symposium

Our symposium regularly includes an industry overview, company spotlights, career panels, and information on applicable education programs, all specific to veterans. This half-day event is ideal for veterans who want to take the first step and explore if life science is the right industry for them, as well as veterans already dedicated to life science and hoping to expand their network and knowledge base.

A few roles where veterans tend to thrive in the life science industry: 



Project Management

Project Management

Information Technology

Information Technology

Business Development

Business Development

For a list of other Life Science Careers visit our career portal. 

Military Fellowship

The Biocom Institute’s Military Fellowship Program provides meaningful career readiness experiences to local veterans interested in obtaining gainful employment in the life science. Veteran participants are matched with mentors in the life science sector, who support the veterans through a year-long program by providing industry-specific knowledge and exposure to a variety of facets of the industry, making meaningful introductions, and assisting in goal setting and achievement.

Participation in this program does not guarantee job placement or a job offer from a mentor. All military branches are welcome to apply. Participation is limited to veterans living in San Diego County.

Please note that while the mentors are here to guide and assist participants, the participants are expected to take initiative and make the most of these opportunities, networking events, resources, etc.

2021 Military Fellowship Fellows & Mentors


Langley Barth

UCSD's Rady School of Management
MBA Candidate

Langley Barth is a full time MBA Candidate at UCSD’s Rady School of Management focusing on Supply Chain Management.  Langley spent the past five years as a Surface Warfare Officer onboard warships. 

While serving, Langley deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and most recently returned from the South China Sea in July of 2020.  He is a detailed planner and clear communicator that is passionate about succeeding as a team.  Langley’s attraction to the Life Sciences Industries, much like his initial choice to attend the Naval Academy, stems from a commitment to serving causes that are for the greater good.  Langley is interested in the potential of wearable devices for early detection of life-threatening conditions and the promotion of healthier living.  Upon graduating in June of 2022, Langley hopes to work for a medical device company that helps to provide medical solutions and technology to a broader populace.

Tomas Figueroa

University of California, Irvine
Chief Administrative Officer

Tomas Figueroa is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Office of the Chancellor and Office of the Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor at University of California, Irvine. With 17 years of experience working in higher education…

…Tomas has been responsible for program management, personnel recruitment and merit review processes, financial administration, and developing strategy for University resource allocations. His foundation in administrative management, finances, and leadership began with his enlistment in the U.S. Army, where he served as an administrative sergeant and completed his eight-year term of service managing financial resources and training for military postal operations. Tomas earned an MBA with a focus in organizational leadership from Brandman University and a BA in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. He is also the co-founder and co-chair of the Faculty and Staff Veterans Association at UC Irvine.

Heath Hazen

U.S. Navy SEAL Team
Director of Operations

Heath Hazen is a Naval Officer transitioning from the military where he served 27-years working in Special Operations. He is experienced in leading high performing teams, building interagency relationships… 

…and developing technical solutions in complex, dynamic, and high-risk environments. His most recent position was the Director of Operations at a SEAL Team with over 450 members. His professional work ethic is deeply rooted in the C.L.I.M.A.T.E. philosophy. Communication up and down the organization is vital to a successful organization. Leadership is fundamental, either following those who inspire you, or leading those in your charge. Integrity is essential to building trust among your teammates. Mentorship must be part of any team to elevate the team’s potential. Accountability must hold everyone to own the results of their actions. Training must occur to ensure professional development is a continued process that is encouraged. Equality means the same opportunities are provided for success. Heath has been married for 18 years and has two children. Having traveled the world with his family, in his off time, he enjoys participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, sailing, scuba diving and going to the beach. Now that he is transitioning from the military, he is currently enrolled at UCSD in the Executive MBA program, and he is seeking to enter the Bio-tech industry. He is keeping his mind open and saying “yes” to the opportunities and challenges of exploring something new. Heath is looking for an organization that has great culture, a relevant mission and performing a role in the Business Development side of the organization.

Alex Kowalski

U.S. Navy

Alex Kowalski is a United States Navy Diver with half a decade of experience in underwater mechanics and diving medicine. Alex specializes in underwater submarine repair and finds comfort in…

…the quiet, dark, calmness of being underwater. A very ambitious young man, Alex is attending evening classes at National University to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Biology. Surgery has always fascinated him; he hopes to one day graduate from medical school and pursue a surgical residency. Having a love for the outdoors, Alex spends his free time running in the mountains outside of San Diego and surfing in the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

James Osborn

San Diego State University
Senior Student

James Osborn is a senior at San Diego State University in the cellular & molecular biology undergraduate program, and a former military police officer with California Army National Guard.

James’ passion for the natural sciences began with his certification as an EMT, where he was captivated by the complexity of biological systems surrounding disease processes, mental illness, and the connectedness of all life on Earth. Trained in mindfulness-based yoga techniques for combat veterans, James was able to assist fellow student veterans in stress and pain management techniques while working in the Veterans Resource Center at San Diego Mesa College. James is currently completing his final year of education in cellular & molecular biology, with a view to enter the biotechnology field to expand his knowledge as a future scientist before seeking graduate training in a neuroscience. As a generalist fan of science, he can be found listening to scientifically informed podcasts, gardening, or in the Anza Borrego desert taking astrophotography pictures of the Milky Way. 

Scott Rathke

U.S. Navy SEAL Team
Senior Director of Process Strategy & Optimization

Scott Rathke has been an active duty Navy SEAL Officer for almost two decades, serving his country and working with elite units in austere environments.  At the Naval Special Warfare Command, Scott is the Senior Director of… 

…Process Strategy & Optimization, where he leads the coordinating and execution of the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams optimization, restructure, and transformation mission objectives. Scott has demonstrated the ability to build relationships, create organizational vision and deliver results, while leading complex programs and operations in global operations.  He is adept at developing internal talent and improving processes to dependably achieve business goals.  He is excited to find a company and culture that his decisiveness and strong desire to win are appreciated in an environment that is challenging and where people are valued for their contributions and quick thinking.  He brings value to a company through client, people and leadership development.  He enjoys water sports, mountaineering/hiking, traveling, ultimate athlete, and spending time with his wife Jennie and daughter Poppy Lilo.

Sean Sadlier

University of California
MBA Candidate

Sean Sadlier is a senior program manager for a defense company who supports depot maintenance on underwater robots for the Navy in addition to supporting testing & evaluation, training, and process improvement.

Sean has over 26 six years of experience in logistics, testing & evaluation, product & training development, and lifecycle management at Navy laboratories and the Marine Corps. A life-long learner, Sean is currently a MBA candidate at the University of California San Diego. Always seeking challenges and fascinated with technology applications, Sean is currently working to improve his photography and eventually make documentary films. Sean is currently working towards graduating next year, with a view to apply logistics and product development experience to the biotech industry by summer 2022.

John Valle

Oberon Fuels
Director of Operations

John Valle is the Director of Operations with Oberon Fuels, a clean-tech startup monetizing waste streams via a proprietary process for delivering cleaner-burning fuel to market. 

He currently collaborates with government agencies in defining a regulatory pathway and requirements for establishing a new fuel source. John excels in implementing the voice of the customer, adapting to changing priorities, and promoting impactful human resource processes and business operations. He draws on his experience in workforce policy and planning, human resource programs, technical program management, and talent acquisition and retention in collaborating across departments and delivering holistic solutions. John is a lifelong learner, continuously pursuing stretch goals and staying abreast of trends in leadership, analytics, and process improvement. A firm believer in change being the only constant, John is comfortable being uncomfortable because it’s been his lifelong path for personal and professional growth.

Joanna Chen

Project Manager

Joanna Chen is a Project Manager leveraging 5+ years of proven experience in process improvement and managing technical programs. She is adept at leading… 

…multidisciplinary teams in a dynamic, fast-paced and highly regulated environment (while powering a floating city!). A recently separated veteran, she has pivoted her technical and leadership experience toward a Project Manager role at Illumina in their Global Quality and Operations sector, helping to build their world-class Equipment Life Cycle process. Joanna’s humanistic leadership style is a result of her deep belief that everyone adds value and has an important role in a team, and from seeing how collaboration and teamwork lead to success. To her, doing anything but her best is unquestionable, and working for the betterment of the world around her is essential. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with beautiful views and cooking and baking new recipes.

Harwood Garland

Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts
Dean of Men

Five years in Marine Corps and Navy medicine as a Hospital Corpsman taught Harwood Garland the value of competence, courage, and stamina. He studied anthropology at the University of California Irvine… 

…completed internships in chemistry and urology, and spent his summers travelling throughout the South Pacific for work and visiting a liberal arts college in New Hampshire. These experiences broadened his understanding of ‘the world’ and his place in it. He went on to earn two master’s degrees geared toward clinical research, work for UCI Medical Center for two years, and started UC Irvine’s Veterans Studies Certificate Program to educate students on veteran history and experiences.  He is currently earning his PhD in epidemiology and focusing on veterans, suicide, and public allocation of veteran resources. He is also the Dean of Men for Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts.

Alan Jimenez

Procurement Compliance
Associate Manager

Alan Jimenez is a Procurement Compliance associate manager with over twenty years of experience in procurement compliance, purchasing, accounting principles, government contracting, medical equipment repair…

…operations, and training across diverse teams and industries. He completed a master’s degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and is currently learning programing in Python. Helping others succeed and achieve their goals is important to Alan, and he goes about it by advising and training coworkers as well as assisting them in resolving problems. He is regularly sought out by personnel from other departments to aid them with finding creative solutions. Alan also likes to apply his creativity outside of work through woodworking and painting.

Cesar Nuñez

Northrop Grumman Corporation Aerospace Sector
Project Manager

Having completed 25 years of service with the United States Navy, Cesar Nuñez is currently a project manager with a major aerospace defense provider in the local San Diego area. 

As a Principal Project Manager with the Northrop Grumman Corporation Aerospace Sector, Cesar has managed up to 16 simultaneous multi-million-dollar projects ranging from initial sourcing development, engineering and functional validation/verification, procurement, kitting, and deployment to integrated field teams across the country.  Projects have ranged from payload hardware requiring configuration management to both commercial and proprietary software upgrades. Cesar is a dynamic and adaptable professional consistently striving to grow, adapt, and challenge himself personally and professionally to expand his skills and knowledge base.

Sean Park

Jacobs Engineering
Program Manager

Sean Park is a Program Manager with more than a decade of project management experience, 7 years of information technology experience.  He holds a Master of Science in Project Management, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and…

…holds PMP, PMI-ACP, CSP, CSM, CSPO, and Project + professional certifications.

Sean currently works at Naval Special Warfare in the information technology department for Jacobs Engineering to provide Project/Program Management services.  In previous roles he has also provided Project Management Office expertise, Agile Project Management, Process Improvement, Risk Management, Agile Coaching, Research and Development, and implementation consulting services to Department of the Navy, Department of the Army, Illumina, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, DXC technology, and Circadence.

Upon leaving Naval Service, Sean has devoted his career to Agile/Project/Program Management as a practitioner and helping others into the profession.  Sean, served as Vice President of Professional Development for Project Management Institute, San Diego Chapter, sits on the National Veterans Beer Club advisory group for veteran transitions, California State University Alumni Board, President and various other volunteer organizations. Through PMI-SD Sean lead the project management education of over 150 PMP Bootcamp students and 250 students for continuing education course.

Sean Park is currently working towards transitioning this Program Management skill set from the Defense sector to Life Sciences in a Program role within the next 6 months.

Stephen Revelas

Miramar College
Biotechnology Student

Stephen Revelas is a licensed civil engineer with over two decades of experience in construction and facilities management.  A lifetime learner, he is currently taking classes in Biotechnology at Miramar College…

…and has set his sights on the life sciences industry as his second career.  Devoted and particular about his associations, he seeks to be a proud member of organizations dedicated to noble causes and committed to strengthening community ties.  Never idle, Stephen finds fulfillment in completing handyman tasks at home and in his neighborhood.

David Samara

Manufacturing Technician

David Samara brings a double-value to Life Sciences, with over 15 years of experience installing and managing the operations of high-accountability IT Networks while supporting and enforcing a robust Information Security environment.

After several months in between roles, and needing to get “any” Life Sciences expertise to be competitive in the new industry, he is learning much about Biomanufacturing cGMP’s as an entry-level “Manufacturing Technician (Contract)” with Genentech in Oceanside, CA.  In past management roles up to the VP/CIO level, he specializes in results-focused work through shaping and facilitating team successes that position the business for growth.  This is achieved through a balance of reducing strategic risk (Process) through educating employees (People) about the importance of Cybersecurity compliance (Technology).  David is currently working towards achieving successes in his first Life Sciences role, with a long-term view to being a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) within a few years.

Damon Ventiere

Aviation maintenance and operations professional

Damon Ventiere prefers his nickname Vinny. He is a Navy veteran and aviation maintenance and operations professional, with 20 plus years of progressive program, project, and quality management experience.

Vinny specializes in leading cross functional teams that operate and service a wide range of assets, from sophisticated multimillion-dollar aircraft, to the maintenance support equipment. A strong believer in balancing quality, customer service and operational commitment, Vinny tackles every challenge with teamwork in mind, care for others and relentless follow through. Vinny has been working toward achieving the Project Management Professional certificate with a view to be certified within the next year.

Brian Welsh

Licensed Attorney

Brian Welsh is a newly licensed attorney leveraging over 20 years of experience in regulatory compliance, process improvement, and project management. Brian’s educational experience focused on data analytics, management, and corporate and tax law.

Both educational and professional experiences support his belief in practicing servant leadership and focusing efforts on facilitating the needs of those in support of customers and clients to deliver positive results and build sustainable relationships. Brian anticipates earning his certification in Program Management within the next 30 days and transitioning into an active and fulfilling role in a growth company within the next six months. Brian enjoys the fantastic weather San Diego offers and can often be found hiking the abundance of local trails or surfing from Pacific Beach to San Clemente when a good swell is available.


Steve Beck

Neurocrine Biosciences Manager, Human Resources

Kory Cavanary

NuVasive Inc.
Project Manager

Ray Espanol

Mesa Biotech
Lead / Manager for Environmental Health and Safety

Prox Flores

Senior Equipment Engineer

Scott Harvey

Professional Services Manager

Manasi Jaiman

Vice President, Clinical Development

Fleming Jones

FlemingMartin LLC Managing Director

Eric Kowack

Vice President Program Leadership and Strategic Alliances

Taylor Moyer

ManagedLab Services/Boots in BIO

Shawn Padilla

Thermo Fisher Scientific
Senior Service Solutions Consultant

Quang Pham

Westwood Therapeutics CEO

Colin Ratner

Regional Sales Director

Stephen Rice

Senior Business Process Analyst

Mina Shams

HUYA Bioscience International

Josh Surgeon

Sr. Compliance Engineer

Barbara Troupin

MyoKardia (acquired by BMS)
SVP Medical Affairs

Chip Vincent

Sr. Field Service Engineer

Evan Wahl

Catalent Pharma Solutions
Director, PM and Site Strategy

Travis Young

Scripps Research Institute
Vice President Biologics Calibr, and Professor of Chemical Biology, Scripps Research

“Transitioning from military service is a challenge, especially if you are interested in an industry not traditionally on the radar for military veterans. Biocom Institute’s Military Fellow Program bridges the gap and connects current and former service members with resources and professionals in the life science industry. Through professional and peer networking, veterans gain insight into identifying and translating tangible skills to build their value proposition. Biocom Institute’s initiative opens doors and opportunities that might otherwise stay closed for the Veteran community.”

John Valle

Director of Operations, Oberon Fuels