October 12, 2023

Meet Jaysen Yochim

        Meet Jaysen Yochim: A professional headshot of him is displayed against a blue background. Wearing a dark suit with a yellow patterned tie, he is smiling warmly. The text on the left side reads:

October 12, 2023

Meet Jaysen Yochim

        Meet Jaysen Yochim: A professional headshot of him is displayed against a blue background. Wearing a dark suit with a yellow patterned tie, he is smiling warmly. The text on the left side reads:

Airbus U.S. Space & Defense welcomes retiring U.S. Army Colonel Jaysen Yochim as our first Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellow. Jaysen brings over 25 years of experience as a pilot and senior leader in the Department of Defense. We sat down with Jaysen to learn more about his background, his future aspirations and what lessons he intends to pass along from his work supporting the Army and leaders in the Pentagon.

Who is Jaysen Yochim?

After growing up in Southern California and pursuing a criminal justice degree at Weber State University, I got commissioned into the U.S. Army as an aviator and flew AH-64 Apache helicopters most of my career.

Flying was my dream since age five. I would go to air shows with my grandpa and we would walk up to pilots standing outside static displays and talk to them about what they do. When my grandpa said, “He flies,” I replied with an unwavering degree of certainty, “Well, if he can fly, I can fly!” And from that point on, all I ever wanted to do was join the military and be a pilot.

Here I am several decades later, with a feeling of some trepidation as I am getting ready to retire. I am currently in the position that I have wanted to be in since I was five years old.

And every time I go to an air show or exhibit now, and I see a kid walking around and his eyes get big when they see all the different aircraft, in my heart I say to myself, “Okay, there’s another kid who just got the bug.” That’s how you grow the next generation of aviators – you make them excited about what they are seeing. They may not understand or comprehend, but they know something just hit them in their heart about what they want to do when they grow up.

Having been that kid, those kind of experiences makes my day.

What does success look like in this role as the inaugural Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellow?

I have two answers for what success looks like. There’s success for the Fellowship that I am in, and there’s success for the transition from military to civilian life. My second chapter is still a long chapter and I want to take that chapter as far as I can go.

In terms of the Fellowship, it’s about exposure. I have been a part of the Department of Defense culture for over 25 years and helping raise this role up for others who are looking for a successful transition would be a win for all. Hiring Our Heroes has provided me with a wealth of career services and resources to ensure a smooth transition, but I sincerely appreciate my Department of Defense leadership for giving me the flexibility to participate in this Fellowship program.

Additionally, for success in this role, I am coming from an environment with little flexibility, so looking at new opportunities, whether it is the growth of current products or if there are products you can develop to fill a gap, and being able to see how that works on the industry side is of interest to me.

Tell us about your most recent role in the Army and how has it helped you determine your next steps in retirement?

As the Senior Military Evaluator for Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the focus is all about making sure that the warfighter has the best possible equipment that they need to do their mission.

Being in this role for the last four years and seeing where and how I can have the greatest impact on the outside to ensure soldiers and airmen continue to get the best equipment possible, I determined I need to work for a defense company who is looking out for the best interests of the warfighter and has a culture that understands the warfighter.

My first love is aviation and so I knew wherever I landed it in the defense industry, it would be at an aerospace company that allows me to stay tied to what I care about most. And while I have close network of contacts across the industry including at Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, I was especially intrigued by some of Airbus’ products. While I have never flown the Lakota, I have always liked the aircraft. My little brother is a helicopter pilot for a while and flew H125s.

And then looking at what the team is doing with the Zephyr HAPS and how it could be a game changer for how we treat long endurance, high altitude UASs. The culmination of everything made the decision an easy one.

What is one thing we can all learn from your experience working in the Defense Department?

One thing I have learned in my roles at DOT&E and on the Army staff is that a new piece of equipment is just a piece of equipment. Equipment requires an operator with proper training to use it effectively when completing a task to have value. I want leaders see a piece of equipment in use for the first time and say, “I didn’t know I needed this piece of equipment until I saw it, and now I want more.”

And that’s innovation in a nutshell. Trying to come up with products that leaders don’t know that they needed. Until they see what it can do, and they see how it can change the fight and then they want it based off what you’re presenting.

One of the things I asked myself with some of Airbus products is, how do they do that? And I am excited to find out.