Employee Spotlight: Steven Van Bloem, Electronic Warfare (EWO) Subject Matter Expert (SME) 

Electronic Warfare

This month, our ASEC Employee Spotlight features Steven Van Bloem, an Electronic Warfare (EWO) Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the Republic of Korea Navy’s P-8A training project at ASEC. We had the pleasure of speaking about his transition from a 20-year career in the Navy to finding a home at ASEC.

When discussing his time at ASEC, Van Bloem didn’t hold back on his enthusiasm. “I feel like I’ve hit the lottery,” he said, a reference to how ASEC checked a number of boxes for him in his career search, including gratifying work, an independent working environment, and a work-life balance. 

During our conversation, he also talked about the unique camaraderie among colleagues, and why ASEC is a perfect fit for veterans transitioning into civilian life. For more on his career journey, continue reading!

Please start by introducing yourself and letting us know what your role is at ASEC.

My name is Steven, and I serve as the Electronic Warfare (EWO) Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the Republic of Korea Navy’s P-8A training project at ASEC. My role primarily involves writing and updating the curriculum. This is a dynamic process where we continuously identify and implement necessary changes based on our teaching experiences. I retired from a 20-year career in the Navy in December 2019.

What sets me apart from many at ASEC is the two-year break I took between my military service and joining the company. During this time, I engaged in personal exploration, including mountain treks and soul-searching, to find where I could best contribute. I value a strong work ethic, which didn’t always align with previous workplaces that encouraged doing just the bare minimum. 

After a period of job-hopping post-military, I found a home at ASEC, where the culture and values resonate with me. It’s almost like I stepped out of the military, and then returned to the same room.

What other roles and projects have you been involved with at ASEC?

Throughout my time at ASEC, I’ve been involved as an Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO), focusing on various projects. Currently, I’m dedicated to the  Republic of Korea Navy’s P-8A training project. Prior to this, I contributed to the Increment 3 project. Colleagues from other initiatives seek my help on other aspects of electronic warfare, especially related to the P-8 aircraft since many of ASH’s projects are linked with the P-8. 

What made you feel that ASEC aligned with your work ethic?

At ASEC, I feel a genuine sense of ownership and accountability, which I refer to as the “give a care” factor [editor’s note: more colorful language was omitted!]. This idea of dedicated ownership towards our team or project gives us a sense of personal stake in the outcomes. Unlike other places where I’ve felt like an outsider due to a clock-in, clock-out mentality, ASEC stands out. Here, if you’re part of the team, there’s an expectation to strive for excellence and contribute positively to the company’s mission.

ASEC offers the kind of work environment where the team is not just valued but perhaps even more than we might expect. Part of what I appreciate most about working here is the ability to spread positivity and enthusiasm. 

Outside of official duties, I like to help celebrate colleagues’ birthdays by decorating their desks and participating in company-sponsored cookouts, adding a personal touch to these events. Not that ASEC employees need a morale boost, but it’s these kinds of gestures that make it even better.

When you think about where you’d like to go in your career, how does ASEC match up with your aspirations?

I truly believe that my efforts and the work I do are beneficial not only for me but also significantly for ASEC. I’ve observed in my office that everyone contributes their part to the fullest, aiming for the benefit of ASEC. While it might sound a bit cliché, the success of the organization ultimately uplifts everyone involved. This sense of collective ownership is something I deeply appreciate and wish to continue being a part of. 

My satisfaction here fuels my desire to keep working at ASEC, not necessarily seeking promotions or leadership roles. I believe that by simply doing good work and working hard, we’ll attract more business, ensuring job security for me and my colleagues. 

My goal is really to make ASEC my last job.

Given your military background, how does your position at ASEC allow you to continue using the skills you’ve developed in a civilian career?

Transitioning from the military, I knew I wanted to stay working in the same field. I knew that there’d be limited opportunities outside the military context. Unlike more common roles like electricians or jet mechanics with broader civilian job markets, my expertise was highly specific. A lot of other potential civilian roles wouldn’t have utilized my skills in operating advanced electronic warfare systems.

My priority was also to find a position that allowed me to stay home and be with my family. I didn’t want to be one of those guys who deployed and missed out on my family’s life while pursuing a career.

When I found ASEC, it was like finding where I was meant to be.

If you came across someone at a similar point in their career, or a similar inflection point to the one you were at, why would you recommend coming to work for ASEC?

Landing this job at ASEC honestly feels like I won the lottery. It’s an employee-owned company, which means we’re all in it together with a real stake in how things turn out. The better we do, the better it is for everyone here. The company has a great reputation, and it’s only getting better, opening up more opportunities to work with the military and expand the services ASEC offers. A lot of folks transition directly from the military to here and find it’s a perfect fit.

Another thing I like about working here is the camaraderie.
Working 20 years in the military, you meet folks from all over, and you realize we’re all cut from the same cloth. That sense of belonging doesn’t just disappear when you leave the service. It’s alive and well here at ASEC. There’s this trust, this team spirit that makes you want to do your best, not just for the project you’re on, but for each other. That teamwork helps to create a welcoming environment. 

Have you been able to take advantage of the resources or training that ASEC offers?

ASEC sets us up with some great opportunities, including tuition assistance and other resources. What I’ve enjoyed is the refresher training they have. It’s for everyday tools we all think we know inside out, like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add about working at ASEC?

The attitude here is definitely all about the “work hard, play hard” mentality. We’re treated like adults, which means we’re expected to act like it, too. With that expectation comes a lot of freedom. 

Of course, that freedom means you’ve also got to be accountable for your actions and the work you do. And there’s this rewarding feeling that comes with it – knowing that the effort I put in is directly contributing to future projects and success. 

Your Career at ASEC Is Just A Click Away

We share our appreciation with Steven Van Bloem for taking the time to share his career journey and insights with us. If Steven’s experiences strike a chord with you, or if you’re on the lookout for a career where your efforts truly matter, take a look at the opportunities awaiting you at ASEC. Visit our careers page here to learn more.