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The FourBlock Podcast

Nov 13, 2023

Join us on the latest episode of the FourBlock Podcast as hosts Michael Abrams and Lindsey Pollak engage in a thought-provoking conversation with Tom Croff, the head of the Aviation Department at Matern Professional Engineering. With a rich background that transitions from serving as an Electrician's Mate in the U.S. Navy's Nuclear Power Program to spearheading critical projects in the aviation sector, Tom brings a unique perspective on navigating career shifts and leveraging military skills in the civilian workforce. 

In this episode, Tom reflects on his career path, sharing pivotal moments of his time in the Navy, including his role as a Junior Instructor, where he cultivated his expertise in complex technical disciplines. We delve into his transition to the engineering industry and how his military discipline and knowledge fueled his success in a new arena. 

At the helm of numerous projects at Orlando International Airport, Tom discusses the engineering of the airport’s latest terminal and Matern’s approach to innovation in electrical engineering within aviation. His experiences provide valuable insights for veterans who aim to explore careers in the engineering industry after their military service. 

To close out the episode, Tom shares his seasoned advice to veterans considering a similar path. This episode is a great guidepost for veterans seeking to translate their military experience into a successful civilian career, particularly in the dynamic field of engineering.  

Tom has run the Aviation Department at Matern Professional Engineering for over 21 years and has overseen hundreds of projects in the aviation industry. He has worked with the Orlando International Airport for many years assisting with electrical, security and low voltage systems work.  

Most recently, he has been leading a project on the Orlando International Airport's new terminal. He was enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the early/mid-nineties as an Electrician's Mate in the Nuclear Power Program. During his service, he spent most of his time at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, where he was a junior instructor helping the chiefs and senior chiefs teach heat transfer and fluid flow, thermodynamics, and AC theory. 

When he transitioned out of the military, he started his career in electrical construction and then switched to engineering in the early 2000s. 



Welcome to the FourBlock Podcast, a show that examines veteran career transition and the military-civilian divide in the workplace.

General Charles Krulak coined the term "Three Block War" to describe the nature of 21st-century military service defined by peace-keeping, humanitarian aid, and full combat.

But what happens next? Veterans are often unprepared to return home and begin new careers. We call this the Fourth Block. 

FourBlock is a national non-profit that has supported thousands of transitioning service members across the nation in beginning new and meaningful careers. 

Mike Abrams (@fourblock) is an Afghanistan veteran, founder of FourBlock, and author of two military transition books. He represents the military transition perspective.

Lindsey Pollak (@lindsaypollak) is a career and workplace expert and New York Times bestselling author of three career advice books. Lindsey represents the civilian perspective of this issue. 

Veterans, explore new industries and make the right connections. Find a career that fits your calling. Join us at

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Podcast episodes are produced and edited in part by the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration.