From End User to Project Manager: Soyer Cole’s Career Journey
Project Manager Soyer Cole has been with Textron Systems for two and a half years, but first became familiar with the company as an end user. Cole served in the U.S. Army for six years, referring to himself as a “Shadow guy,” who operated Textron Systems’ Shadow® Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System.
Cole joined Textron Systems as a deployed flight crew member, providing on-site support to customers deploying the Aerosonde® Small Unmanned Aircraft System. Quickly making an impression with his background knowledge and expertise, Cole was promoted to site lead three months later. After one year as site lead, Cole moved into his current role as Project Manager in the Hunt Valley, Md. office.
Leading a team of deployed Field Service Representatives (FSRs) who support the Aerosonde system, Cole highly values his military experience. “My experience is crucial in my success in this role because I can reference everything. I’ve seen it and understand what the deployed FSRs are experiencing, how the sites run and what the customer expects,” Cole explained.
Managing an international team, communication is critical in Cole’s role. “Communication has to be fluid. Since we can only communicate through phone and email, I have to be detailed and specific in expectations. We communicate constantly because collaboration is crucial to our success. We all rely on each other,” Cole shared.
Frequent and clear communication with the customer is extremely important to the success of both Cole’s team and the customer. “My military experience has been beneficial to my communication with the customer. They expect direct and open communication, which I understand based on personal experience,” Cole explained.
Reflecting on his career journey, Cole shared, “Leadership, from the ground up, has given me every opportunity to succeed. They’ve pushed me to keep learning and given me a great example to follow. They understood it was a transition to move into an office environment and enrolled me in training and courses to make me successful.”
Learning from leaders he’s admired, Cole is an advocate of servant leadership, a philosophy based on putting the needs of others before your own. “I make it a daily goal to advance my servant leadership with my direct reports. It’s extremely motivating in a deployed environment and I think our team has had great success because of it,” he noted.
Cole’s advice to anyone entering a leadership role is to never stop learning. “No matter which direction the information is coming from, always be open to learn. I’ve learned a lot from my direct reports because they have great insight and valuable information,” he explained.
In his next role, Cole would like to work more closely with the customer in Program Management. “I’d like to see my supervisors move forward and to expand upon what they’ve accomplished. I really enjoy the Aerosonde program and would like to continue to support it moving forward,” Cole shared.