DGNL Team Feature: Getting to Know Joe – In Honor of Veteran’s Day

This Veteran’s Day we are highlighting an incredible designer on our team Joe Lopez, who is also a Veteran. We spoke with him about his experience and how it all ties back to the work he does with us now. 

How did you serve?

My main job was as a logistics manager (in the Air Force). Handling assets from plane parts to everyday general items that the base uses. Depending on what base you’re stationed at, and your clearance level, you could be doing anything from just shipping off the nuts and bolts to safeguarding nuclear assets. 

Throughout the years I got put into other positions because of work I’d been doing. Things that I saw needed to be fixed, I ended up fixing. I kept getting awarded for that. 

The last three years I was working at headquarters, a kind of desk job, overseeing all the fighter planes around the world. I had risen through the ranks and become a sergeant before I ended up stepping away from it. 

How long did you serve?

I served for seven years. 

How did you make the transition to design?

It wasn’t easy. I ended up having to really think about what I wanted to do in my life and what I had been doing up to that point. That’s when the self-reflection comes in: well, what did I like to do when I was younger? What did I do on my off time when I wasn’t hauling cargo around? Oh, I kept drawing all the time. That’s something that never stopped. 

I ended up going to the University of North Texas because they had a very reputable design program.

What similarities would you say are there between design and the work you did in the military? 

This phrase is always in my head because it was drilled into us during basic training: always pay attention to detail. It is also something that professors would always tell people. 

If you lose one little nut or screw, what else could you be missing? You’ll think oh, it’s just a screw. It’s not a big deal. Okay, well, if it’s not a big deal and it’s just a screw, it shouldn’t be a problem to keep track of it. 

For the most part, coursework was pretty easy because I had that message drilled into my head years prior. 

What’s the best thing you took away from your time in the military?

With the military, it was yes do your job, but you should always be striving to do more and do better. Don’t just stop at your goal. If you get to your goal and you have time, drive for it, and keep pushing, what else can you achieve on top of that? That’s something we do a lot here at DGNL. What can you push further with the time you have?