Tapping military skills to accelerate international growth

Rockwell Collins Director of Asia Pacific Government Systems Business Development, Doug Schoen, uses his military experience as a Naval Officer and helicopter pilot to help him in his current position every day.  His technical knowledge of avionics, communications, navigation and surveillance systems, combined with strong leadership skills and the ability to perform under pressure, help Schoen lead a team responsible for driving our company’s international revenue in the high growth Asia Pac region. 

Commissioned in the Navy in 1989, Schoen attended flight school in Pensacola, Florida, and flew CH-46 helicopters, deploying to places around the Mediterranean and flying logistics and operational missions with the Navy SEALS.  After that, he became a flight instructor for several years, which he found enjoyable and rewarding. 

One of Schoen’s active duty career highlights was learning how to drive a ship during a two-year tour as the Aviation Officer on the USS Coronado.  One of his fondest, most poignant memories came from this period.  “As the Officer of the Deck in charge of operations as my ship entered Pearl Harbor, past the USS Arizona Memorial, it was a very moving experience for me to think about all of the sailors who lost their lives so many years ago and what an honor it was to be in their same line of work,” said Schoen.

Schoen’s wife, Kelly, is also a Navy pilot.  With two active duty careers, overlapping deployments and two children, the family decided it would be best for Schoen to leave active duty in 2000; however, he continued serving in the Navy Reserves, flying and supporting Navy SEALs. 

When Operation IRAQI FREEDOM began, Schoen was activated for 26 months and deployed four times to Iraq. During those times he flew numerous combat missions in support of U.S. and Coalition Special Forces from the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland and Iraq.  The squadron he led holds the Navy record for the longest continuous deployment, just returning earlier this year from the Middle East.

Today, Schoen is a Captain in the Navy Reserve. He has always sought duty assignments where he could work internationally. In addition to Iraq, he has led units that deployed to Korea and Eastern Europe (Black Sea area). He also led the Navy Reserve unit that supported the U.S. Strategic Command. Today he supports the U.S. Seventh Fleet based Japan and is conveniently able to perform some of his reserve duty in Singapore, where he and his family live today. 

In his current role, Schoen and his team are road warriors, constantly meeting with customers and partners throughout AsiaPac, winning business and positioning our company for future regional growth.  With our corporate goal of reaching 50 percent of our total revenue coming from international markets by 2019, the team is relentlessly focused on achieving this goal.  With that comes a lot of responsibility and a bit of pressure. However, Schoen’s military experience including combat deployments has helped him learn how to operate under pressure and make quick decisions.

Schoen looks back at his transition from the military to working in the civilian world.  At first he worked as project manager for an environmental simulation company and essentially had to relearn some of his technical engineering skills and adjust from being a leader of many people to an individual contributor.  After his reactivation and time in Iraq, he decided he wanted to work for an aerospace and defense company and joined Rockwell Collins in 2007, working in our Carlsbad Optronics business. “In my Carlsbad business development role, I was essentially marketing the same technology that I used in the military – Helmet Mounted Displays, night vision and infrared sensors – it was a natural fit,” said Schoen.

In 2009 he moved to Cedar Rapids and joined the Rockwell Collins rotary wing business development team, and in 2014, he was appointed to his current role working in Singapore. “The transition to Rockwell Collins was fairly easy for me because Rockwell Collins is very supportive of the military. Working with a large brotherhood and sisterhood of former military members is very rewarding,” said Schoen.

Story posted: November 10, 2015

Advance your career

Join Collins Aerospace and help shape our future while creating yours

Follow Collins Aerospace on

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Instagram