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A Labor Day Retrospective: Becoming a CANAer

We all know how to find a job; we look, we learn, we apply. But even if and when successful, how do we find a career? Most Americans define a large part of their personal identities on the work they do and their particular capacity to do it well. Not only are we each American, but we are each laborer: plumbers, nurses, lawyers, programmers, athletes, cleaners, managers, and more. Some of us may stay in one field, and others move as interests and opportunities change, but we all take pride in our ability to contribute to the well-being of ourselves, our families, and our country. Over 70% of each year is usually spent on “work”; whether we seek a specific career, or it finds us, it is meaningful.

We wanted to observe this Labor Day weekend with a CANA career story. Kurt Eades is one of our Senior Logistics Analysts with a diverse background and has, to paraphrase Liam Neeson, a “special set of skills.” Kurt is a part of many, many of our CANA projects and brings something exceptional to the table every day. He, and all the hard-working members of our team, are why we know Labor Day is something special.

Kurt Eades enlisted in the Marine Corps in the early 1980s, specializing in motor transport vehicle maintenance and repair. After several years, he transitioned to explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) where he spent, in varying capacities, the majority of his long military career. Kurt’s primary responsibility was the response, identification, stabilization, and disposal of any variety of munitions: ammunition, bombs, chemical, biological, and nuclear threats. This was a job, we CANAers agree, that operates on a very thin margin of error!

It was during this chapter of his career that Kurt completed some of his most satisfying and challenging missions. He participated in numerous ordnance clearing missions in the highly rural, mountain and jungle regions of Southeast Asia, including Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. With an expert’s knowledge in Weapons of Mass Destruction, Kurt also supported numerous training opportunities with a wide variety of government agencies and supervised response forces on a worldwide scale.

After military retirement, Kurt took several years to explore slightly less “stimulating” work but eventually transitioned his talents to contract work in support of NATO. He served in a variety of capacities, stretching his knowledge and expertise, and over several years, became immersed in the Quality Control field. Kurt specifically worked in Fuels, overseeing Fuel Inspection programs and contracts throughout Afghanistan. It was during this period that Kurt crossed professional paths again with an old Marine friend, and CANA Chief Analytics Officer, Norm Reitter. It would prove serendipitous.

In 2015, Kurt was still working in Kabul when the opportunity to work with CANA Advisors dropped into his lap. He accepted a position as a Logistics Analyst to support efforts on a Marine Corps business capability project and to also become CANA’s own Quality Control Manager. Highlights from his first few years included a deep dive into the company’s IT management and security, and participation in critical commercial and federal projects. One of these, CANA Drone Solutions, saw Kurt studying to become a drone pilot, to include drone operation, utilizing and testing drone mapping applications, and supporting videography.

There is little doubt that Kurt’s dynamic background also made him an ideal choice for managing CANA’s functional security needs. Kurt adeptly took on primary responsibility for CANA cyber security, IT management, and accepted a role as Assistant Facilities Security Officer. In today’s environment, it is certain that security training, protection, and oversight are absolutely critical for brick-and-mortar and virtual businesses. Enhanced by his EOD experience and quality control expertise, Kurt’s keen awareness of the potential and realized threats has enabled CANA to continuously meet the needs of its diverse clientele.

In 2020, the pandemic hit full force. CANA had an advantage in managing the huge changes as it was already virtual, but it was a fast and furious year of new cyber security classes, assessments, and threats. Kurt ensured CANA’s operational security during this trying time while remaining an active member of ongoing project teams. He and CANA have kept pace with the ever-changing environment, and 2021 is proving no different.

Photo Credit: Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin <<<< Famous Guy

It is certain 2022 and the years following will continue to be years of great achievement for Kurt Eades and the rest of Team CANA. Kurt is the first to say it takes a team of true professionals for an organization to run smoothly, and we couldn’t agree more. But, we recognize the singular worth of a career spent in facing diverse, challenging assignments and the personal value in doing something you love. We hope CANA helps to provide that. We are so appreciative of what our team members bring to the table each and every day, and we know that sentiment will be shared on this upcoming Labor Day holiday. Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

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