Illumina Salutes Service Members on Veterans Day

Illumina Salutes Service Members on Veterans Day

employees standing outside near American flag

Friday, November 12, 2021 - 12:10pm

CAMPAIGN: People

CONTENT: Blog

This Veterans Day, we saluted employees like Martin Holguin, as he shared with us his personal journey from military service to civilian life as a Staff Program Manager of Manufacturing Technologies and Transfer here at Illumina.

On joining Illumina
As I prepared for my transition from the Navy to the veteran’s life, my goal was to pivot from government contracting or defense. I studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate and a postgraduate and learned a bit about business through an MBA. At first, I thought I wanted to go into tech. I visited several companies and did some career panels over the course of a year, but I didn’t feel connected to the work.

I attended a military veteran’s symposium through Biocom California Institute, and I learned about the biotech industry and its need for veterans. I also learned of a personal connection I had with Illumina.

My wife and I had done genetic tests through 23andMe to figure out where we come from. We’re both Hispanic from El Paso, Texas, and I found out I’m 50% Ashkenazi Jew. I thought, where does that come from? It was a life-changing surprise.

I had no idea about how powerful the truth was inside DNA. You can't get any closer to the truth than what's in your DNA.

As I was pulling at that thread, I was also attending these job symposia. And I realized 23andMe has the product, but it’s Illumina technology. Behind the scenes, it's the arrays that Illumina produces.

This product upended my world, and now I get the opportunity to work with people who are providing the next steps in this technology.

On the value of his military experience
The common thread between my military career and Illumina is the need to help decisionmakers make decisions. I think what I learned from the military is to have that information available to support that decision-making process.

On helping others make the transition from the military
Military transition is a personal journey that requires a deep inventory that goes back to childhood. The transition period leaving the military is a time to reflect and make changes in the life you want to lead. Reflect on this, prepare your story, and then prepare for those 1,000 conversations with those who do what you think you want to do. Be mindful of your approach; If you ask for a job, you might get advice. If you ask for advice, you might get a job.