Veteran’s Day VOICE Chat with Rick Piña
To celebrate Veteran’s Day, KeeleyOne, our cultural pillar focused on DEI, hosted a very special VOICE Chat – Celebrating What it Means to Be a Veteran. We were joined by Rick Piña, CRO and COO at Inspired Solutions, one of our most valued partners. Rick proudly served in the United States Military for 25 years before retiring and entering the corporate world. At Keeley Companies, we are proud of our Keeley’n Veterans and we are grateful for Rick and his insight on what it means to be a Veteran and how serving our country has impacted his life personally and professionally.
Rick Piña is a proud United States citizen. As a child of Dominican Republic immigrants, Rick was the first of his family born in thea United States. He grew up in East Brooklyn in New York City where his mother worked hard to provide for them and give them the life they’d always dreamed of. It was a violent neighborhood, but Rick strived for excellence in his studies and even got his first job at his uncle’s bodega when he was 13. After originally moving back to the Dominican Republic with his family when he was 16, Rick made the quick decision to go back to New York to live with his cousin and get his high school diploma in the US. While finishing high school, Rick’s cousin, Robert, expressed an interest in joining the Army. Robert couldn’t speak English, so he asked Rick to call the local recruiter on his behalf. After speaking with the recruiter over the phone, Rick was convinced to get lunch with the recruiter personally to learn more about what it would look like to join the Army. Upon learning that with his above-average grades, Rick could pursue any military career he wanted, he saw this as his opportunity to take his life into his own hands and get out of New York City.
After learning about all the different opportunities available to him in the military, Rick began his career operating a telecommunications switchboard. He was quickly promoted through the ranks and served several deployments around the world, including four in Iraq, before spending the last five years of his career at the Pentagon as the Army’s first-ever Chief Technology Officer. In this role, Rick served as the “face of technology” for the entire US Army. Rick took his well-deserved retirement on May 20, 2015, after 25 years of service. His wife, Isabella, whom he met when they were both deployed in Bosnia, retired with him as well after 21 years of service.
“A veteran is someone who has given their life to selfless service. We are conditioned to put others, mission, and country above self. Veterans are honorable, respectful, people of their word, dedicated to duty, and committed.”
Upon his retirement from the Army, Rick was hired into a senior leadership role at World Wide Technology. This transition into a corporate role presented a unique opportunity for Rick to take what he had learned in the Army and bring it to the business world. There were challenges and learning curves along the way, but Rick feels that many of the values from the Army can be directly translated to business.
“In the military you plan for anything and everything. You learn valuable skills about effectively staffing, presenting, communicating, decision making, and simplifying complex concepts. This Army experience prepared me, and so many other Veterans, to be amazing team members and leaders. I’m extremely fortunate and blessed to be in the position I am in today and that would not have been possible without the Army.”
Rick and Isabella have dedicated their lives to selfless service outside of the Army and Inspired Solutions. Together, they founded RIPMinistries in 2007 in which they lead a church in the Dominican Republic and operate a school, Grace Destiny Academy, for children who would not receive an education otherwise. Their ministry provides a Christ-based education to over 170 disadvantaged children, training them to become the men & women God called them to be.
Rick is the epitome of what it means to be a servant leader and we are so proud to call him a friend and partner of Keeley Companies. We cannot thank him enough for his service to our country, for sharing his story, and for educating our Keeley’ns on what it means to be a Veteran. We thank all our Keeley’n Veterans and their families for their selfless service and the sacrifices they make every single day.