21 years in the military
Stationed at Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, FL
When Val Ochoa retired from the Navy after 21 years as a senior chief in charge of engineering on destroyers and other Navy warships, his family wanted him home. Estimating he’d been away on duty for roughly 70 percent of his military career, his wife and three children said it was family time. Without a college degree, Ochoa worried about what to do next. “I wondered where I would find the same kind of community and camaraderie I’d found in the military,” he says. After five years as owner of a small trucking company, Ochoa knew two things: he wanted to stay in transportation, and freight rail offered the commitment and community he sought.