Saluting those who serve: Meet Lieutenant Commander Will Bowden

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This Veteran’s Day, we’re proud to highlight one of our employees with an extensive military background: Lieutenant Commander Will Bowden of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, who has served in the military for the past 18 years.

Will served four years in the Navy as a military police officer. After the Navy, he transitioned to the Coast Guard Reserve, where he is currently serving today as the lieutenant commander assigned to U.S. Pacific Command responsible for policy and relations with Northeast Asia.

His role at Merck is a bit more business-like: Will is the U.S. business lead for customer facing applications, where he manages the operations team responsible for technology solutions utilized by all of Merck’s U.S. sales organizations, enabling them to analyze and execute business plans. He also collaborates with colleagues in other countries to ensure continuity exists in the other markets.

And although it would seem that there would be multiple differences between his military and corporate lives, Will swears he is constantly surprised by the similarities. “There have been times when I literally have to look down and see if I’m wearing a suit or a Coast Guard uniform because the discussion I am having had already occurred in the other organization,” he says. “The parallels between the military and business worlds are infinite.”

Will credits his military background for helping him to conquer any obstacles in his corporate life he may come across.  “Preparing for ambiguity is an art I learned in the military and I embrace at Merck,” he says “Remain calm, for the answer is always within reach.”

Three quick questions with Lieutenant Commander Will Bowden of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve

Name a skill that you think is highly underrated in business today.
A completely different perspective. This is something that is appreciated and encouraged but not always readily found. Holding onto a different perspective or an ability to see things differently is something that has to be nourished and practiced, and, like anything else, we need to develop and command in life.

If you have 30 minutes of free time, how would you spend it?
So many options! I might choose to pick up my latest book, give a family member or friend a call, or just be still and clear my mind.

What’s one accomplishment that makes you especially proud?
With respect to my role in the military, I recently completed work that was key to a strategic relationship with China and that has implications on work with North Korea. At Merck, I lead an amazing team.




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Military recruiting

Merck offers numerous resources – including our Veterans Roundtable, an employee network designed to help veterans adjust to corporate life, make their transitions smooth and their work-life rewarding. With our generous military-friendly policies, we've received accolades from several organizations such as GI Jobs, Military Times Edge, and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

Learn more about military recruiting at Merck.