Prompted by her desire to see the world, learn discipline, and take advantage of the GI bill, Michele Jarnagin made the decision to join the Navy.
Michele spent the majority of her childhood years in Oklahoma and Kansas. Michele left for boot camp from Pittsburg, Kansas. After boot camp, Michele requested to be stationed on the west coast but was sent to Brunswick, Maine. During her time in Maine she was deployed to Rota, Spain and Keflavik, Iceland, both of which she speaks very highly of as beautiful locations to live. The food and culture in Spain were alive and very appealing to her while the natural hot springs in Iceland were a welcome treat in the winter. Michele remembers fondly, “Both Spain and Iceland had the most beautifully colored houses. Spain is full of colorful places and people in general while houses in Iceland are purposefully colorful to lift the spirits of those living in an otherwise dreary location due to the weather.”
Early on Michele’s jobs included working on the flight line, launching and recovering military aircraft, and checking fuel samples. Ultimately wanting to become an Aviation Electrician, she studied the required book, took a test, and received on-the-job training to make it happen. Aviation Electrician then became her main job and required her to chase wires, replace generators and alternators, and fix any electrical instruments in airplanes. The drive to make this goal a reality for herself was an early indicator of the tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit that would draw her to Elite.
After six years in the Navy, Michele decided to end her military career and use her GI Bill to attend the University of South Florida where she received her BS degree in Accounting. She was the first of the five children in her family to earn her college degree and the first in her entire family to earn a Master’s Degree. After graduation, her career took her to Oklahoma for a financial analyst position with Hertz and then later to Florida to continue her entrepreneurial attitude by opening her own Subway restaurant.
Eventually, her dream early on in her military career, to live on the west coast, became a reality. Spending time in both San Diego and Temecula, she most recently moved to Aliso Viejo, California and took a position as a Cost Accountant with Elite Aviation Products. She said, “I really enjoy the people at Elite. They make it a great place to work.”
Michele says her time in the Navy definitely influenced her work ethic and personal relationships, “I worked twenty-four hours on and twenty-four hours off in the Navy so long hours are not a problem for me. Because I traveled so much, I learned to easily make friends wherever I found myself. My strong attention to detail comes from my time in the military which is what pushed me into being an accountant.” Her role as an Aviation Electrician gave her mechanical aptitude that she found has already come in handy in her role at Elite.
Her advice for those currently in the military is, “Take advantage of what the military offers such as the GI Bill, the commissary for discounted groceries, event and movie tickets. Start thinking about and looking into what you want to do after you leave the military about a year before you retire or leave. Educate yourself if you can in the field that you plan to study or go into so that you have a head start.”
Michele has two sons and enjoys dancing, hiking, dinners with friends, and working out in her free time. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and PMI-OC providing volunteer financial analyst support. Michele speaks fondly of her time in the Navy and continues to strive for excellence in both her personal and professional life.