March 20, 2017 at 10:29 am

Alum’s Life in Public Service and U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group

Zachary Levy

Zachary Levy ’07 has dedicated his life to public service. After graduating from Ohio University with a B.A. in Sociology-Criminology and Political Science from the College of Arts & Sciences, he accepted a position as a Special Agent with the U.S. Border Patrol in San Diego.

From Special Agent to Operational Technology Adviser

After a few years of federal law enforcement and still longing to serve in the military, he resigned from his Special Agent career and became a U.S. Army Officer. With special operations assignments taking him around the world, Levy found his calling.

While in the Army, he specialized as an Information Operations Officer, which involved influence and persuasion activities to deliver effects on the battlefield such as deception, cyber and electronic warfare, and psychological operations. Unfortunately, Levy sustained combat injuries while deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and was medically retired from the service in 2013.

Within a few weeks of hanging up the uniform, he accepted a defense consultant role at the very same organization he retired from, U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group.

Since 2013, Levy has provided key advisory assistance in varying roles at the AWG. Initially, he served as a key adviser to the leadership with operations management and strategic engagements. As requirements and priorities shifted, he supported the Information Operations team on missions spanning various parts of Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

Since 2015, Levy has been the lead Operational Technology Advisor at AWG, working to bridge the gap between those in the U.S. military executing on some of the nation’s toughest national security challenges, private industry operating at the cutting edge of technology, and the academic institutions with the research power to dive deep into these challenges.

Not Satisfied With The Ordinary or Normal

He loves most about his job the ambiguity and freedom to operate in an unconstrained and undefined environment. Every day is different, and he treats it as an opportunity to learn and do it better than the day before.

“This allows for the development of fresh thought, which leads to honest, timely, and necessary innovation to support my client, the warfighter,” he says.

Learning the value of persistent professional development and competence is what Levy points to as the greatest challenge that has helped to shape his path. As he points out, in just about any job, there are standards or minimum requirements for knowledge, skills, and abilities.

“But don’t stop at the minimum because if you do,” he says, “you will likely stay at that current role and never be considered for anything greater. Being someone that consistently exceeds those standards and brings more value to the table than any other one person is what drives me.”

His OHIO Experience

Levy credits his double major with pushing him to realize his potential. Two professors in particular inspired him to take the route that he did: Harold Molineu in Political Science, who had a previous career with the U.S. State Department, and David Black in History, who had a previous career with the CIA.

Michelle Brown, Bruce Hoffman, Tom Vander Ven and Jieli Li were particulary memorable throughout my experience in the Soc-Crim program, so much so that I sought out their courses,” Levy says.

“Each one went beyond the requirements of the classroom to mentor/guide me in various ways. I had developed strong enough relationships with a few of them and felt confident in asking them to write letters of recommendation for me toward my future endeavors…which they did!”

There is More Than Work

Levy lives near Annapolis, MD, with his wife, Stephanie Levy ’08 (B.S. in Health Services Administration & Minor in Business) and three children. While working full-time and bearing a heavy travel schedule, he completed an MBA in 2015 and is scheduled to graduate this summer with an Executive Master’s in International Service from American University in Washington, D.C.

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