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Employee Spotlight: Cody Acuña



How would you describe your role at RII?

As the onsite lead at USINDOPACOM, I make sure our customers get the most out of our software solutions so they can accomplish their missions. This may sound straightforward, but I’m simultaneously a change agent, trainer, listener, advocate, trusted agent, and team player. No day is ever the same, as there are always new challenges that arise or new customers that I get to support. 


First, my role requires building relationships and listening to customer needs to develop a deep understanding of where they are and where they want to be (like RII’s core value: Grok customer success, co-create the solution). Having this common understanding is foundational and key to providing the best customer support. I then introduce customers to our software and provide training on how it works. This eventually transitions into demonstrating and collaborating on how our data-centric tool can replace their current tools to improve workflows and support various missions, especially ones that require collaboration and coordination.


When I’m most successful in this role, I’m an “innovation enabler” that directly supports key Action Officers. These folks have a growth mindset and take action to innovate by leveraging our tools, and I work alongside them to ensure their efforts are successful.

 
 

Who or what inspired you to join the US Navy?

I wanted to be a contributing team member within a purpose driven organization and serve my country. Like many who joined, I also had a strong desire to experience and learn about the world outside my hometown and the U.S. I served for 10 years on active duty before transitioning to the Navy Reserves, where I’ve served for the past 11 years.

 
 

What did you do before joining RII?

I was mobilized back to active duty and deployed overseas to serve as the deputy Commander of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the primary base of operations for U.S. Africa Command in the Horn of Africa. Prior to that, I was a deliberate contingency planner.

 
 

How has being a US Navy reservist helped with your career?

The best part about being a reservist is the opportunity to cross-train outside my standard job role. I was a pilot while on active duty, which required a highly specialized skill set and constant focus and training. I enjoyed the challenge and flew more than 200 combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq in support of OIF and OEF.


For good reason, there wasn’t much room for non-standard career paths, but it has been a much different story as a reservist where I’ve supported joint commands for the past 10+ years. Serving with a Theater Special Operations Command was eye-opening, humbling, and I learned a ton thanks to a few selfless mentors who shared their wisdom and expertise. Being a part of the US Air Force’s Combined Air Operations Center was equally educational and inspiring, as I learned how that complex organization plans, manages, and executes the air domain theater-wide. Also, a highlight from my mobilization to East Africa was collaborating and learning from our various allies and partners who are also deployed to that area to support the counter-piracy mission (Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Canadian, United Kingdom, and Italian forces).


These reserve experiences and the skills I’ve gained have significantly improved my understanding of what our customers are actually trying to accomplish—digital transformation through innovation that integrates global operations to win the global competition.

 

 

Can you tell us what you love most about being part of the RII Hawaii team?

The RII Hawaii Team is full of great people who take action to support their teammates and the customer. I feel a sense of pride when I see my teammates selflessly prioritize customer requests because in a way it feels like we’re still serving and contributing to the customer’s overall mission. Plus, it is a very dynamic time in this part of the world and the team is willing and able to support the various innovation initiatives in this theater.


We continue to punch above our weight and we demonstrate how a flexible, mission-focused team can make significant progress and accomplishments. There has been massive user growth, dozens of new use cases, and there is major positive momentum for that to continue. I’m excited to see how this team continues to outperform with the varied transformations and opportunities in USINDOPACOM.

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