Five Rivers Services
Stacy March is a web developer for Five Rivers Services. She has been with the Akima family of companies for 10 years.
Stacy March grew up in a little beach town called Destin, Florida, wanting to become an archeologist. But as she got older, she realized that wasn’t the direction she wanted to go. She felt lost, but soon found a sense of purpose in her family. Her father and brothers were in the military, so she decided to join as well. Five years after high school, Stacy went through basic training and began her Air Force career—one that lasted until retirement 20 years later.
Stacy’s first job was as an administrator, a role women usually held, she explains. “During that time, there weren’t many women doing tech stuff overall,” she adds.
But as she got closer to retirement, her career field changed. The world had become more technology-focused. “They didn’t need people to fill out forms,” as Stacy says. Instead, there was a demand for professionals who could interact with computers.
Stacy’s administrator role changed to a manager of information. Instead of typing documents, she showed and helped people to use Word and other Microsoft products. A few years later, that entire career field transformed into information technology.
“We did a lot of computer rebuilding,” Stacy says. “If a hard-drive failed, we’d replace it. We were managing websites. We were doing a lot of that initial contact before it would go to the next level of support. They didn’t get rid of our career field; they just morphed it into an IT field.”
During her two decades in the military, Stacy saw the role of women in technology change significantly. The Air Force began recognizing that women could contribute to an organization’s mission, Stacy says, even if they are having children. This change came with a potential benefit: women in leadership positions who could serve as role models.
“Women have been in the military a long time, but they just weren’t making it up that ladder,” Stacy says. “I know that, for me, there weren’t many female military leaders that I could reach out to for mentoring or advice. They just weren’t there. The longer I was in the military, the more I saw women were making careers out of the military and staying.”
After retiring from the military, she worked at a government contractor doing quality audits. But one day she heard about an opening for a webmaster, applied, got the job and has been doing it for the past 10 years. Her day-to-day tasks at Five Rivers Services include managing the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute website, being the site lead, and helping manage functions of the contract performance.
Today, one of Stacy’s passions is to get more women into leadership positions. Finding other women who can help, mentor, and advise the younger generation will get these girls to the next level, Stacy says.
“As women who have grown and we’re in positions of leadership, we owe it to those young girls to help them become more,” she says. “I think that’s where it needs to start, when we’ve reached this point in our lives, you have to give back. Don’t look at them as a threat. Look at them as the person you’re building to replace yourself when you retire.”