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Published on:

November 1, 2023

John Knibbs

Hometown: San Diego, California

In which branch of the military did you serve?

US Navy

Years of military service


Why did you choose NewSchool?

Top-ranked BSCM program in California

How did you apply your military experience to your education?

As a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman, we adapted the philosophy of, “See one, do one, teach one,” which I was able to apply to my education at NewSchool.

What was your favorite thing about attending NewSchool?

The actual field knowledge, trade secrets, and implementation strategies our professors bring into the classroom!

What have you been doing since you graduated?

I started my own GC [general contractor] firm – First Coast Construction (CSLB 1056999). I am also a government contractor working as a Quality Control Manager for the largest specialty contractor on ENR, Quanta Services. My division (Nova Group) specializes in jet-a fuel storage and distribution. Currently working at the San Diego International Airport.

What has been your biggest career accomplishment?

Closing out a “top secret-SCIF” project for the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center in Fallon, Nevada, as a QC Manager. That was 6 months behind schedule and accruing over 11k a day in liquidated damages.

How did your experience in the military and in college prepare you for your future?

It taught me to “embrace the suck.” Sometimes you are going to work 80-90 hours a week at the beginning of your construction career. Hang in there, make sure you have “positive” outlets for stress, like hiking surfing, camping, or at least hit the gym. Once you get into upper management, make sure to be humble and show up early!

What would you like people to know about the life of a student veteran?

It’s “easy day” compared to the military, the hard part is staying disciplined and away from the parties. Make an educational mission plan and stick to it!

What advice would you give to veterans who are thinking about pursuing a college education?

Get up, get out, and go get some! Don’t waste your VA Benefits – we earned it!



Larry Elkins