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How Rich McNell uses his Air Force experience to grow Uber for Business

July 18, 2022 / Global

After attending the United States Air Force Academy, Rich McNell—now an Enterprise Account Executive at Uber for Business—landed as a Second Lieutenant. He served six years as a Force Support Officer with stateside assignments in Florida and California focusing on manpower, personnel, and welfare. “In non-military speak, it was an interesting mix of Human Resource and Facility-type roles.” 

His time in the Air Force taught him about business operations and was made even better by the incredibly smart and hard-working colleagues who “shared a love of country”. In 2013, Rich deployed for 6 months with the 376th Expeditionary Wing to the Manas Transit Center in the Kyrgyz Republic during Operation Enduring Freedom to provide installation and downrange training for ancillary support operations. 

When his service ended in 2014, he moved back home to California to start a civilian career. After a brief stint selling restaurant consumables, Rich used his knowledge of business operations and sales to land a role as a Field Sales Representative at a wine and spirits company. Over the next 8 years, Rich worked his way up to Vice President of Sales.

It was at that point the fast-paced world of tech came calling.

“The speed and ever-dynamic environment in the tech world intrigued me and it seemed to be a logical place for me to start looking.”

Uber seemed like a good fit. Rich’s wife, Eleni McNell is a Senior Executive Assistant Business Partner in Marketing at Uber, and the mission and scale of the team resonated with him. “I wanted to be part of something that has revolutionized moving and feeding people at the tap of a button.”

To land a role, Rich connected with our Military, Veteran, and Partner (MVP) Program, who introduced him to our business and helped him learn about different opportunities on Sales teams across the company.

“At first glance, I thought Rich was a standout candidate,” shares Michael Pett, Head of MVP Programs. “Rich had an impressive sales background, was a Service Academy graduate, and his Military Partner was already an Uber employee. Once I spoke to Rich, I knew we needed to find him a home at Uber.”

The speed of growth and scale that drew Rich to Uber also led him to our Uber for Business team: “When I learned about the aggressive growth goals of Uber for Business, which brings the magic of Uber to businesses everywhere, I was especially excited about this opportunity knowing that it was a priority area for the company and a team I could make significant contributions to.” 

“A member of our MVP team worked directly with the Uber for Business hiring team to make sure that Rich was considered in the interview process. The rest, as they say, is history,” said Michael.

To land the role, “I positioned myself as a strong candidate by leveraging my combination of experience in sales with my ability to operate within and navigate large organizations like the Air Force. Everything is about framing how you will be able to succeed within new operating environments, how you are able to utilize the resources at hand, and how you operate under constraints or when facing adversity.”

Rich believed in his skill sets and used his past experiences to paint a picture of future success at Uber. 

What stands out most to Rich about working at Uber is just how helpful people are. “It’s easy to think that could be lost at a large company, but I haven’t found that to be the case. There are a lot of brilliant folks here that are helping make our mission a reality every day. I’m excited to see where these next few years take all of us.”  

His advice to other MVPs looking to land a role in tech? “Own the process and be persistent and follow up with the recruiting team. Ask questions—a lot of them. Everyone moves fast, but be absolutely sure to take care of your own needs during the process. Canvas your contacts and try to connect if and when you can. Reach out to folks in roles that you’re interested in and try to leverage any folks with prior military experience.” 

Learn more about our Military, Veteran, and Partner Program and Sales at Uber →