Veterans & Vehicles: Robert “Rolo” Szabo (Marines)
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2021 Honorary Inductee

Robert “Rolo” Szabo (Marines)

Manager, Software Engineering
Cox Automotive

How has your military experience influenced your career in the automotive industry?

Before joining the Marine Corps, I was a software engineer. During my time in, I served as a janitor, a lead logistics planner for multi-national operations and everything in between. I learned leadership traits that energized me, gave me invaluable perspective and encouraged me to stay humble in my work. I returned ready to apply that to the engineers at vAuto and help take the organization to new levels of maturity, structure and growth.

 

What are some of the ways you have seen the industry support veterans?

Cox Automotive has always shown unconditional support to the reservist community. I joined as a reservist and planned on being gone for about a year of training before returning to vAuto. There was no question of if I had a job waiting for me when I returned. When that one year turned into two-and-a-half years, vAuto still had a place for me. Knowing I had a home to come back to was an incredible relief and something I know other veterans and reservists were less fortunate and have struggled with in their own career fields.

 

Give one piece of advice for veterans entering the industry.

You’ll probably feel like you can do anything and fill any role. After all, you’ve been required to perform a necessary function in highly stressful engagements in your past. My advice is to use that perspective to your advantage to stay calm when it seems fires are burning. On the other hand, be humble about new opportunities. Be prepared to learn, grow and develop. Own your career and, most importantly, pace yourself.

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