From Military Logistics to Defence Consulting: A Veteran’s Journey

For Lachlan Harris, the move from military logistics to defence consulting has provided rewarding changes, such as a beach lifestyle and ongoing alignment with his professional values. He’s found a supportive environment focused on growth and work-life balance.

After nearly a decade managing equipment and logistics in the Australian Army, Lachlan Harris was ready for a new professional challenge.

He wanted more control over planning his career and life. But transitioning from military to civilian work didn’t come without hurdles.

“Defence is a very structured work environment,” Lachlan explains. “The biggest difficulty for me was just adjusting to having more flexibility and personal responsibility in my schedule.”

While Lachlan misses the camaraderie and sense of service, he embraces the greater flexibility civilian life affords. “You’re the master of your own destiny,” he says.

Transferable Skills from Service

Lachlan now leverages many transferable skills from his Army experience in his role as an integrated logistics (ILS) consultant supporting defence industry clients at Systematiq.

He invested nine years full-time service in the army. After his initial training at 1st Recruit Training Battalion in Wagga Wagga, he posted to the Army Logistics Training Centre in Albury, learning the foundations of his role. He posted to Darwin for three years at the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment and was just learning to adjust to life as a soldier there, after which he posted to 7th Royal Australian Regiment in Adelaide.

He was promoted twice, first to Lance Corporal and then to Corporal, during which time he completed several valuable courses and major exercises, leaving early 2020 after being posted to the 1st Armoured Regiment. He says the main role for most of his time there was as ‘squadron quartermaster’ for the Tank Squadron in Adelaide.

As a Squadron Quartermaster responsible for managing equipment and logistics for infantry and armoured tank units, he honed valuable capabilities that now underpin his consulting projects.

“My job was to manage and account for the basic and specific equipment required for combat soldiers to enable them to effectively perform their roles. That included high security equipment, such as weapon systems or night fighting equipment and the parts necessary to repair, all the way down to dealing with the data required to buy a new pair of boots.”

While he was transitioning out of the army, he registered his details with Soldier On, a not-for-profit organisation delivering support services to former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, which was how Systematiq found him.

New Team Provides Shared Experience

While leaving the military meant missing the daily camaraderie, Lachlan has found a supportive network at Systematiq.

He explains, “When I’m working on projects, obviously I’ve got my individual deliverables that I’m responsible for, but I’m constantly talking to my PMS or other colleagues on the project so we can collectively meet its requirements, in conjunction with creating and setting up meetings with clients.”

He says the work at Systematiq is different to what he did in the Army, but similar.

“A lot of things are easy to understand based on the experience that I had in defence,” he said, adding that having a strong understanding of how things work within Defence, is also valuable for our clients.

He cites an example. I was working with BIA5, a company providing a Tactical Initiated Lighting system, which is a replacement of the current in-service trip flare with a new LED component. They needed to advice on the accountability and management in the units and how they could supply support. This was easily relatable to me because I spent three years working within an Infantry Battalion.

Continuous Learning Aligns with Values

While Lachlan values the increased flexibility of consulting, continuous skills development remains a priority in this next chapter of his career. The ability to expand his capabilities and expertise is one reason he was drawn to Systematiq.

“I was looking for an environment where there were opportunities for growth,” Lachlan said.

The company has delivered on that front, offering through training and guidance to help Lachlan gain new skills in areas like defence contracting and documentation.

He appreciates having colleagues he can turn to with questions as he continues his career outside the army.

Lachlan Harris & Partner: Professional Wedding Guests

Outside of the workplace, Lachlan loves his fitness. He ran a marathon earlier this year, and enjoys running regularly, getting outdoors, and camping on the beach with his partner. “This lifestyle is the reason I moved to the Gold Coast,” he says.

He’s enjoying the opportunity of a more stable existence to catch up with his former schoolmates – which has resulted in many wedding invitations this year alone. Besides this he’s looking forward to the next couple of years and planning the future with his partner.

If you are looking for a rewarding career in a supportive environment with an opportunity to work on some leading projects in the defence and rail industries, contact Systematiq today.