The summer following high school graduation typically means beach vacations, pool parties and summer jobs for teens before college. But for Andrew Meader, a sales representative for employee benefits provider Unum, it meant jumping out of airplanes at 30,000 feet and diving 300 feet in the Pacific Ocean.
After Meader graduated high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and endured six weeks of boot camp in Chicago. Following that, he went to San Diego’s Coronado Island, where he trained for more than a year to become a Navy SEAL.
From training as a paratrooper, to becoming a master shooter, to basic underwater SEAL training — or BUDS as it’s called — Meader’s preparation was nothing short of grueling. “It really is a mental game, and if you’re not there mentally, you won’t succeed,” he said. “There are no second chances. If you fail at one challenge, you’re gone. You have to become a master of it all.”
Meader’s SEAL training class began with close to 300 men, but only 36 graduated. He was one of three who were only 18 at the time.
He spent his first five years as a Navy SEAL in Hawaii as a primary pilot of miniature submersible vehicles, where he participated in top-secret nuclear submarine missions. He also did a six-month, voluntary deployment to Iraq where he was, among many things, a sniper.
After 10 years of active duty, and now married with a growing family, Meader decided not to re-enlist. He instead got involved with national recruiting efforts and spent his time as the Greater New England Naval Special Warfare coordinator, where he oversaw the Future Warrior Program.
Now, Meader is happy to be able to spend time with his wife and two kids and is enjoying his new career in Connecticut.
“Unum really gives you the opportunity to push yourself professionally as far and as hard as you want to, and the responsibility for your growth and performance is all on you,” he said. “This company and this position fit my character very well.”