LAKEWOOD RANCH — Allison Levy manages her information-technology company like she did — and does — coordinating care for sprained ankles and heart attacks as a senior enlisted leader in the Armed Services’ medical community.
She stays organized and embraces building a community network, creating trust and feedback, like she does on the planning committee for the Tribute to Heroes Parade, to be held May 26, in Lakewood Ranch.
During her 20-year military career — split between six years as an active member, before serving 10 years in reserve, another two years active and, now, back on reserve — Levy always knew she wanted to own a business.
During her military years, Levy spent most of her time managing health-care service.
She spent five to six years on the frontlines, driving an ambulance, giving shots and drawing blood.
Less than a year-and-half-ago, Levy and her husband, Jason, quit their jobs in Washington, D.C., and bought We Fix Computers on State Road 70. The couple turned it into j2 IT Services. At the time, Levy knew little about the world of computers, but she’s not one to be afraid of the unknown.
As a reserve in the military, she can be deployed with two weeks’ notice, leaving everything she’s learned at her new job, and a family, behind.
“It’s a very real thing,” Levy said.
Before entering the Armed Services, Levy, an environmental consulting major at Eastern Kentucky University, planned to be a park ranger.
As a park services ranger during summers, Levy learned CPR and basic EMT training.
Facing a poor job outlook in her field of choice, Levy decided to join the Armed Services after a military recruiter visited her campus in 1993.
Levy applied what she learned as a park ranger and learned how to listen to a heartbeat and draw blood. Much of her work was preventative; Levy never dealt with traumatic wounds.
For a period, she worked in aviation health clinics with Marine and Navy pilots. Then, she was an environmental consultant for the Navy; she checked sites for leaking oil and made sure items were stored properly.
In 2003, Levy, then on reserve, was called back into active duty to Bethesda, Md., for four months.
Levy left her family in Washington, D.C., to manage the medical staff of the then National Naval Medical Center and care for soldiers heading to Iraq or Germany.
“Those were difficult years,” Levy said. “I’m fortunate. It was very stressful.”
As a reserve again, the stress — and rewards — of the two worlds blend together.
At a banquet May 17, in Orlando, j2 IT Services will be one of 15 companies in Florida the Department of Defense recognizes for winning an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Above and Beyond Award.
The award honors companies that support re-employment for Armed Forces reserve and guard members.
Levy’s reserve status requires her to complete training one weekend every month and an additional two weeks during the year. She travels to places such as MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where she helps with logistics.
The young faces at MacDill push Levy to avoid retirement.
She could have retired a few weeks ago — her 20th year in the service — but signed on for two more years, instead.
At the Tribute to Heroes Parade, Levy will see faces young and old and think of the help she still has to give.
“People still need the work that I do,” Levy said. “It’s good to see them recognized and bringing pride to our community.”
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].