Looking Back: A Lifetime of Public Service

In today’s economy, career paths have become winding roads, filled with detours and reroutes along the way. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, today’s workers have, on average, worked for their current employers for little more than four years. Indeed, it is hard to imagine staying in the same career for a lifetime, let alone with the same organization.

Statistically speaking then, Sarkis Tatigian, the associate director for Small Business Programs, is an extreme outlier. On September 26, 2012, he will celebrate his 70th year with the U.S. Department of Navy in both military and civil service. In 1942, the United States was in the midst of the Second World War when Mr. Tatigian joined the Navy as a Junior Inspector of Radios at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. Incredibly, since transitioning from active duty, his entire civilian career as a Navy employee has been spent at the same command, at present the Naval Sea Systems Command.

talks 70 years of federal service
by GovLoop Insights

Speaking with Chris Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER, Mr. Tatigian spoke to his lifetime of public service and the career path he has chosen. Working in the Navy for so many years, he embodies the notion of institutional knowledge. As he told Dorobek, “We’ve seen many presidents come and go, and many changes […].” Historically there has been a staggering amount of change throughout his career; within his Command, the Small Business Programs he has worked on has also evolved significantly.

Since starting with the Small Businesses program, he has seen many program changes go into effect. “Back in 1953 when the Small Business Act was passed, it was just small business without any subcategories.” Over his time there, the program has kept growing; he has seen the evolution of preferences for small, women-owned businesses, and those run by disabled veterans.

The variety and diversification in what he has done throughout the years has kept Tatigian going for the past seventy years. At eighty-nine years old, he told Dorobek that he has no immediate plans for retirement. When he does retire, he will have left behind a tremendous legacy – and big shoes to fill.

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