“I feel the need, the need for speed.” No doubt you recognize this popular quote from the box office hit, Top Gun, which first played in theaters more than 30 years ago. The adrenaline-rushing movie featured Tom Cruise as the daring fighter pilot, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who was selected for the Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying skills.
Drew Higgins (in the center of the above photo) was so captivated and inspired by this movie that he wanted to join the military and fly fighter jets – maybe not pulling some of those bold maneuvers Maverick did in the movie, like buzzing the tower.
“I always wanted to fly,’ said the Houston, Texas native.
And he did.
In continuing our blog series featuring a few of our company’s nearly 300 military veterans and as our nation commemorates Veterans Day, we want to share with you some highlights of Drew’s service to our country and to the community and customers of Military City USA!
Drew attended the Naval Academy and was a wide receiver on the academy’s football team. In 1994, he commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Drew had many roles in the military. He flew multiple aircraft including the T34, T45 and the F18 Hornet.
“It was amazing – a dream come true,” he says of that experience. “When I got in the seat, I just sat there. It was so surreal.”
His service in the Marine Corps took him all over the United States and even abroad: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Japan where he was stationed for more than two years.
Along with flying aircraft, he served with Special Forces in Colombia as an intelligence officer and was responsible for a sizable portion of the strategic planning for the Pacific Theatre of operations.
An injury landed him at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where he recovered before separating from the military in 2008.
The veteran says that to this day he is most proud of and misses the privilege of leading Marines, the finest men and women in the world.
Earlier this year, Drew came to work for CPS Energy as the Senior Director of Products & Services in our Customer Engagement area. Similar to assessing intel for the Marines, Drew and his team assess, create and maintain an array of products and services to help ensure we’re giving customers what they need and want. For example, he and his team worked on the award-winning STEP program, and oversee the smart Wi-Fi program and Big Sun Community Solar.
Asked how his military experiences and skills were transferable to being a leader with the utility, Drew replied, “I’m able to prioritize and compartmentalize the many activities going on around me, to stay in the moment. You have to be able to shut out other things that may be going on to focus on what you need to. When everyone else may be losing their heads, you keep your cool. This is a lifelong gift that serves me well no matter what role or position I’m in.”
Thank you, Drew, and all military veterans for protecting and defending our great nation.