Veteran Spotlight - Karl Gatzke

Navy veteran and Maximus call center manager co-leads new employee resource group

Karl Gatzke, U.S. Navy

Karl Gatzke said his two decades in the Navy gave him a skillset he found he could apply to his second career.  

"The military was very good about showing us how to set expectations and deliver that to leadership," Gatzke said. 

When he joined Maximus as a call center operations manager in October 2019, he found following policies, thinking critically, and working among diverse groups to be second nature after his tenure in the Navy that took him all around the globe.  

He was already familiar with Maximus from the acquisition of the General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) business when he found the opportunity to join the company in his role, which proved to be an organic fit.  

"Because the company I worked for had a relationship with GDIT, it kind of popped on my radar," Gatzke said. "I started tracking {Maximus} on LinkedIn and some other places, and eventually, it {Maximus} became an employer of choice that I was looking for when I was looking for companies to move on to." 

In his role in the call center, he oversees daily activities for three subcontractor agencies that supply talent for the program. His team ensures that agencies are meeting contractual service level agreements on performance.  

"I love the daily interaction," he said. I mean, the people and the uniqueness of each day that this contract brings because every day is not necessarily like yesterday. So, I like that. I like change. I like different." 

Karl brings 20 years of total military experience to his Maximus role. He served in the Navy — in active duty and reserve capacities — and on shore duty. Before that, he was an operations manager, working in communications navigation for the ship. He has traveled through dozens of countries along the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas and the Atlantic Ocean. He served a tour in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 and recalls stepping foot onto the Iraqi soil after landing. 

"I literally said to myself, this is it; this is real," Gatzke said. "This is the reality of being in a hot zone, you know? That experience was definitely a defining moment. The experience made me appreciate the time that I do have here and my family — just the recognition that we all really live one day at a time and to make the most of it, and also not to settle." 

Gatzke is a co-lead for Maximus' Veterans Alliance of Individuals, Family, and Friends Employee Resource Group (ERG), a new initiative expected to launch by the end of 2022. He said veterans have much to offer at Maximus because of their diverse and unique backgrounds.  

"Most of us have a leadership role or responsibility at a very young age," he said. "And the great thing is Maximus is willing to take veterans and have them grow into the position. So just be open to it and ready to learn."