Scott Deluzio’s journey starts right around the tragedy of 9/11. He was 24 and in college, and 9/11 was just one of those events that brought things into perspective. He was inspired to join the military, but so was everyone else, so he decided to hold off until after school and revisit the concept after graduation. A year later Scott noticed the military quickly went from a flood of recruits, to struggling to find anyone. He then joined the Connecticut National Guard while getting his four year degree in accounting, and his brother had joined the military right before him, going into the Vermont National Guard.
In his fifth year in the national guard Scott was deployed to Afghanistan with his brother, but his brother didn’t make it back home with him. Scott came home around 2012, and had a hard time transitioning back to civilian life. At this time he had a wife and infant son, and his first job back was in finance at an insurance company. He had a really hard time finding purpose in a typical 9-5 job.
While Scott was in college, his dad started a business and needed a website, so Scott threw something together using the very basics of WordPress (it even had a visitor counter). He really enjoyed the process, and even transferred his personal blog to WordPress. Fast forward to post-military, he needed a job that was flexible and gave him time to manage his transition and PTSD, and also gave him some sort of fulfillment. He started working on websites fulltime, and later on started his own plugin company.
Between 2012 and 2016 Scott had kind of a rock bottom moment, and knew he needed to make some changes. He’d lived a fairly hermit-like life while working from home and focusing on healing, and his family, but 2016 was when he dipped his toes in the WordPress community. He went to his local WordCamp in Phoenix, Arizona, and was very much a fly on the wall. He was nervous, and uncomfortable, and knew of a lot of people there, but didn’t personally know anyone there. While he was standing nearby someone picked him out of the crowd and started making conversation, and after they got to know each other, he realized there were a ton of people Scott needed to meet. That opened the door for a wave of possibilities, and Scott started looking into more and more WordCamps, meetups, and would even travel for WordCamps.
Scott sold his plugin business over the summer of 2022, and now is working for a consulting company that focuses on helping organizations become more efficient. Not in chopping heads, but in streamlining workflows and making sure all projects have value. He isn’t as directly using WordPress at his current job, but he does still use it as a tool in creating those workflows.
One question we asked Scott was, “Did the military have any impact on your interpersonal communication skills?” He said that it helped him be more aware of his audience, and it helped a lot while making plugins because it encouraged him to think of things from the user perspective.
“It helped me be able to present something effectively, and present the right information to the right people at the right time.”
We asked him if there were any resources that helped him through his transition back to civilian life, and processing the death of his brother. At the time he was barely getting by, and didn’t look for many resources. Podcasts and audio or e-books were definitely very different in 2012, so he was pulling from a much smaller pool. He used writing and painting to help him process his PTSD, and he actually also wrote a book about his experience. The painting provided him a physical medium to be able to dissociate, and writing helped as a guide while he processed his trauma.
Scott started a business, a podcast, and wrote an entire book. He needed mediums to keep himself busy, but he was also very intentional about creating resources so other people would have a chance to be better off than he was.
A lot of soldiers that Scott served with survived deployment, but took their own lives when they came back. He realized there were a lot of people like him out there, and he didn’t want to just sit around and wait for another call saying a friend died. He decided to use podcasting as a way of outreach, largely because its barrier of entry was so low. It was free to listen, and easy to listen to throughout the busyness of life. And it allowed him to output as much content as he wanted. It was a win-win. Scott started his podcast about three and a half years ago, and now has over 250 episodes recorded, with no plans of slowing down.
The reason behind Scott’s book was similar to his podcast, but he also wanted a form of history. He wanted his family, and kids, to know his and his brother’s stories, and he wanted to provide a window into “the life”. Scott felt inspired to join the military after 9/11, but really he went in blind, and didn’t know how dramatically it would change his life.