Ben Downing enlisted in the Army as a Multichannel Signal Systems Operator (Tactical). A Brooklyn native, he was the honor graduate of his class at Fort Gordon, Georgia and then deployed to South Korea. He returned to Fort Gordon and completed the Tactical Satellite Operators Course before being transferred to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. There, he served three years with the 11th Signal Brigade. Due to his technical expertise and interest in emerging communications technology, Ben was chosen to be one of the first to work in a program now known as COTS or “Commercial Off The Shelf Technology.” Following a deployment to South Korea with 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, Ben received orders to Turkey where, while working as a liaison alongside NATO counterparts from a host of different nations in a wide range of assignments, Ben learned to speak Turkish fluently.
In 2008, he was deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Assault Helicopter Battalion where he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Ben was the most experienced communications non-commissioned officer in the unit, and was tasked to establish a communications base at a remote Forward Operating Base in Al Kut in Southern Iraq. Ben was also put in charge of escorting and providing security for groups of Iraqi nationals as they traveled on and off of the Forward Operating Base. It was during this time that he was injured. Upon his return to the United States, Ben was assigned to the Army’s Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Dix, New Jersey and Community Based Warrior Transition Unit in Concord, Massachusetts. It was during this period that was accepted into a financial training program that focused on identifying combat veterans with an aptitude for finance and training them for employment in the industry.
After completing an internship at UBS, he accepted an offer from Drexel Hamilton. Working at Drexel Hamilton affords him the opportunity to leverage his knowledge of the markets, the high-level leadership and management skills developed in the military, an enthusiastic/result-oriented work ethic, along with his interpersonal skills to build relationships in the industry and excel in a challenging career in finance. In 2013, he returned from another tour of duty in Afghanistan. Ben holds a BS from Rutgers University and received an Executive MBA (class of 2017) with a concentration in finance from the Rutgers University Business School.