November 9, 2021

After 24 Years in Army and Navy, Bonetti Finds a Home at Haskell

'To me, it's not work,' says the former soldier, sailor and sheriff's deputy, having again remade himself to become an Information Technology specialist.


Sal Bonetti is a uniform sort of guy. He has worn several over his career and continues to wear one of sorts now that he works for Haskell. However, his career path hardly looks like anyone else’s.

Bonetti, 58, now serves as a member of Haskell’s Information Technology department at the corporate headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. He and his wife of 20 years, Raeanna, live in nearby Middleburg.

Bonetti is a 24-year military veteran, having served in both the Army and Navy. He began his military career back in high school in Venice, Florida. He was a four-year member and graduate of Junior ROTC. He enlisted in the Army his junior year of high school, attended boot camp the summer between his junior and senior years and began his Army career as a Technical Field Communications Specialist shortly after graduation.

He was inspired by his father, Peter, and in a quirk of fate, Bonetti was assigned to his father’s unit at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. There was no getting homesick for this young private. His father was his sergeant.

“It was very rare. I got very lucky when I requested my orders,” Sal Bonetti said. “The good Lord was on my side or someone was pulling strings.”

Like an athlete playing for his father who also is his coach, the younger Bonetti walked a fine line between soldier and son. The two went out of their way to show the rest of the platoon there was no favoritism.

“We separated our work and personal lives,” Sal said. “At work, I addressed him professionally. I tried to be the first one in and the last one out to show there was no preferential treatment. When he said he needed someone, I would step up and do it.”

When Sal also reached the rank of sergeant, it did cause some confusion.

“It was confusing when he was a staff sergeant, and I was a sergeant,” Sal said. “When the master sergeant or the gunny sergeant would yell for Sgt. Bonetti, we’d both answer at the same time.”

While he enjoyed his 3-year Army stint, Bonetti wanted to become a pilot. He left the Army as a sergeant and joined the Navy, and after its boot camp came out with the rank of petty officer 3rd class. Early on, the Navy grounded his hopes of being a pilot. An eye test found he needed glasses, and the Navy requires its pilots to have perfect natural vision. Now a sailor, the former soldier, stayed in aviation and went into jet engine maintenance.

Bonetti served 20 years in the Navy and saw the world on Navy ships and through many overseas deployments.

After 20 years in the Navy, Bonetti opted to retire with 24 years of military service. (Three years in the Army and a year credit for four years of ROTC in high school.) Again, he changed uniforms, this time he became a Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy. Police work had been another lifelong interest and being just 40 years old and with substantial military training, he was a good fit for this work.

Unfortunately, a medical condition forced him to resign from the police force after only six years.

Bonetti credits his wife for his next career move. She told him he should pursue his interest in computers. He got his associate’s degree from Florida State College at Jacksonville and went to work maintaining computers at Nemours Children’s Health System.

For the first time in his life, Bonetti was without a uniform. That changed when he asked about wearing less formal business attire due to having to crawl under desks to repair computers at the hospital. He opted for cargo pants rather than khakis.

When his hospital job was reassigned to Delaware, Bonetti came to Haskell as a contract worker in its IT department. Within six months, there was an opening, and he became a full-time Haskell team member two years ago.

“I love my job and what I do,” he said. “It is a very relaxed and easy-going environment. To me it’s not work.”

At headquarters, Bonetti is easy to spot. He’s the person in cargo pants – his present-day uniform of choice.

Honoring Our Veterans

Haskell proudly employs veterans of the United States Armed Forces and currently has 76 team members who previously served our country. To commemorate Veterans Day, this week is spotlighting one of them daily. Additionally, Haskell annually presents each veteran on our team with a special thank you gift.

As Haskell grows rapidly across the United States to meet the needs of new and existing clients, veterans continue to play an ever-increasing role. Those who have served our nation understand mission, structure, results and accountability. They are a perfect fit with Haskell’s core values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust.

Are you interested in transitioning from the military to a career with a vibrant, growing company that provides nearly unlimited opportunities? Contact us to learn more.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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