“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” This quote by Danish philosopher Sören Kierkegaard is something Drevan Barfield has lived by since graduating Lanai High & Elementary School in 2013.
From a young age, Barfield and his siblings were encouraged by their parents to dream big and to be fearless in their pursuit of opportunities outside of Hawaii.
“Home is always going to be there. You know, you can always come back,” said Barfield. “My parents wanted what’s best for us. They told us opportunities are out there. You need to go get an education, or join the military, but you need to go seize those opportunities.”
Enlisting in the Navy
At age 17, Barfield left Lanai City, his parents and six siblings, and enlisted in the United States Navy. With his love for the water and the fact that his father was a Navy man, the choice was clear to him that the Navy would be his next step. He wanted to venture out and explore the world. From 2014 to 2018, Barfield served as an aviation ordnanceman working with ordnance explosives, small arms munitions, various firearms, rockets and missiles, loading and downloading them to and from aircraft. He did two tours in the Pacific theater.
Achieving personal goals
After four years of active duty in the military, Barfield was ready to pursue others dreams of his – becoming a personal trainer, focusing on bodybuilding and getting a college degree. Having fallen in love with San Diego while being stationed there and also meeting the love of his life there at a chance encounter at the gym, he decided to put his roots down on the west coast.
In 2017, Barfield attained his master personal fitness trainer certification while working on his associate degree in administrative justice at Southwestern College. He worked as a personal fitness trainer for two years which eventually led him to his current career working in security. One day, he was approached at the gym and was asked to join a security contracting company.
Moving to security
Barfield’s first security contract was with Healthcare and High-Risk Security Services (HSS) at San Diego International Airport. During his time at HSS, he also continued working as a personal trainer and going to school. In late 2019, Barfield started working as a security specialist with Security Industry Specialists (SIS). Eventually, he moved and started working for Apple Inc. where he first started in retail security before being promoted to work out in the field with testers and engineers.
In June 2023, he accepted a different contract through SIS and joined a separate agency at Apple called Developmental Hardware Exchange (DHX). At DHX, Barfield is a hardware secrecy specialist where he helps protect the next generation of Apple products. He uses the utmost discretion as he tracks and distributes confidential prototypes from all phases of its production from initial conception in the library, to production in the lab, and finally to the stockroom.
“I get to witness the creation process firsthand from the smallest component of a prototype to the final product that goes onto the shelf,” said Barfield.
Due to the high security clearance needed for this position, he is not able to share too much about what he is currently working on, but he does enjoy working for Apple.
“They’re very forward thinking,” said Barfield. “They created a line of products that sync up harmoniously. You have your whole life on your phone. With the digital age in full swing, everything is online. You have your files, you have your work, you have pictures, you have memories, you have everything – all digital.”
Criminal justice and the future
Barfield is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and corrections, and a minor in behavioral psychology at National University. His passion for criminal justice started from a young age growing up watching television shows like CSI, Criminal Minds and NCIS.
“I was always intrigued by investigation, connecting the pieces, figuring out why somebody did something the way they did it, and what’s happening in their mind,” said Barfield. “That’s kind of what compelled me to work with technology, because I like to see how things work.”
Barfield hopes to continue working for Apple once he graduates, but he’s open to whatever the future may hold, and he attributes that to the values of adaptability and faith that were instilled in him from his upbringing on Lanai.
“You can’t fight a wave. You can only ride it,” said Barfield. “So, anytime life got tough, whether it was deployment or individual hardship, it’s always remembering that there is a certain flow to things and instead of fighting it, you just have to go with that. And then with that, I incorporated God into everything. Understanding that, not only is there a higher power, but that higher power is God. That’s who I take with me everywhere and that’s who brought me to and from deployments and to and from work.”
When asked if he would return to Lanai one day, aside from his yearly family visits, Barfield said, “It’s a possibility. You know, never say never. Wherever life takes me.”
The advice Barfield has for current students of LHES is to not settle.
“Don’t ever think that you have to settle where you’re at,” said Barfield. “You can always improve; you can always grow. There’s always room for growth. You just have to ask the right questions or ask questions in general. Ask for help and start looking. If you ever think that your dream isn’t important or you’re not going to make it, where there is a will, there is a way. You got to trust yourself, you got to trust the people around you, and surround yourself with people that are like minded.”
“Where are they now?” features alumni from Lanai High and Elementary School, shedding light on their journeys post-graduation.