After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, I served in the Army as an active duty soldier for 23 years and earned my rank as Lieutenant Colonel, as well as my license as a professional engineer and certificate as a Project Management Professional (PMP). I spent my last six years stationed in Japan and was deployed to Iraq for six months. While in Iraq, I received the Bronze Star Medal for my service.
When I began my journey at Praxair as a global construction manager in 2006, the lessons I learned in the military and through my travels proved valuable to my success. Since Praxair is a global company, it is necessary to understand and be respectful of different cultures. Something the military taught me was the importance of doing your due diligence in research before interacting with people of other cultures.
As the global construction manager, I assessed plants under construction across the globe and identified areas of improvement. When discussing the assessments with regional leadership and plant managers of diverse cultures, we did our research and often tailored our delivery according to the social trends and customs in that area. This strategy allowed us to develop relationships built on trust and understanding.
I am now the USIG Training and Development Manager and it is evident that teamwork and trust are values Praxair shares with the military. As a leader, you have an obligation to your soldiers and organization. Here, we also rely on one another to achieve our goals and objectives. Whatever we do, we do as a team.
For example, I’m also the USIG Sustainable Development Coordinator and our team has increased the number of locations using a program designed to divert waste from landfills and the number of community engagement events we participate in by over 20% in each of the last three years. Although we still have more work to do to reach our 2020 goals, I know we will achieve them because, together, we can accomplish anything.
The lessons I learned in the military and through my travels proved valuable to my success at Praxair.