Ask anyone who has served in the United States military, if it has made an everyday difference in their lives, and the answer will surely, be yes. For MasterLube employees, Mike Cook and Adrian Brown, the experience is something they bring to work with them every day, and their experience benefits MasterLube employees and customers.
Mike Cook, MasterLube’s vice president of operations, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1988 to 1992. He joined the USAF shortly after graduating from high school. He received training for the Military Police and was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyo. before receiving orders to report to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, just in time for the eruption of the volcano, Mt. Pinatubo, in 1991. As a MP, Mike’s job was to help evacuate the base, and after the eruption, he patrolled the vacant base to maintain security.
“It was eerie, especially the night shift,” he said. “Ash covered everything and there were these big sink holes everywhere.”
The experience still makes for a good story, but the experiences that make an everyday difference run much deeper. As an MP, Mike gained valuable leadership experience that he uses every day on the job. He also learned teamwork, he said, and how to work together with a diverse group of people.
“You learn that everybody does things a little bit different, and being able to adjust to that and still get the job done is important.”
Adrian Brown, enterprise manager at the King Ave. Masterlube store, served in the U.S. Army from 1990 to 1994, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant in the 13 Bravo Field Artillery Unit. For a good part of his enlistment, he was stationed in Germany, but also spent some time in Spain.When Adrian, a native of Maryland, decided to leave the military, an old Army buddy said he should check out his hometown of Billings. Adrian has called Billings his home ever since, and has worked for MasterLube for more than 15 years, working at every store before landing at the King Ave. store, where he oversees a team of 15 people.
“I use my military experience every day, for myself and for my work,” Adrian said.
It’s the little things that have stuck with him. He said he’s a “rise-and-shiner” and never needs an alarm clock, something he learned in the Army. He likes to keep things neat and organized, also habits that were instilled in him through his military experience. He tries to stay physically fit, and what he calls, “squared-away,” meaning responsible for yourself and ready for anything.
On a larger scale, he gained valuable leadership experience. In the Army, the chain of command is clear, and in addition to answering to his superiors, Adrian trained and mentored those under his leadership.
“It was the same for everybody,” he said. “You try and you fail and you learn from your failures, and you let them try and fail and help them get back-up and try again.”
Adrian easily fell into step with MasterLube’s mentoring program, and embraced the opportunity to be mentored, and now enjoys mentoring fellow employees.
“In the Army we were always mentoring different people, just the same as we do here,” he said.