Sears Holdings Military Veteran Profile of the Month: Mark Bryant
Sears Holdings employs over 30,000 military veterans, with 1,500 still in the National Guard & Reserves. We have a policy that will even pay the difference between their military and civilian pay when they’re called into active duty, so they’re not penalized for serving our country. Over the last 17 months, we’ve hired more than 5,100 veterans. Meet one of the veterans we hired last year…
What do you do at Sears Holdings? As the Assistant General Manager of a large Retail Replenishment Center (distribution center) I am responsible for all the daily operations that affect our RRC. It is my responsibility to ensure we fulfill all customer orders and replenishment orders to our 350-plus stores on a weekly basis. We have several areas that require attention daily in order for this process to run smoothly. These processes are monitored by our Operations Managers who are my eyes and ears on the floor making sure we take care of our customers. It is imperative that we work together as a team to accomplish our goals each day. One thing my experience as a soldier has taught me is teamwork.
I had always heard through my career that there is no “I” in TEAM. I lead with that same thought in mind here at Sears Holdings Corp.
When did you come to Sears Holdings?In July 1990 I joined the U.S. Army straight out of high school to serve my country and gain valuable skills, experience and discipline. The majority of my career was spent as a Cargo Specialist (material handler) stationed at many different locations. A few of them include Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Story and Fort Eustis, Virginia, and Vilseck, Germany. I was able to travel around the world to many different countries and experience cultures far outside of my own. Basically my job consisted of loading and un-loading ships, trains and planes, moving freight to and from locations for troops in different areas around the world. As I progressed through the ranks I was more involved in the load planning process as well as scheduling and assigning task to units. My career in the Army ended in July 2011 after 21 years.
The roughest part for a career soldier is the transition back to being a civilian. I didn’t know what I really wanted to do, but I knew that I had to like it and wanted to make a difference. I went through a couple of job fairs but heard about a virtual career fair through milicruit.com. There were over 150 companies looking for veterans and the skills we had to offer. This is how I found Sears Holdings Corp. I sent in my resume sometime in July and quickly received a phone call to set up an interview at the Garland RRC in Garland, Texas. My interview went really well due to my experience with oral boards and the preparation the Army puts you through prior to exiting the service.
In August 2011 I started at the Garland RRC as the Transportation Supervisor, responsible for routing and load planning all the outbound freight to over 350 stores. I quickly progressed and was promoted in March of 2012 to Receiving Department Manager and shortly thereafter Senior Operation Manger. By October 2012 I had taken a promotion to my current position, Assistant General Manager of the RRC. Although, this seemed to be a fast track promotion I felt that with the support of the team and my experience in the Army I am up for the challenge.
What have you learned from the transition? One thing that truly concerned me was my transition from the military to the civilian workforce. I had been used to a rigorous schedule and life, and I wasn’t sure if I could cope with the change. But I have to say that the team I work with at Sears has made that transition very easy. Each day we work hard to get our jobs done to the best of our abilities. We focus on helping each other improve our weaknesses and feed off each other’s’ strengths. There isn’t a question in my mind that I can trust my coworkers to take care of me and this business. I enjoy what I do and who I work with, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I made the right decision to begin my second career with this team and Sears Holdings Corp.
Note: In the last 5 years, Sears has stood behind our military and veterans. In that time we’ve raised more than $33 million and helped more than 110,000 military and veteran families. Our Heroes at Home program, in partnership with Rebuilding Together, has rebuilt more than 1,365 homes for Wounded Warriors. The Wish Registry has raised more than $18 million for 105,000 active, guard, and reserve military families. Here is a video of some of that support of the Wish Registry from earlier this year.
See heroes from previous months: