On the 11th day of November each year, American citizens observe Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. In light of this national holiday, those of us at The Container Store take this time to honor our own employees across the country who have served in the military, and we believe it’s important for all industries—especially the retail industry—to support the hiring of veterans.
One such veteran is Greg Wagnon, our Logistics and Transportation Director. Before working at The Container Store, he recently retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (though he’s too humble to mention this rank in the interview below). Despite the fact that he’s only worked here a short time, he’s already made a tremendous impact on our company. “Greg’s servant leadership is just one of the many wonderful traits he has that helps us be the best we can be,” says Christy Parra, our Senior Logistics Director.
Greg was happy to speak with us about his military service and his thoughts on the importance of hiring veterans:
How long did you serve in the military? And what were some of your responsibilities during that time?
After almost 23 years of Active Duty Service in the US Army, I retired late last year. Up until that I’d commanded numerous logistics organizations ranging in size from 50 to over 3,000 personnel. As a logistics officer, I planned, resourced, and coordinated logistics missions all over the world in peacetime and during combat operations.
Most importantly, the military taught me to be a “servant leader.” The idea of servant leadership is to put others before yourself. One of the first things a leader learns in the military is care and concern for one’s people and their families.
Why did you decide to work at The Container Store after serving in the military?
I grew up in Dallas and have fond memories of shopping at some of the first Container Store locations as a kid. The Container Store enjoys a tremendous reputation for being an “employee first” organization, and our Foundation Principles embrace many of the same values I learned in the military.
What’s does your role as The Container Store’s Logistics and Transportation Director entail?
I have the privilege of working with an incredible team of domestic and international transportation experts. These amazing logisticians manage the inbound transportation of products from our vendors and outbound transportation of products to our stores and customers’ homes and businesses.
How are you able to use the skills and experience you gained in the military in your job today?
Logistics, whether it be military or retail, requires a series of systems, processes, adaptability, and coolness under pressure, so I am pleased that I was able to bring many of the best practices I learned in the military to The Container Store. In addition, the leadership, time management, organization, and teambuilding skills I learned in the military allowed me to quickly adapt to a similar job, though a very different environment.
What’s your favorite part about working at The Container Store?
I enjoy the family atmosphere here and the importance we place on personal and professional development. The military is a close-knit and unique segment of society, to say the least, so I think what many veterans miss after they serve is the camaraderie, esprit de corps and the brotherhood/sisterhood of arms. As a result, veterans will always be drawn to companies like The Container Store that resemble that nurturing environment we came from.
Why do you think it’s important for the retail industry to hire veterans?
To keep up with the ever evolving retail industry, retailers will always require adaptable leaders, and the military is a tremendous source of such talent. Veterans are the perfect example of candidates that understand the importance of building teams and being decisive.
What advice would you give to other veterans seeking their first civilian job?
Don’t sell yourself short; you bring a lot to the table. The leadership skills, project management skills, and commitment to excellence you learned in the military are relevant, appreciated, and in high demand by companies all over the world. Learn to translate and articulate those skills into business terms and you will have no issues in an interview or transitioning to the next chapter of your life!
If you’re a military veteran seeking a new career, please check out our open positions here. For other retail opportunities, we also recommend checking out the National Retail Federation’s resources for veterans here.