LPF Can Help | Aaron Henderson
|Page 4b of 7|
Aaron Henderson currently serves the Maryland Army National Guard as the Command Sergeant Major of the 115th Military Police Battalion and is also as the Director of Loss Prevention for Penske Logistics; here are some of his insights on his industry and his military experiences.
QUOTE: "...two things that I picked up in the military, discipline and complete the task to the best of your ability helped me a lot.."
Aaron Henderson Discusses Loss Prevention.
I entered the military in 1987 after I graduated high school; I completed my Military Police training and spent the next three years on active duty serving at duty stations in Texas, Panama and South Korea. After my active duty time I joined the Maryland Army National Guard where I have served for 20 years as a guardsman. I deployed to the first gulf war in 1990-1991, to the Pentagon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and to Afghanistan. I currently serve as the Command Sergeant Major of the 115th Military Police Battalion in Maryland where I am responsible for 700 Soldiers.
Were there a lot of trials and tribulations during your transition?
My transition from active duty in 1990 was challenging. When I had left active duty I wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, I applied to many different agencies and at the same time started my career in loss prevention working as an hourly store detective with Macy’s. Shortly after I started with Macy’s I was deployed with the Maryland Guard to the first Gulf war, Macy’s was very understanding and held my position for when I returned six months later. The biggest challenge was getting the civilian environment to see the values in the training and experiences that I have had in the Military.
Did you go to a hiring conference?
I didn't attend a hiring conference, I was fortunate to have a brother that was working with Macy’s in the sales department and he introduced me to the Loss Prevention Manager, I had an interview and I was hired.
What adjustments did you have to make compared to work environment and lifestyle in the military?
For me the adjustments were easy, two things that I picked up in the military, discipline and complete the task to the best of your ability helped me a lot. I worked shift work in the military and I did the same when I started with Macy’s. The discipline helped me to be where and when I was supposed to.
What’s a typical day like working loss prevention for a logistics company?
I don’t think you can say that I have a typical day. I spend about 40% of my time traveling to site locations meeting with the operators. I usually start my day around 7:30, I have calls with my team to discuss opportunities within the business. The loss prevention program is new to Penske, we started the program about two years ago so we continue to grow and improve the program. A lot of my efforts are around training and standardization, developing processes to mitigate risk and reduce shrink. My responsibilities include operations in Mexico, Canada and Brazil to include the US. As most of you know one phone call about an incident could start an investigation that could become very time consuming, so you have to manage your time well prioritizing tasks.
Are there particular skills you learned in the military that have helped you at this job?
In the Army we have seven Army Values; they are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. These values along with the leadership training that I have gained over the past twenty years has helped me where I am today with my Loss Prevention Career. I could talk about each of these values but let me just touch on two:
In the Loss Prevention world one thing that you must have is integrity, the military really taught me the value of integrity and how it is applied in everyday life, you build strong relationships on integrity. Once you have lost integrity you have lost it all.
The other value is respect, as many of you have heard over the years respect is earned. I learned very early in my career to respect people up and down the pipeline, even when dealing with associates that have made a bad decision in life from an internal standpoint or a Solider during combat that has made a bad decision. I have seen people in this position that have turned lives around for the positive because someone respected them along the way, willing to give them a second chance.
I also can’t leave communication out of this answer; the military really taught how important it is to be a good communicator. It is not always easy having the tough conversation, that might be an associate that is not performing at the level they should or a Solider that is not getting the job done, but if you never open your month they will never know that they are not meeting the expectation.
Any new skills you had to pick up along the way?
Technology continues to improve in the military as well as in the loss prevention industry. You need to stay on top of these advances and use technology to your benefit. The way both of these operated 10 years ago is different than the way we do it today.
Do you have any advice for transitioning service members?
Continue to learn and grow, if you don’t have a degree use your military education benefits and get started. Be confident; use your skills around leadership, training and discipline to sell yourself. Obtain recommendations from high level members of your command that you are getting ready to leave. Make sure when you develop your resume and interview you are able to articulate your military experience and background.