LPF Can Help | Scott McBride
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Scott McBride is a former active duty United States Marine Sergeant who is now the Senior Director of Loss Prevention, Safety & Security for American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. a multi-national, multi-brand retail apparel and accessory company with headquarters based in Pittsburgh, PA.
QUOTE: "I believe that LP is one of the most dynamic business professions out there."
Scott McBride Discusses Loss Prevention.
Tell us about your military background.
I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1984 and graduated from recruit training at Parris Island in September of that year. My first duty station was Camp Lejeune where I attended artillery school and was assigned to the 10th Marine Regiment. While Camp Lejeune, was always home base during my enlistment, my unit was in constant motion being deployed to Fort Bragg-NC, Eglin AFB-FL, 29 Palms-CA, Honduras and on a seven month deployment in northern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in 1986 during the Gulf of Sidra action off the coast of Libya. Between deployments, I had the opportunity to attend advanced schools such as Marine Corps Non-commissioned Officer Leadership School and the newly-formed Master Gunner program.
Were there a lot of trials and tribulations during your transition?
Leaving active duty and having a background in artillery (combat arms) really limited the number of opportunities in the civilian job market for direct application of my skills of putting rounds on target. I had to reinvent myself and look for job opportunities where I could use the transferable skills I acquired in the Corps as a leader, an instructor and someone that could get things done. I was able to land a position with a small construction company as a Project Manager and I put to good use my small-unit leadership skills in managing what can appear to be a chaotic scene of a construction site. I was in construction for a few years before an opportunity to join American Eagle came up. Once again, I relied on the philosophy of my military training and have worked my way up through the organization to now lead the Loss Prevention Department.
Did you go to a hiring conference?
At the time there, were not many programs for military transition, especially hiring conferences or non-profit organizations that assist veterans in crossing over to civilian careers. What sticks out in my mind was attending the “SEP’s & TAP’s” (Separations and Transition Assistance Program) classes that were required to successfully transition out of active duty. The information was good but the support system was very weak once you left base and got back home.
Today there are many military and civilian organizations like the Loss Prevention Foundation that are working to open doors for our veterans. These organizations have different missions and methods but they all are geared toward assisting the vet that is looking to transition to a civilian career.
What's a typical work day like in Loss Prevention?
I believe that LP is one of the most dynamic business professions out there. On any given day, I can go from speaking with top executives discussing global security strategies, to a meeting with the finance department working on a profit improvement initiative, then to handling a security breech in our data center. No two days are ever the same. This type of dynamic agenda continues when I travel outside the office, where a day can be mixed with visits to local stores to observe internal controls, networking with peers in the industry, to having a vendor demonstrate a new LP technology. As if that is not enough, there may be a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster that threatens our employees or business locations; then it gets really exciting.
Are there particular skills you learned in the military that have helped you at this job?
Absolutely, the first is the can do attitude and the philosophy of actions speak louder than words. This has definitely given me a distinct advantage when up against a problem or issue. Next, would be the ability to remain calm when under stress or pressure, whether it is a deadline, a situation or a major malfunction; being able to slow down and work through the progression to develop the appropriate solution is invaluable. Another skill is to apply basic leadership principals to day-to-day operations within my department, as simple as keeping my team informed of what I learn from being in the boardroom (unclassified of course) to instilling a sense of responsibility at every level of my organization.
Any new skills you had to pick up along the way?
Certainly there have been many skills that I have acquired since being with AE, some have been specific to my positions over the years such as investigative skills or computer related skills. The more I have moved up in the organization, the more I have had to revisit basic traits and ensure I was growing them in a way that would help me better serve my team. A prime example is that of developing patience and timing, these two items go together to help me get my ideas approved, secure funding and overall help my team get what they need to bring value back to our organization.
Do you have any advice for transitioning service members?
Do not shy away from working for a good company at, what you may consider to be, an entry-level position. The intangible skills that you have acquired from your military service will help you shine among your peers. If you look at it from the perspective of infiltration rather than over-running a company you will afford yourself the time to get to know your job (and your boss’s job), demonstrate your work ethic to your superiors and become confident in taking on a bigger role – just like you did when you were promoted in the military.