At PPS, we vowed to make one of our core values to help service members transition, by whatever means available to us. Each month, I will issue a new ‘Camo to C-Suite’ blog in hopes that this small contribution might provide some insight.
First off when I decided to retire, or “transition” as the folks from the Marine Corps Transition Assistance Program would say, I didn’t have plans to immediately jump into a follow-on career. The plan was to take some time off, go fishing, maybe take some classes, repair a few things around the house, and then decide what I want to do when I grow up. Needless to say, that’s not exactly what happened. As they say in the military, “no plan survives first contact” or so say Moltke the Elder.
When I discuss Product Protection Solutions (PPS) with people I know or meet, the most common question I’m usually asked is “how does a 20-year Marine Corps veteran with experience in logistics and transportation become the CEO for a company that provides loss prevention solutions to retailers?” Great question, and the answer is timing and opportunity. Never shy away from a challenge…
PPS is a family-owned and operated business, so from the start it’s not me but we. My wife, CFO, is an accountant by trade and my father-in-law, Chairman, has spent years in the loss prevention industry as a service and solution provider. When we were determining whether PPS was a viable option, we quickly realized that our collective skillsets and opportunity timing just made too much sense not to make a go of it.
Now let’s get back to that challenge part. Being a Marine, the Corps presented its fair amount of challenges, but the ultimate test wasn’t boot camp, it was transitioning. I was fortunate that my military career presented many opportunities that translated to civilian employment positions, but I never thought I would be in the loss prevention industry or as co-founder and CEO of a solution provider.
The Marine Corps provided a wealth of opportunities and life lessons, and for me some of the most relevant were adaptability and overcoming adversity. I think a common misconception is that the military is so structured that flexibility is not an option. I would argue that it’s the institutions rigidity that results in its members having to be flexible. What is the CEO of a start-up if not flexible and adaptable? Furthermore, by being able to draw correlation between the two, I’ve found there’s not that much difference between the careers. That is, as long as you don’t mind the early wake-ups and workout sessions at PPS.
Christopher Cox – CEO