Here’s How Three Veterans Transferred Their Military Experience to Careers at C&D Technologies and Trojan Battery
NOTE: This is the second of two blogs featuring employees of BCI member companies who have served in the U.S. military. Read the first blog highlighting Veteran employees from Stryten Energy.
Every year in the United States, we set aside November 11 as a special day to honor military Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the week leading up to Veterans Day, Battery Council International (BCI) has its own tradition of highlighting member companies who support Veteran organizations and employ Veterans, whose impressive skills are greatly valued.
In this blog, we spotlight employees of C&D Technologies, based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, and Trojan Battery Company, based in Santa Fe Springs, California. The two BCI members companies (both owned by KPS Capital Partners) proudly support a variety of programs for Veterans, including Tierney Center for Veteran Services in California, the Army Transition Assistance Program and Warrior Bridge.
Introducing Military Veterans Christopher, Laurie and Mitch
Below, we’re sharing a Q&A with three battery industry employees – Christopher McCain, Laurie Oswald and Mitch Williams – who have served in three different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. They graciously agreed to answer our questions about their service, their current civilian jobs, and what drew them to the battery industry. Answers have been edited for length.
Tell us about your military service and your current employment in the battery industry?
Christopher: I was in the Military Police during my time with the North Carolina Army National Guard from 2009–2012. My rank was Private First Class. Today, I work on the Trojan Battery side of C&D Technologies as a Lithium Energy Specialist, helping our Master Distributors grow their sales in lithium batteries.
Laurie: I was in the Air National Guard and Active Guard Reserve from 1985–1991, and I achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. I was activated for Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989. I’m currently Chief Commercial Officer for C&D / Trojan. I lead our Sales, Marketing, Product Management and Commercial Operations Teams.
Mitch: I was a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. I served from July of 2006 to April of 2011 on active duty and then was in the Marine Corps Reserves until 2016. I worked on radar systems for the F/A-18 fighter jets, as well as deployed to Afghanistan to help train the Afghan National Army in 2009. I’m currently a quotation engineer, working on the stationary [battery] side at C&D.
How has your military experience transferred to your civilian job?
Christopher: It taught me the skills necessary to be successful, post-service. Organization has been the most helpful. Having your thoughts, notes and technical specs organized in ways that you can translate your value proposition to your customers is the most important part of my job; it’s no different than my time in the Army.
Laurie: There’s no question that my experience in the military helped me develop discipline and leadership. It also helped me to fully trust and empower others. Talk about depending on other people to do their job! I bring this to work with me every day; it’s helped me build great teams.
Mitch: I’ve used my leadership and organizational skills heavily throughout my civilian career – that has allowed me to be where I am today.
Do you work with other Veterans at C&D? If yes, is there a special camaraderie?
Christopher: Yes! We can all relate … and bring a new perspective because of the individual experiences that we have had through our military service.
Laurie: I’ve always felt a sense of gratitude for all those who have served, and I would say this is felt throughout our organization. Not just within the Veteran group, but more broadly within our company. That means so much to me and our other Veterans!
Tell us why you joined C&D or Trojan Battery?
Christopher: I joined Trojan Battery about a year ago. I saw that it cares about … product, customer service and technical support. We provide safe, reliable products that will perform to customers’ expectations for years to come, which is synonymous with Trojan Battery. I’m proud … that we offer some of the best products in the world.
Laurie: At C&D Trojan, we have a great culture and great people. I enjoy leading a team of highly talented, passionate professionals who care about our company and our customers.
Mitch: Once I transitioned out of active duty, I joined the critical infrastructure industry doing service work on UPS and battery systems. I had worked with C&D in the past, with my previous employer, so I knew the company and the industry. I’ve come to enjoy the challenges.
Trojan Battery provides battery and power systems for U.S. government customers, ensuring UPS and mission critical operations. What makes Trojan a good partner?
Christopher: Trojan provides batteries that fit a wide range of products within the government sector, including class 3 material handling, aerial work platforms and golf carts. The military needs quality batteries that they can depend on when moving materials, lifting people or rapidly transporting soldiers.
Laurie: The quality and reliability of our products ensure mission critical applications run without interruption. For over 100 years, customers have depended on C&D to power their applications safely and sustainably.
Any last thoughts, professionally or personally? Any hobbies?
Christopher: I have a sense of need to support my neighbors, my community, my county, my state; I volunteered as a firefighter. The knowledge that I’ve gained at Trojan Battery has help me help the firefighters around me be more prepared when emergency situations arise.
Laurie: This industry is a great place to be. Working at C&D allows me to be on the cutting edge of energy storage solutions, ensure the reliability of mission critical applications, while creating a positive impact on the environment. How cool is that?!
Mitch: In my off time, I enjoy working on my two Camaros, one is a 1984 and the other a 1994.
BCI Thanks All Military Veterans
Thank you, Christopher, Laurie and Mitch. Your military service may have concluded, but we remain immensely grateful for the valuable presence of Veterans like you within the battery manufacturing and lead battery recycling sector.
About C&D Technologies and Trojan Battery Company
These two brands work hand-in-hand to design and manufacture stationary and motive batteries. C&D Technologies builds stationary batteries used primarily for standby power applications in the telecom, utilities, cable, broadband, government, UPS, renewable energy, and other mission-critical sectors. Motive products, manufactured under the iconic Trojan brand, power golf cars, PTVs, EVs, RVs, and boats, as well as aerial lifts and floor-cleaning equipment. Based in Horsham, Pennsylvania, and Santa Fe Springs, California, the companies operate manufacturing facilities in the United States, Mexico and China, two advanced research and development facilities in the United States, and offices in Europe and Asia.