On a Mission
Federal Employee of the Year Award winner Randall Schenck ’15 wants to give back to his fellow veterans.By Max Russell
7/15/2013 - Randall Schenck’s life experience falls a bit outside that of the typical Kellogg Part-Time MBA Program student. He’s a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan. He’s been wounded in action.
And now, he’s one of the country’s top federal employees.
Last month, Schenck ’15 received the 2013 Chicago-area Federal Employee of the Year Award for managing facility service contracts for 183 Marine Corps Reserve Centers throughout the country and for improving the quality of life for Marine Corps reservists.
The Chicago Federal Executive Board's Federal Employee of the Year program covers 186 federal agencies and more than 55,000 federal employees. The awards, now in their 56th year, recognize outstanding performance and valuable contributions made by federal employees as they serve the nation.
"Randy is an outstanding team member who constantly works closely with engineers, technicians and contract specialists to support our Marine Corps Reservists across the country," said Jerry Cencula, deputy public works officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Midwest's Public Works Department Central. "The Marines frequently praise his can-do attitude, his initiative and his ability to get the job done, as well as his cost-saving and time-saving process improvements, his professionalism and his outstanding communication skills."
And while he’s happy to be recognized for his efforts, Schenck, 27, wants to focus on what he can do for others. His vision for the future includes starting a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and active-duty military deal with life issues. That’s part of the reason he applied to Kellogg.
“I knew an MBA would give me the knowledge and skills I’d need to actually launch that kind of entrepreneurial venture,” he said.
A military career, a civilian vision
In 2010, Randall Schenck finished up a six-year stint in the United States Army, where he had served with the 1-178th Infantry Battalion, achieved the rank of Sergeant (E-5), completed a combat tour in Afghanistan, and been awarded the Purple Heart.
After an honorable discharge, the Navy recruited Schenck for a civilian position at the Naval Station Great Lakes near Chicago, its largest training facility. Schenck also returned to college to finish up his undergraduate degree in business.
During his final year of undergraduate study, Schenck set his sights on earning an MBA. After weighing his options, he applied to and was accepted to Kellogg.
“I wanted more than a degree,” Schenck asserts. “I wanted the experience of earning it, a program that would push me to excel much like the military had. Kellogg has delivered that on so many levels.”
Lessons learned, applied
Majoring in Finance and Management & Strategy, Schenck has already put some of the lessons he’s learned to good use at Great Lakes. In particular, he credits the team atmosphere at Kellogg for teaching him how to contribute where he’s strong and rely on others who have complementary skills.
“I’m learning a different style of leadership,” Schenck says, “the power of collaboration, different ways to motivate people, how to inspire them to share your vision.