T.C. Crossland never served in the military, but he has a deep appreciation for those who have.
His grandfather served under Gen. George Patton, his dad is a retired Army command sergeant major and his son has been deployed to Iraq and Syria with in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. T.C. received a congressional appointment to the Air Force Academy but was unable to serve because of high-frequency hearing loss in both ears.
Now, as a Best Buy general manager, T.C. is committed to doing his part to support veterans and active military — and not only on Veterans Day. He has hired numerous people with military experience over the years, including the five veterans and three active-duty personnel who currently work at his store in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
“I really support having them in the building,” he said. “It’s ready-made discipline. We know that leadership translates from the military onto our sales floor and in leadership capacities at the store.”
T.C. also has assisted the company’s broader military recruiting efforts nationwide. He served on a steering committee that helped update our human resources practices to better recognize and align military experience with careers at Best Buy. And he has represented the company at military job fairs.
T.C. has received the Above and Beyond Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for his outstanding support of employees who serve in the Kentucky National Guard and Reserve. He also was nominated for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their support of employees in the Guard and Reserve.
He’s humbled by the recognition, but that’s not why he does it.
“This is my way of serving those who are serving us,” T.C. said.
Military skills translate to retail
Benjamin Hall is one of the veterans who works at T.C.’s store in Bowling Green. He spent six years in the Army, joining as an infantryman and rising to the rank of sergeant. He was deployed to Afghanistan twice.
For the past five years, Benjamin has been a Geek Squad Advanced Repair Agent, helping diagnose and repair customers’ technology issues. He’s working part-time while using the G.I. Bill to get his computer science degree.
Tech support is a big departure from serving as a mortar gunner on patrols in Afghanistan, but Benjamin said his military service helped prepare him for his role at Geek Squad.
“One of the major advantages of being in the Army is learning to pay attention to detail,” he said. “In the Army, you always have to dot your I’s and cross your T’s on everything you do.”
Zach Kreider, a part time computing sales associate at the store, previously spent five years as a military police officer while stationed in Asia with the Marine Corps. He’s also pursuing his degree in education.
Zach says his military experience boosted his confidence, which now helps him with customer service.
“It’s really easy for me to talk to people now,” he said. “It helped me come out of my shell, that’s for sure.”
Flexibility is appreciated
Dylan Nickel, a Geek Squad Autotech installer at the store, currently serves in the Kentucky National Guard. He has worked at Best Buy for a little over a year.
T.C. said Dylan’s military experience is apparent in the professionalism he brings to his work.
“When he dons the Best Buy uniform, he takes great pride in it,” T.C. said. “Promptness, attention to detail and all of those things that they are trained in in the military, it absolutely translates over to Best Buy.”
Dylan, meanwhile, said he appreciates the flexibility Best Buy provides him.
“T.C. is really understanding when drill dates come up or if I get put on orders for something,” Dylan said. “I know it’s tough to deal with that because I’m in the install bay, and we work on appointments.”
T.C. said he’s always happy to accommodate employees’ military service.
“All my soldiers know that if they’re going to do something, they just need to let me know,” he said. “We’ll work around the schedule or do whatever’s necessary to help them.”
Photo: General Manager T.C. Crossland (right) with Dylan Nickel who works at Best Buy and serves in the Kentucky National Guard.
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