While having the chance to utilize the GI Bill for his college education was certainly one perk of serving in the armed forces, Christopher Schroeder of Sika says it was really his desire to serve his country that led him to join the U.S. Army in 1991. Schroeder, a territory manager covering Texas and Oklahoma, now uses the lessons in teamwork learned through his military service to find success in the auto glass industry.
Born and raised in Texas, Schroeder says his family didn’t have the funds to send him to college after he graduated from high school.
“We weren’t in a financial position for me to go to college, but I also really wanted to serve my country and fulfill that part of my life,” Schroeder says. “So it was kind of a dual purpose. I wanted to go and the GI Bill was just an extra, but a big extra.”
Schroeder spent his military career in the 82nd Airborne, leaving the service in late 1995. He says Desert Storm was winding down by the time he finished basic training, which meant much of his service was spent training as he did not have to go to war. But he still remembers what it was like training to jump into a foreign country when another conflict arose.
“There was a Haiti conflict and I just remember how we were preparing to jump into Haiti and fight, and how the team came together,” he says. “The team came together and it was pretty interesting, just being out on my own at 18 and being a part of a team immediately.”
Schroeder attended Texas State University when he left the Army and found himself working in sales after graduation. Through those sales positions, Schroeder made contacts at Sika and has now been with the company for more than six years. He says the climate at Sika allows him to apply all he’s learned about teamwork to his current role.
For one, he says his service taught him to stay committed to a job even when nobody is looking.
“It’s a constant feeling that you have of making sure that you’re taking care of your business no matter who is watching or what’s going on,” he says. “You’re always mindful that you’re taking care of business.”
That frame of mind yields even more promising results when like-minded individuals come together to work as a team. The father of three says that teamwork is a “big deal” not only in the military but in his current role as well.
“At Sika, we’re constantly team building and we always work as a team,” he says. “The whole AGR family, we all work as a team together and that’s kind of how we worked in the military.”