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Kearney Veteran Spotlight with Robert Cook

“Being a Veteran allowed me to serve my country. I embraced those values of duty, honor, and country.”

What branch of the military did you serve in? How long did you serve?

Army, 27 years

What was your proudest moment as a member of the military?

As a Battalion Commander in Korea, we were hit with a devastating flood that ravaged our camp. Eventually our wall crashed due to raging waters at 1 am.  We lost everything: our office, barracks and had to locate soldiers who were separated from us by the waters.  Long story short, we were able to locate our soldiers who were swept off by the waters, rescue them, and reconstitute.  I was so proud of my battalion for acting swiftly after our early morning surprise.  It was a feeling I will always hold as my proudest moment.  There were no deaths in our battalion.  I was so relieved! And proud!

Why did you join Kearney following your military career?

I met Kearney leadership and was impressed by their exclusive focus on government and impressive operating culture.  Kearney represented a perfect balance in terms of professional values and operational autonomy — finally, a place where I could make a difference in terms of growth in Army and helping people reach their maximum potential.

How has being a Veteran impacted your career?

I would approach this question from a different angle.  Being a Veteran allowed me to serve my country.  I embraced those values of duty, honor, and country.  In the private sector these values still hold true.  For me, having a shared sense of experiences with my former colleagues and now clients helps in terms of being able to understand their objectives at a deeper level.

What did you learn during your military career that has helped you at Kearney?

Patience and teamwork.  In the military, we tend to not take constructive criticism personal.  Therefore, when receiving constructive criticism in the private industry, instead of withdrawing, my military experience allows me to absorb the advice and use it to improve my approach.  Ultimately leading to one success after another.  With teamwork, my military experience allows me to celebrate the successes of my team over my individual accomplishments. 

What does Veterans Day mean for you?

It’s a time for me to remember the enduring relationships I’ve built over the years serving.  For civilians, Veterans Day means honoring those who have served and are still serving.  For me, it means remembering those who have helped shape the professional I have become. 

What does it mean to be a Veteran?

To a veteran, the answer to this question is unique to everyone who has served.  The best answer to this question from my perspective is this: it means I served, my family sacrificed for the betterment of this country, and we believe we have in a small way become good ambassadors abroad for America.  but if ask 100 veterans the same question, you will get 110 different answers.  I’ts similar to asking a parent: what does it mean to be a Mom or Dad? Each would have their deep rooted perspective and all would be relevant and correct.  So simplistically, it means I volunteered to support and defend our way of life —  and to some degree as a veteran, I am still serving. 

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