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Team Turtleson Spotlight

Here at Turtleson, we value the service and sacrifice of the men and women of America’s armed forces. We’re fortunate to employ veterans, and today we’re spotlighting two men of character who consistently raise the bar for Team Turtleson.

We recently chatted with Chase Thompson, our warehouse supervisor, and Ryan Skoglund, our sales representative for the Mid-Atlantic region, about their experiences in the military.

Chase Thompson

Warehouse Supervisor

Chase leverages the meticulousness and attention to detail he learned in the Army to lead the team that picks, packs, and ships every piece of merchandise that flows through our warehouse. Chase and his family live near our Bristol, Tennessee headquarters.

When did you join the military and what type of work did you do?

I joined the Army when I was 17, so my parents had to sign saying I was allowed to join.

I was an engineer in a vertical engineering company for eight years. I loved every second of it. I got my schooling done, did a 400-day stint in Afghanistan, and also did a humanitarian mission in the Dominican Republic.

What inspired you to join? Did you have family members who had served?

I have an uncle who served 25 years in the Army. He was stationed in Hawaii, Germany, and a few other places. I had spoken with him about joining the Army, but didn’t really give it too much thought until I was contacted by a recruiter.

The recruiter talked to me about what I could achieve and learn, and it just struck something in me. I was only 17, so I was able to convince my parents that I wanted to join and that I could achieve a few specific goals by doing so.

What impact did your service have on you as a young man?

Military service is something I would recommend to anybody and everybody, just from the
perspective of the life lessons, the job skills, and the teambuilding skills you gain. You get put in
situations where you have to truly rely on your counterpart to keep you safe. And you make some
of the best friends you’ll ever have, but it’s a different type of trust, a different type of bond.

On a lighter note, I was always forced to eat my food so fast in the Army that now I take my time
and it takes me forever. My wife’s always like, “What’s taking you so long?” and I have to tell her,
“I’m just enjoying my food.”

How did your time in the service set you up for life after the Army?

For me, my service is what helped me get to where I am at Turtleson. My attention to detail, taking note of the small things, keeping things clean and neat – that’s all from the military. I’m probably a little more OCD than I need to be about things that may or may nor matter.

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

It’s just a way we can say thank you to everybody who has made that sacrifice.

A lot of people thank me, and I definitely appreciate the support, but there’s so many more people who have made much more of a sacrifice than me. Veterans Day is about my brothers and sisters in arms who did lose their lives, whether it be from mental health issues coming back or to the opposition’s hand overseas – that’s what it means to me, appreciating them and taking a day to recognize and thank those people.

Ryan Skoglund

Territory Sales

As a sales representative, Ryan uses his superior people skills to forge relationships with golf shops that stock Turtleson. After his time in the Marine Corps, Ryan had a successful career as a golf instructor before stepping into the world of apparel.

When did you join the military and what type of work did you do?

I grew up in Orange County, California and joined the Marine Corps in 2001. I was supposed to go to boot camp September 10, 2001 but I got a call that said they were overbooked and they had to push it back about two weeks to September 21. And in those two weeks, September 11th happened and everything changed.

I had secured a job in the legal and administrative section because I always wanted to be a lawyer and that would put me on that track, but during war every Marine is a rifleman, right? They needed to get their infantry levels up, so my plans changed.

I got attached to an infantry unit with 1st Marines out of Camp Pendleton, California that was gearing up for deployment. I spent 2003 and 2004 in Iraq, then came home for five or six months, and then I went back for 2004 and 2005.

What has been your experience running into other men and women who have served in the armed forces?

The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis” which means “always faithful” that helps speak to the connection we all share. No matter what your MOS is, no matter where you’ve been...we’ve
all been through the training. We all have a similar history. There’s just a connection there, no matter what branch.

How did you transition back to civilian life after your time in the Marine Corps?

I was still living in San Clemente at the time sharing a room with a buddy who was still in the service.

Don’t ask me why, but for whatever reason, I decided I was going to apply for a job at Nordstrom. I thought it might be a good transition back to civilian life.

Nordstrom was opening a new location at the Irvine Spectrum and I sold the shoe manager a pair of shoe trees. I pulled my sales pitch out of nowhere and he knew it, but he said, “That was the most insane pitch I’ve ever heard but since you had the guts to do that I think we can give you a shot and clean this up a bit.”

So I went from wearing cammies in the Marine Corps to wearing suits at Nordstrom. I was there for about a year when I decided I wanted to do something I really love, and that’s when I enrolled in golf college and then spent almost 12 years at GOLFTEC in Boston.

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Being a veteran is a great honor. We have a lot of pride in our country and in what we were asked to accomplish.

Everything for us is a mission. It doesn’t matter what branch you were in; we’re all trying to accomplish a mission together.

And then we try to take everything we’ve learned in the military when we return to civilian life and use it to accomplish new missions in our work or in our community.

Special thanks to Chase and Ryan for sharing their stories and for their courageous service to the United States. To all of our friends who have answered the call to serve in the military, we extend our sincere appreciation this Veterans Day.