Learn How U.S. Navy Veteran, Robert Day, Became McCormick’s IT Business Relationship Director
Robert Day enlisted in the U.S. Navy just a year after graduating from high school — a decision that would take him far away from his grandparent's 200-acre potato farm in central Pennsylvania where he grew up.
"As a Torpedoman's mate, I served onboard The USS Augusta (ssn-710), a Los Angeles-class Fast Attack submarine and spent 800 days submerged in the Atlantic. I saw the end of the Cold War, engaged in operation in support of Operation Desert Storm, and traveled all over the world," said Robert. One of the more interesting aspects of his time in the military were the unusual places he went. Each year, he participated in mock warfare on a submarine torpedo range in the Gulf of Mexico. He has been to the North Pole, spent months in the Arctic Circle, and met the actors and crew while they were filming The Hunt for Red October. He was recognized numerous times during his enlistment for his leadership, professionalism, personal dedication, and weapons systems expertise.
When Robert left the U.S. Navy as a TM2(SS) [Torpedoman's mate 2nd Class (Submarine Warfare Qualified)] or E-5, he had served four years on active duty. He completed an additional four years in the reserves attached to a Seabee (Naval Combat Engineering) unit. Upon returning home, he attended college using the GI bill to study earth and space science. But instead of teaching like he had originally planned, he was drawn to technology and started his first job in a computer repair shop providing hardware and applications support. Soon after, the 'dot-com boom' hit and rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Robert is an IT Business Relationship Director partnering with Human Resources and Corporate Communications functions at McCormick to define and drive the technology strategies for the future, aligning to our overall business strategy. In addition, Robert is bringing his expertise in agile methodology which evolves the ways of working to deliver value faster across our business. As a global team leader, Robert coaches and develops employees in their career journey at McCormick. "My role is a great example of promoting McCormick's 'Power of People' principle – I find creative ways to recruit the right people for the right role, to better onboard employees, and to empower them through activities, communications, and connections," Robert said.
An avid outdoorsman who enjoys boating, hiking, gardening, and fishing, Robert credits his love of nature to his father. "My dad was a Park Ranger and well trained in survival skills and wildlife conservation," he said. "He taught me the importance of taking care of the environment we live in and the consequences we face if we don't." Aligned with McCormick's Purpose-led Performance (PLP) work, Robert is committed to reducing environmental impact on the planet. He volunteers to plants trees and clean up streams to restore the natural habitat around the area. "As a passionate angler, I am concerned about trout streams. They are in grave danger because trees are being cut down, causing the water to get too warm. Warm water kills the trout, destroys the entomology, and collapses the natural food chain," Robert said. He works with Trout Unlimited and other non-profit organizations dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring coldwater fisheries and their watersheds in North America.
When Robert joined McCormick in 2020, he was delighted to learn about our U.S. Veterans Employee Ambassador Group (EAG) and how it aims to give employee veterans a sense of belonging, a feeling of pride about their military service, and a way to connect. He immediately got involved with the group and today serves as its secretary and treasurer. Partnering with Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion, the EAG helps implement formal practices to recruit, hire, retain, and support veterans at McCormick.
"Employers don't always know how veterans can fit in, so having the opportunity to help them navigate that is wonderful. Veterans bring unique perspectives to the conversation because of our outside experience, and that often results in new and different ways to work," said Robert, who considers his greatest professional passion to be process improvement and finding better ways of working. He believes that the best ideas often come from a combination of people, not just one person, which is why diversity of thought is critical to the success of any organization.