Day in the Life: ACS employee a man of many hats
July 31, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 31, 2014) -- Many on Fort Rucker might have seen or even visited the installation's Army Community Service employment readiness program manager, but what many might not know is that he's a man who wears many hats.
Mike Kozlowski's life on Fort Rucker can be described as anything but typical, going from a civil servant by day -- helping Soldiers, Family members and civilians with employment readiness and financial counseling -- to husband, father, voice actor, stage actor and all-around entertainer.
On a typical day, Kozlowski wakes up around 5 a.m. to get ready for the day and by 7 a.m. he's out the door.
"Once I arrive at my office, I boot up my computer, and launch into reviewing my emails and any phone messages I might have," he said. "I perform various tasks throughout the business day, ranging from working on employment-related tasks, to providing financial counsel for Soldiers, retirees, civilian employees and Family members."
Kozlowski, who's originally from Washington, D.C., is a graduate of Marquette University, and received his Army commission through the ROTC program there.
Between 1981 and 1992, he served in the Army in a variety of command and staff positions, even completing flight school here at Fort Rucker in 1984.
"My career path since my exit from the Army can be best described as 'colorful,'" said the program manager. "I've been a DJ at a local radio station, a stockbroker with a major brokerage firm, a paid professional with the Boy Scouts of America and a claims representative with the Social Security Administration."
He came to Fort Rucker through a transfer from the SSA.
As an employment readiness manager, it's Kozlowski's job to "get the word out" about jobs in local, regional, national and international areas. He also prepares his clients to enter an active "job hunt" by letting them know the trends in the employment arena with resume and interview preparation, and other considerations people might overlook as they search for jobs.
"I've always been interested in human relations and HR-related (subject matter)," said Kozlowski. "(In my past careers), I've learned by doing, by interview people actively and testing people. This has allowed me to take the master's degree I have in personnel management and put some legs to it."
Kozlowski, who's been married to his wife, Kay, for 30 years, hopes to accomplish helping people find meaningful employment, and by that he means a job that doesn't feel like work.
"If your job is not a job and you enjoy it so much that it doesn't become a job, then you are actually going to something that you thoroughly enjoy and you'll never go to work again for the rest of your life," he said.
The most challenging part of Kozlowski's job is juggling the two programs, he said.
"Doing both (financial counseling and employment readiness), and having to change gears when I approach a certain problem can be almost like a grinding of the gears," he said. "As I get older, I find it become more difficult to switch, and trying to maintain a level of expertise in both disciplines is tough."
Despite the challenges, Kozlowski said the job comes with its rewards.
"What I get out of all of this is a smile. There are people that come in here with looks of concern on their face," he said. "People come to me for answers, so when they come in … I lay out a plan for them on how we're going to attack their issue and they start to see their issue start to clear up, and I start to see their countenance brighten -- that's where I get a lot of the good feelings that I can take away."
When he's not helping people with financial counseling or giving advice on how to find their next career path, Kozlowski is fully committed to engaging his creative side.
"I've been involved in community theater for quite some time," said the father of two. "Community theater is high energy and I need the outlet. I get plenty of exercise doing that and it forces my brain to think on a different wavelength. Any time I can engage the left side of my brain is a good thing."
Along with community theater, Kozlowski has been involved in doing professional voice-over work with multiple universities, and has even played a part in a commercial for a local credit union in Montgomery.
Kozlowski considers himself a voice actor and enjoys portraying a particular character to an audience with just his voice.
"I could stay in (the studio) all day long if you let me and just do reads," he said. "It's a challenge, but you get me behind a microphone and I'm in my own little world."
In the long run, Kozlowski hopes to leave a legacy that shows people that he looked at things differently and was able to help people.
"I want people to be able to say that I looked at things not as they are, but I looked beyond the pale and saw what they could become or how things could be improved upon," he said. "Outside of the office, I would like for my children to think that their dad had a lot of fun. They can always come to me for advice, and I hope that they carry the torch."