By Zack Shelby, 597th Transportation BrigadeMarch 28, 2017
Corey Kerzmann, joined the 597th Transportation Brigade team Feb. 5 and is currently serving as a mission support specialist.
Kerzmann came to the brigade from Vicenza, Italy, where he had been working in human resources for the past 10 years.
Like many Department of Defense civilian members of the brigade, Kerzmann spent time on active duty as well -- 11 years in the U.S. Army. He joined in January 1995 as an infantryman.
After about three years, Kerzmann reclassified into the signal corps and stayed in that field for the rest of his active duty career.
Kerzmann was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, for five years, about three of which he spent during two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Learn more about Kerzmann below.
Q: Where were you born, where did you grow up?
A: I was born in Garrison, North Dakota. We moved to Hudson County, New Jersey, when I was a year old. That's where I grew up.
Q: Are you single or married? Children?
A: My wife's name is Erika. It will be 20 years (of marriage) this year. She's Italian. I met her in Vicenza. That was my first duty station. Like every military family, we've PCS'd (Permanent Change of Station) around. I have three daughters and one son. Adele, 17, Sofia, 15, Whilhelm, 15, and Michelle 14.
Q: What's it like having four teenagers?
A: Challenging. I have to say at the same time, we've been blessed. We got good kids. Hopefully, it continues that way.
Q: What did you like about the Army and what do you like about your career as a DOD civilian?
A: I got out of the Army as a platoon sergeant. I enjoyed helping Soldiers -- teaching Soldiers. I don't think I ever stopped. In my last job (in Italy) before coming over here (to the 597th), I was a transition service manager working for the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. It was really rewarding because I had the opportunity to get Soldiers on to a path of success. I think the SFL TAP is a great program. All that stuff they have now was not there when I got out.
Q: Why did you decide to leave active duty and become a DOD civilian?
A: (Family) was the reason why I got out. The way the story goes, I was on my second Iraq deployment. Just before my R&R (rest and recuperation), I found out I made the E-7 list, which I was really happy about. I thought I was going to retire. I talked for a long time about it with my wife. At that time, we had four (young) kids. She said she couldn't handle another deployment. I chose to get out. I will continually say that looking back over the past 10 years, it was awesome to be home for every birthday, anniversary, holiday, and significant event in my kids' life. It was rewarding.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement personally and professionally?
A: Personally, it's my kids. In my civilian career, I'm most happy with being able to learn and adapt to become a good leader. It was rewarding to know I was able to not only help Soldiers, but the employees I was responsible for -- whether it was their careers or decisions they had to make -- just being able to assist them and get them in the right direction.
Q: What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not at work?
A: Motorcycling, motorcycling, motorcycling, and motorcycling. I've been riding dirt bikes and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) since I was a teenager. I didn't get serious into riding until I got out (of the Army). In Europe, we were about two hours from the Dolomites and two and a half hours from the Alps. There was no reason not to enjoy that as a motorcyclist. The roads throughout the Dolomites and European Alps are awesome. Every Sunday I'd go and find a new mountain pass to go up and over. I love the freedom of riding. A few years ago, I was riding so much my wife said, "Okay, it's time to start spending Sundays with the family."
Q: Where have you traveled? Any place you want to travel to that you haven't seen yet?
A: I've traveled all over Europe. I've ridden my motorcycle in 10 countries in Europe. Now that I'm back in the states, I'd like to see as much of the U.S. as I can by motorcycle. Like most motorcyclists, I've got to hit Route 66.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: I love helping people -- finding efficiencies. I try to be honest. I like to joke. Probably one of the challenges going from the military to civilian life was toning down my practical jokes. It's definitely different being a civilian.