As Facilities and Real Estate Manager for OnDeck, Curtis Cunz has his hands full overseeing the company’s three U.S. offices. His responsibilities are wide-ranging — encompassing building maintenance, crisis management and space planning, and requiring him to deal with various stakeholders daily. It’s a fast-paced, high-pressure job that demands discipline and a good attitude.
Fortunately, Curtis has had a lot of practice honing these skills, having spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. We sat down with him to understand more about his military experience and how it prepared him for his job at OnDeck.
What inspired you to join the Marines?
I spent five years in an army-based military school starting in eighth grade. Students lived in the barracks with two adults, and one of them was a former Marine. The way he carried himself with integrity, dignity and poise, especially in his Marine Dress Blues, really struck a chord with me. My junior year, I asked him about the formal steps for getting into the U.S. Marines. I had researched all other branches of the military and I was really attracted to the intensity and challenge of the boot camp experience.
What was your fondest experience while being in the military?
I finished boot camp as a squad leader and graduated the top 7 percentile of about 1,500 recruits. Because of my status, I not only got to start my time in the Marines with an honorary rank but I also got to march in front during the graduation parade (as the Series Guide) just outside the airport at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (MCRD). I was 18 years old and it was also the first time I had seen my family in three months. It was a very proud moment that will stay with me always.
What are some leadership skills that you developed while serving in the Marines? And how did this prepare you for your current role at OnDeck?
No. 1 is the way I approach things. Regardless of the circumstance, and especially if the stakes are high, I try very hard to maintain a calm demeanor. It’s easy to get flustered and emotional in the moment. So many people are depending on you to guide them through a situation or partner on a solution and the best way to do this is through effective listening, problem-solving and focusing on your mission.
My military experience also helped me to think on my toes. This is a relevant skill to so many – whether you’re a small business owner or an employee. You must be willing to adapt based on changing priorities or unforeseen events.
Above all, being a U.S. Marine gave me the opportunity to deal with all different types of people. Especially when I think about my own team now, I really value having colleagues with different experiences and perspectives. It helps with collaboration and innovation.
Lastly, you’re a new father! How did being a Marine prepare you for your toughest challenge yet?
One of the core values of being a Marine is putting family above all else. This mentality has stayed with me all these years. And it has never rung truer since I became a father. Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful)!
Special thanks to Curtis and all the brave men and women who have served our country.