When Matt Lewis joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 2008, he didn’t realize how much he would learn about himself as a result of that decision…and particularly from his recent deployment.
As the youngest of seven grandchildren, “I never thought of myself as a leader growing up,” Matt says. However—while progressing into his current rank of staff sergeant (an E-6 on a scale of E1-E9)—he quickly realized the important role that leadership plays both inside and outside of the military. At MarketSource, Matt is a support team representative in Retail Central Support – a team that assists with the integration of new programs into the company; provides field support to existing programs; and assists with requests from our back-office teams to ensure business success.
He also comes from a very military-rich family: his grandfather was in the Jamaican Defense Force; his father, the U.S. Marine Corps; his brother, the U.S. Army; his stepfather, the U.S. Navy; and several cousins in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. The distinction of U.S. Army Reserve means that, instead of being a full-time service member, the reservist can work part-time for the military and have a full-time civilian job.
“I’ve always had a service mindset,” Matt says. “I like helping people and seeing the effect of my help firsthand.” So, when he joined MarketSource in 2016, he appreciated the fact that he could continue his career in the U.S. Army Reserve while working for a company that deeply valued his service to our country. “MarketSource and my managers have been extremely respectful of my military obligations, and I’ve been able to serve without stress from my civilian job impacting my military responsibilities.”
His most recent military responsibility was dutifully serving our country in the Middle East for 10 months between 2020 and 2021, only recently returning from deployment. He explains, “This was my first deployment, despite being activated on three separate occasions that were canceled…and I almost got held there for longer than 10 months due to COVID-19. While there, I was honored to work alongside several coalition forces from different branches of the U.S. military, as well as Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and many others.”
While the personal impact of deployment was difficult for him and his family with missed holidays, birthdays, and general time spent together, nothing could change the decision he made back in 2008. “I have gained grace and humility in the U.S. Army,” he says. “You go through the toughest trials of your life in environments that beat down on you, but you are side-by-side with the best people who you build lifetime bonds with. It’s also really exciting in that ‘go’ moment when things start happening and everyone on base is moving quickly. It clicks in your head that you’re away from home and you have a job that everyone else on base is expecting you to do.”
Matt credits the U.S. Army for helping him discover (and hone) that leadership trait he never knew he had. “Being thrust into leadership forced me to learn a lot of lessons the hard way,” he says. “Maintaining integrity as a leader is a moving target—sometimes it’s easy to make decisions because it’s the obvious right answer, but other times, it means being tough enough to brave the storm when you don’t take the easy way out. In those instances, you as a leader set the standard…and in my experience, overreacting tends to cause even more chaos, which ultimately draws attention away from the actual issue.”
As he works toward an E-7 rank—which comes with the responsibility of leading 20 to 50 people—Matt looks forward to also enjoying the simple things in life, such as continuing a tradition of watching the 2021 Army-Navy football game with his family in December. He was overseas when it took place last year and relishes the fact that he can spend it with his family this time around.
Welcome home, Staff Sergeant Lewis and thank you for your service. We are proud to work alongside you.