Tony Coutsoftides was born in Cyprus and lived in Saudi Arabia and Singapore before emigrating to the U.S. by himself as a teen. He joined the military at age 17 and his tour of duty took him to Korea, Kurdistan, Iraq, and Colombia. His recognition as United States Army Soldier of the Year in 1997 propelled him to Officer Candidate School. He received the Meritorious Service Medal for his exceptional performance as a Captain. His military career was cut short by a parachuting accident that caused serious injuries and left him disabled. He is now dedicated to recruiting military veterans to work at Legion Logistics, LLC.
What branch of the military did you serve in?
How long did you serve?
Do you have a funny/interesting military story?
Hmmm…well there was this one time as a young lieutenant – I think all stories start like that as junior officer – where I was observing the impact of rounds for some Infantrymen on a range at Fort Benning, GA. The NCO whom I was with thought he was cool and called for them to fire the mortars and then slowly walked to the bunker we were going to take shelter in. In his mind he had taken into consideration the flight of the round from the tube to impact. So we had about 30-45 seconds before the round impacted. Well what this sharp NCO did not take into consideration was that the bunker we were going to go into was boarded up. So after the second push on the door, you could see the desperation in the NCO’s face. At that point we both hit the panic button and slammed the door down at the same time, landing on the wood door rolling left and right to get out of the entry way just as the rounds were impacting! Yes I survived, and I don’t think he ever showed off like that again.
Why did you choose freight brokering?
I was standing on the dock at my first job after the Army and thought to myself, “Why make products? Why not just move them?” So after that job I went to Europe and got funding for a cargo airline. After the gas prices went through the roof and business was no longer viable I came back to the US broke. I did sales for another outfit then decided it was time to give myself another opportunity to do it again…own a business that is.
What skills/lesson from the military have helped you the most in a civilian career?
Dealing with adversity and realizing that no matter how bad life is at that time there is always a solution and way through it all so no point in giving up.
Why do you think veterans make great employees and specifically sales people?
Relentless pursuit of mission accomplishment. In this case the sale.
What was the most difficult part of transitioning back into a civilian career, and what advice do you have for veterans experiencing the same difficulties?
Trust is the hardest thing to build outside the military. In the military you have an instant bond, an appreciation for what you are all going through. In the civilian world you have to be cautious and always try to understand what the other person’s intentions are. Talk less and listen more!
We appreciate Tony’s service to our country, and all the help he continues to provide to fellow veterans. Learn more about Tony here.