Six months retired after a combined 35 years of service in the U.S. Army and law enforcement for the Hudson City Police Department, Randy Clarke decided he couldn’t sit still any longer.
His brief experience with LiDAR technology had piqued his interest in ZELUS, and unexpectedly, led him to the managerial position he holds today. Read more to find out how his past experiences led him to pursue a second career, and how he has found valuable mentorship and teamwork along the way.
What’s your role at ZELUS?
I’ve been a Regional Acquisition Manager at ZELUS for the past three years. I am responsible for the day-to-day operational management of our East Coast office in Albany, New York.
What’s been your favorite project at ZELUS and why?
We’ve done so many, but the Chelsea Piers in New York City was very interesting to me. Being a New York native and familiar with the area, it was fascinating to get to work on something that has such historical significance to the city. It was the largest project we had done at the time, and it was active, meaning they didn’t shut any part of it down while we completed the work. This was a monumental task, which made me very proud of the team. The end result was truly amazing to see.
What’s been the most valuable thing you’ve learned since joining ZELUS?
I can honestly say teamwork. Before joining ZELUS, I came out of a career where everyone stood on their own. I was a police officer in Hudson, New York for 25 years before retiring. While police work surrounds the greater good, on the street it was more based on individual growth. There wasn’t a whole lot of teamwork besides your partner on the street.
Working with the ZELUS management team and the group as a whole has been phenomenal. People like Bo Hatfield, Randy Marks, and Ken Smerz have been instrumental in mentoring me. This was all new to me three years ago, I knew nothing about it. Now just three years later, I'm managing the East Coast office. So it's been quite the journey. There have been a lot of speed bumps and hiccups along the way, but overall I think we've done a really good job and I couldn't be happier.
What pulled you out of retirement?
After sitting idly at home, I was running out of things to do and started to feel restless. I applied to ZELUS, and Laura Newbrough called me saying they were looking to expand their operations in New York.
I had initially applied for a field technician position, but Laura asked me if I would be interested in a different position. I flew out to Arizona for a three-day interview, met the management team, and came back to New York where we started out operating from a trailer. Eventually, we found a brick-and-mortar location, built a team out, and now we’re over double of what we had when we started three years ago in both personnel and the workload we've been doing. Since we started, the East Coast office has grown almost by 300%.
What drew you to this industry?
I’ve always been a very hands-on guy mechanically. I’m into classic cars, building motorcycles, and I have restored several cars. I was looking for something I could do, where I could see a finished product, but wasn’t going to be micromanaged during the process. The traveling field technician position stuck out to me because I had worked with lasers at a very limited capacity throughout my career in law enforcement. The system we used to measure traffic accidents, crime scenes, and the radar we used for speed enforcement was all LiDAR technology. When I found out ZELUS was utilizing the same technology, I thought that was amazing, because I was really drawn to LiDAR technology.
What were your early years like? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a very little town called Germantown in Upstate New York. It consisted mainly of rural farmland and lots of apple vineyards, and a population of less than 3,000. During my time in the military, when I told people I was from New York, they often assumed I was from the city. Funny enough, I literally had not stepped foot in New York City until my mid 20s.
What’s one thing you hope to achieve in the next year?
I want to expand the New York office and create parallel positions to what the Phoenix office already has. One of the things we say about the differences between New York and Phoenix is while we’re all the same team, we’ve kind of been the baby brother to Phoenix for a long time. Now our acquisition departments are very similar in size. We have a really good team that we are trying to grow personally and professionally so we can put them into unique positions that benefit both them and the company. My goal is to really focus on training and expanding our New York team and give our managers in Phoenix the buffer to know that this is going to sustain over a period of time.