VETERAN SPOTLIGHT: Serving Her Customers as She Served Her Country

Melissa McGregor

Nicknamed “Private SS” back in the Army Reserves – for her uniform size, “super small, super short” – 5 foot 0 inch Melissa McGregor learned to stand up for herself and make herself heard in an environment dominated by men.

Decades later, she uses those skills in her job as national account consultant for United Rentals to make sure her customers get what they need, when they need it.

For instance, there was the time she had to wake up a regional vice president (RVP) in the dead of the night. A national box-store chain had ordered 6,400 scissor lifts, four for each of 1,600 stores that were being reset for the installation of self-checkout counters. (Noted McGregor, “That is a phenomenal amount of orders.”) Every single piece of equipment was delivered in time but for four lifts in a market that had experienced a computer glitch. Not one to leave well enough alone, McGregor initiated a series of phone calls that ended with her ringing the RVP at 12:30 a.m. Just a few hours later, the lifts were delivered and the customer completed the work on schedule.

McGregor has also sourced a 150-foot-tall man lift for one customer who needed it to paint designs on a water tower and found a compressor at the last minute during “blowout season” in New England for a customer who hadn’t placed an order in advance.

“In what I do now, you have to be very detail oriented to manage the workflow that comes in, and I learned a lot of that from being in the military, to dot every i and cross every t,” McGregor said. But that’s not all she learned as an Administrative Specialist helping troops at a training facility in Des Moines get ready to deploy. 

“I learned persistence, and I learned to be strong because there’s a lot of different personalities that you deal with in our industry. Being in the military, which is a male dominated industry, and being in this industry, which is male dominated, is very comparable, so I learned to stand up and be heard.”

The fact that McGregor drives a truck, loves the shooting range and plays no-limit Texas Hold ’em in a league — in addition to decorating cakes — doesn’t hurt when it comes to bonding with customers. “Guys in the field just love me,” she laughed.

She also spends time volunteering. Through United Rentals, she recently volunteered at a Fisher House in Tampa, Florida, cleaning, organizing and doing laundry. (Fisher Houses are refuges where military families can stay for free while their service member or veteran is being treated at a nearby military or VA medical center.)

“I wanted to be able to give back. As a veteran, it always touches your heart when you get to help other veterans,” McGregor said.

She appreciates the veteran-friendly culture at United Rentals. Each year, like all United Rentals employees who have served their country, she receives a token gift to honor her service, whether it’s a plaque or a monogrammed uniform shirt that identifies her as a veteran.

“It’s an amazing feeling to work for a company that appreciates what you’ve done.”

 

Marianne Wait is an editor and writer who creates content for Fortune 500 brands.

Pictured (Left to Right): Jessica Delgado, Sandra Marotta, Melissa McGregor, (back) Raines Sellers