As a kid, Brad Herd ‘19 remembers being enamored with an army ranger competition on television. The idea of handling explosives and jumping out of helicopters was an attractive adventure so he initially dedicated his adult life to this pursuit by joining the United States Army.
“No matter who you talk to, you can hear all the stories, read all the different books, watch all the movies but you don’t know until you’re there,” Herd said. “Some parts were the most fun I’ve had and other aspects of the job were not the most enjoyable thing I’ll ever do.”
Herd was 22 years old when he joined the Army. He trained in Fort Benning, Georgia in the infantry before being sent to his first duty station in South Korea. After a year in South Korea, Herd was shipped to Fort Drum, New York and then subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.
After serving in Afghanistan, he moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to become a medic. Three years later, Herd traveled to Ft. Lewis, Washington. From there, he traveled much of Asia (India, Thailand and Japan) and did one more deployment in the Philippines.
“I met so many interesting people from multiple countries and learned about so many different cultures,” Herd said.
In 2014, after serving for 10 years, Herd decided to transition to civilian life in order to be closer to family in Swartz Creek, Michigan.
Herd wanted to go back to school while still being close to home. He also wanted a school that would help him find employment and the co-op program at Kettering provided him that assurance.
“I went to Swartz Creek High School about 15 minutes from Kettering,” Herd said. “I knew it was here but I didn’t know all the awesome stuff that happens here.”
Herd is majoring in Industrial Engineering and completing his co-op at KC Jones Plating Company in Warren, Michigan. Herd is accustomed to working with his hands and immediately applying theoretical principles to his job. He’s impressed by the hands-on education at Kettering.
“The other thing that appealed to me is the emphasis on manufacturing and engineering which I wanted to experience because I like to work with my hands,” Herd said. “When I got the tour on campus, I realized there are so many assets here that it blew me away.”
Herd is the one of the first Kettering co-op student to work at KC Jones Plating. The company specifically selected Herd because of the leadership capabilities exemplified on his resume. Herd is grateful for the co-op opportunity and the ability to learn from individuals at the plant who have been working for decades ahead of him.
“I love my job,” Herd said. “They give me a lot of freedom of movement and guidance when I need it and hands-off when I don’t.”
In addition to school and work, Herd is balancing a family at home that includes his wife and four kids that range from 5 months to 7 years old.
“I tell you what, I thought I was busy in the army but I’ve never been busier than now,” Herd said. “It’s not just school and the kids, I still drill once per month. I do one weekend per month in the reserves and then two weeks of training a year. I’ve never been this busy.”