Pete Selleck, U.S. Army / Army Reserves- Lieutenant Colonel
Michelin North America President Pete Selleck grew up in a military family – with someone serving in every major conflict in the 20th and 21st centuries. When Selleck entered West Point in 1973, he was one of dozens in his family to attend the historic military college.
Selleck gradated West point with a bachelor’s of science in engineering and applied sciences and began a 26-year career in the U.S. Army – five years active duty and 21 years as a Reservist. Selleck started his career as an Army officer in the 4th Infantry Division, as a platoon leader and commanded B Company, 4th Engineer Battalion. He retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Selleck shared with Tire Review how his military experience shaped who he is as a leader and how he runs Michelin today.
How do you think your military experience has helped you in
West Point prepared me to manage my time and prioritize appropriately. There will always be more you can do, more you can be working on, but your impact depends on how you manage time on an individual level. I urge our employees at Michelin to make sure they take responsibility to balance their work and their personal life. We all have to make personal decisions to ensure we are able to contribute in our careers and also be present with our family and friends.
How does your military experience influence your running of Michelin North America?
When I was in the Army, I had the privilege to learn by working with and observing great leaders. As a company commander, my boss’s boss was then Brigadier General Colin Powell. I was always impressed by his humility. He showed his support in a very visible way by being physically present even when he didn’t have to be. It wasn’t uncommon for us to see him drop by on a weekend while we were training. I think people are perceptive to the motivation of leaders and understand very quickly when leaders are not sincere. Showing respect for every single person in an organization through your actions is very important. We should all strive to be servant leaders – to connect with our employees, know what is going on in their lives and support them in fulfilling their own purpose. General Powell taught me that leadership is about solving problems, and that if your employees aren’t bringing you problems, they may have unfortunately concluded that you do not care.
Why do you think the tire industry is an attractive career for former military personnel?
It’s not a coincidence that we have so many veterans working for Michelin North America. We are always looking for leaders, and the leadership skills acquired through military service are second to none. We find the military to be great preparation for employees joining our company, especially in our industrial sites, where front-line leaders need to make decisions rapidly, work with agility and manage large teams.
Did your time in the Reserves overlap with time at Michelin? How did the company help you to serve during that time?
I am proud to work for a company that recognizes the importance of military service. In addition to actively recruiting veterans, I have experienced first-hand over two decades how Michelin supports employees who choose to serve our country through the Reserve and National Guard as the company did for me while I was in the Reserves. Earlier this year, we were honored to be a recipient of the South Carolina Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Above and Beyond Award, which recognizes employers who have gone beyond the legal requirements and are providing their Guard and Reserve employees with additional, non-mandated benefits. I am proud of the support our company continues to provide to employees in the Reserves.
What is something you think people would be surprised to know about your time in the Army?
I received an FAA helicopter pilot license during one of my summer training phases while attending West Point. I also successfully completed Airborne (parachutist) and Ranger training.