If you ask just retired Army veteran Bill Marks what he misses about being in uniform, he only comes up with one thing. "Waking up at four in the morning," said the retired Colonel. He jokes he never really liked that.
Marks served in the Army at multiple bases for 27 years. His most recent post, and job, was Garrison Commander of Redstone Arsenal, which is essentially the Mayor of the base.
Now, Bill Marks is Vice President of Aerospace and Defense Engineering for Defense contractor Geocent. The guy who once ran a base where Army aviation is managed, tested and improved will now to contribute to it, and other programs as a civilian. "It's neat to be able to continue to support those efforts," said Marks.
Something else that's neat -- the long line of former Garrison Commanders who have left the military, but not the community. The guy who had the job before Col. Marks, John Hamilton, now works for the City of Huntsville. Hamilton's predecessor, Robert Pastorelli, left the Army and took a job with Intergraph. The commander before Pastorelli, John Olshefski, works for Huntsville Utilities. The man who ran the base before Olshefski, Robert Devlin, is now working at Marshall Space Flight Center.
Running a base like Redstone is obviously a qualifier for all sorts of jobs in the community. "Well, I think we have probably the best understanding of the Arsenal and the aggregate, and the community and the touch points," said Marks. Essentially the Garrison Commander gets to know what's going on both on and off the base.
In retired Col. Marks case, living nearly five years in north Alabama has made its mark. Staying in the area was an obvious decision. "This is a community unlike any other, and when I say this community, I really am talking about the Tennessee Valley, the five counties in middle Tennessee included. You're just not going to find that like this, anywhere else," said Marks.