From the Police Force to ADS

From the Police Force to ADS

After over 26 years as a police officer in Arizona and the Greater Chicago area, Mike Pena has spent the past year as the U.S. Special Operations Command Vertical Manager at ADS.

At first glance, you may not see a whole lot of similarities between being a police officer and a sales professional. But every now and then, Mike does.

Both jobs rely on relationships and trust, trial and error, and an efficient and established process. Things move fast. Things go wrong. But you and your partners work as a team. You’ll do whatever it takes to handle whatever comes up.

"ADS is great because the leaders allow you to do your job and they care about what you think, and sometimes you don’t have that in other lines of work."

- Mike Pena, Operations Command Vertical Manager

He has learned from that experience how to not simply manage, but to listen. Working remotely from Chicago, he’s made sure to open and maintain strong communication channels with his team to stay connected and tapped into the company culture. He especially loves the “military mindset,” and how everyone has a voice at ADS.


“Everyone pitches in to get the job done,” he said. “They allow open communication and they’re constantly having open conversations. People here are successful because they are empowered to be. You're allowed to make decisions and provide solutions for customers without a lot of red tape.”


Where Mike was raised in the Chicago area, most kids grew up to be police officers or firefighters, joined the military or developed a trade. He picked the first one. Policing was his childhood dream. Sure, his father had pushed him to go to college first, and Mike did just that right into his senior year. But that policing career kept calling, and he answered. The bachelor’s degree could (and would) come later.


He was the first to become a policeman in a family filled with military service. His dad was an Army infantryman in Vietnam. His Uncle Eddie served in the US Army and “jumped into Japan like four times” during WWII. But on the police force, Mike found his own brotherhood and sisterhood. In his early days on the beat, police officers were always well received. People were always grateful when they showed up. He liked that. But as the years went on, that changed.

For the last 14 years of his policing career, Mike worked simultaneously for a company called DRIFIRE, selling fire-resistant and moisture-wicking equipment and apparel to ADS. He got to know the company and its people well, and one day, he got a call asking if he’d like to join the ADS team.

“That call couldn't have come on a better day,” he said.

Helping his Special Operations clients find custom equipment solutions has been truly rewarding work. He enjoys the travel, “riding” with his co-workers to unique places where Special Operations troops are stationed.

Things in his new role move quickly. But at ADS, there’s a highly efficient process in place to handle it, and a team of highly trained people all around him ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. No matter what happens.

Just like another career he used to know.

We’re certainly happy to have you on our “force,” Mike. Welcome to the team.