“I feel like the military was my calling because I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I could learn a lot of skills and trades in the military and I think working at EquipmentShare is my second calling. I love it. I love getting my hands dirty, I like playing in the dirt. So this is a good fit for me.”
Kelsey Wilson arrives for work at our Atlanta rental location bright and early in the morning, before 6:00 a.m. He likes to get the shop opened up and get started on his projects first thing. Being on time, if not early, is one thing he learned in the Army Reserve.
“Several of my skills from the military transfer well into this job,” Kelsey said. “But definitely leadership, taking the extra step, always being on time, being willing to work and never turning down a challenge.”
Kelsey didn’t envision a life in the military or in heavy machinery growing up, but he did imagine a life that didn’t involve sitting still or being in a sterile office environment. Kelsey, along with his wife and daughter, loves riding four wheelers, shooting guns, hiking, camping and pretty much anything outside.
“I always wanted to be a stuntman, to see how fast I could go and jump bikes,” Kelsey said. When the life of a professional stuntman didn’t materialize in his Georgia hometown, Kelsey joined the military — a first for his family.
“I've always had an interest in taking stuff apart as a kid and putting it back together,” Kelsey said. “I'd take the TV remote apart or some toy and put it back together — I just always had a gift for it. When I joined the Army Reserve, I went in as a mechanic, got the basics down and then just took off from there. I joined to better myself and go down a different path than anyone in my family has ever done.”
Kelsey did basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, and his MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) training at Fort Lee in Virginia. Once complete, he settled in at the 939th Army Reserves Unit in Athens, Georgia, as a light wheel vehicle mechanic. He then enrolled at the Georgia Piedmont Technical College to gain more knowledge and experience.
“I'm not a school book kind of person, I'm more hands-on,” Kelsey said. “I learn by doing, so I went the technical route. I did some courses to learn a little bit about different components for about a year and then jumped right in and I’ve been learning ever since. You literally learn something new every day in this field.”
After gaining some experience and a few certifications, Kelsey took a job at a car dealership and quickly learned small vehicles were not his passion.
“I had the opportunity to go work on forklifts and that's where everything clicked for me,” Kelsey said. “It all started making sense – the different components of electrical and hydraulics coming together and lifting heavy objects. And that turned into earth moving machines. I like playing in dirt a lot better than cold refrigerators on forklifts. I love it.”
A friend mentioned to Kelsey in 2020 that EquipmentShare was hiring and looking for technicians, despite the pandemic that was freezing new hires at other companies. After some research, Kelsey learned EquipmentShare was a younger company with room for growth and advancement – a perfect fit.
In his role, Kelsey is given the opportunity to train on the many brands carried and serviced by EquipmentShare and he jumps at every opportunity to learn more and further his career.
“I’ve done Sany, JCB, Manitou — they have training for everything. I love solving problems, especially complex problems nobody else can figure out,” Kelsey said.
“I’d love to move up to service manager or maybe even run a branch someday, but I’ll keep turning wrenches until that day comes,” Kelsey said. “My job at EquipmentShare is different every day. One day might be easier than the other — might be removing an engine out of a skid steer for two days and then putting that back together. The next day it might be changing tires or something simpler. You run into something new every day and you're always learning — and I love that.”
Kelsey also appreciates EquipmentShare’s commitment to hiring and retaining veterans across the country.
“I love that EquipmentShare is actively trying to find veterans to hire because I know we have a lot of transitioning veterans looking for a job when they get out,” Kelsey said. “And this country has too many homeless veterans that could do these jobs well and better themselves and get them off the streets and into a career.”
EquipmentShare strives to be a People First company– offering generous perks and benefits including family-friendly workplaces, 16 hours of paid volunteer time each year to give back to the community, recognition programs, wellness incentives and a monthly “Feed Your People” stipend. Veterans are eligible for EquipmentShare’s DOD Skillbridge internship program and many other opportunities.
Learn more about the amazing People First workplace and EquipmentShare’s initiative to hire veterans.