March 27, 2014 --
When Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s executive director is not sitting behind his desk, juggling his day-to-day responsibilities and tasks in support of the warfighter, he may be engaged in showcasing his love for music, athletics and his woodworking skills.
Kent Morrison’s many talents and hobbies revealed a lot about the executive director outside of his usual duties. He has a love for music and as such, he plays guitar in MCLB Albany’s gospel choir, although he admits his “first love” for music stemmed from learning to play the drums in his earlier years.
“I actually started out playing the drums,” he recalled. “I’m a drummer. I played drums in a garage band, back in high school, back in the late sixties. We played rock and roll. So, my first love is drums. I still play drums.”
Playing musical instruments is not Morrison’s only talent. The multifaceted executive director has played softball on one of the base’s softball teams. He has demonstrated his leadership philosophy while being shadowed by the installation’s personnel and volunteered for several years as auctioneer for charity events. He has also built and donated his woodworking crafts to a number of organizations, and has actively participated in numerous other community events and activities.
According to the Americus, Ga. native, having all of the talents, including playing the banjo, the hobbies, and the ability to sit in that seat and make the tough decisions takes a balance.
“You’ve got to have a balance in life, and my balance is... well, I’m not going to limit (myself),” Morrison said. “Nobody has ever said, ‘Well, you can only do certain things.’ I’m sure there are a lot of people like that out there.”
Morrison credits his involvement with many of the installation’s events to his commitment and love for people and his love for the base community.
“There are two things I want to make sure I say,” Morrison added. “When my wife and I became members of this base, we became a part of this base community. It’s not just a 9 - 5. The job is a 9-to-5, but it’s the things after that — the events and whatever else. It’s important to me to not just walk away at 4:30 and be done.”
According to Morrison, the Lord gave him a heart for people. He said he is grateful and blessed to be able to have had good bosses, to be a part of the base “family” and to work in such a positive environment.
While reflecting on his many blessings he said, “The second thing is I’m blessed to have good bosses like Colonel (Don) Davis. And, I mean that with all my heart. He allows a lot of that by feeding into (the positive environment). He has the same spirit and (we) complement each other. We still do what we have to do. Our business is the business of this base, and we’re going to always do what we need to do. But, having someone who complements your same thoughts, your same respect for people, and your same caring attitude, only magnifies your ability to do that.”
Although Morrison described himself as “a jack of all trades and a master of none,” that is not necessarily the opinion shared by many of his colleagues and co-workers.
“Phenomenal, awesome, wonderful, professional, motivating, respected, a family man, a great boss, a great leader and a gentleman...” are just a few of the words personnel aboard the base used to describe the executive director.
“He’s phenomenal,” Laura A. Thorne, executive assistant to the commanding officer, MCLB Albany, emphasized. “Since day one, he has been phenomenal. He has been wonderful. He has an open door policy. No matter what’s going on, he makes time for the workforce.”
Thorne, who has worked with Morrison since 2010, recalled, “The thing I like most about Mr. Morrison is that he cares about his workforce. Initially, when I first started, I was a little intimidated by him being a GS-15. But, not one day has he allowed his status or his rank to define who he is.”
After she gave her opinion about Morrison’s character, Thorne spoke about his family, his hobbies and other talents.
“Not only is he such a great professional, he’s a great family man,” she added. “He loves his family. He has three boys; he loves them dearly. He and his wife have a wonderful relationship. He’s just family oriented.”
According to Thorne, “He loves playing the guitar. He’s very active in the Shriners. Of course, we all know he always participates whenever we have a function. He also loves woodworking. (He recently built and donated two) chairs for the Officers Spouses’ Club auction.”
She concluded, “I promise you, you could not ask for a better boss. You couldn’t find one anywhere. He’s just awesome. And, I can say that truthfully. That’s what makes you feel good.”
As part of a leadership initiative aboard the installation, Peggy Haire, management program analyst, Logistics Service Management Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, spent a few days shadowing Morrison in his workplace.
“I first started working with Mr. Morrison in 2007, in the Supply Chain Management Center,” Haire remembered. “He made such an impact on me, being a young person in the federal government. He just took me under his wing and never shied away from any question that I ever asked him.”
Haire said when she was given the opportunity and was asked to find someone whom she would like to emulate and whose style she admired, Morrison immediately came to her mind.
“During my (shadowing) experience, the first thing I noticed was how people responded to him,” Haire recounted. “It was so motivating for me to see how his people treated him and how he interacted with them. You could see he cared about people, first and foremost.”
Haire summarized the impact of her overall experience while shadowing Morrison.
“My take away from shadowing Mr. Morrison is really and truly how I want to be (viewed) as a leader,” she concluded. “I want people to respect me, not because of my position, but because of who I am. People respect him for the great man, the great father, the great leader he is. And, that’s what I took away from the experience. I want to be a great mother, a great leader, just a great person. When people think about me, that’s what I want them to see (in) me just as I see (in) Mr. Morrison.”
Charles Goodson, director, Marine and Family Programs, MCLB Albany, described Morrison’s characteristics as well as his own personal, professional interactions with the base’s executive director.
“Mr. Morrison is a gentleman,” Goodson said. “He unabashedly demonstrates his love of God, country and Corps. His positive attitude is infectious in every group that he interacts with. I enjoy working with and for Mr. Morrison and supporting him in putting (Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s) best foot forward in all that we do.
“Having the opportunity to practice and play guitars alongside Mr. Morrison at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration this year was a treat,” Goodson noted. “He truly enjoys playing music and loves supporting the base’s activities.”
Base Commanding Officer, Col. Donald Davis, had nothing but words of praise for the MCLB Albany’s executive.
“I have a very high opinion of Kent,” Davis said of the retired Marine lieutenant colonel. “There isn’t a finer American, a finer person inside and outside, who really has the heart of a Marine. In his office, you will find a picture of an X-ray of a chest cavity. Inside of that chest cavity, you see the heart, which is made up of the eagle, globe and anchor. That is the perfect picture of Kent Morrison.”
Davis continued his tribute to Morrison by addressing his ability to connect with base personnel at various levels, both civilian and active duty.
“I can’t think of a more perfect individual to fill that job as the link between our civilian-Marines, our active-duty Marines (as well as) our contracted-Marines,” Davis added. “(Kent’s) a retired Marine in everything he represents and (in) all that is good and right. I have never seen him give less than 110 percent. To me, he is a joy to work (around), so, I have nothing but good things to say about him.”