Employee Spotlight: Michael Patterson

Welcome to our Employee Spotlight blog series, which features Q&A’s from Rook employees as a fun way for you to get to know our team.

Rook Security - Employee Spotlight - Mike Patterson

Name: Mike Patterson
Title: VP, Strategy
Time at Rook: 2 years, 1 month
Current City: Chicago, IL
Hometown: Crystal Lake, IL

Before working at Rook Security, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

My junior and senior years of college I worked at the Fitness Loft gym at the University of Iowa on the undergraduate side of campus basically to meet all of the freshman/sophomore girls that loved to work out since I did as well. (I guess it was convenient for my schedule and allowed me to work out after my shift, but that was the main reason.) In high school, and halfway through college during breaks, I would work at the local movie theater as a projectionist and see all of the movies for free and days before they came out for the public. Nothing like putting together and watching big summer movies while people are camping outside all week to be the first ones to watch them later that weekend! My other lower-paying jobs have included: movie theater usher / concessionaire, soccer referee, salad bar attendant and part-time garbageman (more on that below).

What is your family like?

I am married to my beautiful wife Patti and we are still newlyweds, having been married last October. She also recently won the title of Mrs. Illinois America, which I guess makes me Mr. Illinois! So proud of her for winning that competition — it qualified her for nationals which are being held in Crimea in tandem with the Russians this coming September. Should be an interesting trip… My mom and dad live around my hometown (Crystal Lake, IL and Elgin, IL, respectively) and my slightly younger sister lives in Madison, WI.

Best vacation you’ve been on?

My wife and I went to Australia for our honeymoon for two weeks over New Year’s and want to go back as soon as we can. We made it to Hamilton Island, Noosa and Sydney and got to visit the beach, Great Barrier Reef, do the Sydney Harbor bridge climb, see the Blue Mountains and Sydney Opera House, eat and drink at a ton of places, and really just explore the places we visited. We rode bikes and I was able to run everywhere in amazing temperatures and we even got to do a helicopter tour. I got to experience driving on the left side of the road and operating a steering wheel on the right side of the car. (Very counterintuitive after being in the US for so long.) We interacted with the North Korea men’s soccer team, who was staying at our hotel for the Asian World Cup tournament that was kicking off when we were in Sydney. I wanted to bust out a copy of The Interview, but settled for encouraging every Uzbekistan player I saw (their first round opponent) to crush them in their match. We also went to a couple zoos which are really interesting there because you can climb into a few exhibits and hang out with Koalas and Kangeroos up close. The National Zoo (Steve Irwin’s home zoo) was the most amazing zoo I’ve seen because they will let you walk tigers, get up close to cheetahs, and all other sorts of intimidating animals. They must never have been sued!

What TV show/movie are you ashamed to admit you love?

I’m not that ashamed, but I could watch Princess Bride all day long and can recite pages of dialogue from the script from memory. I would watch it as a kid repeatedly because we had it on VHS and whenever it’s on TV now, I still stop and watch it for as long as the remainder of the movie is on. The movie has everything: fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… If this isn’t the best movie ever made, I’d say that’s inconceivable! (A lot of classic quotes in this answer, by the way.)

What book did you read last?

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. Like her other book Seabiscuit. There is a fascinating amount of research and detail put into every page. The story of Louis Zamperini is just as incredible, going from an uncontrollable kid to Olympian to WWII to being a crash survivor lost at sea to Japanese POW to home again. Amazing.

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

Recent history: Put me on SEAL Team 6 on the raid to take out Geronimo / Osama Bin Laden!

Older history: Signing of the Constitution or Declaration of Independence (which a relative of mine did sign…John Hancock). Would love to see what their thought process was as they created and signed those documents, since so much of our country is based on our interpretation of what they wrote. How did they mean for freedoms of speech / religion to be applied? Gun laws? Civil rights? I always wonder what our founding fathers would think of the way we have applied the Constitution if they came back today.

If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Steve Prefontaine…Olympic runner who was killed in a car crash in his prime and at a young age. Talented runner, driven, earliest Nike athlete, modest rebel, and for the right causes.

What did you want to be when growing up?

I terribly wanted to be a garbageman from the ages of 5–9. What little kid wouldn’t want to ride a giant truck all day long and push buttons to crush stuff? When I was about 5, I started to get out of bed at 630am when I heard the garbage truck the next street over and go downstairs and help them with our trash and put it into the truck. I also practiced all week by spreading my toys around my room into garbage piles and making stops with my toy box and putting them inside…making truck sounds and all. Apparently I was a pretty big hit with our trash company BFI, because they made me their employee of the month and invited me to their summer picnic and gave me a die-cast model of a BFI truck and a real garbageman’s shirt with my name on it. Boy, was I hooked! We moved from Waukegan, IL to Sandy, UT when I was 6, but that didn’t stop me from helping that local garbage team either! They would let me ride in the truck around the neighborhood with them and help pick up trash from all the houses…and they would give me pocket change for helping! I can’t remember when the urge to become a garbageman subsided, but maybe it will come back one day.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can do math exceptionally fast in my head without the need for a calculator and I can catch food in my mouth really well from across the room (M&M’s, etc). I run a lot and have done a lot of marathons, but that’s not exactly hidden.

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?

My family takes Easter very seriously in that my sister and I have miniature Stanley Cup-like trophies for who finds the most candy at both my mom and dad’s houses. It’s primarily between my sister and I, but after my sister and I duke it out for the trophies, we will re-set the course for others to play. This year my dad squared off against my sister’s boyfriend, who I thought had won pretty convincingly. As they were tallying up their scores, I walked past them both and teasingly reminded my dad to make sure he doesn’t over-count the candy he found to make up the gap. But that’s exactly what he was doing! He was obviously going to cede any victory after his ruse was up, but he was so convinced his trick was going to work because no one else had noticed. He started to laugh, and when I knew I had accidentally busted him, I couldn’t stop laughing either. I rolled around on the floor for minutes laughing and crying with my dad.

Want to learn more about Michael? Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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