“What The Armed Services and Coca-Cola Have Taught Me…” is an article series spotlighting veterans who are applying their skills and experiences from the U.S. Armed Forces to their work with Coca-Cola. The series will continue leading up to Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

Second Lieutenant (2LT) Randal Lane has spent a significant portion of his adult life developing action plans. “Before joining the military, I took a pretty ad-hoc approach to getting things done," he said. "In the military, and now at Coke, you learn pretty quickly that you can’t get by doing things on the fly.” 

His initial enlistment with the Marine Corps, his later service as an officer with the Army National Guard, and his 22-year career with Coca-Cola has resulted in an intense focus on effectively managing his time and resources.

The Difference Between Success and Failure

Randal Lane
'Ab planking' Matt Chan (215 lbs), who placed second in the 2012 Crossfit Games World Championship.

After graduating from college and completing boot camp at infamous Parris Island, South Carolina in 1993, then Private Lane received orders for active duty and was granted a military leave of absence from Coca-Cola for more than a year. He attended the military’s Defense Information School in Ft. Harrison, Ind. where he studied journalism, broadcasting and photography. After graduating first in his class as a Combat Correspondent, he returned to work at Coca-Cola and was assigned to a local Marine Reserve Unit in Marietta, Ga.

Lance Corporal Lane subsequently applied for and was accepted into the Army National Guard’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) which required an inter-service transfer from the Marine Corps Reserves to the Army National Guard. After graduating from OCS, he went on to become a Tactical Intelligence Officer and was assigned to the 48th Infantry Brigade headquartered out of Macon, Ga. After training and drilling with the 48th Brigade for a few years, he ultimately was transferred over to the Army Reserve’s FORSCOM Augmentation at Fort McPherson, Ga. He served at Fort McPherson until receiving an honorable discharge from the Army in 1999.

“During my various trainings, I spent a lot of time doing mission-critical roleplaying,” says 2TL Lane. “It taught me how to apply a disciplined approach to accomplishing tasks. Properly evaluating a situation and planning for its outcomes as a team could mean the difference between success and failure – life and death.”

Working Backwards to Move Forward

Today, 2LT Lane leads a team of associates that provides accounting and finance support for Coca-Cola’s Global Burger King Customer Team. “My team and I apply backwards-planning techniques – some I learned and refined in the military. We start by understanding the deadlines and deliverables. Then, we work backwards in time from there and designate milestones and assign the resources that are required to achieve our goals and objectives. We also plan for reoccurring events typically at the beginning of every year. Working on a customer team, there are lots of unplanned initiatives that come up during the year that we have to make time for, and the last thing we want is to be reactive to things that we already know about in advance. It helps our team to be more impactful when we plan what we know so that we have the flexibility to address new challenges as they come up.”  

Our Company’s Commitment to Veterans

Beginning in 2015, The Coca-Cola Company will partner with American Corporate Partners to roll out a dedicated mentorship program for veterans to help translate military experience to the civilian workforce. A group of 50 Coca-Cola mentors will be announced during our Veterans Day activities on Nov. 12, 2014. Visit www.acp-usa.org/Mentoring_Program to learn more about this important initiative.