Veteran’s Day at the TIDAL New York Factory

Since opening our factory doors in 2016, we have been committed to hiring veterans and creating a space where veterans and civilians can work side by side. It’s one of the many reasons we were so insistent on rightshoring our factory and making Tidals in the US.

For this Veteran’s Day, we invite you into our factory in New Rochelle to meet Siul, Pat and Adam, the three veterans who help make your flip flops.

                  

Meet Patrick O’Brien, the Pearl River, NY-native who served 4 years active duty in the Marines in Hawaii, Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. His hidden talent? This guy can wiggle his eyes (Yes, eyes! Not ears!). Below, Pat tells us about his time in the Marines, discusses the importance of veteran programs both big and small and spills the beans on his life-hack (clue: it has to do with how to properly eat a cupcake).

Q: Pat, tell us a little about yourself ... What made you decide to join the military, where did you serve and how did serving impact you?

A: Since I was young, I always thought of joining the military. I always believed, and still do, that to join the military was one of the most honorable things a person could do. I was stationed in Hawaii, but between training and deployments, I didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked. My first deployment was a combat tour in Afghanistan. After that, my unit went to Okinawa, Japan where we did some various training with other units. From there, we went to Thailand and South Korea to train with their military in joint operations. I also participated in the world’s largest maritime warfare exercise called RIMPAC. We trained with over 20 countries and I met lots of other service members from different country's militaries.

I believe serving in the Marines has made me a much better person. Marine training is very effective at instilling leadership skills, discipline, and a willingness to go the extra mile in order to complete tasks you’re responsible for.

Q: What does being a veteran in 2019 mean to you — Are there any misconceptions you’d like to share?

A: I think being a veteran in 2019 can be very challenging for some, and not as much for others. With the state of the VA health care system, some veterans are going through some extremely challenging times not getting the help and the attention that they have earned 10 times over. I’m glad, however, that more light is being shed on this issue.

I’m not entirely sure what other people misconceive about the military, but I will say that most people aren’t even aware or don’t even seem to care that we still have American forces fighting in Afghanistan. We’ve been over there for so long that people seem to be very indifferent about it and they will never think about the men and women whose lives are on the line everyday. The media is too focused on ratings and fighting each other that they have lost focus on what’s really important.

Q: Do you think veteran programs are important?

A: I can’t imagine how anyone would say ‘No’ to this question. Every single veteran program, no matter how big or small, is immensely important. There is a huge problem with suicides and mental health in the military right now and anything that can be done to help lower these numbers should be considered.

Programs that help veterans seek employment are also great. Most veterans aren’t sure how their skills will transfer to the real world and there are programs that help you write your resumes and help you better understand how you can contribute to the workforce.

Q: Bet you never thought you’d end up making flip flops, what is your favorite part about working at TIDAL?

A: Working with other veterans is my favorite part about TIDAL. Working anywhere with new people can be difficult, but when you have others who can relate through shared experiences, it’s much easier to work together and get things done.

Q: When you think about wearing flip flops, what comes to mind?

A: Vacation and relaxation.

Q: What music do you listen to in the factory?

A: With such a diverse group in the factory, you really never know what’s going to be playing sometimes. All genres are welcome.

Q: Ok, a fun one ... What was your style like in high school?

A: I wouldn’t classify anything I wore as a style.

Quick rapid fire Qs. Here we go!

Favorite…

Color: Blue

Dog breed (or are you a cat person??): I’m a cat person

Music video: Blink-182 “What’s My Age Again” 

90’s movie: Dumb and Dumber 

TV show: Rescue Me 

Writer or book: Alex Berensen 

 

Go-to… 

Tech gadget: Cell phone to play games and check out memes :) 

Life hack: Seperate the top half of a cupcake, flip it outside down to make a small sandwich with the icing to eat it cleanly. 

Snack: Reese’s Cups 

Mantra: Be the best at what you do.

                  

Let us introduce you to the amazing Siul N. Celeste. Siul served 11 years and 9 months in the military at the New York Army National Guard. Below, Siul tells us about her time in the National Guard, as well as what working at TIDAL nearly since the company began has meant to her.

Q: What does it mean to you to be a veteran in 2019?

A: As a naturalized US citizen, it means I've done my deed to serve this country which I call my home.
 

Q: What’s the biggest misconception about serving in the military that you’d like to share?

A: The biggest misconception is that we are not fed properly. Military dining facilities are filled with nutritional foods. You have open salad and snack bars and all you can drink beverages. But we have to maintain physical standards therefore we work out as much as we consume. Trust me the food is fantastic. It’s the one thing I actually miss.

Q: What made you decide to serve?

A: I needed a belong to something after being heartbroken and the Army opened those doors for me while keeping me employed.
 

Q: Do you think veteran programs are important?

A: I do believe they are important since they provide the support and assistance veterans who need to readjust to living outside the military branches. But in my opinion, understanding and educating veterans on the current veteran programs available is even more important than continuing to build new programs.

Q: What has working at TIDAL meant to you?

A: Tidal has become my safe haven. In a very competitive workforce, and after only 30 days after separating from the military, Tim found my resume on ZipRecruiter and asked me to apply for a position available at his company. I was welcomed with open arms after just one interview and was given the opportunity to be part of a new team. Tidal has continued to instill a sense of belonging while providing me with new skills in the civilian workforce.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at TIDAL?

A: The best two words I can use are flexibility and trust. In terms of flexibility, Tidal allows me to earn two college degrees while still maintaining a fulltime job and being able to succeed at both. Tidal also has a lot of trust in its employees. For example, when given a task or project, I’m not only given the tools to be able to get the job done, I’m also given the support and trust to perform at my highest level.

Q: Favorite thing about wearing/making flip flops?

A: Wearing Tidals feels totally different from other flip flops, especially because the strap doesn’t cut the top of my foot which used to happen with other brands of flip flops in the past. I also love making Tidals because I really enjoy the testing phase, where we try out new ways to make a better product and continue to push the limits on making a product that is not just comfortable and long lasting but is also environmentally friendly. The smallest changes have the largest impact.

Q: How would your teammates at the TIDAL factory describe you? 

A: Hyper probably! I have a lot of energy and I find humor in everything I do.

Q: Go to tunes at the factory?

A: I love me some Man of the woods by Justin Timberlake. Amazing funk and great on the feet for our factory floor.

Quick rapid fire Qs. Here we go!

Favorite…
Color: Blue
Dog breed (or are you a cat person??): Neither I'm allergic so I've turned to indoor plants.
Music video: NYSNC "It’s Gonna Be Me"
90’s movie: I Know What You Did Last Summer
TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Writer or book: Mark Manson

Go-to…

Tech gadget: MacBook Pro

Snack: Keebler Export Sodas Crackers with Peanut Butter and a Pepsi.
Advice/mantra: "Things that can be seen with the human eye don't need to be told."

                  

Pleasure to introduce you to Adam Avenia. Hailing from Seymour, CT, Adam is the man behind our DESMA machine, our innovative technology that casts liquid polyurethane into heated moulds to make our ultra-supportive soles. Adam served 6 years in both West Hartford, CT and Afghanistan. Here, Adam shares why he enlisted to serve and what comes to mind when he thinks about flip flops (hint: cold cerveza, warm beach).

Q: What made you decide to join the military, Adam? Where did you serve and how did serving impact you? 

A: Both of my grandfathers served in the military and I wanted to make something of myself, I couldn't afford to go to college. I served in Afghanistan from 2012-2013. Serving gave me the opportunity to be a part of something greater than myself and helped give my life structure.

Q: What does being a veteran in 2019 mean to you — Are there any misconceptions you’d like to share? 

A: Putting your views to the side, fighting for our Country’s freedom. Understanding the potential consequences of going to war and still signing your life away. A major misconception in my eyes is that it’s easy to get hired as a Veteran.

Q: Bet you never thought you’d end up making flip flops, what is your favorite part about working at TIDAL? 

A: I love the factory atmosphere and teamwork component of working at TIDAL. I also love seeing the product I make out in public. 

Q: When you think about wearing flip flops, what comes to mind? 

A: Beach, vacation, coronas. 

Q: What music do you listen to in the factory? 

A: Country/Rock 

Q: Ok, fun one … What was your style like in high school?

A: Athletic



Quick rapid fire Qs. Here we go!

Favorite… 

Color: Gray

Dog breed (or are you a cat person??): Bull Dog

90’s movie: Goodfellas

TV show: King of Queens

Writer or book: ESPN Magazine

 

Go-to… 

Tech gadget: Remote to TV

Life-hack: Put your straw through the can tab to keep the straw from rising.

Snack: Peanut Butter filled Pretzels

Mantra: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. 

 

A New York Minute ft. Gabriella Daher

Learn More

SEE HOW OUR FANS WEAR #TIDALNEWYORK