People Eric Suarez: From Special Operations to Public Relations Lynsey Davis November 18, 2018 For Eric Suarez, Public Relations at Remington Arms Company, guns aren’t just a hobby, they have been his life. Suarez’s history with guns goes way back, from shooting and hunting with his father as a youngster, to 17 years spent in the United States Marine Corps, to owning his own business for a while, and now working for Remington Arms Company. While in the USMC, Suarez served several roles, including Special Operations Forces Communicator. Recently, RECOIL had the opportunity to speak with Suarez at the 2018 Defense and LE New Products Seminar hosted by Remington. RECOIL: How far back does your interest in guns go? Eric Suarez: My interest in firearms started when I was a young child. I started shooting around 6 years old and I took hunter safety in NJ when I was 9 so I could start hunting at 10. I remember my father picking up an old break-action H&R 20 GA shotgun before the hunter’s safety course, he said if I could not operate it correctly on my own that I couldn’t get my hunting license. For months I came from school and practiced, finally, I was able to break it open and close the action on my own. When I was 11, I cut grass all summer so I could purchase my own rifle which was a Marlin 60 HC, I still own it today. We went shooting quite often when I was a kid, I believe that shooting at a young age instilled confidence, responsibility, and respect not only for the firearms but for life in general. I have two young boys that I take shooting often, watching them become more confident in their abilities makes me thankful I’m able to share those experiences with them. Suarez sending rounds downrange with the Remington R10 Battle Carbine RECOIL: How did you get started at Remington? ES: After struggling with the transition from active duty to civilian life and applying for dozens of jobs throughout the area which included 6-8 positions with Remington, no luck was to be had. I almost gave up but I sat down and did something that I thought was going to be a waste of my time. I signed up and uploaded my resume to LinkedIn (the professional social media platform). Two days later the phone rang and the lady on the other side of the phone says that she is a recruiter for Remington and that my resume looked to be a perfect fit for the Mastertech/Gunsmith in the R&D department. I was skeptical about the company and its employees, given rumors and rumblings I heard, but what I saw made me eager to start in a new direction in life. I found everyday people working their asses off to make the best products they could. Down to earth gun guys and girls, most of which uprooted their families from previous locations because of their belief in the brand and what Remington stands for. My basic day to day duties were taking and executing gun orders for editors, writers, shooting demos, events, shows like SHOT, NRA, RMEF, etc. and for research and development purposes to include building and shooting prototypes, ensuring firearms were kept in meticulous shape, validating that each firearm fell within a specific specification before shipment. At any given time, our library here in Huntsville held just over six thousand serialized firearms and NFA items. RECOIL: How has your role at Remington evolved into what it is now? ES: While working in the gun room, I had a few opportunities to attend media events. I was happy with my position in the gun room, but I was looking for a long-term career. A position posted for a press relations analyst with a specific focus on increasing product coverage and creating brand awareness for firearms, it seemed to be the perfect fit for me. I am very grateful for the opportunities Remington has given me, I hope to be a mainstay here for years to come. RECOIL: You served many years in the Marine Corps. How do you use the knowledge you gained from your years of service to do your job at Remington? ES: My job at Remington is very similar to my military career in many ways. We are a team here, we all have our primary responsibilities, however, we all pitch in and help each other to meet our goals. During my time in the military, I prided myself on my ability to adapt to any situation that would come up as well as being a force multiplier. Though I may have specialized in one area, I am able to perform a wide variety of skills at a high level, which is necessary for me to be successful in my current role. Throughout my day in the office, I may be responding to media requests, reviewing articles, writing press releases, attending meetings, providing feedback on a new platform for fit/function and application or assisting R&D with product testing. The ability to prioritize and successfully execute plans is a direct result of my time spent in the military, and a strong contributing factor to my success at Remington thus far. Another aspect that took me a long time to understand and really wrap my head around is that quality people, not processes, procedures or technology make the difference between success and failure. Sure, those things help in one’s ability to complete a task, but it’s the human mind and interaction with these facets that determine the outcome. If you have a great team and truly care about them, ensure they have what they need to be successful and treat them with respect and dignity they will go to great lengths for success. One of the most important lessons I learned and practice every day is resilience. Nothing in life is perfect, but one’s ability to pick themselves up after something doesn’t go quite right is a valuable trait. What makes this company and its people great is that every day I see failures and triumphs, and every day I see people picking others up and congratulating them on a job well done. When I look around at these people, I see a team that wants to succeed and not quit, so I know I am in the right place. I joined the Marine Corps when I was 17. Until 24 months ago I spent my entire adult life serving on active duty. I honestly owe the man I am today to the ebbs and flows of my career. I am far from perfect. But by understanding that and bringing my life experiences with me to Remington I believe that I have a lot to offer to the future of the company. RECOIL: Remington is going through a time of restructuring right now, that's no secret. Going forward, what positive changes can consumers expect from Remington? ES: We have emerged from our restructuring and the fundamentals of our core business remain strong as we continue to progress. We have an outstanding collection of brands and products, the unqualified support of a vibrant community across the industry, and a deep and powerful culture. We are competing more aggressively and pursuing future growth opportunities. We continue to be dedicated to making sure each of our products exceeds its owner’s expectations and we deliver value for their hard-earned dollar. Suarez showing off the dove he took with the Remington Model 870 Tac-14 Suarez's EDC: -Glock 19 (custom slide done by Long Weaponry Industries) with a Surefire XC1 -Wallet, key, and tourniquet – My truck keeps a go bag with extra mags (sometimes an extra firearm), SERE kit, chargers/cables, extra ID, etc. in a Vertx discreet messenger bag – H&K AXIS Folder with G10 Grips Explore RECOILweb:North Carolina Match for the AR EnthusiastHands On with Magpul's Big Glock Stick: PMAG 27 GL9Geissele Automatics - Return of the RailsMore Kalifornia Madness - act quickly if you're going to NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Click here to get IMMEDIATE ACCESS to a digital PDF of this target pack!