Alumni Feature

By Dave Person

Never one to sit still, Caleb Lohman has been on the move since he graduated from Parchment High School in 2004.

While a student at Western Michigan University, Lohman was in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), then served as an active duty officer in the Army for almost five years, including a combat tour in Afghanistan.

Since he got out of the military, Lohman has worked in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kalamazoo and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the latter two stops as an employee of medical technology giant Stryker, which is based in Kalamazoo.

About a year ago, he returned to Kalamazoo from Florida as sales training manager for the Stryker Interventional Spine Business Unit.

Lohman is married to his high school sweetheart Sarah (Timmons) Lohman. They have three children, Kenzie, 11, who was born during Lohman’s tour of duty in Afghanistan, Eli, who turns 10 this month, and Brielle, 7.

His parents, Keith and Andie Lohman and parents-in-law, Tony and Nancy Timmons, still live in the Parchment school district, and his sister and brother-in-law, Brianna and Lee Hildebrand and their two sons, live in the Battle Creek area.

Lohman, 36, says each chapter of his life has built upon the previous one. The skills he brought with him to Stryker he learned in the Army. His education and extracurricular activities at Parchment and his experiences at WMU prepared him for the military.

Lohman, a secondary-education major, helped to coach wrestling at Parchment High School and participated in ROTC, achieving the rank of battalion commander, while he was at WMU.  He student-taught at Portage Central High School. 

Having earned the honor of being named a Distinguished Military Graduate from WMU in December 2008, he received an active-duty commission in the Army starting in January 2009, rising in rank over the next four-plus years from second lieutenant to first lieutenant and ultimately to captain.

He served as a scout platoon leader before being sent to Afghanistan, where he was executive officer of a 100-soldier cavalry unit, overseeing day-to-day operations.

Upon returning from overseas, Lohman was stationed at Fort Knox, Ky., as a squadron logistics manager and then at Fort Benning, Ga., as one of the lead instructors at Officer Candidate School there, training and evaluating future officers.

In 2013, Lohman concluded his active duty and began working for a military recruiting company in Cincinnati, helping veterans transition into private life.

In 2015, he took a position with Stryker in Kalamazoo as a member of the sales recruiting team, helping to hire sales representatives. From there, he began running training and development programs for new sales managers.

Lohman’s next assignment, in 2018, was as national brand manager for Stryker’s Interventional Spine Business Unit, which provides products for spine fracture treatment, chronic joint pain and, as of a few weeks ago, bone tumor ablation.

In that position, Lohman developed a marketing strategy for Stryker products, and also launched European sales of those products, ultimately hiring the European brand manager, his overseas counterpart.

After that, Lohman and his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he headed up a territory selling Stryker spine products and providing operating-room support for their use.

“That was an awesome job,” he says.

Then, a year ago, he and his family returned to Kalamazoo where he assumed his current role with the company.

As sales training manager for Interventional Spine, Lohman oversees 180 sales representatives around the country, making sure they are properly trained. He also guides new sales representatives through three months of training.

His job, he says, is to “make sure the sales reps are prepared to do everything that job entails,” including supporting physicians in the operating room, as he did when he was in Florida.

The job includes creating virtual courses and conducting in-person training.

Lohman says it may seem unusual for a secondary-education major in college to be working as a sales training manager for a major medical-products manufacturer until you understand the company’s hiring philosophy.

“It’s really indicative of how Stryker works,” he says. “They’re much more interested in performance over time; they don’t care what you have a degree in.”

Lohman says the opportunities he has had at Stryker came about as the result of skills he developed in the Army.

He also credits a couple of his Parchment High School teachers, George Stamas and Kirt Brown, who were also his wrestling and soccer coaches, respectively, for instilling values and skills that were important for him to be successful in life.

Those include responsibility, accountability, integrity, hard work and teamwork. “You get what you put forth the effort for,” he says he learned from them.

Lohman says the small size of Parchment High School also was a plus.

“Kids really have the opportunity to be involved in anything they want to be involved in,” he says. “That is not true of some of the bigger schools.”