Honoring Our Veteran MagnaFlow Team Members

In the spirit of Veterans Day, MagnaFlow dedicates this blog to highlighting some members of our team who’ve served in the US military. Read on to hear their stories:

Adrian Lee –  IT Help Desk


Adrian was a Staff Sergeant (SSG) in the Army, as well as a Food Service Specialist (92G). He was able to travel the world as part of the US Army Culinary Arts Team, competing in local, national and international culinary competitions, in addition to providing training and conducting demonstrations all over the country. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom with the 82nd Airborne Division in 2007. “It was a life changing experience being in Afghanistan fighting a war. A lot of people think just because you are a cook, that you don’t go on combat patrols. I wish that was the case.”

As for what he took away from his experience in the military, he said “it’s foolish to think your decisions only affect you. We are all a part of the machine.” When asked, Adrian says his experience working for the machinery of MagnaFlow and BRExhaust has been an “amazing experience” with the most awesome “group of folks that I have had the pleasure to work with, since exiting the military.” The discipline and hard work he put in back in the service carries on to this day. That said, he finds his 5 a.m. start time at BRExhaust in Lavonia, Georgia much easier to manage that his old 4 a.m. start back during his time as an Army cook.

Adrian says that “being around such a wide variety of people while in the Army, each with their own views and beliefs, and just allowing people to be people and be willing to lay your life down for theirs makes me have a different view of what a ‘team’ really is.” And as for his current position with MagnaFlow, he says “I can honestly say that I am proud to be a part of the team that I am a part of.”

Mark Alamares – Customer Service Manager


Mark was a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps and served as a MOS 7212 Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Gunner during three deployments to Iraq, starting in 2003. As a LAAD Gunner, he was responsible for employing the Stinger Missile Weapon System in support of the Base Defense Zone (BDZ) around Forward Arming and Refueling Points (FARPs) and Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). Often part of a two-man fire team (Gunner and A-Gunner), Mark and his fellow LAAD Gunners were often tasked with providing air defense support to ground units or additional ground defense to support-based units.

Mark has tons of wild stories from his time in Iraq. The weather there can be quite unpredictable. While sandstorms were a frequent occurrence, on at least one occasion such a storm combined with a rainstorm to create a kind of muddy maelstrom. Mark was part of a massive US and NATO operation during one such event, and the visibility got so bad that he couldn’t even see his hand if he stretched out his arm. A blinded M1 Abrams main battle tank ended up bumping into his Humvee and sent it sliding several yards. The run-in with the tank showed just how scrambled the storm had left them, as Mark and his team were supposed to be following the Abrams, not the other way around.

Mark and his platoon also stumbled across some very creepy abandoned watchtowers around the perimeter of Al Asad Airbase during his third tour. There always seemed to be weird noises coming from the tunnels beneath one of the towers. However, no Marines got far heading down there before freaking out and returning to the surface and the safety of the unit. Eventually they ended up boarding up the opening because it was scaring people. Mark always found it interesting that the Marines seemed more afraid of the creepy tower than they were of enemy combatants.

One of Mark’s biggest takeaways from life in the military is that “everyone offers different strengths and skillsets.” He has taken that understanding with him to MagnaFlow, an experience that he says has “really been a dream for the most part and reminds me a lot of the work hard/play hard mentality I enjoyed so much in the Marines.” Mark appreciates that his teammates are “driven by genuine passion for what they do.”

Tony Gonzalez – Manufacturing


Signing on at age 17, Tony spent four years as an MOS 0311 Corporal in the Marine Corps 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. During that time, he deployed to Thailand, Japan, Korea and the Philippines for training. He was also part of history, when the US joined with Japan and the Philippines to practice beach landings together for the first time.

On one occasion, after about a month of training in the Philippines, Tony and his buddy stopped by a small rundown liquor store to grab a bite. Having come straight from training, both men were covered in mud from head to toe. Inside the store was a group of men in spotless white uniforms. Little did Tony and his friend know that a Philippine officer graduation service was going on. The men asked to take a picture with the Americans, which Tony thought was hilarious, considering their muddy uniforms being in stark contrast to the Filipino soldiers’ best dress attire.

That incident, in addition to several others, illustrated to Tony how other militaries around the world view the US military. The Filipino soldiers had great respect for US troops and indeed looked up to them. It impressed upon Tony that he was a small part of a much greater team. In keeping with that team spirit, Tony has recently reactivated and joined the Reserves, where he hopes to serve as an instructor.

Tony loves being a part of the MagnaFlow team. Like Mark, he loves to be surrounded by people who like to work hard, and he sees every day as a learning opportunity, “whether cutting, welding or just helping out.” He also likes that the strong sense of accountability he developed in the Marines seamlessly carries over to his work at MagnaFlow.

Rodney Bonner – Manufacturing


Rodney served as an E-4 Corporal in the Marine Corps. He signed up on an open contract and, as he says “luckily, I became a supply warehouseman.” It was his duty to pull materials from wherever they were and get them to wherever they needed to be, whether it was supplies for Marines going into the field or parts needed to repair vehicles from aircraft to motorboats.

Rodney has a lot of funny stories from his time in uniform, but the craziest was probably the time he had to stand in front of his commanding officer and explain to him why he’d missed a dental appointment. He thought it was funny that his CO seemed to care that much.

In the service, Rodney gained leadership skills and respect for others. He also learned to drive a forklift and how to pull the right part at the right time to keep operations humming along. In the Marines, Rodney learned to do whatever it takes to get the job done, and he’s taken that mentality to work with him every day for the eight-plus years he’s been with MagnaFlow. Rodney says that his experience working at MagnaFlow has been great.

Thank You to All Our Veterans!


Above all, we want to say thank you to Adrian, Mark, Tony, Rodney and all the other veterans who help make MagnaFlow the premier team in the world of aftermarket performance exhaust. We’re always impressed with the great work you all do and appreciate the capabilities and understanding that you’ve brought with you from your time in the military. We also love hearing all your stories.

Today is your day. Thank you for being a part of Team MagnaFlow, and most of all, thank you for your service.