When Serge Louchnikov isn’t crunching numbers as an auditor, he’s been learning how to protect the country … in a crunch.

Louchnikov, a senior internal auditor at the downtown L.A. office of Ernst & Young, took eight months off work this year to train as an officer in the Army National Guard.

For Louchnikov, who served in the Marine Corps after high school, joining the National Guard was a way to continue to serve the country while pursuing a career.

“I had an internal call to duty,” Louchnikov said. “I decided the National Guard would be the perfect balance to also have a civilian and business career.”

While in training, Louchnikov, 30, attended a two-month program called Ranger School. There, he was put through rigorous combat simulations, going days with little food or sleep.

He returned to Ernst & Young in September and will now spend about five days each month serving with the 1-160th Infantry Battalion (L).

But he has also found that Ranger School has helped him at work.

“I’ve added a few tools to my kit as far as getting things accomplished,” he said. “I’m definitely very intense when I work on my audits. Everything gets tackled very aggressively and vigorously, and nothing gets left behind.”

Locker Room Talk

When Jane Pak traveled to China a couple of weeks ago, she said she half-expected the Chinese people would ask aspirational questions. After all, China is often cited as the country that wants to be an economic powerhouse like the United States.

When she arrived, Pak said, “The greeter from our hotel asked where we were from. When we answered, ‘Los Angeles,’ his response was, ‘Los Angeles! Hey, Kobe Bryant!’

“I responded, ‘Yes, Kobe Bryant lives in L.A., but we’re a pretty big city.’ To which he responded, ‘Yes, I know – you also have David Beckham!’”

Pak, 34, who is the chief executive of the National Association of Women Business Owners in Los Angeles, said it occurred to her that people tend to think of you “not for what you are, but for what they see … and to this young man, we’re just one big locker room in the ESPN of life.”

Staff reporter Natalie Jarvey contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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