Get to know SDI: Theo Susuras

  • SDI Admin

There’s nothing quite like getting a sunburn on top of your sunburn. That is exactly what Theo Susuras stated that he was doing a few months ago. “There is nothing pleasant about working outside when it is 117 degrees outside. Some people say at least it’s a dry heat but that doesn’t make it any better,” said Theo. He decided to look elsewhere for employment. His life passion was shooting and he wanted to work in the firearms industry. He found Sonoran Desert Institute of Firearms Technology (SDI).

Theo lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and was working for the city as a maintenance worker before starting at Sonoran Desert Institute. Masonry was his specialty. It was active, labor intensive, and he was familiar with a bull float. He was not accustomed to sitting for long periods and he was not used to being evaluated on his interactions with others. Interpersonal communication proved to be a talent Theo possessed, and he made a great impression in his interviews. Not just anybody could make this kind of transition. Before he knew it, he was beginning a new career as an admissions advisor with SDI. Theo said it best, “Honestly, I didn’t know if I could do it. I was used to working outside. It was all about coming home feeling physically exhausted. This was different; it was mental exhaustion I was coming home with.”

Theo credits his quick transition to his training. “Roxanne Palmer has been working with me. She makes it easy. She’s the smartest person I have ever worked with and I have yet to find a question she can’t answer in full detail.” When asked how he likes his new duties, he was quick to answer, “This is the best job I’ve ever had. I love it.” He also noted that, besides his training, it was equally great to work in such a team-oriented and positive environment.

Mr. Susuras works as an admissions advisor at SDI. He stated that his role is to meet prospective students and get to know them. His favorite part of the job is the fact that he is there to help others. Theo finds fulfillment in the fact that he gets to be of service. He takes pride in evaluating what will make students successful should they attend school. “The only times I haven’t been able to get prospective students on track have been when they are on deployment and travelling with a bad internet connection. Outside of that, I have been able to be helpful and have had countless great interactions.”

Theo has gone from being unsure about his role at SDI to passionately serving those that are seeking information about the school. His zeal for the firearms industry does not stop there. He is also a competitive shooter with the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).

USPSA competition is what inspired Theo to work with SDI, and he works extremely hard. He practices drawing and dry firing up to 90 minutes per day. Many competitive shooters in the industry claim that 20 to 30 minutes per day is enough to be a competitive shooter. This is simply not enough for Theo; he wants to be the best. He competes throughout Arizona and Southern Utah, routinely wins, and rarely places below 5th place, which is more impressive when considering there are often over 150 competitors.

The open division is where Theo makes his home when competing. While other divisions are highly restricted in what types of handguns are allowable, this division allows for countless modification and 9×19 and up ammo. For those unfamiliar with handguns used in the open division, they resemble something straight out of a sci-fi film. It requires a lot of knowledge and an exceptional amount of discipline to compete at this level. Theo has even developed himself into an expert at reloading so that he can ensure consistency with his ammunition. He is currently three percentage points from reaching the level of grand master in the USPSA, which is a crowning accomplishment.

Part of what has thrilled Theo so much about competing in shooting at a high level is getting to meet his heroes. Since his boss first showed him how to shoot two years ago, and Theo purchased his first basic 1911 for competition, he has followed the professionals and their competition results. “It’s really amazing. For example, if you attended an NFL game, it would be very rare to meet a professional football player. If you did have a chance to meet one, they probably wouldn’t take the time to talk with you. With the professional shooters, I have gotten to meet my heroes. Not just casual conversations but I have been able to call several of them my friends.”

Theo Susuras has had a year that is full of change. He has a new career that he loves, he hopes to be a grand master level shooter within the year, and he is currently engaged to be married. He credits the support of his fiancé for his success in competitive shooting as well as his pursuit of a new vocation. Theo is learning quickly at SDI and is consistently taking on new responsibilities. With the work ethic Theo has already shown in competitive shooting, combined with the commitment to his relationship and the love that he has for SDI, the school is mightily privileged to have him.

Welcome aboard, Theo! We hope you avoid sunburns on top of sunburns for many years to come.

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