In October 1971, Kenny Eiland began working as an accounting clerk for Morrison Healthcare. In October 2021, he celebrated his 50th anniversary with the company – his only employer during his lifetime.
Kenny started at Morrison after learning accounting at a local business school in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. The job and the people were an immediate fit, so he worked full time while taking night courses for seven years at the University of South Alabama to gain his accounting degree. During the next three decades, he received various promotions and was named Morrison’s Vice President and Controller in 2000.
In the 1970s, the company had its corporate headquarters in Mobile and its main business was cafeteria-style restaurants throughout the Southeast. Kenny recalls that it had a small, but diverse, food services division, and recalls the joy he experienced when first joining the company.
“Morrison was founded in Mobile in 1920 and it was one of the most prestigious local companies,” he says, recalling the significant difference in how the company did business decades ago.
“Back in the day, we served food to colleges, office buildings, industrial plants, and hospitals,” he says. “The company took an integrated approach to food service. We manufactured the china used to serve food in the cafeteria, brewed our own coffee, and made our own salad dressing. We also owned food distribution warehouses.”
While the company grew and went through several changes over the decades, the corporate accounting office has remained in Mobile. Kenny has been responsible for approximately 75 people working in the Mobile Support Center, which oversees accounting functions for Morrison Healthcare, Morrison Living, Unidine, and TouchPoint Support Services. He is also responsible for the Fasteam, a group of 17 people spread across the country who travel to new accounts to set up accounting and billing systems.
While having a front-row seat to view changes over five decades, Kenny stayed along for the ride. He attributes his loyalty to the continuous opportunities he was given to advance his career. For example, a few years after joining Morrison and while working his way through college in his 20s, he became the manager of a 12-person department.
“I had job opportunities with other companies over the years, but I’ve always considered Morrison family, even though we have grown into a national company.”
In turn, Kenny has helped others build their careers by giving them opportunities to demonstrate their value. Two of his primary managers today also started as accounting clerks.
“I wanted to help them advance the way others helped me through the years. Sometimes people don’t get a chance because they don’t have the experience required for the job. Well, you don’t know what someone can do until you give them a chance.”
A lifelong Mobile area resident, Kenny will retire on December 31, 2021. He will step away knowing he’s been a part of something special.
“The people are my favorite thing about the company. It has been an honor to be part of the Morrison family for 50 years and I will miss not being around that family when I retire. The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years are the dedicated people who make Morrison a great company.”