By Steven Sheldon, Regional Support Director, Morrison Healthcare, Surprise, Arizona
Serving in the US Army for 15 years is the highest honor I could bring to my country. There are special moments I will never forget – both good and not so good – but every minute was worth it to me.
My military service included time in Iraq in 2008-2009 and Afghanistan in 2011. One of my proudest moments was helping rebuild schools in Iraq, giving children backpacks and watching them go to school. That happened a couple of times and it made me very proud to be an American.
But there were tough times, too. I was attached to the US Army infantry and special forces, so I saw a lot of combat. In Iraq, I was involved in six firefights with insurgents and was near several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) when they went off. In Afghanistan, there were toe-to-toe gunfights. I did suffer multiple injuries and eventually, it was determined I no longer met the medical standards to continue serving my country.
But the US Army provided the direction and structure I needed to succeed. I achieved the rank of staff sergeant, which helped me gain leadership skills that I use today at Morrison.
Much like my job today at Morrison, my job then was to take care of soldiers. In the military and in our food service operations, I’m a mentor to my team. I’m always there to provide advice and counsel. I learned long ago that just being there for a person and supporting them in any way possible will help them personally and professionally. In the military, it was critical that each soldier not just have the right military equipment, but the support from a leader so that they could perform at 100 percent capacity every day. The same holds true at Morrison.
After Military Service Ended, My Time with Morrison Began
When I left military service, my family moved to Rapid City, S.D., near my wife’s family. Morrison had just won the food service business at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital. Suzanne Schoby, who formerly worked for Morrison in Rapid City and is now a Regional Vice President in the Phoenix area, often visited the hotel restaurant where I worked and tried to recruit me.
At first, I declined. After 15 years of structure and discipline, I needed a break. But when Morrison opened the café at the hospital, I went to visit and immediately knew I wanted to be there. I saw how the team worked together and relied on each other – much like service members do. Suzanne still had a job for me, so I started as the retail manager on Feb. 1, 2018.
I quickly learned that there is plenty of opportunities to build a career at the company. Within just a few months, I was recruited to be a regional support manager for several western states, stretching from New Mexico to Washington. I often serve as an interim director of food services at a hospital for a few weeks or a few months, making certain its operations run smoothly until a permanent director arrives. For the past three months, I’ve been responsible for all food service operations at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, Washington.
Like most people, I’m always looking to continue to advance my career. My goal is to continue to perform well in any role the company needs with the aim of becoming a Regional Director of Operations. I’m confident that my leadership skills, along with my increasing knowledge of food service operations, will help me attain that goal.
Celebrating Veteran’s Day
Veteran’s Day is always an emotional day for me. Every year, I try to call and speak with friends who served with me in the military, even if it’s just to check on them and say ‘hello’. There are times when it’s hard to be a veteran, so having the support of old friends and reflecting on the time we were together is important.
I’m proud that Morrison celebrates Veteran’s Day. Because many of them need jobs – and we need good people — I’ve been working on a program to recruit veterans to work at Morrison and Crothall. The program is just starting, but it’s a perfect way to find new employees and managers who want and need the work.
One way we find possible candidates is to visit US Army Reserve units in the Phoenix area and cook meals for them. I show them what we do and speak with them about the kinds of jobs and careers that are available.
I wanted to join the military and serve my country ever since I was a boy. I’m glad I achieved that goal and I will always cherish that time in my life. It’s made me a better man, husband and father – and a person who will always love their country.
From deployment to employment, Compass Group welcomes the men and women who have proudly served our country. The skills and experiences gained in the military translate to the profile of candidates we want to hire. As a leader in food services and support services, we have openings throughout North America and globally within a family of companies that offer unique cultures and clearly defined career paths.