Read stories about real Sodexo people who help make a difference in the lives of people like you.
Military: Logistics Readiness Officer
Sodexo: Director, Safety and Health
Tell us about your experience in the Air National Guard.
I enlisted in the Air Force Reserves in 1988 as an Air Cargo Specialist and was charged with loading people and equipment on C5s. After two years I switched to the Air National Guard and held several enlisted positions. Started as a Personnel Specialist and finally as a Logistics Specialist. In 1998 I earned my commission and started my career as a Supply Officer. I did this for 2 years at which time I decided to take a few years off and switched to the Inactive Ready Reserves (IRR). 12 years passed in the IRR and finally I decided to finish my commitment to the Air Force and rejoined the MA ANG back in 2012 as a Logistics Readiness Officer, a position I still currently hold.
What are the cultural similarities between the military and Sodexo?
The Air Force Core Values are Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do and they dovetail quite nicely into Sodexo’s values of Service Spirt, Team Spirit, and Sprit of Progress. Part of Sodexo’s mission is to “Improve the Quality of Life of all those we serve” and the military isn’t any different. We serve in the military to ensure the quality of life we have all gotten so accustomed to is sustained for the current generation and for all the generations to come.
How did your skills learned in the Air National Guard transfer to a civilian career?
The Air National Guard, and the military as a whole, ensures its members are thoroughly educated in their respective career fields as well as in leadership abilities. A Logistics Readiness Officer is tasked with getting the war fighter ready for the fight, getting them to the fight, keeping them in the fight, and ultimately getting them home. This includes all transportation, supplies, and support needed to successfully complete a mission. In addition officers complete professional military education that prepares them with the leadership abilities and critical thinking skills to successful lead the enlisted force.
My career with Sodexo has been positively influenced by the education and career development I achieved during my tenure as an Air Force airman. Early on with Sodexo I worked in operations which required a lot of logistical planning to successfully run the business, manage frontline associates, and meet the demands and expectation of the client. My current role as a Regional Director of Safety taps into the leadership and critical thinking skills I’ve gained in order to successfully manage a regional team of safety managers, EH&S and Food Safety, and to educate and influence our operators to manage their businesses with safety in the forefront of their minds. These skills are critical for my success within Sodexo as well as when having to interact with various regulatory agencies outside of Sodexo.
What advice do you have for someone transitioning from a military to civilian career?
Learn how to translate your military experience into terms the civilian sector can understand, don’t assume your civilian employer understands all that you’ve done in your military career and be proud of your accomplishments. The education and professional development required in the military is invaluable to Sodexo and the clients we serve.
Military: U.S. Navy
Sodexo: Director of Technical Services
I have always enjoyed the opportunity to solve problems and fix broken equipment, as well as had a fascination with electrical systems. I served in the U.S. Navy and that afforded me the opportunity to attend college. I served as a cryptologic technician and decided to pursue electrical engineering. I love the creative process of engineering and, as an Engineer, I have the ability to understand and explain systems that are useful to my company and our clients. It is exciting to make changes and see something that you recommended and developed working!
Military: Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer, US Navy Reserves
Sodexo: Senior Director II, Human Resources, Campus On-Site Solutions
Discipline: Human Resources
Tell us about your experience in the US Navy Reserves.
I joined the US Navy Reserves in 1990, specializing as a Heavy Equipment Operator in the Naval Construction Battalions (Seabees). As a business major in college, I was looking to gain a completely different type of experience while serving in the Reserves. Our focus was logistics from ship to shore, often partnering with the US Army or Marine Corps on construction projects, like building a pier from shore or setting up campsites near water. Many people are surprised to hear that after twenty years in the US Navy Reserves, I’ve never been on a ship!
What was it like managing your Reserves commitment, along with a full-time career?
It was an opportunity in balance and time management. As I moved up in rank, I took on additional responsibilities. Leading a Reserve detachment of 40-45 people often required an additional twenty plus hours per month, in addition to my commitment and day job.
It took effort to maintain two different types of work environments, structured versus corporate, even down to the lingo. I needed to manage separate thought processes and be able to quickly switch modes.
In your experience, are there cultural similarities between the military and Sodexo?
They share a focus on wanting to do the right thing. It’s expected, trained and cultivated in the military, but the Sodexo culture is driven by people with a desire to do the right thing. Sodexo strives to be an employer of choice and hires people who share our passion about helping others and doing the right thing. Similar to the military, Sodexo rewards skills with limitless development, growth and mobility opportunities.
How did your skills learned in the Reserves transfer to a civilian career?
The skills are really one-hundred percent transferrable; it’s just a question of how to articulate them when it comes to a corporate environment. After being in the Reserves for five years, I started my career in Human Resources. My experience working with people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets helped prepare me for dealing with many HR related situations. My construction background has also helped me better understand the Facilities Management side of Sodexo’s business.
What advice do you have for someone transitioning from a military to civilian career?
Be prepared to adapt to the difference in structure. Military life is controlled and focuses on training so things become second nature; while the corporate culture requires you to think more independently, be a self-starter and articulate your goals. Research the company you are applying to join and understand how to explain your skills and experience to a non-military person. We have always done far more in the military than we give ourselves credit for accomplishing. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help or advice and use your resources.
Military: U.S. Marine Corps
Sodexo: Senior Manager, Systems Architecture
What is your position and how did your military service fit into your current career?
I started my IT and leadership career in the Marines, which helped me transition into my current position is Senior Manager, Systems Architecture on the IS&T Operations & Infrastructure team at Sodexo. I decided to go into this field because I enjoy seeing how things work mechanically, and I like leveraging technology to improve or create solutions.
How was your transition from military life to your civilian career?
My transition from the military to a civilian career was challenging. I was fortunate to find a company like Sodexo who has similar values and great people and made it really feel like home.
What is your typical day like?
My typical day in IT consists of new and different challenges. One of the most interesting projects and initiatives that I am currently working on is the Cross-Atlantic Disaster Recovery Program. I collaborate daily with my Global IT counterparts and Data Center teams. I really enjoy these progressive types of projects as the technology solutions have a significant impact not only for Sodexo North America, but also for many other countries enterprise-wide. In addition, I really enjoy my team and daily job of managing and architecting key Infrastructure services (Enterprise Data Storage, Backup & Recovery, UNIX Servers, Email Archiving, Branch Office Infrastructure and Systems Architecture), which is both challenging and rewarding.
What does it take to be successful in your area at Sodexo?
Traits that lead to success in my area at Sodexo include a passion for technology, perseverance, dedication, rigor, progressive thinking, can-do attitude and the ability to be collaborative in a diverse working environment.
What advice do you have for soon-to-be veterans who are looking to transition to a civilian career?
Get involved, join a business resource group, and connect with the business community. Soon-to-be veterans should be aware that they aren't alone. There are many resources and fellow veterans who are willing to support them during their transition. Many of the military values, traits and skills map over well to a civilian career. Their military experience is viewed as an asset to employers, and they can use this experience as their advantage.
What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I am an automotive enthusiast. I also enjoy spending time with my wife and family, the outdoors and long-distance cycling.
Military: U.S. Navy, Petty Officer
Sodexo: Executive Chef
Univesity of South Carolina
I served in the United States Navy for 3 years as a chef. During my enlistment, I was deployed three times to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, each time for six months. I was recognized with a Captains award, combat award and many tour of duty medals. I completed my chef training through the Navy culinary school in San Diego, CA. The military prepared me for my current role with Sodexo as it taught me discipline, a good work ethic and an appreciation for life and people. Most of all, the Navy matured me. I am excited that Sodexo is recognizing veterans for their service to our country and is a company where transitioning military can come to work.
Facilities Office Manager
Navy: Electrician's Mate Surface Warfare
My current position with Sodexo is Office Manager for Physical Plant Services in Sodexo's Education Division. Prior to Sodexo, I spent 20 years in the Navy as an Electrician's Mate Surface Warfare with three deployments in the Persian Gulf and one to Kosovo. The military taught me invaluable skills such as time management, utilizing resources that I had available, leadership, people skills and professionalism. Sodexo's support for veterans and the ongoing outreach have been great. The continued visibility that Sodexo is bringing to veterans' issues for the employees is a great testimony to our commitment to our people.
Military: U.S. Navy
Sodexo: District Manager, Mid-Atlantic Region Health Care Division - Facilities Management
Coop used his GI bill to complete a Mechanical Engineering Degree at the University of Tennessee in a remarkable three years. His naval training gave him the study discipline and technical knowledge he needed to maneuver relatively easily through the engineering curriculum. Never called upon to shed blood for his beloved country, Coop is humbled often by the sacrifices of others. But without his military experience, Coop does not feel his career would have progressed to where it is today.
Military: U.S. Army
Sodexo: Executive Chef
Cox Manheim Dining Center
Reaching the rank of E4, Kim was a Food Service Specialist in the U.S. Army for eight years. Her Desert Storm experience led to her receiving the Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medals and National Defense Service Medals, as well as the NCO Professional Development, Army Service and Overseas Service Ribbons. It was her military experience that prepared Kim for the Art Institute of Atlanta. This led her up the corporate ladder and to a lengthy career with Sodexo. In that time, Kim has appreciated the support that Sodexo gives to veterans.
Vice President, International Client Relations for Proctor & Gamble
I proudly served in the Navy as a Lieutenant for six years. During my service time, I served on the SS Springfield as a 6F Engineering Officer. Serving during Vietnam earned me a Service Medal. My international travels in the military prepared me for my current position at Sodexo. As the VP of International Client Relations for Proctor & Gamble, I have the opportunity to experience different cultures daily. My military travels and multicultural experiences have been an asset in my current role. Sodexo is doing a good job with partnering with military not only for employees, but also with the customers we serve.
Military: U.S. Army, E7 Sergeant First Class
Sodexo: General Manager, Multi-Service
Halifax Regional Hospital
Discipline: Food Service
During my 20 years of service in the Army, I held jobs in Foodservice and Recruiting and was the General Manager for Hale Alii Hotel on Fort Shafter in Hawaii. I retired with the rank of E7 Sergeant First Class. The training the Army gave me in leadership and foodservice prepared me well for my current role with Sodexo. I had years of people skills, hands-on experience supervising large numbers of soldiers, and learned management skills and discipline which I use every day in my job with Sodexo. I am part of Sodexo’s Military Task Force, which is the beginning stages of the company’s newest employee network group. I like the website Sodexo has dedicated to the military, www.sodexohiresheroes.com, and am proud of the outreach to the communities across the country.
Military: U.S. Navy, Mess Management Specialist, MMS
Sodexo: General Manager of Food and Nutrition
Fort Leonard Wood Hospital
Discipline: Food Service
I am currently the General Manager for Food and Nutrition in the Hospitals Division. I was a Mess Management Specialist, MMS in the Navy on the USS Chicago CG-11. I went to Class “C” School, Nutrition and Menu Planning and had two tours to the Western Pacific. My military experience enhanced my knowledge in the areas of diversity, management and discipline. Building one “best team” is the military way to become uniform in everything that is done, no matter what background you come from. The saying “no one is as smart as all of us” and the need for teamwork were what I was taught during my tour. This holds true today with Sodexo! Sodexo supports military individuals by acknowledging service to their country at Sodexo events. Sodexo is a company I am proud to be part of with a culture that believes in tradition and teamwork.
Military: U.S. Army, Chief Warrant Officer, CW4
Sodexo: General Manager of Food Services
Sherwood - Appalachian Christian Village
Discipline: Food Service
I spent 24 years of active duty with the Army and retired as a Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), holding positions such as Brigade and Division Food Advisor and Registered Instructor and Proctor for Food Safety. I was deployed twice to Iraq and learned a strong work ethic that has carried into my civilian career. As a graduate of the NCO Basic and Advanced Academy, as well as the Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced Academy, I was taught leadership, management and technical skills which definitely prepared me for my current role as a General Manager of Food Service in Sodexo Senior Services. Sodexo’s support of our veterans is excellent and getting better every day.
Director of Engineering
Navy: Surface Warfare Officer
I joined Sodexo in 1993 after retiring from my 20-year Navy career. In the Navy, I was a Surface Warfare Officer with eight significant deployments to the Western Pacific. I worked my way up through the ranks as a chief engineer and then as an officer on five different ships. My Navy career gave me the experience that I use every day as a Director with Sodexo. Working alongside the maintenance staff enhanced my technical knowledge of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. A ship is really a building that floats, and that's why going into Sodexo's hospital division was a great fit for me. Sodexo has been very supportive and always has an eye out for their veterans.
Military: U.S. Navy, E-3/Seaman
Sodexo: Senior Disaster Recovery Analyst
Chris’ three years in the military included serving on the SSN Cheyenne 773 fast attack submarine. He was awarded the National Defense Service and Navy Pistol Shot medal/ribbon, as well as a Navy commendation for preparing the ship for commissioning. The Navy gave Chris a sense of direction and taught him the respect for others and himself that he needed to achieve his goals. This was definitely a contributing factor to being chosen for his position with Sodexo.
General Manager of Facilities
Air Force: Senior Master Sergeant, E-8
I am a General Manager of Facilities with Sodexo in the School Services Division. Prior to coming to Sodexo, I was a Senior Master Sergeant, E-8 in the Air Force. I spent 21 years with the Air Force in Aircraft Maintenance and was deployed to Kosovo in support of Operation Allied Force. I could not do what I am doing today without my Air Force experience and the leadership, technical and computer training that I received. Being put in positions of responsibility and authority have given me the confidence to be out in the civilian sector contributing in a significant manner. I appreciate Sodexo's recognition of the value of veterans in support of our diversity efforts. There are great leaders with lots of skills coming out of the military that benefit this company.
Military: E-4 Seargent, US Air Force
Sodexo: Multi-Unit General Manager, Health Care
Memorial Health Systems, Colorado Springs, CO
I began my 6-year military career in an unusual manner which creatively led to my current position as Multi-Unit General Manager and Registered Dietitian. After meeting with the Air Force recruiter and selecting a "guaranteed" job in accounting, I arrived at Lackland A.F.B. to survive basic training. Two weeks into the course, all of the airmen with "guaranteed jobs" were assembled in a room with the D.I. The D.I. yelled, "All of you are here because you were promised a guaranteed job. As of right now, those guaranteed jobs are no longer guaranteed, and remember that you cannot sue the government. You have 30 minutes to select your new job from this one sided document."
While working under this time crunch, I scanned the list and narrowed my choices to Diet Therapy Technician and on the opposite end of the spectrum, Pararescue. As I decided between the two, I looked outside to see 4 huge men running full speed while carrying a long telephone pole on their shoulders. So, I asked the D.I., "Why are they running with that telephone pole?" He replied, "Oh that is the Pararescue training that they conduct on this base." I chose to be a diet therapy technician. Actually, my fear was not that I couldn't carry my share of the weight, but rather that I would be hanging suspended from the pole since I'm not as tall as the rest of the team.
My six-year military service took me to various interesting places. Over the next few years, I enjoyed good assignments and learned from outstanding people how to provide excellent patient care. Skills, knowledge, diligence, perseverance and compassion are just a few of the qualities strengthened by my military experience that developed me into the leader I am today. I am proud to have served so many.
Military: U.S. Navy, Master at Arms
Sodexo: Area General Manager, Healthcare Division
Discipline: Food Service
I started out as a cook in the Navy; I worked as a Ships Baker, a Captains Cook and Supervisor of an Officer Dining Facility afloat. College, along with all of the leadership training that I received and still receive in the Navy, helped me gain a great understanding of the food service industry. The military has taught me to be structured and how to follow protocols to get the job done. Currently, I am serving an active Reserve role in Navy Law Enforcement, in addition to my position with Sodexo. As an Area General Manager, Healthcare Division, I am able to share the leadership skills I learned while in the Navy. I work hard to be a great role model for all of my fellow workers, employees and client contacts.
In 2007, I had the honor of representing Sodexo at the ESGR Freedom Award banquet where we were recognized. As a reservist, there are times when I am away (sometimes for up to 6 weeks) from my position but with support from my fellow GMs and my District manager, I know I will come back to a well-managed facility. This year I am looking forward to serving on the Military Network committee.