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recentgrads

Recent grads making a big impact

Terriers share lessons learned at Wofford to help Belk.com grow.

John Boyd ’14 and his loss prevention team at the Belk.com Fulfillment Center in Jonesville, S.C., set the tone for the busy days that employees work in the 900,000-square-foot plant.

“We’re the friendly faces they see when they come in,” says Boyd. “We always ask how they’re doing, and if they say, ‘not good,’ I know we’ve got all day to make it better.”

Holly Tobias ’14 brings the employees she manages candy as an incentive. As a production supervisor she sometimes finds herself in the role of mother, counselor and friend as well as motivator.

“When I came here I was encouraged to learn three things about each associate I work with,” says Tobias. “On my team we’re family. We help each other out and work together. That’s made a real difference in getting the best out of people.”

Sequan Stanley ’13, also a production supervisor at the Fulfillment Center, agrees with Tobias. He recognizes top performers at the end of each shift and uses lessons learned on the football field at Wofford to encourage and lead his new team.

“Playing football at Wofford I learned to communicate, be flexible and take constructive criticism,” says Stanley. “I use and now teach those skills every day.”

Boyd, Tobias and Stanley are just three of the recent Wofford graduates who are continuing their education with the Belk.com Fulfillment Center. Josh Wheeler ’14 is the facility’s technical analyst, and Blake Wylie ’13 and Bernard Williams ’15 have both worked as production supervisors.

“Not many companies will take someone right out of college and give them a supervisory role,” says Chuck Worthy ’84, the operations manager for Belk.com. “These young adults came to us within the past year and have made immediate and significant contributions to our growing success at the Belk.com Fulfillment Center. I promised them growth so that we can promote them or an education so that they can write their own paycheck somewhere else.”

Worthy admits that he threw a lot of information and responsibility at these recent Wofford graduates, but he says that they exceeded expectations.

“This group of young supervisors has the best organizational skills I’ve ever seen,” he says. “They have great people skills, are flexible and determined, and have a strong work ethic... and they were all tied in some way to the Wofford football team.”

Boyd, a philosophy major and government minor, played on the offensive line for the Terriers all four years. Stanley, a business economics major, played linebacker. Tobias, a chemistry major, worked as an athletics trainer and equipment assistant, and Wheeler, a computer science major, carried the huge Wofford flags around the field to start the game and after each Terrier touchdown.

Belk.com in Jonesville is an e-commerce hub that has doubled in size in the past eight years. According to Worthy, projections show that it will double again this year. On average, more than 20,000 items ship from the warehouse and distribution center each day. For 10 days beginning on Thanksgiving Day, the center will ship about 200,000 items a day.

“That’s why these Wofford graduates are so important. They have to be flexible, positive and good motivators to keep morale up, especially during our peak season,” says Worthy, who majored in history at Wofford. “We would love five or six more frontline supervisors from Wofford right now.”

This fall, Worthy and Pam Massey, Belk.com’s Jonesville human resources manager, came to Wofford’s job recruitment fair for the first time in an effort to formalize the pipeline from Wofford to Belk.com and make the opportunities more accessible to more students. Until now Wheeler and Shelby Taylor, the athletics ticket manager, have provided the connection.

Wheeler came to Wofford from Spartanburg Community College at the encouragement of Dr. Henry Giles ’68, SCC president. Wheeler worked his way through college at Adidas, fell in love with Wofford football and became a Terrier after receiving a scholarship.

“After my first Wofford football game, I thought, ‘Forget the big schools, why isn’t everybody watching this?’ It was so exciting,” says Wheeler.

He went to work at Belk.com because he felt there was lots of room to help the company grow and build a successful and challenging career at the same time. Through Taylor, he has shared the same opportunities with other recent Wofford graduates.

“We’re Terriers, so we’re going to make a difference in this world,” says Wheeler.

by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89