The Sum of Us: Furthering Your Education Edition

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This month we meet with Brad and Heather who have used Royal Cup's tuition reimbursement program to help further their education and careers!

We love to feature the different faces around Royal Cup in our monthly employee spotlight, which we call The Sum of Us. This month we talk with Brad and Heather. They both recently completed separate programs to further their education, and subsequently, their careers. Royal Cup offers a competitive tuition reimbursement that allows eligible employees the ability to go back to school and further their education while employed at Royal Cup. These 2 people recently took advantage of this opportunity and used it to help grow their jobs and their passions. 

Everyone meet Brad and Heather!

Brad Nelson -  Chattanooga, TN and I have been with Royal Cup almost 4 years.  I grew up in Iowa and moved to Colorado Springs, where I earned my Associates Degree, for 6 years and I have been in Chattanooga 11 years now.  I am the Chattanooga Branch Manager although that does not begin to define what all this role is responsible for. I am responsible for managing employees, customers, sales, profits,  operations, logistics, equipment orders, installs,  the warehouse, key accounts….the list goes on and on.  As they say-we wear a lot of hats around here!

Heather Shewmake - Senior Accounting Manager – Corporate Office.  In August 2016, I will have worked at Royal Cup for 4 years.  I oversee Accounts Payable, Route Collections, and assist with financial statement preparations, and many other projects.  I am currently overseeing the conversion to ATM deposit cards for all TM routes, which will eliminate mailing money. I'm very excited about this project!

What degree did you go back to school for?

Brad - I went back to school to finish my Bachelor of Science in Business Management.

Heather - I received my Bachelor of Science in Accounting from UAB.

Tell us about what drew you into going back to school? What was your biggest motivator?

Brad - I had kicked around the idea of finishing my bachelor’s degree for a couple of years.  I knew that in order to progress further in my career at Royal Cup I would have to take that next step.  I received a lot of encouragement and support from my wife Julie and from my District Manager Taylor Wallace.

Heather - I had a degree in Business Management from the University of Montevallo, but I have always worked in the accounting field.  I have risen through the ranks very quickly, but when I was interviewing last time (when I came here), I realized I had reached a point where it was going to be difficult to keep moving without an accounting degree.  Accounting is a profession where a specific degree is almost always required, so I decided it was now or never!  

How has this experience helped you in your day-to-day work life?

Brad - Going back to school really helped me to manage my time effectively and to concentrate on the tasks that needed the most attention.  It also taught me to engage more in critical thinking and be more open-minded when it comes to business decisions.  There is more than one way to get to the end-result that you desire.

Heather - It definitely helped me to sharpen my skills.  The knowledge I gained has allowed me to get involved in some of the “higher level” aspects of accounting – budgeting, forecasting, etc.  that I didn’t have experience with before.  It helps me to see the bigger picture.

If you could only drink one Royal Cup coffee (or tea) for the rest of your life what would it be?

Brad - This is a tough call, but I will have to go with our H.C. Valentine Aztec Organic.

Heather - I’d have to say the Jack’s Caramel Iced Coffee.  When I started working at Royal Cup, I did not like coffee.  I’ve been working to acquire the taste, and it all began with the Jack’s Iced Coffee.  I also love all the new tea flavors, I am a true Southern girl who likes her sweet tea!

What is your proudest accomplishment since being at Royal Cup?

Brad - I would have to say finishing my degree.  It was a huge commitment and a huge sacrifice of time.  My wife did not see me at night during the week and until Saturday afternoon but, the pay off has been tremendous.

Heather - I’ve had a couple – marrying my high school sweetheart (20 years later) and forming our family, along with my daughter.  Also, completing UAB is high on the list.  It was all online, so I had to make myself do the work, and work it in around work and my family.  

Finally, what does Royal Cup represent to you?

Brad - To me, Royal Cup represents a quality family.  Every aspect of Royal Cup is infused with quality- from the leadership to the field employees, from the environmental platform to the finished products. I really do feel like each and every employee in Royal Cup is a member of an extended family, and that is hard to come by these days.  We have managed to stick to our roots, while growing into a dominating force in the industry.

Heather - Quality.  Tradition.  Excellence.  It’s a place you can be proud to say you work.  I am proud of all the civic work we do in our area.  I am also proud of the work our Sustainability Committee has accomplished while I’ve served.  

To read more of our great employee spotlights visit the Sum of Us sub-section in our blog!