Profiles of Service: Veterans at S&D

In honor of Veterans Day — Saturday, November 11 — we spoke with a few veterans who now work at S&D to hear about their time in the service and the part the military has played in their current roles.

Joe Hampton

What branch of the military did you serve in?

United States Air Force

What was your highest rank?

E-6, Tech. Sergeant

What years were you active?

I was regular active duty from 1985 to 1995, and then I joined the Air National Guard and was active three times. I retired in 2009.

Do you have a memory or story you’d like to share from your time in the military?

I was deployed to Saudi Arabia after 9/11. I never been there before, and it was definitely a culture shock. I remember going to the gold markets and visiting the vendors selling gold rings, necklaces and other jewelry. A lot of guys had their dog tags dipped in gold or bought gold cartouches with their initials engraved in Arabic.

My last deployment was to Uzbekistan. We were staying four to five to a tent — it was my first time staying in one — in the winter. Some of the tents would flood when it rained, and we had no regular bathrooms, only port-o-johns. We would work 12-hour overnight shifts. When we got back to the tents our heater couldn’t run the whole time, so the last person to get to bed had to turn off the heater and the first person up had to turn it back on. I would say this deployment was the most strenuous.

What is your role at S&D?

I am the Group Leader for the first shift at the Concord facility. I take care of the dock, making sure that loads are ready to go when they’re needed, that the trucks get in and out in a timely manner and that the shipments get to our customers.

How long have you worked at S&D?

16 years

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I like the freedom. I’m not stuck at a desk all day; I’m out on the floor interacting with everyone else.

Does your military background help you in your role?

It definitely helps me stay focused and stay on task.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

While I was part of the North Carolina Air National Guard 145th Airlift Wing, I served on a Presidential detail for George W. Bush during his visit to Charlotte in 2006.

 

Kai Sayasithsena

What branch of the military did you serve in?

United States Air Force

What was your highest rank?

E-4, Senior Airman

What years were you active?

September 1993-1997

Do you have a memory or story you’d like to share from your time in the military? 

I have fond memories all of the people who I had the privilege of working with and meeting during my time in the military. Everyone took care of each other, and you always felt like you were with family —even if yours was hundreds of miles away or on the other side of the world.

What is your role at S&D?

Creative Services Manager

How long have you worked at S&D?

4 years

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Working with my team

Does your military background help you in your role?

Yes, I do not stress over the little things and always look for solutions vs. dwelling on the problem.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Enlisting was one of the smartest and proudest decisions that I ever made.

 

Robert Whitcomb

What branch of the military did you serve in?

Marine Corps

What was your highest rank?

Corporal

What years were you active?

1988-1992

Do you have a memory or story you’d like to share from your time in the military?

Probably the biggest event was that I served in the 1st Tank Battalion deployed during the first Gulf War — making me a combat war veteran.

What is your role at S&D?

Division sales manager, managing the sales force for S&D’s northern division

How long have you worked at S&D?

15 years

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I enjoy providing solutions to our customers to help them grow their business. S&D provides us with the tools in order for us to do that.

Does your military background help you in your role?

Yes, I would say it has played a part in my career in the coffee industry. The Marine Corps is very disciplined; one of their mottos is “improvise, overcome, adapt” and that motto has served me well in my career.

Please join us in thanking S&D’s veterans, the family members of S&D employees who have served or are currently serving and all service members, past and present.