Veteran Employee Story – Darrell Mears

Schwan’s Home Service, Inc.

Try a New Field

Published in the July/August 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®

Darrell Mears, a former staff sergeant in the Army, is a territory sales leader at Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., a direct-to-home frozen-food delivery business. He coaches route sales representatives to maintain an assigned group of customers and to grow the business.

Being one of the top soldiers in his unit helped him find opportunities in the military that paid off once he moved to the civilian sector. “My experience going through all the Soldier of the Month/Quarter/Year boards helped me find my first opportunity,” Mears said. “It was definitely a stepping stone in the right direction. I also used all the resources available.”

He encourages servicemembers to try new things when they are leaving the service. “The advice I would give is don’t be afraid to try a new field,” he said. “I would encourage them to take full advantage of every school opportunity as well.”

Learning to be a leader in the Army has helped Mears be a leader at Schwan’s as well. “The skills that I learned help me tremendously on the job,” he said. “Leading men and women for over eight years clearly gave me the confidence and calmness to handle the day-to-day activities here at Schwan’s Home Service.”

A drive to win also comes in handy at Schwan’s. “The attitude, personal characteristics, and way of life have helped tremendously as I always strive to win,” he said. “I stay at it until I feel that we have an impact and in a better position than when I started. Having that will to win as with the military is critical to your success here at Schwan’s Home Service. Having that drive to knock on that door in the pouring rain is along the same lines as carrying that ruck in the rain knowing you still have 18 miles until your objective.”

A similar structure and a place where employees can work their way up the ladder of success make Schwan’s a great place for those with military experience, according to Mears. “Schwan’s Home Service is a great place for veterans because the leadership structure is similar and we are used to, starting at the bottom and working your way up the success ladder,” he said. “It’s also great because the teaching sessions are held in small groups as with the military.”

Mears believes that expanding one’s horizons is a key to post-military success. “Stay focused and do not be afraid to challenge yourself with an unfamiliar job,” he said. “Most that leave the military try to stick to what they know and the field that they served in. Broaden your horizons and step out into something new if you can’t find a job in your related field. I didn’t have any sales experience prior to Schwan’s, but I wasn’t afraid to learn – and more importantly, I applied that learning to become successful.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers