Your Future... So Sodexo

Read stories about real Sodexo facilities people who help make a difference in the lives of people like you.

Juan Soler

Energy Manager
The University of Tampa (UT) - Tampa, FL
Facilities Management


What led you to your current position at Sodexo?

I was recruited to Sodexo by a current employee who utilized Sodexo’s Employee Referral Program, Star Finder. We met through our mutual participation and involvement in an international professional association, and when the energy manager opportunity became available at the University of Tampa (UT) campus, she invited me to apply.

I received my Bachelor of Science from UT, so the prospect of working with Sodexo at UT offered me the opportunity to return to my alma mater campus and provide leadership and value in their sustainability practices. I am very glad to have been selected.

What is your typical day like?

The University of Tampa has partnered with Sodexo to initiate a utility reduction plan. I am responsible for developing effective energy management practices, promoting sustainability, reducing utility waste on campus, and evaluating school facilities for efficiency in over fifty university buildings, including ten residence halls.

I also prepare and present recommendations related to support activities, capital projects, and purchased products and services aimed at increasing program efficiency to senior Sodexo and UT staff for consideration. My daily activities are evolving as I become more familiar with the utility service providers and the operational needs of the campus.

What is the best part about working for Sodexo?

Since joining Sodexo in late 2013, I have been impressed with how the company treats its employees. Sodexo provides individual onboarding and training for personal and professional development. As it pertains to the company’s corporate culture, I appreciate that Sodexo supports the personal growth of its employees by promoting from within. For such a large organization, Sodexo seems to recognize each individual employee.

It is a pleasure to work for a company that embraces its clients with honor and appreciation. I see this awareness in action with Sodexo’s daily behavior toward the needs of UT. Sodexo has a team of dedicated professionals, both in-house and at the corporate level, who provide a responsive approach to address any requirements demanded by the university. The Sodexo staff understands the prestige of this university with its students, employees, and the Tampa Bay community.

What motivates you?

My parents instilled in me the concepts of respect; not only for myself, but also for others. With that respect comes the initiative to seek out a better understanding of people and their intrinsic value beyond performing a work-task. Building a community, or network, within the organization motivates me; driven by opportunities that enable me to serve others while utilizing my education and skills.

Kwame Watkins

Senior Product Manager
Solutions Center
Discipline: Facilities


I started my career with Sodexo Canada in a summer internship role while completing my bachelor's degree in engineering. My first assignment in maintenance and operations was exceptionally fulfilling and set in motion my successful career with the company. The Sodexo support and resources propelled my career forward, and in quick succession I moved into a construction project manager position with Sodexo USA in the Education division.

In my current role, I will support product and offer development — the process of developing services offered to our clients from concept to implementation. I am excited about the opportunity as it offers me the opportunity to develop and create solutions that will add value and improve the quality of daily life for both our clients and employees.

Bob Pfeifer

District Manager East - Laundry Division
Lansing, Michigan
Discipline: Facilities


What led you to your current position at Sodexo?

A career progression led me where I am today. With each job and move (13 over 10 years), I took on additional responsibility at larger facilities. After achieving the most successful new opening ever for the laundry division, I was chosen for my current role.

What is your typical day like?

I am responsible for the complete operations at 7 different laundry facilities from Lansing, MI to Miami, FL. My responsibilities include profit & loss functions, as well as growing relationships with our clients. I also participate in new business surveys and cost modeling for the laundry sales team. An average day starts early with a trip to the airport. Depending on the week, I may travel to three or four states. It is important and necessary to juggle multiple concerns and to quickly be able to switch gears as they relate to one facility and client or another.

What are some of the challenges you enjoy most?

For me the laundry process has always been simple: find the best way to get from point A to point B and make sure everyone knows how to do it. That is not always easy when you could be relying on 100-plus people to be successful. Getting the team to buy in and share my vision is a major challenge.

What's the best advice you could give to someone looking to get into your field?

Learn the business by doing it. Start at the bottom and see what it is like to soil sort, run the washroom and feed sheets. In order to know what your facility is capable of, you need to understand how the processes/equipment work.

Learn more about a career with Sodexo in Facilities Management.

Darrel Foster

General Manager, Engineering
Houston, Texas
Discipline: Facilities


Sodexo fosters career growth opportunities that consider your aspiration and needs

For over twenty-five years, Darrel Foster has been a General Manager in Facility Management with Sodexo. With a BS in Political Science and Biology from Xavier University, he started out as a GM in the janitorial and food service industries and quickly acquired several multi-units. Through the years, he developed into a “go-to” person for the training of new GMs in Facilities Management and currently oversees four facility units in Houston, Texas and the surrounding area. Ongoing training through Sodexo University keeps Darrel current with industry trends.

Recognition for innovative contributions

At his main location in Houston, Darrel created significant savings by reducing wattage in overhead lighting throughout the two-story, 93,000-square-foot building. In 2010, along with his colleagues, Darrel won Sodexo's Spirit of Progress Award.

The future of Facilities Management

Darrel predicts that Facilities Management will soon be the number one job in the country, since more and more companies are outsourcing managers to come in and run their businesses. This trend will require tomorrow's Facility Manager to be a well-rounded individual who takes ownership of a broader scope of responsibilities, including janitorial and housekeeping services, maintenance, HVAC, nurturing vendors, building renovations and more.

Learn more about Facilities Management opportunities with Sodexo at

Richard McLaughlin

Regional VP for Operations, Sodexo - Healthcare Systems Division
Charleston, South Carolina
Discipline: Facilities


What led you to your current position at Sodexo?

Prior to my current role, I spent a year helping launch our Right Start Resource Mobilization team, which supports the new unit opening process. The opening of a new site is a critical phase in determining the future success of our client partnerships. By serving on this team, I helped create a positive first impression during the start-up process. My career prior to that included positions as a Retail Manager, General Manager and District Manager in Healthcare.

What professional development steps did you take to improve your chances of being promoted?

I volunteered for everything! There is always a new unit opening or a challenge to be tackled somewhere at Sodexo. It's important to let your manager know your ideas to help solve these problems and, in turn, help the company grow. When you volunteer to be a part of new projects, you'll meet a lot of people, including leaders in the organization. The leaders I've met provided me with valuable mentoring throughout my career. I am still learning from them every day!

What advice would you give candidates who are looking to grow their career with Sodexo?

My advice is twofold. First, challenge yourself with a new project or brush up a skill and become the “go to” person. Second, don't be afraid to take a lateral move to learn something new. You'll be more knowledgeable in your field and bring more perspective to your new position.

Wallace Peterson

General Manager - Mailroom, Warehouse and Shipping and Receiving
Kimberly-Clark in Georgia
Discipline: Facilities


What led you to your current position at Sodexo?

I was an hourly employee with Xerox Business Services at their client account Kimberly-Clark for eleven years as a Customer Account Associate. When Sodexo won the contract to be the new Facilities Management contractor, the management team approached me to come aboard with them. I did some research on the company and decided to take them up on their offer.

Prior to being promoted into Sodexo management, I was an hourly supervisor for approximately three years in the Reprographics Department at Kimberly-Clark.

What professional development steps did you take to improve your chances of being promoted?

Sodexo's professional development program allowed me to grow into my role as a GM and move up in my career. Using Sodexo's in-house Learning and Performance Center, I gained experience and knowledge in the shipping and receiving department. I also received mentoring from my manager and completed additional training/certification programs. Together, all of this enabled me to gain the knowledge and skill set that I currently have.

What advice would you give an external candidate who is looking to come on board with Sodexo?

I would stress that the most important thing is to bring a positive team player attitude and demonstrate that you are willing to work hard and be flexible and adaptable to change. And, you are ultimately responsible for going after the career you want – so learn all you can and build your resume. When you have the skills to advance yourself, you will be a top candidate for opportunities when they are available.



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