Catawba College Hosts Food Lion Day to Introduce Students to New Opportunities
February 19, 2020
On Wednesday, February 5, Catawba College and the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business hosted Food Lion Day. This event was organized through a collaboration between Food Lion and the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business and was open to the entire Catawba student body. A special presentation and networking event, the fair gave students a chance to learn about every major division of work at Food Lion and their talent acquisition and internship programs. Michael Frederick, Director of Internships and Career Services, commented on the event saying, “We want to expose students to community businesses and build those bridges for the students and for Catawba.”
More than ten Catawba alumni were present as Food Lion representatives to connect with the students and discuss their experiences. Matt Overcash, a recent graduate from Catawba College, talked about how he enjoyed working at Food Lion and the opportunities it had given him. Having just graduating from Catawba College a semester ago, Matt was already in training to work in Retail Forecasting and was very enthusiastic about his position.
The event included two speakers, Marla Castellanos, Early Talent Acquisition Specialist, and Greg Finchum, Executive Vice President of Operations at Food Lion, as well as eight tables representing different sections within the company. Category Marketing and Pricing, Retail, Marketing, Human Resources, Retail Services, Retail Business Services, Strategy, and Finance were all represented. Students were encouraged to visit each table between speakers.
Marla Castellanos spoke to the students in depth about getting a job, providing useful advice to students on their resumes, social media, and even interviewing. “Start preparing for your future job today,” she told students.
Greg Finchum talked to students about Food Lion’s significant impact on the Southeast, its role within a larger supply chain, and the vision Food Lion has as a community builder for the future. “Food Lion is about more than buying groceries. Generosity and a giving spirit are critical in our mission going forward,” he told students, “and while we want to keep it simple, every job it takes to put someone on the moon is in our organization.”
The relationship between Food Lion and Catawba College goes way back. Ralph W. Ketner, the co-founder, CEO, and President of Food Lion started his first business right down the street from the campus and he credits the Catawba community with keeping him afloat in the early years. This gave him the opportunity to begin growing, and, ultimately, creating a multinational corporation with over 1,000 stores in the United States. Now a part of the Ahold Delhaize global supply chain, Food Lion corporate headquarters remains in Salisbury, NC, and is one of the largest employers in the region.
Mr. Ketner believed more people needed access to a business education, so he helped create and expand a Business School in Rowan County. The legacy of innovation and leadership provided by Mr. Ketner continues to this day at the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business.
The Ralph W. Ketner School of Business and Food Lion have another connection through the generous gifts of Tom Smith, offering a Tom Smith Scholarship to new and transfer students starting on their path at Catawba. Tom Smith rose through the ranks of Food Lion to Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at Food Lion. His support for the College as a Trustee and member of several board organizations has allowed him to provide a path for generations of students at Catawba College who have gone on to have successful careers.
Dr. Eric Hake, Dean of the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business, said, “As we face the challenges of the 21st century and the rapid technology changes remaking our world, we need a new generation of business students that understand the forces at work and have the vision to create better communities.” He was grateful to Food Lion and all of his colleagues at Catawba for their work in delivering this fair. “Our students had the opportunity to learn about everything that Food Lion does, and the many different opportunities that exist with this major employer. I was also happy to see a great student turnout – they recognized this wonderful opportunity and took full advantage of it.”