Shelly Sorrells, Thompson & Little, Fayetteville, NC
Shelly joined the foodservice industry as an operations/office manager for an electrical contracting company that bid on and installed several electrical projects in the foodservice industry. Along with all aspects of A/P, A/R, human resources, compliance, marketing, and pay apps, she assisted the project managers as needed on their quotes, permits, and bids.
She went on to be the operations/office manager for a company that installed and serviced grease traps, collected the used fryer oil, and then converted the used fryer oil into bio-diesel fuel. There she did everything from managing employees, the truck routes, negotiating the sale of the used fryer oil, marketing, A/P, A/R, human resources, compliance, and overseeing of the recycling of the grease trap/waste water.
After gaining experience in different aspects of the foodservice industry, Shelly found the opportunity of a lifetime when she joined Thompson & Little.
Shelly interviewed at Thompson & Little for a position on the contracting side of the house, as an assistant project manager. “When I met with Drew, we just clicked and he created a marketing and eCommerce/sales development position for me and I was like a dog with a bone. They had just been approved for their GSA eCommerce site and it was my job to load it up,” says Sorrells.
“Who knew the foodservice industry would be my calling? I find it fun and fascinating and love that I do so many different things every day. I absolutely love coming to work and enjoy working with the great people at Thompson & Little, wonderful Rep Groups, and our SEFA team. As corny as that sounds, I say it ALL the time!” says Sorrells.
The sky is the limit. This is how Shelly describes her responsibilities and opportunities at Thompson & Little.
“At Thompson & Little, we pride ourselves on our quick response times and really helping our customers. We do what it takes to provide the best customer service,” says Sorrells. Shelly says most of her roles are deadline driven. “Paying attention to detail is critical, whether it’s for a quote/ bid or a deadline to upload items to our GSA schedule, FedMall or any of our other government eCommerce sites. One little mishap can have a negative impact on the outcome and the bottom line,” says Sorrells.
Shelly has been working with the government in some capacity for over 23 years and says the role she enjoys most at Thompson & Little is her position as government sales manager. It’s so much more than a job to her. “When you walk into our department, we want you to feel at home and welcomed with rustic Americana and Patriotic charm. I honestly am honored and have so much pride every day knowing that I get to help people who are in federal jobs, such as the Military, Missile Defense Agency, Bureau of Prisons, Police, etc. This position truly makes me happy and I LOVE my job,” says Sorrells.
People who are truly successful, encourage success in others.
Thompson & Little is a company that invests in their employees and encourages training opportunities for personal and professional growth. Shelly is a strong believer in continued training and is very successful in the SEFAPro program. In fact, Shelly wanted to lend the following words of advice to anyone that is new to the program. “I recommend the SEFA training to anyone who actually wants to better themselves, both personally and professionally. The training helps you focus on key manufacturers and if you soak it all up like a sponge, there is nothing like it! Participate in the webinars and at the National Sales Conferences. You will take something away from both the classes and the social events, it’s GREAT! Don’t be intimidated. It can be scary if you’re there alone and don’t know anybody or if you’re in a class and it seems like everyone knows more than you. But, we are all there for the same reason. Follow through with emails and ask questions when you don’t know something. That’s how I’ve improved. I’ve learned to participate, ask questions, and put myself out there. If you get something wrong, there will always be a Drew O’Quinn, David Maxwell, Chuck Day, Tony Riggins or another guru in your class to help you,” says Sorrells.
Shelly can think of so many people who inspire her and have helped her to get where she is today. “Both of my parents were extremely hard workers. Growing up, we knew the meaning of responsibility, hard work, and dedication. I definitely get my work ethic from my parents. My family, fiancé Will and daughter Alex, fully support me in anything and everything I do, especially the long hours, missed dinners, and weekends. I am the luckiest woman alive. Drew O’Quinn is a great boss. He not only motivates me when it’s needed, he is also my biggest cheerleader. He listens to all of my ideas and green lights most of them and tells me to go for it! Playing sports all of my life has made me into the team player I am today. Not only do I have an amazing team (Team Gov.), but I need to acknowledge Heather Hartley, who is our marketing director and our regular eCommerce manager. She has been such a wonderful addition to Thompson & Little and she helps us with all of our government pages/sites and marketing. And last, but definitely not least, is my amazing assistant, Michelle Szyjka, who works right beside me, tirelessly trying to keep me straight and working her tail off as well. So, she basically has two full-time jobs, but I can’t do this without her,” says Sorrells.
Drew O’Quinn, Vice President of Thompson & Little, had a few things to say about Shelly. “Since Shelly first joined the Thompson & Little team over three years ago, she has dedicated herself to learning the ins and outs of our industry. Shelly is the first person in the room to sign up for any training, whether that be a SEFA webinar, a factory tour, or a SEFA National Sales Conference. Her eagerness to learn the products and develop her skills as a DSR have been very instrumental in her department’s sales growth. Shelly works extremely hard and is the last person to leave the office on many nights. Given her pursuit of excellence, I am not surprised to see her efforts pay off in sales growth and satisfied customers.”
Shelly lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She loves her fiancé Will and her daughter Alex. She also loves her “Wolfpack” which consist of her five dogs, Chaos, Harley, Pup Pup, Hammy (short for Mayhem), and Ace. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing board games, singing karaoke in her living room, and watching karaoke in a bar. Shelly can be a practical joker. All in all, she’s just loving life.
SEFA is proud to recognize Shelly as Featured SEFAPro. She is full of life and it shows. She is focused, professional, and always ready to learn more. Shelly has already achieved one of her 2017 New Year’s resolutions. After she was nominated, she admitted that being a Featured SEFAPro was one of her goals for 2017. Considering her dedication and success in the program and her desire to help others starting up in the program, it’s not surprising she’s already accomplished this goal. Congratulations, Shelly!