As HR manager for The Bruss Company, part of the Tyson Foods Family, Allan Schuetze has coordinated United Way campaigns at several plants.
How did you get involved with United Way?
My support of United Way goes back 20 years and, including Jacksonville, has involved four communities in four states. I became aware of the importance of the organization through my job as human resources manager for Tyson Foods, which owns The Bruss Company. I’ve subsequently helped coordinate United Way campaigns at several Tyson plant locations and even served on the board of directors for a United Way chapter in Indiana.
How important is United Way to your company?
Tyson Foods is a long-time supporter of United Way and provides a 25 percent match to every dollar donated to the organization by our team members. Between 2007 and 2013, the company and our team members contributed almost $12 million to United Way chapters in plant communities across the U.S. We believe United Way is simply the best way to give and help children and families in our plant communities.
How did your Jacksonville plant become a United Way supporter?
The Bruss Company, which makes steaks and chops for national restaurant chains, opened a plant in Jacksonville in early 2013. After we completed the start-up phase at our facility, we decided the time was right for the plant to hold its first United Way campaign.
We worked with members of the great staff at the United Way of Northeast Florida last spring to coordinate employee meetings. The purpose was to help our people understand the importance of the United Way to our community and to give them an opportunity to pledge their support. The response was outstanding. One hundred percent of the more than 100 people we employ at the plant chose to participate. Combined with the company match, we were able to pledge more than $16,000 to the campaign.
How did you get such a great response from your employees?
The employee meetings we held were extremely important. They gave local United Way representatives the opportunity to help our people understand the mission of the organization and how the money we give touches the lives of so many people in the community. We were especially impressed with the way United Way is focused on improvements in education, income and health to make people’s lives better and our community stronger.
How does United Way’s work make our community more attractive to businesses interested in starting here?
United Way gives people more reasons to be proud of Jacksonville. It shows that we’re a community of individuals, groups and businesses that really care about others, especially those in need. It also demonstrates that Jacksonville—just like The Bruss Company and Tyson Foods—is interested in continuous improvement.
What advice would you give other business leaders interested in engaging with United Way?
Being a successful business today involves more than just producing a product and handing out a paycheck. It also involves being engaged in the community. At Tyson Foods we like to say that our purpose is making great food and making a difference. We believe one of the ways we make a difference is through our active involvement in United Way. Participating is not complicated. The United Way of Northeast Florida has an excellent team and does a terrific job helping businesses like ours coordinate a campaign and, more importantly, gives our Team Members the opportunity to help others in our community.