Hy-Vee director has 'old-school' approach
Newcomer Jason Sheridan already known for signature feather duster
April 25, 2014
Hy-Vee Food Store director
Jason Sheridan (left) sacks groceries for customer Jeannette Bolster Thursday.
Each workday morning, Jason Sheridan walks the aisles of the Carroll Hy-Vee store he directs, touching up the shelves, reaching for errant items on the floor if needed, cleaning as he moves through the grocery, mentally running through his busy agenda.
He jumps in behind the meat counter, producing a wide smile. He loves work, pure and simple. He'll be in the kitchen helping from time to time. He'll bag. Sheridan spent part of Easter building a display. He's stocked produce. This is a hands-on manager - a man who is quickly recognizable with his trademark feather duster, armed in his belt, ready for service.
"I shouldn't ask anybody to do anything that I haven't done, not just in the past, but today," said Sheridan.
He's inspired by the 187 people who work at the Carroll Hy-Vee. And this is one general who doesn't hide behind the lines. He runs into the daily fray, eagerly.
"He will do absolutely everything in the store," said Dave Hill, the Carroll Hy-Vee kitchen manager. "It's really old-school."
Tom Duff, the Carroll Hy-Vee produce manager, and a veteran of 25 years with the company, said Sheridan's energy and visibility motivate the staff.
"It's great for them to see because they know he's here for them," Duff said.
Sheridan, 36, a native of Davenport, started working with Hy-Vee at age 16. He's now in his ninth store with Carroll, succeeding Joel Flug, who moved on to suburban Kansas City, Mo. Previously, Sheridan served as store director in Denison and Spirit Lake, so he's familiar with western Iowa. Most recently, he was in the Hy-Vee corporate offices in West Des Moines, where he was assistant vice president of produce operations and assistant vice president of advertising, positions he enjoyed - but ones that didn't call for that feather duster, that day-to-day contact with customers.
"I missed people," Sheridan said. "At the end of the day, that was what it was all about."
He enjoys the interaction with staff and customers. He wants questions. He has answers about the business he's known for 20 years.
"It's my favorite part of what I do," Sheridan said.
And that's why the Sheridan family is in the process of moving from Clive to Carroll. He's already jumped into the community as a United Way board member and is attending the Carroll Rotary Club.
"We want to be invested in the town," Sheridan said.
Growing up in Davenport, Sheridan graduated from Davenport West High School and went on to earn his associate's degree in business management from Scott County Community College. His mother, Christine Forbes, is a realtor and former nurse living in Moline, Ill. His father, Brian Sheridan, is employed in Davenport with Nichols Home Shield.
Sheridan and his wife, Angela, have five children: Alex, 11, a sixth-grader; Isabella, 7, a second-grader; Jadon, 5, a preschooler; and identical twins Jaxson and Nathaniel, who just turned 1 on March 28.
Family and work consume most of Sheridan's days. Hill notes that Sheridan starts in the store early in the mornings. But in those rare free moments Sheridan is a big-time St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. He's an avid reader of business and management books who enjoys diversions into fiction with authors like John Grisham. He just finished Grisham's "Sycamore Row."
Sheridan enjoys other sports as well, having played baseball and basketball in high school.
But it's family and service and Hy-Vee that play the leading roles in Sheridan's life. He describes himself as an "engaged idealist" and encourages customers to stop him and introduce themselves. A kind word and a little encouragement goes a long way, Sheridan said.
"As one person you can't change the world, but you can change the world of one person," Sheridan said.
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