After 42 years of service, Coca-Cola UNITED’s Director of Multicultural Marketing and Consumers, Walter Body, is retiring. For more than half of his life he’s been a hard-working and loyal employee to the company and to his community.
From part-time summer jobs as a delivery truck helper all the way to his current position, Body is a living testament to the phrase “you get out what you put in.” He began his journey with Coca-Cola UNITED in high school. He had joined the track team and, knowing that he wanted to play football the following year, his coach got him a summer job to keep him in shape. Body helped load and unload delivery trucks all summer to save up money for a car. The car he eventually bought with this money was the first his family had ever had. When he and his mother went to negotiate a deal, his mother didn’t even have a driver’s license.
After receiving a degree in business administration from Miles College in 1998—while working for Coca-Cola during the summers—he really began working his way up the ladder. He did this by making “progression moves,” and always thinking ahead. For example, early on in his career he was involved in a sales contest—anyone who met their sales goal could have a tailored suit made. He met his goals, but instead had a tuxedo made. He had been invited to several black-tie work functions, but couldn’t attend because he didn’t have a tuxedo. Forward-thinking moves like this one paved the way for his success early on.
Over the course of his lengthy career, Body contributed some major changes to the company. He increased diversity and diversity awareness, helped the company grow across several markets and directly impacted his Birmingham community through his work.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and the City Council recognized Body’s years of service and his work in the community in a council meeting this past November.