Employee Spotlight: Derrick Tolbert, Plant Manager, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

In celebration of Black History Month Coca-Cola UNITED recognizes our many associates that encourage, enlighten and uplift in our company and the community. We champion these associates and want to share a few special stories during this month.  Cheers to our Coca-Cola UNITED Associates making a difference every day.

Coca-Cola UNITED has been a blessing to me and my family. The values that our company has and the leadership personnel that ensures they are followed, have allowed me to grow and develop in my career. My journey from being a temporary worker on the sanitation crew to Plant Manager is a testament to this.

I have held every position within the Operations Department besides maintenance technician.  While doing so I was passed over at least 6-7 times for promotions, but each time there was feedback.  I learned a lesson, adjusted my behaviors and attitudes, and continued to move forward in a positive fashion.  Every leader in this company that has given me an opportunity or a promotion was of non-color, and I believe that this Company has the highest value of equality of any in the world.

The amazing diversity in production and array of leadership has taught me that this career is what you make of it.  If you only see the bad, then bad things will manifest.  If you focus on the good, support and trust the process, then good things will manifest.

Your biggest obstacle is always yourself!  I believe and know in my heart that the growth path for everyone is possible and very real if you (1) always do what is right and (2) give back the same positive commitment that the company provides to you!