It takes a special person to meet new people every day. It isn’t everyone’s ideal job. It also takes a special person to make a commitment to their community and the people in it. Meet Joel. Joel has worked for the Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company for 17 years and he makes a difference in the community every day. This is his story…
Joel’s long-term career began after his previous employer eliminated his 3rd shift position. Joel was then left without the flexibility to care for his first child during the day. Looking for employment, his wife came across an ad in the Muscatine Journal that Coca-Cola was looking for people to hire. Joel said, “since I was a big Coca-Cola fan right out of high school, I went and applied and got hired on as a merchandiser two weeks later.”
For 14 years, Joel was a merchandiser in Muscatine. Merchandisers are critical to the business, because they ensure all products are properly stocked and displayed in stores. As a merchandiser, Joel’s favorite part is he isn’t limited to one place. He shared, “depending on your route, if you’re a merchandiser you’ll have different stores to go to. Every day is different, it’s never the same, even though the work is the same. That’s what makes it nice.”
Currently, Joel is in his third year as a Territory Sales Manager (TSM). A TSM position is responsible for serving fountain and can customers in various areas like restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues. With Joel’s connection to the Latino community, he focuses on tiendas and Mexican bakeries, as well as other multi-cultural African and Asian markets. He mostly serves the Quad Cities, but also Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Columbus Junction, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Hampton, Monmouth, Kewanee and Galesburg, IL as needed.
Joel’s favorite part about his job as a TSM for Atlantic Bottling is meeting with new customers and developing new relationships in Eastern Iowa. Joel emphasized, “I try to find opportunities in smaller accounts that might have been overlooked or not gotten the service they deserved. [The owners] really like being able to talk to someone about the different products we offer and what best matches their customer base.”
While working with cultural-specific markets, Joel gets to see some different Coca-Cola products from around the world that Atlantic Bottling doesn’t sell. Joel mentioned, “In some of the African markets, they have 8oz or 10oz Fanta in cans that they bring in from Africa which is pretty cool to see.”
While Atlantic Bottling sells over 450 products and packages, there are some products that appeal to different communities. The top selling products at Joel’s accounts are the Coke, Sprite and Fanta glass import bottles. Joel said, “We do a lot of 12-packs, 2-liters, and recently a lot more 20oz bottles.”
Joel’s had several exciting and rewarding Coca-Cola career moments during his tenure, but a few personal ones stand out more than others. Sometimes it’s not only being at the right place at the right time, but it’s doing something at the right place at the right time. Joel recounts such a situation when he was between stores on his route. He explained, “There was an older lady [coming out of a store and] walking across the street. She stepped down [off the curb] wrong, fell and started bleeding from her head. Several people saw it happened, but I jumped out of the car and called the ambulance. I was just glad I was there at that moment so we could help her out and get her taken care of.”
Atlantic Bottling appreciates Joel and is proud of the hard work he has shown the Muscatine community over the past 17 years, and the continued dedication he continues to provide. If you know Joel or ever get the chance to meet him, you will see first-hand his friendly smile, great attitude, and positive energy. Who knows, you might even get the chance to share his favorite Coke beverage – a 12oz Coca-Cola glass bottle – with him very soon!