{"content":[{"Id":"695","Permalink":"/Blog/Posts/Features/The_Evolution_of_Walmart_Shareholders_Meeting/","Category":"Features","Title":"The Evolution of Walmart Shareholders Meeting","Date":"\/Date(1452275145523)\/","HeaderImage":"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/shareholders.jpg","IsFeatured":"false","Author":"643","AuthorData":{"Name":"Alan Dranow","JobTitle":"Senior Director for the Walmart Heritage Group","ProfilePicture":"","Biography":"His favorite artifact is one that is a tangible and iconic symbol of the truly humble man that was Sam Walton – his red Ford pickup truck."},"ContentTags":["Shareholders","Associates","Stock","IPO","Bud Walton Arena"],"SummaryText":"The year was 1970. Walmart succeeded with its initial public offering (IPO), and a grand total of six shareholders attended the first meeting, held in a coffee shop near Walmart’s warehouse. ","BodyText":null,"BodyTextString":"\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHumble Beginnings\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\nThe year was 1970. Walmart succeeded with its initial public offering (IPO),\nand a grand total of six shareholders attended the first meeting, held in a\ncoffee shop near Walmart’s warehouse. Debuting at $15 per share, the run-up to\n$16.50 put smiles on the shareholders’ faces. The IPO was a success.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eNow THAT’S Shareholder Value\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\nFast forward to today, where the number of Walmart’s shareholders numbers many\nthousands. Inside The Walmart Museum is a display case housing a 100-share\ncertificate in Sam Walton’s name.  But the name on the certificate is not\nthe story here. The real story is that the initial $1,650 investment in Walmart\nmade by anyone holding a similar amount of Walmart stock back then would be\nworth over $10 million today. By any standard, that’s a great return for a show\nof faith in a growing retail company in an ultra-competitive environment.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe decision to hold the\nnext shareholders meeting at the Coachman’s Inn in Little Rock, Arkansas, was\nbased on some less-than-sound advice to attract big-city investors. \nUnfortunately, even fewer people showed up at that shareholders meeting than\nthe first. In fact, attendance, as they say, was a goose egg.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBack to Bentonville\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\nNext stop: The Benton County Fairgrounds. For a year.  And then over to\nBentonville High School, where a young Walmart assistant buyer helped decorate\nthe gym for the company he would one day come to lead. That rookie was Doug\nMcMillon, and the memories he has of those days are of a time of hope and great\noptimism.  (Apparently, that hope and optimism just kept growing stronger.\nSome things never change – and we’re glad about that.)\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eBack to the Walmart Home\nOffice auditorium in 1985, where then-Governor and future President Bill\nClinton reprises his earlier appearance at the meeting in 1980.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGraduating \u003cem\u003eto\u003c/em\u003e the University\nof Arkansas\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\nFinally, in 1987, Sam moved the shareholders meeting to the University of\nArkansas, where it still takes place today. The early meetings were held at\nBarnhill Arena, where they took place until 1994, when the Bud Walton Arena was\nfinally opened. Also named the “Basketball Palace of Mid-America,” Bud Walton\nArena has a seating capacity of about 20,000 and was built in large part by a\ndonation from James “Bud” Walton, Sam’s brother and co-founder of Walmart.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSince that first\nshareholders meeting in 1970, attendance has grown – as has the level of\nproduction and excitement. Now much more than a business meeting, Shareholders\nhas evolved into a week of celebrations here in northwest Arkansas, with\nthousands of associates coming into the region from around the world. They’re\ngreeted and thanked for what they do by Home Office associates, treated to\nspecial events and immersed in Walmart heritage. As the torchbearers of our\nculture upon their return to their stores, clubs and distribution centers, they\nshare the experience with others.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnd that’s the point: While the term “\u003cem\u003eShare\u003c/em\u003eholders”\ntechnically refers to owners of Walmart stock,  Shareholders week really\ndoes refer to those things we all share as Walmart associates: our basic\nbeliefs, our culture, our history, and pride in our brand.  In a word?\nHeritage.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eThis post originally appeared on the Walmart Corporate blog,\u003ca href=\"http://blog.walmart.com/topics/heritage\" title=\" Walmart Today\"\u003e Walmart Today\u003c/a\u003e. \u003c/em\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e","NumViews":465}, {"Id":"697","Permalink":"/Blog/Posts/Features/The_Highlight_of_Sam_Walton_s_Career__The_Presidential_Medal_of_Freedom/","Category":"Features","Title":"The \"Highlight” of Sam Walton’s Career: The Presidential Medal of Freedom","Date":"\/Date(1452276151017)\/","HeaderImage":"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/medal_of_freedom.jpg","IsFeatured":"false","Author":"643","AuthorData":{"Name":"Alan Dranow","JobTitle":"Senior Director for the Walmart Heritage Group","ProfilePicture":"","Biography":"His favorite artifact is one that is a tangible and iconic symbol of the truly humble man that was Sam Walton – his red Ford pickup truck."},"ContentTags":["Medal of Freedom","President Bush","Save money live better"],"SummaryText":"March 17, 1992: Air Force One lands at northwest Arkansas’ Drake Field. XNA – Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport – has yet to be built.","BodyText":null,"BodyTextString":"\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003eThe Arrival of Air Force One\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMarch 17, 1992:  Air Force One lands at\nnorthwest Arkansas’ Drake Field. XNA – Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport –\nhas yet to be built. President George Herbert Walker Bush descends the stairs\nto the tarmac in Fayetteville, he and First Lady Barbara Bush arriving to\nbestow upon \u003ca href=\"http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/history/sam-walton\"\u003eSamuel Moore Walton\u003c/a\u003e the highest honor a U.S. president can bestow upon a U.S.\ncivilian: the Presidential Medal of Freedom. \u003c/p\u003e\n\n\n \n\n\u003cp\u003eExtraordinary People\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOver the past 51 years,\nthe Presidential Medal of Freedom has been conferred upon such diverse\nrecipients as Pope John Paul II, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Cesar Chavez, John\nGlen, Stephen Hawking, and Nelson Mandela.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThough Sam is invited to\nthe White House for the ceremony, his failing health would make the trip an\narduous one. But it’s also Sam’s desire to be surrounded by the ordinary yet\nextraordinary people he loved and those who loved him – his Walmart associates\n– that brings the president to Bentonville. \u003c/p\u003e\n\n\n \n\n\u003cp\u003eAn Auditorium Full of People, Full of Emotion\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn the Home Office\nAuditorium, Bush’s remarks are direct and to the point. “We come here to honor\na man,” he says, “who shows that through hard work, and vision, and treating\npeople right, many good things can happen …”\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https://www.youtube.com/embed/WmZ7HxvQwpI\" frameborder=\"0\"\u003e\u003c/iframe\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\u003cp\u003eHe extols Sam’s virtues: his love for\ncommunity, integrity, and business acumen. His voice breaks as emotion takes\nover when he says “I salute you, sir, and I am proud to give you your nation’s\nhighest honor.”  Tears come to members of the audience bearing witness to\nthis historic moment.  It’s Sam Walton’s last appearance before his\nbeloved associates.\u003c/p\u003e\n\n\n \n\n\u003cp\u003eThe Origin of Our Company’s Purpose\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe medal is placed\naround Sam Walton’s collar, and Sam – contrary to doctors’ predictions –\nsummons the strength to stand and speak the words that would articulate for\nposterity the true purpose of our company:   “If we work\ntogether,\" he says, “we’ll lower the cost of living for everyone.\nWe’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and to have a\nbetter life.”  Ultimately, those words would be encapsulated in our\nmission of “saving people money so they can live better.\"  He considered\nreceiving the medal “the highlight” of his career.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTo anyone that doubts the authenticity of our\ngoal of lowering the cost of living as the means to achieving our purpose, one\nhas only to look at the Grand Opening ad of the very first Walmart back in\n1962, on display in \u003ca href=\"http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/history/the-walmart-museum\"\u003eThe Walmart Museum\u003c/a\u003e.  There, in the bottom right hand corner of the page, are\nthe words “Walmart Lowers Living Cost.”\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnd lower the cost of living we did, we do,\nand are dedicated to doing as we grow and meet the future.\u003c/p\u003e","NumViews":2}, {"Id":"699","Permalink":"/Blog/Posts/Features/Two_Tales_of_Sam_Walton_and_the_Hula/","Category":"Features","Title":"Two Tales of Sam Walton and the Hula","Date":"\/Date(1452276275037)\/","HeaderImage":"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/hula.jpg","IsFeatured":"false","Author":"643","AuthorData":{"Name":"Alan Dranow","JobTitle":"Senior Director for the Walmart Heritage Group","ProfilePicture":"","Biography":"His favorite artifact is one that is a tangible and iconic symbol of the truly humble man that was Sam Walton – his red Ford pickup truck."},"ContentTags":["Wall Street ","Hula","Hula hoop","Culture","10 rules"],"SummaryText":"When most people think “Hula,” their thoughts go to one of two places: a luau on a tropical island or a hip-swiveling, popular toy in the fifties. ","BodyText":null,"BodyTextString":"\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003eWhen most people think “Hula,” their thoughts\ngo to one of two places: a luau on a tropical island or a hip-swiveling,\npopular toy in the fifties.  Apparently, the hula was popular with \u003ca href=\"http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/history/sam-walton\" title=\"Link: http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/history/sam-walton\"\u003eSam Walton\u003c/a\u003e on both\nfronts.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \n\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTale One: The Hula Hoop Craze\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHis first association\nwith the hula came when Sam saw the Hula Hoop craze taking hold back in the\nfive-and-dime days. Customer-focused merchant that he was, he wanted to make\nsure he had hula hoops available for his customers when they came looking for\nthem. Unfortunately, the Hula Hoops were mostly earmarked for the big-city\nstores, and were hard to get – and pricey.  \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003eEnter Jim Dodson\u003c/em\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOkay, so even if Jim\nDodson didn’t want to sell Sam his store in Siloam Springs, (causing Sam to\nopen his first Walton’s 5 \u0026amp;10 in Bentonville), he still had some great\nideas. And Sam took to the one Jim shared with Sam one day: go in together,\n50-50, and make their own Hula Hoops. Dodson knew where to get the plastic\ntubing and even had some attic space where they could make them.  And so\nmake them they did, and Sam kept many a customer happy with his homemade Hula\nHoops.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eJim later went on to\nmanage the Walmart store up in Columbia, Missouri, for about 15 years.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \n\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTale Two: The Hula on Wall Street\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt was 30 years ago this\nmonth that Sam Walton made good on a promise to “do the hula on Wall\nStreet.”  Despite the company’s growth, strength, and the traditional\nWalmart optimism, Sam saw reaching an 8% pretax profit as unattainable.\nThen-CFO David Glass saw it differently, and bet Sam that the company would\nindeed beat the 8% and Sam would indeed do the hula on Wall Street.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cem\u003e“It’s part of our culture”\u003c/em\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile Sam thought he’d\nget away with slipping into New York to quietly do a hula in the shadow of the\nstock exchange, Glass hired “a truckload of real hula dancers and ukulele\nplayers.” Even more to Sam’s surprise was that his CFO had alerted the\nnewspapers and TV networks. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile Sam may have found it a touch\nembarrassing, it showed his commitment to the 6\u003csup\u003eth\u003c/sup\u003e rule of his \u003ca href=\"http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/history/10-rules-for-building-a-business\" title=\"Link: null\"\u003e10 Rules for Building a\nSuccessful Business\u003c/a\u003e:  Celebrate your\nsuccesses.  And as Sam pointed out, “Don’t take yourself so seriously.\nLoosen up and everybody around you will loosen up.” And so they did.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eNote:\u003c/strong\u003e The\nhula skirt that Sam wore on March 15, 1984, is housed in our heritage archives,\nabout to undergo the conservation process. Once that process is complete, it’ll\ntake its place in \u003ca href=\"http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/history/the-walmart-museum\"\u003eThe Walmart Museum\u003c/a\u003e.\n More on this in an upcoming post.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eThis post originally appeared on the Walmart Corporate blog, \u003ca href=\"http://blog.walmart.com/topics/heritage\" title=\"Walmart Today\"\u003eWalmart Today\u003c/a\u003e. \u003c/em\u003e\u003c/p\u003e","NumViews":295}, {"Id":"34359738413","Permalink":"/Blog/Posts/Features/In_Memory_of_Maverick,_Walmart_s_Beloved_Safety_Dog/","Category":"Features","Title":"In Memory of Maverick, Walmart\u0027s Beloved Safety Dog","Date":"\/Date(1459201186290)\/","HeaderImage":"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/ShareholdersK9_0012.jpg","IsFeatured":"false","Author":"635","AuthorData":{"Name":"Rich Cromwell","JobTitle":"Production Manager for The Walmart Museum","ProfilePicture":"","Biography":"As a believer in Sam’s maxim that you should never take yourself too seriously, Rich’s favorite part of the museum is the picture of Sam dancing the hula on Wall Street as it brings that statement to life."},"ContentTags":["Shareholders","Maverick","Razorbacks","Associates"],"SummaryText":"He wasn’t the first four-legged friend to spend time at the Home Office, but he was the first to actually work while he was there.","BodyText":null,"BodyTextString":"\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eHe wasn’t the first\nfour-legged friend to spend time at the Home Office, but he was the first to\nactually work while he was there.\u003c/em\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFor most of us, taking a nap while on the clock would result\nin some form of disciplinary action. For a special few, it’s part of a normal\nday at the office. Such was life for Maverick, Walmart’s beloved safety dog who\nearned every second he spent napping thanks to his years of tireless service to\nthe company and the community. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eBorn October 21, 2002, Maverick arrived in Bentonville in\nMay of 2003. By June, he was getting his first taste of Shareholders, though\nnot as an officer. For his first Shareholders, Maverick was there solely to\nbegin the process of socialization as he and Patty Morgan began their\npartnership. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow Maverick Came to\nCall Bentonville Home\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePatty, the pioneer behind Walmart’s K9 program, became\ninterested in canine resources after 9/11. In the process of researching, she\ndiscovered that there were two schools of thought on the subject – one which\nfocused on affable dogs with welcoming appearances and one which focused on\nstrong dogs with an appearance that lent itself to deterrence.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/Maverick.1.JPG\" alt=\"Maverick\" title=\"Maverick\" style=\"width: 15%; height: 21%; float: left;\" /\u003eWhat was important to Walmart associates, and thus to Patty,\nwas deterrence, so she set about selling the idea of a German Shepherd.\nUltimately, she prevailed and Maverick joined the team as Walmart’s only\nofficial four-legged associate. First, though, he had to undergo training. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTraining for a K9 officer is a tad more rigorous than for\nthe average dog. K9s cannot stop with sit and stay. They have to be able to\nclimb ladders and take steps on command. There are also the supplies necessary\nto training a dog that can detect explosives which, for obvious reasons, aren’t\nreadily available to the public at large. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA Helping Hand, and a\nHelping Paw\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThat’s where the Bentonville Police Department stepped in.\nOfficer Guary Morgan, the K9 handler for the force, agreed to let Patty and\nMaverick train with him and his dog so that Maverick could learn detection.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTraining wasn’t just about detection and obedience, though.\nIt was also about the growing bond between Patty and Maverick. It grew as Maverick\ngrew into a quite capable officer. In fact, his progress was faster than\nPatty’s. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt was 2004 and Maverick was officially on duty, sweeping\nBarnhill Arena in preparation for Shareholders. As he searched the coaches’\noffice, he sat down in front of a cabinet, his passive indication that there\nwas something amiss in that cabinet. But Patty didn’t believe him.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHe searched the room again and once more alerted in front of\nthe same spot. Patty again doubted Maverick, but went to Guary for his opinion.\nAfter a gentle scolding for not rewarding Maverick for doing his job, Guary sent\nin his dog DJ to sweep the room. DJ sat down in the same spot.  Maverick, it seemed, was correct and there\nwas something amiss. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThankfully, it wasn’t an explosive device. What they\ndiscovered was that above the cabinet was a shelf and an air vent; on top of the\nshelf, a starter pistol and a box of rounds. The vent was blowing the smell\nfrom that starter pistol down to that spot and making the dogs think that the\nsomething suspicious they were smelling was inside the cabinet. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/Mav at Dallas Meeting 2004.jpg\" alt=\"Maverick in grass\" title=\"Maverick in grass\" /\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA Lover of His Fellow\nAnimals, If Not Big Red\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFrom there, Maverick went on to many more years of service,\nwhether patrolling Year Beginning Meetings or sweeping  a green room before First Lady Laura Bush\narrived. He worked Razorback football games despite his aversion to Big Red,\nthe giant inflatable mascot. He took part in Maverick Days at The Walmart\nMuseum in which he posed for pictures and helped kids learn about the\nimportance of safety. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThrough all his service, though, Maverick remained a dog. He\nloved horses, his ball, and visits with Patty’s mom –\u003cimg src=\"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/Maverick Birthday.jpg\" alt=\"Maverick Birthday\" title=\"Maverick Birthday\" style=\"float: right; width: 20%; height: 20%;\" /\u003e aka “Grandma.” Most of\nall, he loved being Patty’s companion. He was there with her as she pioneered\nthe program, he was the animal that taught her just how close the bond between\nhuman and animal could be.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMaverick wasn’t the\nonly animal around the house. His family included two other dogs and one cat. Today,\nthough, that family looks different than it once did.  Now only Merlin and Kate, those two dogs, and\nFrancois Pierre, the Abyssian cat, still roam the house. Maverick, the constant\nfor so many years, cannot be found curled in his bed anymore, having passed in\nDecember 2015. But Maverick isn’t truly gone. In spirit, he remains where he’s\nbeen since 2003 – by Patty’s side, reminding her of their shared bond and\naccomplishments.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e","NumViews":122}, {"Id":"34359738441","Permalink":"/Blog/Posts/Features/Sery_Kone/","Category":"Features","Title":"Sery Kone: Freeing Children Through Free Enterprise","Date":"\/Date(1461163900763)\/","HeaderImage":"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/SeryKone.jpg","IsFeatured":"false","Author":"635","AuthorData":{"Name":"Rich Cromwell","JobTitle":"Production Manager for The Walmart Museum","ProfilePicture":"","Biography":"As a believer in Sam’s maxim that you should never take yourself too seriously, Rich’s favorite part of the museum is the picture of Sam dancing the hula on Wall Street as it brings that statement to life."},"ContentTags":["Sery Kone","Enactus","Ivory Coast","cocoa"],"SummaryText":"Sery Kone used his experience as a child slave and education to help other children live better. ","BodyText":null,"BodyTextString":"\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEnslaving Children to Harvest Cocoa Beans\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\nWhen Sery Kone was a young child in Africa’s Ivory Coast,  his father\nabandoned him in a small village, where he was forced to work on a cocoa\nfarm.  He would work ten hours a day – often more –harvesting cocoa beans\nwith a machete.  \u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHuman Kindness Meets Inhumanity\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\nIt was on a farm several years later when a young boy working beside him, also\na slave, fainted from the heat and exhaustion. Sery took on the boy’s work to\nhelp him rest. When the cocoa farmer discovered them,he beat the two children mercilessly. It was then that Sery\nKone knew:  he had to escape. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTwo long years\nlater, he saw his chance and took it, running away and making his way to Ivory\nCoast’s largest city, Abidjan.  There, he worked on the streets carrying baskets for women while living in\nan orphanage, until he was miraculously found by his uncle who recognized him\ndespite not having seen him for years. Sery’s uncle put him through high\nschool and, eventually, helped him to enroll in college at Brigham Young\nUniversity in Hawaii.\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSery Kone and Enactus: Facing Slavery Head On\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\nAt BYU, Sery yearned to return to Ivory Coast and help the child slaves who\nwere not as “fortunate” as he had been. It was in college that he discovered\nEnactus and the organization’s purpose of creating a better world through\nentrepreneurial action. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eKone and Enactus focused on one village at a time. \nAstonishing as it is, Sery met with the cocoa farmer that had enslaved him as a\nchild and asked him what it would take for him to release the children on his\nland. The answer was simple: The children were there to meet production needs;\nif he could meet the same needs without the children, he would set them free.\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe Answer to Freedom Was There All Along\u003cbr /\u003e\u003c/strong\u003eWorking relentlessly, Sery and his team discovered was that the answer was\nright at their feet.  By adding to the chemical fertilizer mulch\ncontaining the cocoa husks discarded during harvesting, cocoa yield was\nincreased by 40% and costs were cut in half.  This increased productivity\nenabled the cocoa farmers to release the children from their work. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe team wasn’t content simply to free them; they also looked to the children’s\nfuture and built a school for those children recently freed from working in the\ncocoa fields. To pay for the school’s books and supplies and provide and second\nincome, they developed a self-sustaining microfinance program for the women in\nthe village. \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eDuring the\ntime that the BYU–Hawaii Enactus team was working on their project, five\nchildren in the village died from malaria. In an attempt to find a sustainable\nsolution to the malaria problem, they realized one method of reducing malaria\ncould also be a source of income. Tilapia fish eat mosquito larvae, which\nprevents the carriers of malaria from being born. By cutting off all other\nwater sources and building a pond with tilapia, they were able to reduce the\nrate of infection by 94% as well as provide a source of income for the village.\nSince implementing the program, no children have died of malaria in the\nvillage.\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eChampions Championing a Just Cause\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\nThrough his involvement in Enactus, Kone was able to lead the BYU–Hawaii team\nto become Enactus USA champions and to a second place finish at the 2015\nEnactus World Cup. After presenting their work at a Walmart Saturday Morning\nMeeting in Bentonville, Sery Kone was offered a job at the Walmart Home Office.\nSery continues to work on freeing children in tandem with the WELL Africa\norganization. To date, over 500 children have been set free, but 2 million more\nremain.\u003c/p\u003e","NumViews":346}, {"Id":"34359738477","Permalink":"/Blog/Posts/Features/Standing-Firm-Disaster/","Category":"Features","Title":"Standing Firm in the Face of Disaster","Date":"\/Date(1472746210747)\/","HeaderImage":"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/Hammond_LA_DC.jpg","IsFeatured":"false","Author":"34359738475","AuthorData":{"Name":"Rhonda Rathje","JobTitle":"Director, Walmart Internal Communications","ProfilePicture":"","Biography":"Rhonda\u0027s favorite exhibit, the interesting returns customers have brought in over the years, is just one example in the museum of the fact that the customer is always number one at Walmart. "},"ContentTags":["teamwork","",""],"SummaryText":"When the rains came, four associates refused to leave their distribution center.","BodyText":null,"BodyTextString":"\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWhen the rains came, four associates refused to leave their distribution center.  \u003c/em\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003e“They stood firm,” says Kevin Arbaugh, General Manager, Distribution Center (DC) #6057 in Hammond, Louisiana. “I told them to leave the building. ‘We know what we have to do. We’re volunteering to do this,’ they told me.”  (Hammond is approximately 45 miles southeast of Baton Rouge – and that entire area was under water).\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eIt was Friday night, Aug. 12.  “We had absolute downpours of rain. We were receiving reports the roads were being closed and overtaken by water,” Kevin recalls. “So we filled the most important commodities – meat and produce.”\n\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eThe roads worsened as the night progressed. By early Saturday, the roads surrounding the DC became unsurpassable. “We had one way out of the building,” says Kevin. “And that one way started to go. It went from no water to 2 ½ feet of water in 15 minutes.”\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eStaffing decreased to about 25 associates as associates left to take care of their families and homes.\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eEvacuation was necessary.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe Four Who Stayed Behind to Help. \u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYet, four associates raised their hands after already working eight-hour shifts. They knew they would be locked in with no way out. Each one volunteered for a ‘post.’\n\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eEd Allen, Maintenance Operations Manager, and Steve Holcomb, Energy Center Manager, monitored  the energy center to ensure the DC remained functional – ensuring the generators worked when the power did eventually stop.\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e“If they hadn’t stayed, we would have lost several million dollars’ worth of freight,” Kevin notes.\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eChristie Smith, Area Manager, secured the front of the building. She also communicated with the DC associates to ensure they made it home safely and to help find hotel accommodations for others.\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTyron Tillis, Asset Protection (AP) Associate, ran point on security and watched over 20 stranded truck drivers. (This just in: Tryon was just promoted to AP Area Manager).\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnd, when the National Guard came knocking in the middle of the night, they provided provisions for victims stranded on Interstate 12 and local shelters.\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\"A selfless act.\"\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt was thirty hours later – about mid-day Sunday – before the water receded and DC leadership could get through the water and back to work.\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHeroic is the word that Kevin uses to describe Ed, Steve, Christie and Tyron.  “They knew they would be trapped in the building. Their actions are humbling, and it was a selfless act.  They did it for the betterment of the community and for those drivers.”\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSlowly, the DC is getting back to the work of ensuring the delivery of groceries to stores and Sam’s Club in the region. In addition, about 50 truckloads of food, water and supplies have been delivered to Baton Rouge and other local organizations. Also, the DC has supported volunteers who have cooked and served almost 300,000 meals to the flood victims and volunteers during the past few weeks.\n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eRebuilding, together.\u003c/strong\u003e \n\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnd, yet, up to 200 DC associates were personally affected – nearly 100 associates lost their homes; another 100 have partial losses.  When the DC workers complete their shifts, they help each other. Associates, whose homes aren’t affected, volunteer to run shifts so that others can start their rebuilding efforts.  \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\n“I’m blessed to be a part of this team,” Kevin concludes.  “Their values are in the right place.  They take care of the community and each other.”\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003ePhoto, L – R: Ed Allen, Maintenance Operations Manager; Steve Holcombe, Energy\nCenter Manager; Christie Smith, Receiving Manager: and Tyron Tillis, Asset\nProtection Manager.\u003c/em\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c/p\u003e","NumViews":260}, {"Id":"34359738520","Permalink":"/Blog/Posts/Features/Remembering_Ron_Loveless/","Category":"Features","Title":"Remembering Ron Loveless","Date":"\/Date(1476902923627)\/","HeaderImage":"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Posts/Features/Ron_Loveless_Inside_Archives.png","IsFeatured":"false","Author":"34359738521","AuthorData":{"Name":"Doug McMillon and Roz Brewer","JobTitle":"President \u0026 CEO, Walmart, and President \u0026 CEO, Sam\u0027s Club","ProfilePicture":"/uploadedImages/Content/Blog/Authors/McMillon_Brewer.jpg","Biography":""},"ContentTags":["Ron Loveless","Sam\u0027s Club"],"SummaryText":"","BodyText":null,"BodyTextString":"For most of us, Sam’s Club has always been a part of our broader Walmart family. But\u003cbr /\u003ethere is a small group of associates responsible for starting it, building it and shaping\u003cbr /\u003eit into what it is today. It is with deep sadness and the fondest of memories that we\u003cbr /\u003eshare the passing of Ron Loveless, one of the great leaders in our history and the first\u003cbr /\u003eto lead Sam’s Club. Ron passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer.\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eRon began his career in retail as a Stock Associate at one of Sam Walton’s early Ben\u003cbr /\u003eFranklin stores. Sam later made him an Assistant Manager at Walmart Store #4 in\u003cbr /\u003eSiloam Springs, Ark., and then promoted him to Store Manager in Newport, Ark. Due\u003cbr /\u003ein great part to his innovative nature, Ron rose through the ranks as Walmart grew –\u003cbr /\u003efrom a series of Store Manager positions to District Manager, Regional Vice President,\u003cbr /\u003eand to Vice President and GMM of Hardlines. It was at this point in his career that Sam\u003cbr /\u003easked Ron to helm the new Sam’s Club format.\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eAccording to Ron, Sam’s Club was a true manifestation of Sam’s approach to “stack\u003cbr /\u003e‘em high and watch ‘em fly,” and he took the company on its upward path of growth\u003cbr /\u003eand success. Ron proved to be incredibly open-minded as he helped develop the club\u003cbr /\u003echannel concept, always looking for new and different ways to serve members. He had\u003cbr /\u003ea merchant’s heart and was particularly excited about the treasure hunt at Sam’s Club.\u003cbr /\u003eIn 1986, Ron decided to retire from the company.\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eAs a retiree, Ron often visited with and mentored our company’s leaders, sharing his\u003cbr /\u003elearnings from Sam Walton. These learnings were also captured in his book “Walmart\u003cbr /\u003eInside Out.” One of the things Ron wrote about was the “Loveless Economic Indicator\u003cbr /\u003eReport,” a humorous and fictitious report he and Sam shared with Wall Street\u003cbr /\u003eAnalysts, some of whom took it seriously. In the report, the health of the economy\u003cbr /\u003ewas assessed by the number of dead chickens on the highway. If there were none,\u003cbr /\u003ethere was scarcity and hard times; people were picking up the chickens for dinner. If\u003cbr /\u003ethere were many, times were good and food was plentiful. Ron and Sam would do\u003cbr /\u003etheir best to share the report with straight faces.\u003cbr /\u003e\u003cbr /\u003eSince the time Ron left the company until his passing, he was an enthusiastic\u003cbr /\u003esupporter of Bentonville’s Youth Baseball League and The Walmart Museum. Above all,\u003cbr /\u003ehe was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Details on services and memorial\u003cbr /\u003edetails will be shared as they develop. In the meantime, please keep his wife, Robin,\u003cbr /\u003eand the Loveless family in your thoughts and prayers.","NumViews":43}],"numResults":13,"nextPage":"/api/blog/items.aspx?p=2&n=9"}