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2022 Hall of Fame Honorees

Partner in Excellence Award: Heartland Coca-Cola

Watch Heartland Coca-Cola's video from the 2022 Hall of Fame.

Bob Page: There are vendors and there are partners. It's that simple in my mind and we've got a thousand vendors. We look for people who want to partner with us, who they believe in what we're doing, who find ways to support us in doing that and who find ways to help us get better.

Chuck Wyant: What makes it a fit? I think the stories are different, but the objectives are the same. And in the early '90s you weren't getting the feedback that you probably wanted so you had to make a decision. Are you going to take a step forward or are you going to continue where you were going? When I look at Heartland Coca-Cola a short five years ago, what we call our first five years, we had a blank sheet of paper. What did we want to be? Who did we want to be? We're satisfied with our progress, but we're not done.

Kevin Shhea: It was a proud message to get that the health system recognized us as hall of fame. And I think for us, it was some validation that the things that we've been working on, we're starting to be recognized really throughout the community.

Jamie Fleer: Our values align.

Kevin Shhea: Now rotate your body to the right.

Jamie Fleer: Your partnership on teaching our teams how to properly stretch was something very useful. As well as from the beginning of the pandemic, we knew that was a resource that we could utilize and called upon the health system to help us.

Kevin Shhea: So it's the beginning of May in 2020 and our facility right here in Lenexa, we're getting the phone calls at six o'clock in the evening that we've got to shut down because we've got pushing 10 positive COVID cases. And literally, I will tell you, a phone call occurred, by that afternoon, we had folks walking our warehouse, walking our facility, acknowledging some of the good things that we had done, but more importantly, pointing out the blind spot for us. Like what are the other things that we could do to get operational again.

Speaker 5: When we have the ability to sit down with a partner and it's not about what's on a contract, it's not about what's on a piece of paper, it's about what's doing the right thing and it means a lot to us.

Jeff Novorr: When we first began our partnership with Heartland Coca-Cola one of the things we stressed was the importance of education in our environment and the importance of healthy eating. We've got our regular Coke products, but the regular waters and bottled waters and low calorie and no calorie drinks are all part of the Coke brand. Recently, we had a taste testing for a new product that had a lot of flavors to it. So we're actually able to stock in our cafes the flavors that our team members have said, that's what we like. That's what we want. Those are the kinds of things you get with a great partner.

Bob Page: Coca-Cola has been with us for years in treads and threads, and that's a great way for people to get connected to our organization. But then you think about where they've gone from there. And my favorite story about Coke has been the GED program.

Speaker 7: Rena Hernandez.

Bob Page: We had to go back and think about our folks that never did get a high school degree that wanted to get one. And what was our opportunity to help with that and then when you can go out into the business community and say, hey, we've got this idea and for Coca-Cola to be all in. And I think that just goes to the kind of partners we choose here and who we work with.

Chuck Wyant: We are so proud to sponsor a lot of the GED program. I really personally feel that it's our job to provide options. Options are a good thing.

Jamie Fleer: The golden rule as everyone knows and familiar with is a foundation of Heartland Coca-Cola. And being able to give back to an individual, allow them to reach something that they may not be able to reach, we're so proud of that with the GED program.

Speaker 5: They've provided great financial support, which has really allowed us to advance that program and to grow the program. We wouldn't be where we are today without their support.

Chuck Wyant: Philanthropically, our values align, and our ability to help you with what's important, giving back to the communities where we live, and serve makes sense.

Kevin Shhea: The work that you have guys have done and as we start shoulder to shoulder on some of these projects, you guys have helped us become a better corporate citizen within this community.

Bob Page: We work together. We support one another. Quite frankly, it's a two-way street when you have a partnership like this, and it has been a great relationship with the folks at Coke.

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