Inspirational people of Hendry County: Erwin Evans, General Manger of Sodexo

Sodexo is a Worldwide Service Management Company and one of the largest employers on the planet. Erwin Evans is the happy-go-lucky, always enthusiastic, General Manager for Sodexo here in Hendry County, which provides meals for the Hendry County School District. Evans has been the General Manger for five years, and hopes to continue making a positive impact on our community. He has challenged himself and his employees to strive for the best during the past five years, and says, “I want to make Hendry County Foodservice a first class operation. These kids deserve the very best, and I’m going to do all that I can to give them just that!”

As the fifth of eight children born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, Evans says, “I had the best childhood! I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters, and we are very close. My parents were awesome, I still don’t know how they raised 8 kids and I don’t remember us ever not having the things we needed.” He goes on to say, “My best childhood memories are the wonderful times we had at Christmas! We always had a house full of toys and gifts. Santa wasn’t in his sleigh before we were up and tearing open our gifts.”

I asked him if there was a particular teacher that he remembers, or that made a big impact on him, he replied, “My 11th grade English teacher Mr. Brooks. Mr. Brooks taught me to love language and how to use it to my advantage. I still use a lot of the skills he taught me.”

Another huge influence on Evans was his grandmother, Rebecca Stivender. He says with a loving smile, “I got my passion for cooking from her. I learned to cook standing in a chair watching her. The values that she instilled in me carry me through life everyday. She taught me to always help those who are less fortunate, give to those in need, and always do the right thing.”

When asked about his dreams and goals for the future, he responded, “My dream is to be remembered as someone who cared about people. I’m at the stage in my career where I want to pass the knowledge that I have on to the next generation. What was given to me I’m sharing with others.”

He loves his job, which is evident in his constant smiles, jokes, and laughter throughout the day, even when there’s much to be done. On a typical day, as Sodexo’s General Manager, Evans is up 4:30 every morning, at his desk by 6:10, and out visiting schools by 7:30 a.m. With such early hours, and many challenges, why does he chose to do this job? He says, “I LOVE feeding kids! I believe that God put me here to do that. I enjoy watching kids eat, because eating a good meal makes them so happy. I want to feed kids the best meal possible at school, because some kids don’t get such a great meal when they go home and that truly makes me sad.”

I asked Evans what he might do if he were to win the lottery. “I’d open a culinary academy, for school age children, and teach them what my grandmother taught me. Then I’d take my new bride on a trip around the world,” he exclaimed. Evans mentions his bride-to-be, with a grin from ear to ear. They are getting married next month.

He adds, “I’m most proud of my children! I have two of my own and I’m getting two more from marriage! They are all wonderful people and I’m very proud of them.”

What advice does he have to give to current Hendry County youth? He says, “Have your fun and enjoy life, but do something that will change the world! Be a positive impact by touching as many lives as you can!”

(Submitted photo) General Manager Erwin Evans presents Sodexo Employee LaDonna Roberts, with a 5 Year Employee Award Sodexo Experience Award.

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