Angel Velazquez, area director for Jersey Mike’s, was chosen for the NRN Power List by CEO Peter Cancro for how he embodies the brand’s community-oriented values. Here’s more from the company on why Velazquez was selected:
Angel started working for Jersey Mike’s in 2003 in Camarena, Calif. In 2005, he set up his own training facility in California to develop proper procedures and food safety for workers. Now he owns 16 locations and oversees over 130 locations as an area director. Angel’s work ethic and desire to give back to the community has been the driving force in Angel’s life and career and his Jersey Mike’s employees and community all benefit from his solid character.
He has embraced the Jersey Mike’s company philosophy to “make a difference in someone’s life,” throughout his tenure with the company. His community-oriented philosophy has enabled him to help support military families, music programs, local foodbanks, first responders, local hospital neo-natal care units and programs like “Cancer for College with Will Ferrell,” helping to raise $1 million to send 30 kids to college.
Angel has tirelessly worked to raise people up and make their lives and careers the priority in his efforts. He truly epitomizes the Jersey Mike’s culture of giving back.
Nation’s Restaurant News talked with Angel Velazquez about navigating the challenges of 2020 and building a diverse, people-first company culture. Here’s what he had to say:
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned during this chaotic year?
I learned that I always need to be on my feet and adapt quickly to unforeseen challenges. This was big and there was going to be a lot of people that depended on me for guidance, which include employees, owners, friends and family members. I have to admit I was a bit nervous, but looking forward to the challenges ahead.
What are you most proud of in terms of company leadership and community impact as you look back at the challenges of 2020?
This one's easy to answer. The team that Peter put together at a corporate level has nothing but the best interest in the success of our owners, team members and developing a solid relationship with in our communities. While other brands were thinking how to survive the home office team was thinking how can we help our owners and communities. It's just a different way of thinking that makes Jersey Mike’s special.
How are you or your company fostering diverse and inclusive future leaders of foodservice?
I'm originally from a small town in Mexico called Ameca, Jalisco. Being an immigrant myself and having this opportunity that Jersey Mike's has given me, has shown me that anyone can succeed. My success didn't have anything to do with race, color, age or sexual orientation. It had everything to do with the Jersey Mike’s leadership team who believed in me and wanted me to succeed. I still get a bit emotional just thinking of what I do today for a living and wish more people can experience this.
What does leadership and impact mean to you?
Good leaders develop good people and good people make a good impact within their communities.
As you look to the future of foodservice, what excites you?
The unknown challenges we face after Covid-19. We can really help our communities by opening more locations and creating more jobs and enabling everyone to be back to work in their community.