During a summer initiative to help team members combat rising inflation and high gas prices, Michael Hatcher & Associates spent more than $14,000 to give away nearly 3,700 gallons of fuel. The company also bought $25,700 worth of Kroger gift cards to distribute to field technicians and crew members.
“With the negative national news about inflation and how it is impacting each one of us, our leadership team brainstormed how we could help,” said CEO Russ Sneed, who announced the program in mid-June. “We decided that MH&A would provide free fuel and free groceries. We appreciate our team members and the tireless efforts that are put into serving our customers.”
Dubbed the Great Gas and Grocery Giveaway, the program started June 17 with the distribution of $50 Kroger gift cards. Eligible team members received three additional grocery cards and up to 15 gallons of fuel for their personal vehicles – pumped by their managers and members of the company’s leadership team – on four designated Fridays throughout June, July and August. The final Fill Up Friday was Aug. 5.
“It’s pretty great,” Ramon Alvarado said. “I stay in Bartlett, about 30 miles away. I spend about $80 every week on gas.”
Alvarado, a Commercial Maintenance foreman, said he has worked for MH&A about three years and that incentives like the gas and grocery giveaway will keep him here. “It’s a great company to work for. I plan to stay ’til I retire.”
Spray technician Zack Rakestraw, who’s been employed here less than a year, said he also intends to stay.
“I don’t plan on going anywhere,” he said. “You can tell the company definitely cares about the employees. I think this is really cool. It’s a very unselfish thing of them to do.”
Rakestraw added that every dollar for fuel and food helps these days.
“I drive 18 miles to get to work,” he said. “I live in Horn Lake. It takes me about 30-35 minutes to get here. High gas prices make it a lot harder, but this is very thoughtful.”
Austin Starling said he is grateful for the free fuel but also the grocery money, which “helps out a lot, especially with bringing my lunches to work,” he said. “I’m very thankful for it.”
Although he’s had other employment opportunities, “I don’t see myself going anywhere else,” said Starling, a spray technician here for four years. “I like the way that we get treated. It’s more of a family than a company.”
That spirit is part of the culture Founder and Chairman Michael Hatcher has worked hard to cultivate and maintain in the company’s 35-year history.
After attracting and training team members, “We invest just as much effort, time and money to retain them,” Hatcher said.
Like his teammates, Bryan Fullilove said he’s also staying put.
“The free gas and groceries are much needed at this time and day, and I really do appreciate it,” said Fullilove, a member of Commercial Maintenance for about a year. “I’m gonna be here forever. I ain’t going nowhere!”