Up Close: Profile of the Manager of Food Safety & Quality Assurance
"The most rewarding aspect of my job is being able to train and develop our new employees and watch them grow into leaders within their roles."
Cornelius Johnson has only been with the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) family since June of 2017, but the impact he’s made has been significant. He is the Manager of Food Safety & Quality Assurance and has brought a wealth of knowledge and vast experience to the team. Fun fact: he helped get Moe’s Southwest Grill a certified Gold location!
In addition to making sure HE&R is meeting and exceeding health code standards and helping to provide guests with a memorable experience, Cornelius is actively involved throughout the community. He serves on numerous committees at HE&R which help to cultivate a diverse workforce. He is also involved with various organizations throughout the Harrisburg area. We were excited to have the opportunity to chat with Cornelius about why he chose to work for HE&R, his community involvement and more.
Q) Tell us about your career. Where did you go to school? What was your career path prior to joining Hershey?
A) Prior to joining HE&R, I was a Quality Assurance Specialist at the West Hershey Plant. The Quality Assurance Team there played an intricate role in ensuring throughout the supply chain the product was safe and of high quality before reaching the consumer. Before joining The Hershey Company family, I worked for Susquehanna Township and the City of Harrisburg as a Health Officer. Within those roles I was responsible for licensing and inspecting retail food facilities within those prospective areas. I attended Penn State University and graduated with a dual degree in Toxicology and General Sciences in 2011.
Q) Walk us through your career so far at HE&R.
A) I started with HE&R in June of 2017 and since then I have been a part of the Hershey Entertainment Food and Beverage Team as the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Manager. My role is to ensure throughout the Hershey Entertainment Complex that our guests have an enjoyable experience by receiving safe and quality foods while also making sure as a company with are meeting the health code standards set by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. I also have had the pleasure of serving on the Workforce Inclusion Committee, under the direction of Jimetta Colston (link to her story hub piece), to assist in HE&R’s commitment to cultivating a diverse workforce by promoting a welcoming environment and one in which our commitment to a culture of inclusivity is ever present.
Q) Why did you choose to work for Hershey?
A) I chose to work for HE&R because of its remarkable history of service and value that it has provided to not only the Milton Hershey School but throughout the entire Central Pennsylvania area.
Q) What's your biggest accomplishment since joining the team?
A) My biggest accomplishment so far has been working with our Food and Beverage Team to get our Moe’s Southwest Grill to a certified Gold location. In order to be considered a Gold standard Moe's location, it means that no critical violations are discovered during an audit conducted by a third-party auditor. The team works hard every day during prep, serving and closing to ensure a food safe environment for our guests. They complete numerous checklists, temperature checks and other quality control measures to ensure our guests receive safe and high quality foods daily. Since there are only a few locations within the Moe’s franchise that obtain the Gold standard it speaks highly of our team’s commitment to food safety and quality.
Q) You're involved in numerous volunteer organizations. Tell us about them, and why you choose to volunteer?
A) Outside of HE&R I serve in various capacities within the City of Harrisburg. Currently, I serve on Harrisburg City Council as the chair of Building and Housing. I also serve as a Commissioner to Governor’s Tom Wolf’s Advisory Committee of African American Affairs. When not working in those capacities I volunteer my time at the Camp Curtain YMCA as a Cluster Leader for the Teen Achievers Program.
Q) What's the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A) The most rewarding aspect of my job is being able to train and develop our new employees and watch them grow into leaders within their roles.
Q) What advice would you give someone interested in a career at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts?
A) The best advice I would give to someone who is interested in a career at HE&R would be to always remember the company’s core purpose. We are more than just a hospitality and entertainment company. Our value and our existence changes lives and gives opportunities to many young lives to have a promising future.
Q) What's the best perk of your job?
A) The best perk of my job is to be involved in the innovation and changes that our guests see within our various outlets throughout the Hershey Entertainment complex. Whether it’s a hot summer day at Hersheypark, or a cool evening at Hersheypark Stadium, every day our team strives to provide a positive experience for our guests.
Q) What does a typical day consist of?
A) There is no day that is typical or that is the same within my role, which is why I love my role. Whether it’s coaching team members within our locations, greeting team members on their first day, helping a guest find their way around the Park, preparing for audits from regulatory authorities or third parties, I’m always on the go somewhere throughout the complex.