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Compass Group: A workplace that carries the opportunity to go anywhere

Compass Group provides catering services for a wide range of facilities, including sporting events and corporate dining.
Compass Group provides catering services for a wide range of facilities, including sporting events and corporate dining. Photo courtesy of Compass Group North America

Compass Group North America leaders know that you don’t know what they do.

But if you’ve ever eaten at a sporting event, a corporate dining facility, on a college campus or at a hospital, you’ve probably seen them at work.

The global food services and hospitality company is based in Charlotte and has 2,500 employees spread out across 415 locations in the metropolitan area. Compass Group operates in all 50 states and has more than 500,000 workers worldwide.

Bob Kovacs, Compass Group’s senior vice president of total rewards, will be celebrating 41 years with the company in November. He started with Canteen in Chicago back in 1976; it merged with British company Compass Group in 1994.

Kovacs agrees it’s pretty likely that most people will say, “‘What do they do?’ They’ve never heard of us.”

Compass Group runs the gamut from vending machines to full-scale food service. It was the official catering service for the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and other iconic events such as the U.S. Open, Kentucky Derby and the Oscars.

In Charlotte, Compass Group operates Bank of America’s executive dining room, and provides food service at Hornets’ games and the Wells Fargo Championship, among many other places.

In all, Compass Group works in more than 20 sectors, and each has its own team for jobs such as IT, purchasing, legal and accounting.

“It’s a growing enterprise with tremendous amount of opportunity,” Kovacs said. After a year, employees can bid on internal jobs that are spread all over the country and even the world.

Jonathan Squibb, who works in communications at Compass Group said he’s always very excited to come into work, even after three years. “I get to be involved in a lot of aspects all over the country … I get to travel quite a bit.”

Compass Group has been named one of the Healthiest Employers of Greater Charlotte for two years in a row. It’s got an on-site health clinic and cafe to compliment six different medical plans and an award-winning wellness programs offering health risk assessments, behavioral and lifestyle coaching, diabetes management and maternity support.

“It’s getting tougher to attract and retain good folks, so that is our focus,” Kovacs said.

He said the biggest “punch line” in Compass Group’s story is opportunity. “There’s lots of jobs – lots of jobs, lots of growth and lots of stability in our business.”

In addition, there’s a feeling for him of going home at night and knowing he is accomplishing something.

Just like the old adage, “Find a job that you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,” Kovacs said.