Throughout the fall and spring semesters, we will feature our professional mentors through a series of #MentorMonday blog posts. Stay tuned to learn more about these alumni and friends of the College of Human Ecology!
This week’s featured mentor is David Hamel, a 2004 graduate of K-State.
Talk briefly about your experiences in the College of Human Ecology at K-State. Specific major, any clubs you were involved in, memories that stick out to you and how your degree prepared you for your career.
I graduated in the spring of 2004 with a B.S. in Kinesiology. During my time at Kansas State I was also a member of the football team as a punter (2002-2003). Playing sports my entire life I wanted to stay in the sports world and become a coach in strength and conditioning. I saw the benefit I received from my coaches at Kansas State, and I wanted to give back in helping other student athletes. My degree definitely helped me better understand how to train athletes at a very high level. Truly understanding what makes the human body perform at optimal levels I learned through class lectures and time in the lab running tests. After graduation I landed a job in Atlanta, GA as a sports performance coach. I worked with kids from 7 years old all the way up to professional athletes.
Please explain your current job position and how long you have been in that role/with the company?
Currently I am the Owner/Operator of the local free standing Chick-fil-A restaurant here in Manhattan. After coaching for two years out of college I decided I wanted to switch careers and I’ve always loved being an entrepreneur. God brought me to Chick-fil-A where I went to work with an Operator in the Atlanta area and trained for 4 of my 6 years with the other two in Bluffton, SC. This December will mark 11 years with Chick-fil-A, and next month I will celebrate 5 years as an Operator. I love what I get to do everyday. I’m still coaching and developing people because we are in the people business. It just so happens that chicken is the tool that allows me to help people realize their own goals and dreams. My wife, children and I love being a part of this great community where we are able to give back to so many. I believe my coaching now is seeing and developing the potential in each one of my team members. I want each one of my team members to know they are worth being poured in to, and they can have an amazing future if they never give up by expecting excellence of themselves first. Helping them to grow and become servant leaders is what makes my job such a joy!
Touch on the benefits of a mentor/mentee relationship and the big takeaway(s) you’ve had through the program.
The mentor/mentee program allows for growth on so many levels. I have had the benefit of already mentoring a student through the program that has now graduated. The one on one time monthly getting to hear their goals and dreams. It is truly rewarding getting to see the struggles that they face going through college, and then navigating with them as they approach life after college with their career. It definitely stretches you as a mentor to make sure you are engaging deeply with the mentee so that they can benefit greatly and be put on a course of leading from the front.
If you could give college students once piece of professional advice, what would it be?
Never give up and always have a growth mindset. If you are not growing yourself, then you cannot grow others and help the business grow that you are a part of. When we give up we stop learning, and then we become complacent and mediocrity sets in. We must be life long learners and inspire others to excellence.