Students: Navy Federal ‘like living at home’

Posted: November 14, 2013

The Winchester Star

Lisa Adams, assistant manager of credit and lending contact center operations at Navy Federal Credit Union, leads a tour of the Frederick County business for high school seniors Wednesday.
Frederick County high school seniors walk past a portrait of a West Point cadet as they tour Navy Federal Credit Union in Frederick County as part of a career awareness program Wednesday. They are (from left) Tom Shepley of Millbrook and Bradford Brondstater, Ali Oliver, Brandi Griffith and Samantha Finch, all of James Wood High School. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER

A group of James Wood High School seniors got the grand tour of Navy Federal Credit Union’s call center, east of the city off Millwood Pike (U.S. 50).

On Wednesday, they toured its fitness center and spacious call area, which is dotted with a spattering of desks and computers.

They learned that each of the 915 employees answers from 60 to 120 calls a day and that there is a company chili cookoff each year. A masseuse comes in every Friday, and employees can take advantage of a fitness instructor. Cots and showers are provided for those who need to stay overnight.

“It seems like you’re living at home,” said senior Brandi Griffith. “It just feels like it. It offers everything you do regularly.”

From Tuesday through today, about 300 middle and high school students from Frederick County and Winchester were scheduled to tour 19 local companies, including Reimers Electra Steam, Kraft Foods and Signet Screen Printing.

The tours are held by the Winchester-Frederick County Economic Development Commission. Since it began the event 14 years ago, more than 5,000 students have participated.

Students are selected by their teachers to go on the tours.

At the tour of Navy Federal, which is an armed forces credit union, officials told the students they are looking for people who are dependable, show up on time and talk to people with finesse.

“It’s easy to say you know how to talk, but do you really?” asked Joseph Dewald, manager of the credit and lending branch.

Lisa Adams, assistant manager of the same branch, asked the students if they could “talk with a smile in their voice.”

“We’re going to hire for attitude, not aptitude,” she said.

Senior Samantha Finch said she liked that the company pays for furthering its employees’ education as long as they make a two-year commitment to the business.

“I just like how everyone’s a team, a big family,” she said.

While there were those who were interested, there were others who have their sights on different careers.

Bradford Brondstater said he wants to be a welder.

“I’m not a person who likes to talk to people all day,” he said.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com