June 19, 2011
By Matt Winkeljohn
You see Will Jackson and think, “Burger guy,” for sure.
Georgia Tech offensive linemen may not be over-sized, but at 6-feet-3, 285 pounds or so, Jackson sure doesn’t seem under-sized.
Yet should you think beef boy, you’d be wrong, and not just because Jackson is interning this summer at Chik-fil-A. He’s been eating there for a while.
“I’m usually pretty good about what I eat; I’m a pretty picky eater,” said Jackson, who last season earned freshman All-America honors from Phil Steele Magazine, and the Football Writers.
“I don’t eat a whole lot of fast-food, but I have to say when I do it was always Chik-fil-A. You can’t beat a hot chicken sandwich, waffle fries and lemonade.”
If Jackson seems impressed it’s because he has been.
About to enter the third week of his internship, the rising junior business management major (who will be a sophomore eligibility-wise) said he’s been nothing short of amazed at what he’s seen.
He’s been working in the supply chain, not just for one store or a few but for the entire Chik-fil-A chain, which is some 1,500+ stores strong.
“I’ve been able to focus on behind-the-scene aspects, how everything gets from manufacturers and bakers to the restaurants and all the distribution channels,” he said. “Each store gets to decide its own utilities, and who supplies bread and produce. Everything else is done by corporate headquarters in Atlanta.
“Honestly, it’s been amazing to see just how awesome a company we are. The people are so genuine. It’s not people who have their own agenda; it’s people who genuinely care about the company.”
This is a good weekend for Jackson.
He’s home Knoxville, Tenn., laying low.
“It’s kind of hard to get home, especially when you’re working 40 hours a week,” Jackson said. “You’re exhausted and the last thing you want to do is sit in traffic a few more hours on Friday to get here, but I’ll probably get home a couple more times before football camp starts.”
Jackson’s a bright guy, one of four members of last fall’s football team to earn All-ACC Academic honors along with running back Roddy Jones, former kicker Scott Blair and defensive lineman Logan Walls.
He seems to know what’s going on.
When the Tech sports information staff polled football players, they voted Jackson most likely to earn a 4.0 grade-point average. The young man is pointed in the right direction.
He interned last summer with a real estate development company based in Kennesaw, and run by a former Tech football player. He worked chiefly in market research. This summer, he’s working in a big-picture way, doing supply chain research projects for Chik-fil-A honchoes.
“It really has been great,” Jackson said. “They don’t have egos. They realize that they put their pants on just like us. You have to experience it first-hand to be able to see how awesome a company it is.”