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Chadron State grads good fit with Cabela's corporate

May 23, 2013

Charles Baldwin Charles Baldwin

Many Chadron State College graduates have found employment at the world headquarters of Cabela’s in Sidney over the years.

Charles Baldwin, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Cabela’s Inc. said he looks forward to an increasing number of CSC graduates joining the company as it plans for aggressive growth.

Corporate positions include accounting, finance, graphic design, logistics and many more which most regional job seekers do not realize.

“The quality of CSC graduates matches our needs. They produce well and are pragmatic in their thought processes. They are not afraid to speak up and share their opinions. I appreciate that quality - it’s what we expect,” Baldwin said.

He said another reason CSC graduates fit in well with Cabela’s is that they are generally from small towns so they do not experience culture shock when they move to Sidney.

“These students realize nothing comes for free and they appreciate everything they have,” Baldwin said.

The work ethic of CSC graduates reflects the philosophy Baldwin is looking for in new hires.

“We like to reaffirm the importance of servant leadership. Everyone can't be CEO right away. This realization can be a challenge with the younger generation,” he said.

Heavy rain complicated an open house for a new Cabela’s opening in Kentucky earlier this year.

“There were 4,000 people in line and the floor needed mopped so I just took the mop and started cleaning. You do what needs to be done because it needs to be done – you don’t wait for someone else to do it because of your title,” Baldwin said.

He feels that to gain good experience, a prospective Cabela’s employee should work at various levels learning about distribution, retail, and assisting the public.

“It’s good for everyone to do this and gain a realization that somebody somewhere is going to be feeling the brunt of someone else’s mistake. If students work for Wal-Mart or another store, that can be a great experience because they learn to understand customer interaction and they can use that knowledge when they come to work for Cabela’s,” he said.

“It’s great if they can gain real world, retail experience in high school or college learning how to handle situations and appreciate all that goes into the supply chain so that the right product is in the right place with the right price on it,” Baldwin said.

“When a grandfather and a granddaughter are spending time out fishing with their Cabela’s products and they are happy together and making memories - that's a big deal. That moment is what it’s all about,” Baldwin said.

Corporate employees enrolled in a leadership course are required to volunteer in Sidney. They conduct research to discover what the community needs, raise funds and complete a service project. A debriefing is held afterward so participants can reflect on what they learned. An example Baldwin cited was the recent repainting of 4-H barns at the fairgrounds.

“We scraped it and painted it. We did the job right - it matters because it reflects on your reputation. I’m pleased when I see that it wasn't just an exercise - when the meaning and importance of what they are doing hits the heart not just head,” Baldwin said.

—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator

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