Walmart CEO Doug McMillon's first Shareholders experience was in 1984. It was his first day at Walmart and although he was hired to pick orders and load trailers, he helped decorate the high school gym where the big event took place. A lot has changed since then, both with the Shareholders meeting and with our company. Take a look at how the business has grown — from Doug's early days in the warehouse to taking the Shareholders stage as CEO.
Some people will go a long way to support charity. For Dorn Wenninger, vice president of global food sourcing for Walmart U.S., not even the North Pole is too far.
Dorn was one of 56 runners from 21 countries who
participated in the 14th annual North Pole Marathon on April 9. Dubbed
the “World’s Coolest Marathon,” the
26.2-mile race not only challenges endurance athletes with its snow-covered,
icy terrain and bone-chilling weather, it also supports a variety of worthy
causes with hundreds of thousands of dollars raised each year.
Crossing the finish line after five hours and 17 minutes,
Dorn captured first place and secured his spot in an exclusive group of 428
people worldwide who have completed the marathon since 2002.
This year’s competitors ran to raise money for a variety of
causes worldwide. Dorn, who has been with Walmart almost six years, serves on
the boards of two nonprofit organizations: Cobblestone Farm in Northwest
Arkansas and Amigos de las Americas.
He will continue to raise money for Cobblestone
Farm, which produces organic produce that is then donated to local food
“I’m passionate about healthy eating, farming and produce,”
His passion also extends to running. In January, he participated
in a marathon in Trinidad and Tobago, where the temperature was 130 degrees
warmer than the lowest temperature he experienced while at the North Pole.
Knowing that running on snow and ice would be different, he
trained for the North Pole event on dirt and gravel trails. But the terrain
wasn’t his only concern. With temperatures between -25 and -43 degrees
Fahrenheit, his respiration froze and built up on his face mask. He used three
different masks throughout the five-hour run and ended up with early signs of
frost bite on his nose.
His North Pole adventure was supposed to last one and half
days, but a crack in the runway prevented Dorn from flying out for three days. Despite
the delay, he said the trip was an amazing experience.
Running is a great way to deal with stress, he said – even
on 6 feet of ice floating on 14,000 feet of Arctic Ocean. It also can have a
positive impact on other areas of life, from personal to business.
“Achieving the seemingly impossible helps demonstrate that
almost anything is possible, even when others don’t believe it is,” he said.
“Determination, focus and persistence go a long way in achieving goals.”
Dorn never imagined he’d win the North Pole race, but with
that victory in hand, he now has his eye on a few other challenges just as
difficult – or more so.
incredible what people are capable of when they put their mind to it,” he said.
“The thought of running a marathon at the North Pole sounds so extreme that
it's virtually unbelievable. I welcomed the challenge of proving, to myself,
that it is possible.”
The exhibition is an 8,000-square-foot space “focused on the role of
business and innovation from the mid-1700s to the present.”
So if you’re heading to our nation’s capital this summer, take a look at where our country’s curators see Walmart’s place in American history.
Before you visit, here are a few things to know:
1. Sam’s Walton’s Cap
This iconic piece of headgear is now on display in the Smithsonian. According
to Peter Liebhold, Chair and Curator, Division
of Work and Industry, if an artifact is in the Smithsonian archives, it’s
officially in America’s collective memory. Of the more than 3 million
artifacts in the archives, only about 1% are ever on display at one time. Sam’s
cap is part of that 1%.
2. Photo of Sam
The photo of Sam Walton that accompanies the display of Sam’s trucker ball cap
is one that had been selected by associates in a Walmart
World poll to be their favorite. While in the photo he’s not wearing the hat that’s
on display, it was selected because of the disarming warmth the photo exudes.
3. Rosalind Brewer, “Game Changer”
Also part of the American Enterprise
exhibit is a video of Sam’s
Club CEO Rosalind Brewer. In this particular display, visitors select
from a gallery of business leaders that the Smithsonian’s curators deem “Game Changers.”
For good reason, Roz Brewer is included in the gallery, having been recognized
repeatedly as one of the world’s most influential businesspersons.
4. Valeda Snyder
Walmart’s very first 50-year associate is featured in a timeline along with
other retail and industry employees out there on the front lines. Sadly, Valeda
passed away in 2012 in her hometown of Lebanon, Missouri, before her inclusion
in the Smithsonian. 5. Save money. Live better.
In its section on marketing and advertising, the American Enterprise exhibit includes the best-known and most
important taglines and slogans in the history of the industry. Of all of them,
SMLB stands out because of its simplicity and its origin: Sam Walton.
6. Walmart Organic Produce
In the “Green Business” section of the exhibit, a colorful and vibrant photo of
organic produce is on display as part of the story of the greening of American
make it this summer? No worries. American Enterpriseis a permanent exhibition set to be open to the
public for at least the next 20 years.
At Walmart’s Lab 415-C, we look for disruptive,
innovative technology that has the potential to change the way people shop. But
not just change that part of their lives – make it better.
From augmented reality to robotics, our team discovers
and tests emerging technology that powers the shopping experience our customers
want. In fact, we’re even named after an early innovation in Walmart’s
Walton’s 415-C airplane, which he used to scout real estate
from the sky (a business-growth tactic that was unheard of in the 1950s).
How do we bring these innovations to our customers and
associates? It starts with research. You wouldn’t buy a car without researching
its capabilities, safety and reliability, right? We research between 700-750
technologies a year and make sure we know the technology’s maturity, use cases,
comparisons and how it can improve shopping for customers. We look at
everything from technology that helps associates run stores more efficiently to
capabilities in the internet of
things (connected devices that communicate without human
interaction, such as a smart thermostat).
But what good is research if it isn’t shared with others?
That’s where our showcasing team comes in. More than 5,000 people come through Lab
415-C each year. Our showcasing team helps plan discussions, brainstorms and
events within Walmart and the greater entrepreneurial and academic community to
accelerate how we find innovative technology.
Testing technologies for how they’ll work within Walmart
is another aspect of Lab 415-C’s capabilities. We’ve tested technologies internationally,
at local stores and within our lab at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville,
Arkansas. Failing fast is key, so we don’t see failure as a roadblock; we see
it as a way to finesse the solution to fit Walmart’s needs.
An important way we find solutions that fit our
customers’ needs is by sourcing innovations from technology suppliers. This October,
we are doing that in a big way through our Technology
Innovation Open Call, an event where our leaders will meet with companies
creating the latest technology for retail, logistics, big data, security and
Our open call event is a great opportunity for companies
to pitch their innovations to the largest retailer in the world. I can’t wait
to see what ideas and inventions we’ll discover! Together we will transform the
deadline for potential selection in the Technology Innovation Open Call is July
22, 2016, or the first 250 submissions. For details and an application, click here.
Editor’s Note: With
this post, we follow up with two associates who previously shared their stories on video.
Proximity brought Nicholas Qualman to Walmart, but his
personal drive has since taken him far.
In 1998, the then 16-year-old was working for a fast-food
chain located in the parking lot of the Walmart store in his hometown of
Marinette, Wisconsin. He was tired of making burgers and wanted to work the
counter, but with no positions open, he had to look elsewhere for a new
He applied at Walmart and was hired as a cashier, and he
hasn’t stopped moving since.
By the time he was featured in this 2011 video, he’d earned
10 promotions. After that, he lost count.
“I’ve had many careers within the same company,” he said, reciting
every title he has held, which comes to about 16.
His ambition has taken him from cashier to department
manager to a role leading education for other associates and many – many – points
in between. In the summer of 2015, he began helping to support the rollout and
day-to-day operations of online
grocery, which includes store
pickup and home
delivery – a job that he says is his favorite thus far.
“It’s a completely new way of us serving the customer,” he
said. “I equate it with being the supercenter of this generation. It’s a game
changer for stores and for our customers.”
As Nick moved up in the company, he also moved around. “One
of the great things is you get to experience different people and the company
in different geographies,” he said.
He transferred from Northeast Wisconsin to Minneapolis for
college, then worked in Sacramento; San Diego; Los Angeles; Princeton, New
Jersey; Boston; and Scottsdale, Arizona. He now calls San Bruno, California,
Like Brother, Like
Nick’s drive can only be matched by that of his sister,
Jessica Crow. It took her only five years to do what he did in 17 years, Nick
said with pride and a bit of brotherly frustration.
“We’re kind of in competition,” he said, “and I’ve got to
tell you, I’m struggling to keep ahead. She’s told me several times she wants
Jessica joined the military after college and served in Iraq
and Afghanistan. When she returned to the States, she toured the country with
the Pentagon to share her experiences.
Despite what she’d gained in the military, finding a
satisfying job in the private sector was difficult, Nick said. She worked in
logistics but didn’t feel happy or challenged. That’s when Nick offered to share
her resume within Walmart. But, he told her he wouldn’t push it: Getting hired
was up to her.
It wasn’t long before Jessica was offered the position of
developmental store manager. She made it to store manager in three months and moved
to a new store after a year and half. A few promotions later, she is now a
divisional manager – also surpassing the story she shared in this 2013 video.
After talking about his sister, Nick was quick to point out,
“My story isn’t unique – it’s one of many, many stories of Walmart associates.
Not everyone has had a chance to tell their story.”
Nick doesn’t want his story to end here. He achieved his
last goal of joining the e-commerce team, and now he’s setting his sights on Walmart
International, the one area he says he hasn’t yet touched. For now, Nick
sees himself sticking with online
grocery for the next five years or more – if he can keep his sister at bay.
“I’m just worried about my job,” he joked.