“Alicia is the happiest when she is able to get stuff done,” said friend and coworker Cathy Miller. “If she wants it, she goes and gets it.” From driving a forklift truck or pallet jack, to organizing ingredient set-ups, Alicia O’Shields is a jack-of-all-trades and does a little bit of everything at TVS. “Over the past 10-years, set-ups are my personal favorite job to do,” says Alicia. “It is hard work, but I really enjoy the fact that I am taking a large part in producing important food and who it is being sent to.”
Over the past decade, Alicia has been a vital asset working in the set-up area. During this time, TVS has blended metric tons of pancake mix and bakery mixes for U.S. Troop Support along with SuperCereal Plus, a cereal specially formulated for children, aged 6 to 24-months, facing food insecurities around the world. Each of these products must have each ingredient weighed out and organized into individual ‘set-ups,’ before being blended, packaged, and shipped to those in need.
“Alicia is an inspiring and steady presence at TVS. She is dedicated to our mission and our co-workers,” says TVS CEO Jamie Brandenburg. “Alicia is one of the many bright spots I have coming to work. No matter the challenge or obstacle in front of her, she seemingly always finds a way to overcome.”
Alicia first started at TVS in 2007 with the North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCDVR) working on the production floor. After a short employment, Alicia left TVS for employment at Julie’s Sub, now known as Creekside. A few years later, she returned to TVS in 2013 and started working in set-ups.
“Due to health, I now work wherever I am needed,” explains Alicia. Moving around and helping different departments, is one of her goals at TVS. Alicia also expressed her interest to be a machine operator, “it is one of the few jobs here I have not been trained on.”
Ask anyone at TVS how they would describe Alicia and you will hear; quiet and funny. But the number one thing said by everyone is, hardworking. “She is a hard worker, sometimes working too hard,” chuckled Chase Potts.
“Chase calls me his litter sister even though I am older than him,” laughs Alicia. “I really enjoy working with everyone here. Chase, Steven Morris, and Kolby Laughter, are some of the individuals that come to mind first.”
Reflecting on the last decade, Alicia laughs thinking about her supervisor, Ernest Williams, in a tutu at a dunking booth during a company picnic. “I also really miss working with the participants in INTERACT,” Alicia shared. “And I miss the TVS Thanksmas potlucks, I would always make a pineapple casserole.”
“She makes a mean pineapple casserole,” said Cathy with a smile. “Alicia is really good about being there when you need somebody. When I was out sick and in the hospital, she offered to cut my grass and help me out.” Cathy is not alone; Alicia spends her free time helping others by taking care of yard work, mowing lawns, and doing anything that needs to be done.
Just a couple years ago, Alicia and her wife AJ purchased a home. They share it with their son, Brandon, a puppy named Baxter, and two cats. When not cooking or hanging out in their new house, Alicia and her family enjoy camping at Coal Creek and Cantrell Bridge.
“I have grown a lot over the past 10-years, especially in working with my social anxiety,” reflects Alicia. Her wise words over the years at TVS are, “work hard and strive to learn as much as you can.”
Image above: (left to right) Alicia, Aj, and Brandon