Meet Frankie Haywood, Crafty’s Equipment and Service Coordinator in Chicago
Like Goldilocks, Frankie tried many different positions at Crafty, until he found the one that was just right. No matter where he's landed, one constant has kept him here: Crafty’s dynamic culture.
Elgin, Illinois' own Frankie Haywood, is the kind of person who brings hard work, curiosity, and determination to every role he's held. And fortunately, he’s held a lot of them at Crafty. Since 2017, Frankie has been hyper-focused on getting to know all corners of the workplace food & beverage business. That curiosity and passion saw him grow from a delivery dynamo to an exceptional equipment expert in just a few short years.
Here's a snapshot of his journey through Crafty: starting as a Delivery Driver, Frankie transitioned from the road to the Crafty warehouse, where he rose through the ranks to Warehouse Supervisor. When Crafty realized the growing need for a food and beverage industry shake-up in San Francisco, we took our expertise West. We tapped Frankie to lead the charge, and he moved to take on the role of Operations Manager. In that job, he helped to establish Crafty's presence in the Bay Area and beyond. After about 15 months, the Bay Area Operations were in a great spot, and Frankie was ready for his next big opportunity. He decided to return to the Windy City to join our busy Merchandising Team.
While on the Merchandising Team, Frankie fell hard for equipment management. Who would've known that the equipment world was so intricate and fascinating? As Crafty expanded from two markets to over 35 globally, we knew that procuring, maintaining, and managing equipment would take on a life of its own and formed the Equipment & Servicing Team. Today, the Equipment & Servicing Team has a total of seven people directly managing equipment needs, including Frankie.
While he has tried many different hats, Frankie feels confident that each one has prepared him for the role that he is in today. No matter what he has taken on at Crafty, the culture and the people have greatly impacted his life. He’s been able to learn and grow in his career and on a personal level. Keep reading to see how his career has changed over time and why he places special value on the community and culture that shape Crafty.
What first attracted you to Crafty?
A friend of mine was working at Crafty as a Delivery Driver. He encouraged me to apply. At the time, Crafty focused on craft beer, something I wanted to learn about. I didn’t know much. I thought Corona was a craft beer. I learned about wine, spirits, beer, and so more that first year.
We've shifted away from craft beer to focus on the holistic in-office experience. Still, what drew me to Crafty was that they would take the time to teach me a lot more than just the basics. I learned about every aspect of the company. Crafty could've just stuck to making sure I knew what my responsibilities were as a driver and left it at that. But as I onboarded, I got the sense that things were different here. They wanted us to understand Crafty as a whole, not just because they were investing in my position as a Delivery Driver but me as an individual.
What has your career journey at Crafty been like?
I started as a Delivery Driver. I quickly transitioned to a Warehouse Associate, where I would help pick products for client deliveries. After about a year, I was promoted to Warehouse Supervisor. About two years later, Crafty expanded to the Bay Area. I was offered the opportunity to move out to Oakland to help establish our presence there as an Operations Manager. I was out there for about 14 or 15 months, and while I loved it and learned a ton, I was getting homesick. I talked to my manager and let them know I was looking for a new challenge closer to home.
After years on my feet, I was interested in a desk job that would allow me to work on strategic projects. From there, I was offered a Procurement Specialist position (now known as Merchandising Coordinator). I also helped out as a Billing Specialist to fill in some gaps during the pandemic when we had a bare-bones team. From there, I became heavily involved with equipment on the Procurement Team. We purchase and maintain a ton of equipment for our clients, like coffee machines, fridges, ice machines, water machines, etc. It's a very complex world, and I dove into it to learn all the intricacies. And that led me to my current position as Equipment and Service Coordinator.
Can you walk us through your current role at Crafty?
Sure! Our clients love equipment, from extremely fancy coffee machines to your basic drip units, top-of-the-line nugget ice machines, and beautiful glass door fridges. Anything you can think of that will make a kitchen experience top tier, we can supply it. I work on the procurement of the machines, suggest appliances that will work for new clients in the Craftyverse, the placement of the machines – which machine goes to which client space, tracking the machines from purchase and after installation – making sure we know where everything lands or if it's moved, and supporting the troubleshooting of the machines by our service team by ordering parts and making sure they have what they need to maintain the machines.
What do you love most about your job?
It's been an incredible learning experience. Like every job I've held at Crafty, I'm learning as I go, and I am so grateful that Crafty continues to give me the opportunity and the space to do that. The world of equipment is vast and nuanced, and I believe that no matter how long I am in this position, I'll still be learning something new every day. When I first started to learn about it, I didn't imagine that it would be such a huge, unknown world, but especially with new technology, equipment changes all the time and gets better and more advanced, so I enjoy keeping up and learning on a regular basis.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Honestly, this may sound like a cop-out, but it's the same thing I love most about this job – my lack of experience. I don't always know how to find a solution to an equipment issue until I've run into that issue before. Unless Crafty has experienced the issue before, we don't have someone to guide us through fixing it. Our Equipment and Servicing Team is a newer team, and so we do have to go through a lot of trial and error to figure out what we would call our best practices. But as you can see from my career journey here, building with Crafty is my specialty, so I enjoy the challenge.
What is the most unique thing about working at Crafty?
It's the diversity. It's been an eye-opening experience for me. Crafty is not only racially diverse, which is essential, but it's also a safe and inclusive place for all gender identities, which isn’t something I've experienced in any other job. It's bled into my personal life as well. I hope I don't tear up here, but I will tell this story anyway. Until recently, I didn't have much gender identity diversity in my friend group, meaning the people I know are generally cis-gendered men and women. Two years ago, my partner's close friend started transitioning. She pulled me aside recently and told me she wanted to thank me. Many people in her life weren't sure how to treat her, but she was grateful for my support, openness, and kindness around her transition. I was so honored and touched that she reached out to me to say that, and one of the things that I mentioned while we were talking and having this heart-to-heart was that Crafty played a huge role in opening my eyes to the trans experience. Because I have had the opportunity to work alongside some wonderful trans people, and because Crafty makes a point to prioritize the safety of all identities, I learned how to be an ally to the people in my life. I am incredibly proud of that, and I cannot say that I have gained that from any other workplace.
How have your previous roles helped you in your current role at Crafty?
This is very specific, but during the pandemic, I was furloughed for a while. I got a job in the interim working for this place that shipped items all over the world. I learned so much about the shipping industry. Now, in the equipment world, there are times when I have to ship $30,000 worth of equipment across the country or internationally. Because of my experience, I am extremely confident in my ability to get any product to any person in a safe and timely fashion. I know how to make sure everything is being shipped and weighed properly and more. Nothing is getting lost on my watch. I would have a lot of anxiety about it had I not had that previous experience.
What kind of office snacks and beverages do you depend on to make it through the workday?
I used to have a Flamin' Hot Cheetos addiction. When I worked in the warehouse, I'd purchase a case of them from Crafty to bring home. Now, I go for the Rise Nitro Cold Brew cans. I have a few of those throughout the day. I'm also really into the Everybody Eat Cheese-less Snack Thins. They've replaced my Flamin' Hot Cheetos habit.
Let’s get personal! What does a perfect day off look like for you?
The exciting news in my life these days is I’m about to become a first-time father. My partner Andrea is pregnant, so we're just taking it easy as a unit. We live in downtown Chicago, so if we have time off, we love to walk around, especially by the Riverwalk. We might try a new restaurant or hop to a few places and get drinks and appetizers at each spot. We also love to roam around a bookstore and pick out books to read. We are mostly focused on parenting and pregnancy books at the moment. It’s also football season now, so I watch games about three times a week. I’m a big New England Patriots fan.
⚡Now for the lightning round!⚡
What is the last TV show you watched?
My partner and I are watchingVery Cavallari.
What is the last book you read?
Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies by Matthew M. Miller and Sharon Perkins. It’s been so interesting and informational. Everything I’m reading is very spot on with what Andrea is experiencing.
What is the last song you listened to?
Die for You by The Weeknd
What is the emoji that best encompasses your vibe?
Who is a famous person you’d like to hang out with?
Drake. We could watch football and spend his money.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Jennifer Lopez as Selena
Crafty would like to extend a huge thank you to Frankie for generously sharing his time and insights with us and allowing us to write about him. Thank you so much for all you do for Crafty. We are endlessly grateful to have you on our team.
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