Employee Spotlight-We Rhoten #6

Wes works with the Reconciliation Department and has been with FLORES for almost 5 years.  He grew up in a small farming town in rural Washington, near Tacoma, and closer to Puyallup Valley. His house sat on 5 acres and his neighbors owned 15 acres, so there was a lot of space. Wes grew up surrounded by cows, horses, goats, and pastures. In the summer the family worked picking strawberries in the Puyallup Valley on huge farms owned by local growers. Our family acres were dotted by Apple trees, and Cherry trees, and large gardens of corn, rhubarb, tomatoes, carrots, you name it!  In short, Wes is a Family Man  and  loves family activities. He also love Sports, and for his family nothing  beats  Friday Night Lights—going to a High School football game on a Friday night. The  Marching  Bands, the Game, the Popcorn, the Cheerleaders, the Competition for the love of the Game— they just love it. .  Wes is a certified as High School football referee and has worked as an official for High School football games locally for the past three years. In his quiet moments, he enjoys reading and writing poetry, and aspires some day to write the Great American Novel.
Wes graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah with a degree in Economics, was hired by Kmart in 1992 (when they were still a big deal!)  and was shipped to San Francisco, CA where he started a career in retail management. After 25 years as a Store Manager and District Manager, and after spending the final 5 years confronting continual brick and mortar liquidations, Ch. 11 filings, and “organizational restructurings,” , Wes felt it best for the support of his family that they leave the shifting sands of the retail world. Therefore they made the difficult decision to make a mid-life career change and start afresh; the idea was simultaneously invigorating and scary!. To move forward, he enrolled in some Small Business Accounting classes, drew a circle around his Economics degree from BYU, and was able to hustle-up an Accounts Receivable job  in a small office at the San Diego Paper Box Company—where, frankly, I wound up spending much of my time on their production floor helping franticly to get product properly sealed and shipped to our clients on time! Flores, however, was kind enough to grant him an interview about that same time, and he will never forget speaking with Michelle and Sarina in the Conference room, and how impressed he was with how they carried themselves, and also the sincere manner in which they spoke about the professionalism and family-friendly atmosphere at Flores. Wes remembers that their words were evident and validated in what he saw amongst the team-members at work that day and the general ‘sprit” and “atmosphere” of the building. Flores has been absolutely everything I thought it would be, and everything it was represented to be.
At Flores, Wes began as an AA working closely with Account Manager Brynn Williams and threw himself into servicing the Tajima Restaurant Group and understanding the nature of their business. He  feels his background in Retail helped him immensely as he provided customer service to Tajima, and developed into a ‘go-to” member of their organization.   He felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment when he was awarded Flores All Star of the Month in July 2018. “I felt it validated the mid life career change that I made. It was very humbling, frankly.”-Wes  Wes now works with the Bank Reconciliation team after needing to move back to Washington to care for his mother. The family is so thankful! Wes’s mother has now passed; the award he received from Flores in 2020 at the year-end celebration for representing the core value of Family, is dedicated to her memory.
The family has followed an interesting path. Wes met his wife in Tijuana, Mexico while he was still living in San Francisco. Wes found work in San Diego, CA, and they physically packed up and moved to Tijuana, where my wife (a Mexican citizen) and he began their life together. They moved to the U.S. in 2012, settling in Chula Vista. His wife eventually gained U.S. Citizenship, and his children mastered English after about 6 months of usage at school, but we proudly continue to speak Spanish at home in deference to his wife– who has not quite been able to lock down her English.  They have three children:  Ronaldo 19 years, Tania (11th grade), and Leah (4th grade); all are bi-lingual and all are dual citizens of Mexico and the United  States—both Wes and his wife are so proud of them!
Wes love the quote, “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome;” it comes from the movie, Heartbreak Ridge, directed and produced by Clint Eastwood. Improvise Adapt Overcome is the mantra that Eastwood  uses as he shapes, trains, and guides  a group of new Marine recruits; He strongly feel his  message applies to every challenge and circumstance we face in life–  personally, professionally, socially, or otherwise. He was raised in a devout Mormon household, and served as a Full-Time Missionary for the Mormon Church from 1989-1991, assigned to the  Iowa Des Moines Mission and ministering in various communities throughout Iowa .While there he gained an even deeper appreciation for the small town values of faith and family that he continues to try—emphasis on “try”(!)–   to apply within his  family today.
Wes loves being treated as a Professional, and feeling that his work is valued. For 25 years as a Retail Manager, he was the “go-to” guy for either an individual  Store or an entire  District, and  his professional goal is to grow in his Accounting skills such that this feeling can be achieved in his new career.
“I feel, frankly, like it is already happening (to a degree) and that Flores is providing me with every opportunity to go further. Combining this idea  with the profound understanding  that Flores  supported our family as we cared for my Mother, truly makes our relationship with Flores very, very  special. We are humbled, frankly, and very, very  thankful!”- Wes