When Ashley Mederos, ’99, went to work for Firehouse Subs at their Jacksonville headquarters back in 2006, she had no idea she was planting the Flagler flag in the sandwich company.
With more than 800 Firehouse Subs restaurants in 42 states and Puerto Rico, the company is one of the fastest growing U.S. restaurant chains.
Mederos, who works as the executive assistant to the Firehouse CEO, is now of one five Flagler graduates working in the company’s headquarters.
“There is definitely a feeling of pride getting to work with my fellow alums,” said Mederos. “The fact that there are five of us here at the office now is pretty crazy, considering our staff is fairly small. I feel like we have our own little Flagler chapter embedded here at Firehouse Subs.”
Two years after Mederos came on, she was joined by Melissa Simpson, ’06, who now serves as the senior manager of social marketing for the company. In 2012, Jackie Gubbins, ’11, was hired as the programs manager for Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation followed by Brady Rigdon, ’10, in 2013 as a procurement specialist for the foundation. The group was rounded out by 2012 graduate Angela Daidone who was hired as a writer and editor for the company this past August.
Gubbins says she remembers meeting Simpson as a student, when Simpson would come to talk to her public relations classes during Communications Week. It was that networking that led her to her current position in the non-profit wing of Firehouse Subs.
Since 2005, the Foundation has been able to give more than $10 million worth of life-saving resources and support to over 790 public safety organizations in 41 states and Puerto Rico. As programs manager, Gubbins reviews grant applications, trains employees on fundraising, facilitates events and more.
“The importance of networking and internships are the two main things that helped with my career,” said Gubbins. “Without networking, I would have never known my dream job was hiring.”
Gubbins also knew Daidone from her college days, sharing a few PR classes together — a fact that helped Daidone feel right at home on her first day.
“I’ve always considered Flagler my home and working with four other alums at Firehouse Subs is absolutely wonderful because it brings that little bit of home to the workplace,” said Daidone. “My first day on the job is a perfect example since Jackie just happened to be the first person I saw in the parking lot. Although it had been years since I saw her last, she came over and gave me a big hug. It’s that feeling of family that just can’t be beat.”