Lisa Wheeler, the director of human resources for SoDel Concepts, was nominated for the Human Resources Innovator of the Year award, a category in the 2018 Human Resources Awards presented by Delaware Business Times and the Delaware Society for Human Resource Management.
Wheeler is working for Rehoboth Beach-based SoDel Concepts, a hospitality group with 10 restaurants, Plate Catering and hospitality management and consulting divisions.
She was nominated for her ability to create and execute an HR plan to handle an unprecedented period of growth for the company within a short time frame.
“When Lisa took the job, we were about to open what became our two highest-grossing restaurants, and we were taking on new consulting and management projects, including two NASCAR events at Dover International Speedway,” said SoDel Concepts President Scott Kammerer.
Wheeler put a priority on moving the application process and onboarding online. She then rolled out health plans and a 401(k) plan, which were key in attracting, managing and retaining talent, said Kammerer.
“Having an online application process helped us handle the sheer number of people who applied to fill entry-level positions in the company,” said Kammerer. “The benefits helped us recruit the talent we needed in both the front and the back of the house — experienced workers who made the new business ventures successful.”
Raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Wheeler majored in food and restaurant hospitality at Kutztown University. She worked as a manager for a chain that brought her to Delaware, where she also gained experience in banquet services.
Wheeler, who started working for SoDel Concepts in 2010, became the general manager of Fish On in 2011. In 2012, she became the catering director for Plate Catering, which operates out of the Fish On kitchen.She currently oversees every aspect of employment for up to 1,200 SoDel Concepts employees.
Other nominees for the category include Susan H. McGarry, of Marlette Funding; and Terri Hartwell Easter, of T.H. Easter Consulting. The awards ceremony is Nov. 1 at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.
For more, visit sodelconcepts.com.