With reentry support, Shannon achieves socioeconomic mobility

May 16, 2022   |  By Emily Montgomery

Shannon has made a career turning struggling businesses into winning operations. But his biggest success has been his ability to turn his own life around in a way that positively influences many.

After his release from prison in 2017, his house manager at Exodus House, a transitional home in Tulsa, Okla., recommended he find work with the Center for Employment Opportunity (CEO). He applied to their program and began CEO’s job readiness training while working with the Tulsa River Park crew. From there, he took a position with Habitat for Humanity, before moving to a job doing trim work.

Then, just a year after his release, Shannon got his big break. Stat Overnight Delivery, a medical delivery service, hired him as a contract driver. His supervisors quickly noticed his dependability, flexibility, and good attitude. In another short year, he was brought on as general manager at their Oklahoma City site. He continued to excel, breaking delivery records and garnering numerous accolades from the company.

Recognizing Shannon’s leadership abilities, the company moved him to its St. Louis branch to help save the struggling office. He revived that branch and moved to his next assignment, managing and turning around their Denver office. After less than a year, Prater's supervisor assigned him to another struggling office in Phoenix, Ariz. He turned that branch around too, and then was relocated to his current home of Wichita, Kan., to help open a new office.

Shannon credits much of his success to the skills he gained from CEO and to the people there who surrounded him with positivity and encouragement.

“CEO wasn't just a place to go to be somewhere,” he added. “It was a place that gave you tools that if you were willing to use them, they would carry you through life. And honestly, since I graduated from the program, that's exactly what they've done.”

Jimmy Parker, founder and president of Stat Overnight Delivery, said that along with Shannon’s adaptability, his sensitivity makes him stand out as a supervisor.

“He'll help people that need help,” Parker said. “That’s a hallmark of an awesome leader.”

Parker added that Shannon, who was recently named General Manager of the Year, will soon become a regional manager.

Parker also said that while Shannon is an exceptional employee, he’s not the only second-chance success story they’ve had at Stat Overnight Delivery.

“I would say that hiring formerly incarcerated people is one of the best things we've ever done as an organization,” Parker said. “We treat them with respect, and they excel exceptionally faster than your common worker. If it was up to me, we would hire a whole fleet of them.”

Shannon is humbled by his success. “They overlooked my background, and everything, because the person I am today is not the person that I was,” he said. “And they gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s been wonderful.”

Career growth isn’t the only dream Shannon has realized, though. While incarcerated, he imagined the different adventures he hoped to have upon his release, including a trip to the Rocky Mountains to hike, ski, and go trout fishing. While working in Denver, he made that dream vacation a reality.

“I was alone on a mountain stream and caught fresh trout, camped by the stream by myself. I got to get my thoughts and my head together,” he added. “It was just so neat.”

He’s also climbed Pikes Peak, visited the Grand Canyon, and taken his first trip to the Pacific Ocean.

“I mean, it's just been surreal, the opportunities I've had just because I wanted to better my life,” Shannon said.