Getting to know Director of Human Resources Shawn McGovern
October 5, 2020 | Category: News
Shawn McGovern is Cetronia Ambulance Corps’ Director of Human Resources. He is the lifeline to the employees in so many ways. We did a little Q&A to get to know him better.
How long have you been working at Cetronia?
April 2005 I started so I recently celebrated 15 years with the Corps
Before Cetronia, where did you go to school, and what did you study?
I graduated from Allentown College (now DeSales) with a bachelor’s degree in Business Communications
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My fantasy job was definitely to be a rock star, and if that didn’t work out I always thought being an FBI agent would be cool.
Can you walk me through your career path from entry level position to your current position?
In 1997 I took a job as an assistant office manager in a frozen food distribution warehouse in Trexlertown. Human Resources was one of the responsibilities of my job, along with a number of other things. I was hired just as the business was beginning to experience rapid growth and probably about a year into my career my job was changed and I was given full responsibility for the Human Resources function. My main duty at that time was to staff as quick as possible so I spent much of my career doing recruiting, interviewing, new hire orientation, etc. We eventually went from 120 employees to over 200. After several years I felt really stagnant in my career and wanted to do more. I happened to see the ad for Cetronia and was intrigued by the thought of working in a totally different industry. I knew of their reputation and actually my wife’s grandparents were volunteers in the Corps’ early years and only lived a couple of blocks from the station. I liked what I heard during the interview so I joined the team and here we are today.
What day-to-day responsibilities does your job entail?
Answering emails and phone calls is a non- stop part of the day. I also spend a lot of my days doing recruitment-related activities like screening applications, running ads, following up with new people in the pre-employment process, etc. Often times I am doing a lot of follow up on any claims we may have open, whether it’s a work comp, auto, or a liability claim. I also spend a lot of the day just talking to people in my office or throughout the facility. It could be to answer benefits questions, or get someone a uniform voucher, or even just chat about life. My office is usually a busy place.
What project that you’ve worked on at Cetronia are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of some of the career growth projects we have going on. We have an apprentice program, high school and college intern programs, an EMT Academy, and even opportunities for EMTs to go to Paramedic school on scholarships. Our apprentice program, in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Careerlink and Workforce Investment Board, was the first of its kind in the EMS field. It’s great to see someone I hired as a Paratransit associate graduating from Paramedic school or being promoted to a field supervisor.
What’s really fun about your job, and what’s really challenging?
I enjoy the wide range of people I’m seeing on a regular basis. We have employees who represent the Baby Boomer Generation, along with Gen X, Gen Y, and now Gen Z. I enjoy talking with everyone and it makes the day fun. The funny thing is that the most challenging thing is also being so multigenerational. Different age groups have different things that motivate them and different attitudes towards the workplace so it’s a struggle to try to keep everyone happy and satisfied. Recruiting in the industry has become a great challenge also. I don’t think our industry does nearly enough to promote the careers we have to offer and as such our pool of candidates seems to get smaller every year.
How has your job here allowed you to grow personally and professionally?
Personally I’ve become a much better listener since it is such a big part of my day-to-day life. I also have gotten better about seeing things from other people’s points of view and I have learned the importance of walking in someone else’s shoes before judging them. Professionally I have learned a ton in my time here. Being a one person HR Department you wear many different hats and I’ve had to learn a lot of different things. It forces me to never stop educating myself.
What might surprise people about your job, or what’s one thing people don’t know about your position?
I think the most surprising thing people would find out about my job is just how much paperwork it generates. I don’t know of anyone who went into the field of Human Resources to spend a good portion of the day filing things but it doesn’t seem to stop. A paperless world is my dream of the future!
What advice would you give to a young professional searching for a job like yours?
With so many different generations in the workplace and more businesses starting to understand the importance of human capital, I think the HR role is only going to keep expanding and be in demand. Three things you want to be able to do is to think strategically, be an employee advocate, and at the same time be a champion for positive culture and positive change in the workplace.