Heroes of the 500

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Nearly 27 million people go to work for the Fortune 500 companies every day. We found 55 of them—sometimes working together—whose extraordinary acts of bravery, kindness and selflessness are changing people’s lives. Read more about our second annual list here.
RANK NAME AFFILIATION TITLE AGE LOCATION
1 Michele Haddad Ingram Micro Executive Assistant 47 Santa Ana, California
2 Mustapha Gore Citigroup Executive Services Agent 60 London, United Kingdom
3 Jeremy Folland Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Financial Associate 41 Hallock, Minnesota
4 Kevin Wang Microsoft TEALS Founder and Ringleader 35 Redmond, Washington
5 Mike DelPizzo AT&T Professional, Technical, Process and Quality Manager 60 Jacksonville, Florida
6 Paula Kok AT&T Network Support Senior Specialist 46 Helena, Alabama
7 Harry Behrens Comcast Network Engineer 38 Vineland, New Jersey
8 Marcela Loaiza MGM Resorts International Cocktail Waitress 37 Las Vegas, Nevada
9 Patrick Working, Mark Nowlin, Crystal Wright, Noelle Banks, Nina Porter, and Princeton Richardson Delta Air Lines Captain, First Officer, and Flight Attendants - Detroit, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; New York, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia
10 Paul ‘Mo’ Moline and Jim Round C.H. Robinson Worldwide General Manager and Global Forwarding Regional Director, respectively 51 and 46 Forth Worth and Grapevine, Texas
11 Michael Lee Absher Wells Fargo Teller 25 Hendersonville, North Carolina
12 Anne Cheung Biogen Senior Associate Scientist 39 Cambridge, Massachusetts
13 Richard ‘Stick’ Williams Duke Energy President, Duke Energy Foundation 62 Charlotte, North Carolina
14 Russell Doussan Live Nation Entertainment President, New Orleans 49 New Orleans, Louisiana
15 Kate Cummings DaVita HealthCare Partners Nurse 44 Mount Laurel, New Jersey
16 Toni Bazon-Forsberg Exelon Senior Environmental Coordinator, Com-Ed 54 Chicago, Illinois
17 Michael Clark Eli Lilly Senior Sales Representative 39 Hershey, Pennsylvania
18 Ryan Russek CarMax Senior buyer 33 Duarte, California
19 Ron Kocian Caterpillar Team Lead, Caterpillar Victoria 43 Victoria, Texas
20 Mary Jo Quinn Allstate Vice President, Assistant General Counsel 59 Northbrook, Illinois
21 Mike Sheehy Abbott Laboratories Senior Director of Global Purchasing 43 Abbott Park, Illinois
22 Alicia Smith Tech Data Senior Project Manager, IT 45 Clearwater, Florida
23 John Cartwright Intel Education Services Manager, Intel Sales and Marketing Group 57 Hillsboro, Oregon
24 Silvia Vasquez-Lavado eBay Principal of Enterprise Technology 40 San Jose, California
25 Tim Gruhlke CSX Special agent 38 East St. Louis, Illinois
26 Diane Moore McKesson Clinical Decision Support Implementation Manager 49 Durham, North Carolina
27 Michael O’Neal International Paper Maintenance Electrician 59 Savannah, Georgia
28 Kelly McDonald Raytheon Principal Planning and Production Control Specialist 45 Largo, Florida
29 Sheri Daye IBM IBM Software Group Manager 58 Boca Raton, Florida
30 Ray O’Brien Ryder System Technician 62 Stoneham, Massachusetts
31 Paul Ruszczyk Time Warner Senior Transmission Engineer, Turner Broadcasting 46 Atlanta, Georgia
32 Patrice Eastham Assurant Vice President, Business Communications 55 Atlanta, Georgia
33 Tlaca Benavides Dow Chemical Latin America Marketing Manager--Advanced Manufacturing Solutions and ERG Leader 31 Sao Paolo, Brazil
34 Chris Pilkerton JP Morgan Chase Compliance Director 41 New York, New York
35 Dorothy Varon and Kathy McGrath Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group Assistant Vice-President and Counsel, Senior Corporate Counsel, respectively 63 and 58 Springfield and Boston, Massachusetts
36 Justin Gordon Kroger Store manager 33 Louisville, Kentucky
37 Jonathan Greene SunTrust Banks Group Vice President Area Manager 47 Asheville, North Carolina
38 James Mailman Aflac Field Force Liaison Manager 53 Columbus, Georgia
39 Kari Miller Lockheed Martin Adaptive Sport Coordinator, Community Programs 38 San Antonio, Texas
40 Rachel Wilkins Patel Progressive Web Application Developer 39 Mayfield Village, Ohio
41 Jeff Stecyk SanDisk Senior Manager, Sales Engineering 43 San Francisco, California
42 Timothy Russo JetBlue Airways Manager, Strategic Maintenance and Material Planning 38 Queens, New York
43 Eric Gelber CBRE Group Executive Vice President, Retail Services 48 New York, New York
44 Noel Keesling and Joe Clement UPS Delivery Drivers 56 and 53 Clearwater, Florida
45 Manoj Cherian Qualcomm Senior Security Manager, Qualcomm India 58 Bangalore, India
46 Bruce Graham J.C. Penney Business Analyst 59 Plano, Texas
47 Mark Cavalleri Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America Manager, Reporting and Analytics 40 Orlando, Florida
13

Richard ‘Stick’ Williams

President, Duke Energy Foundation, Duke Energy, 62
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Photograph by Tom Wolfe

Location: Charlotte, N.C.

 

In 2012, barely half the seniors at West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, N.C., graduated. For Stick Williams, a VP at Duke Energy (No. 116) who grew up in public housing in Greensboro, that was unacceptable. He spearheaded the creation of Project LIFT, a $55 million private-public partnership aimed at improving the performance of public schools in the district. One goal: Increasing the graduation rate at the troubled high school to 90 percent.

 

Project LIFT is similar to New York’s pioneering Harlem Children’s Zone in that it provides wraparound services like dental clinics and free Internet to the largely disadvantaged local population. But unlike other school turnaround programs, it doesn’t revolve around charter schools. “We knew we could reach far more students if we did this in public schools,” Williams says. “We wanted to see public schools work.”

 

Project LIFT has recruited teachers from across the country to reinvigorate the West Charlotte schools. It also founded LIFT Academy, a school designed for students that have dropped out school or fallen far behind. At LIFT Academy, students can make up missed credits at their own pace, getting them back on track to graduate. So far, the program seems to be working: in 2014, the graduation rate at West Charlotte High School was 78%. For Williams, the success of LIFT Academy is personal. “When I go to these schools, I look at these students, and I’m looking at Stick Williams,” he tells Fortune. “I was very fortunate that a lot of folks had their fingerprints on me. If we don’t have people putting their fingerprints on these students, they might not have the opportunities I had.”

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