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Cole Carroll – Mansfield Energy

Finding talent and caring for employees fuels HR leader

Mansfield Energy is hardly an invisible company—not with its fleet of trucks hauling diesel, gasoline, and other products to customers throughout the U.S.

It’s ranked the 48th largest private company in the U.S. for its volume of business by Forbes magazine, and Cole Carroll is making it her job to ensure people know Mansfield further. That’s especially true for attracting new talent, says Carroll, the senior vice president of human resources.

Cole Carroll | Senior Vice President of Human Resources | Mansfield Energy

Cole Carroll | Senior Vice President of Human Resources | Mansfield Energy

Mansfield Energy’s customers include corporations such as UPS, Walmart Inc. and Costco, and local government entities including schools, fire and police departments. To help the company serve its customers, Carroll is updating its HR practices to reflect changing workplaces.

“We support the infrastructure of North America,” Carroll says. “We aren’t curing cancer, but we’re making a difference with things like ensuring buses get to school every day and police and firefighters can respond to calls.”

A family tradition enhanced

Headquartered in Gainesville, Georgia, Mansfield Energy is celebrating the 65th anniversary of its founding in 1957 by John and Winnie Mansfield. It’s still family-owned and supplies 8,000 customers across the U.S. and Canada with more than 3 billion gallons of fuel, renewables and associated products annually.

Carroll cites a “triple squeeze” affecting her work—inflation at 40-year highs, a scarcity of talent as people change careers and global supply challenges—all of which she expects to last into 2023 and perhaps beyond.

With inflation affecting Mansfield’s workforce, Carroll says the company has provided three employee bonuses in 2022. Mansfield has also been selective in its hiring while retaining and recognizing staff.

“We’re intentionally taking time to reward, thank and recognize the contributions our people are making,” Carroll says.

Cole Carroll | Senior Vice President of Human Resources | Mansfield Energy

The company was about to announce 2022 winners of the Mansfield Servant Heart award as she chatted with Vision. Those recognize employees in the areas of customer service, collaboration and innovation. Carroll adds there have been more “shoutouts” recognizing outstanding service and contributions to Mansfield this year than ever before.

With the increased recognition, Carroll says the company understand the additional demands employees face because of supply challenges and market volatility. People are working longer hours to keep customers supplied and communication between departments has become even more crucial.

To help prevent employee burnout, Carroll says Mansfield is increasing its wellness options, including a new program rolled out in November to better support the workforce holistically.

Carroll says reading Simon Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last” was instrumental in guiding her approach to the pandemic because it emphasizes understanding an organization’s purpose to ensure its success.

“We strongly believe our employees are the secret to our success,” Carroll says. “Our fuel isn’t any more special, our people are.”

Applied pandemic lessons

With the pandemic on the wane, Carroll says she and Mansfield’s leaders are building on how they’ve reaffirmed their commitment to employees.

“I never spent so much time reading because of new and varied pandemic regulations,” she says. “But we moved from how to survive mode to asking how to thrive in this environment and make the most of the opportunities it presented.”

In January, Carroll helped Mansfield launch a new hybrid work program as its offices were reopened. Eligible employees are allowed to work three days in the office and two at home, although drivers are ineligible because of the nature of their work.

“It’s about connecting workforce, whether it’s physically or on digital platforms,” she says.

Cole Carroll | Senior Vice President of Human Resources | Mansfield Energy

Carroll is also revising HR policies to address hybrid work with an additional focus on mental health. That includes partnering with Marketplace Chaplains to offer 24/7 support to employees with stress, anxiety and exhaustion, she says.

“We’re proud to extend the family feel and care to our larger workforce in new ways,” Carroll adds.

She also helped to develop an internship program run by Recruiting Manager Karen McGrath and Senior Recruiter Dawn Pierce. It’s open to college students as early as after their sophomore years and provides the opportunity to work throughout Mansfield Energy’s departments such as tax, accounting, supply, dispatch and HR.

Virtually permanent

She says the two recruiters reporting to McGrath continue to conduct virtual interviews as they had at the height of the pandemic—as many as 16 per day. Carroll participates in some final interviews for high-level positions or additions to the HR team. Those are typically in-person, but she likes virtual interviews, too, and has conducted them for 10 years.

“You can still read a candidate’s body language and it’s added the element of seeing them while quadrupling the number of interviews we can do,” she says. “It means we can truly pick the best of the best.”

Cole Carroll | Senior Vice President of Human Resources | Mansfield Energy

Reading body language and assessing skills to ensure companies get the best talent has been a career-long passion for Carroll. After earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Carolina University—where she also met her husband, Mark—she became an area rental manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 1999.

Carroll was promoted to regional HR manager for the Charlotte, North Carolina, area in 2001 and then to group HR director for Enterprise Holding in 2005.

That expanded role brought Carroll to the Atlanta area, where she and her family have remained. In 2011, she became director of HR field partnerships for AutoTrader.com. She joined Cox Automotive Inc. in 2014 as director of global leadership development.

In 2018, Carroll joined Mansfield Energy as vice president of HR. She was promoted to her current role in 2020.

“We’re evolving to meet those needs while keeping our employees and customers top of mind,” Carroll says. “Mansfield Energy is a family-owned organization. That’s made a huge difference because we can make short-term and long-term decisions that reinforce the business and employee experience without worries about immediate shareholder expectations.”

View this feature in the Vision Vol. I 2023 Edition here.

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