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COVID-19 Pandemic Creates Opportunity Amid Adversity

With everyone suddenly spending more time at home, demand soared for home improvement products for essential repairs, as well as to make spaces safer and more comfortable. 

At the direct fulfillment center (DFC) in Troy, Ohio, orders rose dramatically in the first half of the year. More than 400 new associates were hired — expanding the DFC’s workforce to 1,100.  

Ijumaa Sheldon was one associate who stepped up to meet the growing demand. His responsibilities expanded from strictly doing inventory control to both inbound and outbound operations. 

“It was just an insane amount of volume, and I realized that this was an opportunity that might never present itself again,” Ijumaa says. “I had to take advantage of it.” 

Ijumaa persuaded a friend who had lost his job because of COVID-19 to come work with him. His pitch? The pay is good, and The Home Depot is a place where you can grow a career – something that Ijumaa understands now better than ever. “Because of what’s happened this year, I’ve done almost every role at my level,” he says. “I think I can do more.” 

Ijumaa’s leaders encouraged him to cross-train in different roles, giving him a deeper understanding of how the whole facility operates. Watching others lead associates through the pandemic has sparked Ijumaa’s interest in becoming a supervisor one day. “I want to be the kind of leader who is always available, always there for associates,” he says. 

“I feel blessed,” Ijumaa says, thankful for the opportunities that have emerged out of this challenging year. 

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