We’ve managed to miss February’s Employee Spotlight by just one day, but we’re starting March off perfectly. This month’s spotlight features Stefan Johnson, our Human Resources Manager. One of his jobs is to know (and care about) everyone, and he manages to do it at Abt—a place with hundreds of employees in dozens of departments. You may have seen Stefan out on our sales floor before: one of his many duties is to help screen applicants before they’re welcomed as employees. That means that for some employees, Stefan is the first person they meet.
Keeping Glenview Safe
Stefan’s involvement at Abt reaches back pretty far, long before his career here. In 1989, Stefan began as a Glenview patrol officer and worked his way up through the ranks of the Glenview police department, holding the titles of Detective, Patrol Sargeant, Bureau Sargeant and then Deputy Chief until 2017. “I spent most of my time in the Bureau, partnering with administrative people, the village manager’s office, youth services, schools, active shooter programs, and brought diversity and inclusion efforts. Most of that was a first, because I was the first black officer in Glenview.” During his time at the Glenview Police Department, Stefan did all kinds of work, from investigating major crimes to coming to Abt to help the store work out customers’ fraudulent checks. Back then, paper checks were more popular. He would assist with fraud investigations to make sure that fraudulent checks were replaced with proper payment. While here, he got to know most of the security department.
Keeping Abt Running
Stefan was retiring in 2017, with job offers in Florida and LA and was coming into Abt looking to buy furniture. Here, he was offered a position with our HR team. The job has fit him well: “I’d done a lot of internal investigations, from hiring and termination hearings to background investigations.” Since his first day, Stefan has been an integral part of our Human Resources department and keeps Abt moving forward. He began on both the HR team and picked up the role of director of security, where he brought in the first active shooter training program to help keep employees safe. After two years, a separate position was designated solely for the head of security, and Stefan was able to dedicate himself to his role as Human Resources Manager.
When asked about his favorite memory during his time at Abt, he paused. “Outreach. For Christmas, we go down into the city and visit families of fallen first responders and hear their stories, doing good deeds. Deep down inside, I really like to help people who need it.”
Finally, when asked what he loved most about his job, Stefan answered that “Every day is different. It’s just like police work. I’m never bored, and no matter what I get to help people.”
Stefan’s funny and can make anyone smile. He’s beloved around the office for the dark sense of humor that he credits to his South side upbringing. It allows him to laugh “even when my body sends me messages on aging”. That being said, he’s a very grounded person and a big movie lover. His current favorite film is John Wick 3: Parabellum. While he likes action movies and is in charge of hiring and firing, we’d like to dub him Abt’s resident green thumb. Spring is coming and he’s getting ready to start planting his gardens, and we can’t wait to see the tomatoes and cucumbers he brings into the office (they’re delicious).
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention some of Stefan’s accomplishments while working with the Glenview Police: he was the recipient of the 1994 and 2002 Public Safety Awards, as well as many letters of appreciation, performance citations and multiple departmental commendations (the department’s highest recognition).