When Randy Voigt’s children turned 16 – old enough to get their driver’s licenses – he found he had additional free time and wanted to give back to the community.
Voigt, Project Planning and Control Manager for the Interiors Engineering team in Phoenix, Arizona, was nominated as this year’s UTC Aerospace Systems Volunteer of the Year by three colleagues. He’s humbled by the recognition: “This must have been a random selection. There are so many people who deserve this honor more than me.”
Voigt regularly volunteers with St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), a local, non-profit organization that serves the entire community regardless of religious background. The SVdP mission: to feed, clothe, house and heal, as well as its ability to reach thousands of people in need, resonated powerfully with him.
Voigt recruits colleagues to join him in volunteering with the organization, often pitching SVdP at all-employee meetings. As a result, the volunteering momentum at Interiors has grown; to date, hundreds have donated or volunteered their time. Voigt is especially proud of Ryan Campbell, who – like Voigt – is a lead volunteer coordinator.
Voigt noted that Interiors’ new President, Henry Brooks, has also helped inspire positive change with his results-driven energy and principle-oriented vision. “There is a sense of change in the air. The company is starting to embrace the community. My Interiors colleagues are now holding volunteer team building event activities at SVdP and Habitat for Humanity. It’s wonderful to see my peers rolling up their sleeves and helping out. It makes me feel really proud.”
Rather than watching TV, Voigt spends his Thursday nights as the Family Dining Room Coordinator, explaining and assigning tasks to volunteers in the SVdP dining room, which serves 4,200 hot meals a day to Phoenix’s homeless and working poor. “Each family sits at their own table, just like at a restaurant. The guests receive fresh, made-to-order salads from the salad bar. Servers wait on the families, taking their orders for the hot food line. At the end of each evening, guests clean and bus their own tables.”
Many of the children coming to the SVdP Family Evening Dining room have working poor parents for whom English is not their first language. Imagine reading a book or calculating algebra equations and having a parent that can offer help. The organization’s Dream Center volunteers provide these children with math and reading homework assistance, and in doing so, bridge this gap every day.
While Voigt is passionate about his volunteer work, SVdP is equally passionate about him. “Randy not only serves those in need, but gets others to do the same,” said Danielle Ricketts, manager of dining rooms at the organization. “He encourages others and shows how rewarding and fun it can be to serve. He is such a gift to St. Vincent de Paul, myself, and especially our guests. Without Randy we wouldn’t have our Fun Day Thursdays.”
Voigt went on to describe other services provided by SVdP including inspiring children to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. An upcoming Science Night will feature an Interiors life raft as well as showcase NASA and STEM activities.
In addition to his work with SVdP and the Arizona Burn Foundation, Voigt has become the ambassador for community service at the Interiors business in other ways. Along with other volunteers, he has coordinated food drives, water drives and has collected snacks and personal items for the homeless.
When asked what advice he would give his fellow colleagues who have little time to volunteer, Voigt lit up. “I understand if you just worked 10-12 hours, you want to go home, walk the dog, play with your children, or just sit on sofa and watch TV,” he said. “I was in the same routine until I started volunteering my time. There are so many worthy charities in our communities needing of your time. Start by signing up to volunteer two hours per month and see the impact you are making on the organization. Then host a UTC Aerospace Systems team building activity with your group once a month. It takes effort to get people thinking more about their community. But with enough effort, momentum and real change will follow quickly.
“I don’t always have the energy to volunteer, but at the end of the evening, I can say I made a difference in the community today.”
Congratulations to Voigt on being selected as this year’s UTC Aerospace Systems Volunteer of the Year, and thank you to all UTC Aerospace Systems employees who serve in their local communities.