Congratulations to Marcus Kim on winning a 2024 Corpsmember of the Year Award! All awardees will be recognized at #CorpsCon24 – The Corps Network National Conference. This event will take place March 19 – 21 in Washington, DC. Click here to learn more about the Conference. Click here to learn about The Corps Network’s awards. Click here to learn about 2024 Corpsmember of the Year finalists.
“It is my firm belief that if we foster a culture of leadership that strives to go above and beyond, we will work towards inspiring the next generation of heroes to do the same.”
Marcus Kim is forging his own career path while also paving the way for future Corpsmembers. Marcus has completed a long list of trainings and certifications during his time with the California Conservation Corps (CCC), but his supervisors say his greatest accomplishments are the improvements he’s made to the program itself.
First, Marcus stepped up during the reopening of CCC Greenwood center, working alongside the center’s Supervising Cook to build the kitchen and culinary training program from the ground up. Marcus helped plan menus, create shopping lists and schedules, develop safety systems, and prepare healthy meals for Corpsmembers. In addition, he took time to review the program’s training materials and made recommendations for updates; Marcus subsequently created new curriculum. He also not only obtained his Serve Safe Food Protection Manager certification, but became certified to proctor the exam. He has now overseen testing for his own supervisor and many Corpsmembers.
Most importantly, Marcus has helped future Corpsmembers by developing a new pathway to be promoted to Advanced Crew Leader. He used an internal transfer mechanism to send himself to multiple CCC centers throughout the state to help fill civil service cook positions, learn from other programs, and share his own knowledge.
With his dependability and professionalism, Marcus has been a critical asset on offsite assignments. He helped lead a Cal Fire mobile kitchen operation, has catered executive lunches, and fed hundreds of emergency workers on emergency assignments. In one instance, Marcus helped cater a lunch for executive members of California’s Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), which included the Secretary of CNRA. Marcus left a positive impression and was requested, by name, to cater CNRA’s upcoming Executive Staff Meeting. Additionally, Marcus was asked to serve as the Corpsmember lead on a pilot program operating a corps-run “pop-up” restaurant, serving healthy meals at CNRA headquarters.
Marcus has earned the trust of his peers and supervisors through his consistency and aptitude for hard work. Not surprisingly, he was elected to serve on the center’s Corpsmember Advisory Board, the group that serves as the Corpsmember voice on center issues and Corpsmember needs. Outside his time at the CCC, Marcus has also been a reliable volunteer with a local food bank, helping monitor inventory and carry heavy bags of groceries for those using the food bank’s services. He should be able to exceed his goal of achieving 100 volunteer hours.
Before joining the CCC, Marcus explains that his “life was headed nowhere, fast.” He was estranged from his family, dropped out of college, and had spent over a year working full-time at a minimum-wage job while living in a tent next to a freeway. The homeless shelter he used informed him of the opportunities through the CCC. While the CCC is probably best known for its natural resource and fire crews, Marcus – having lived outside in the heat – chose the culinary training path as a way to stay indoors.
Marcus has had the opportunity to work alongside many different cooks throughout the CCC. He has been tested by high pressure catering situations with hundreds of people to feed, but says he thrives on the opportunity to demonstrate that his team has bulletproof systems.
His current endeavor is to document policies, procedures, and the facility layout to help train future Corpsmembers on every aspect of the job, as well as a checklist of program goals they should meet or exceed. Using this as a foundation, he has been tasked with sharing his promotional packet perspectives on how to build a better pathway for culinary Corpsmembers to advance. For the future, Marcus plans to finish his training and continue preparing for a career in food management, preferably in a state position as a Cook Specialist, and eventually as a Supervisory Cook. With his proven track record of success, there is no doubt Marcus will achieve his goals.