Two of Southwest Florida's top McDonald's restaurant employees call Lehigh Acres "home."
Local McDonald's owner-operators recently selected Tavoris Mark and Osbaldo Garcia as two of their Crew People of the Year.
The honors make them among the top six McDonald's employees throughout Charlotte, Lee, Collier and Hendry counties.
When Mark, who took top honors among crew members, started working at the Colonial Boulevard-Walmart McDonald's in Fort Myers in 2011, it was his first job.
He was initially attracted to the position because of the opportunity for career growth. Now a crew trainer, he credits his position for helping him gain self-confidence.
"Now I feel like I can be great at anything," he said. "(My fellow crew members and managers) are like a family I've never had."
In addition to being a shift manager at the McDonald's in Gulf Coast Town Center, Garcia is a full-time nursing student at Florida Gulf Coast University.
He has worked at the restaurant since 2010 to help pay for his education.
He hopes to get his master's degree as a chief registered nurse anesthesiologist and eventually go to medical school.
"My fellow Southwest Florida owner-operators and I are thrilled to recognize our top employees," said Deana Homsi, who owns and operates six McDonald's restaurants in Fort Myers. "We, along with our customers and employees, appreciate their dedication, tireless energy and enthusiasm for the Golden Arches."
Many hourly employees and shift managers at McDonald's advance to become restaurant managers, owner/operators, regional or division staff members and corporate employees.
In fact, more than 75 percent of McDonald's restaurant managers started as crew, and more than half of McDonald's owner-operators started behind the counter.
McDonald's and McDonald's independent owner/operators work with their employees to develop schedules to fit their needs, whether they are students, working parents or senior citizens.