MEET ROBERT MEGUIAR


Longtime Eagle fabricates career change with IKEA

For two decades, Robert Meguiar (‘95) has been a familiar face around Georgia Southern. First, he was a student in the early ’90s and then an employee for 18 years. For 10 years, Meguiar hosted the annual Homecoming Parade, and has played Santa Claus since 2009 when the figure was first introduced to the Lighting of Sweetheart Circle. Most recently, the training coordinator worked in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. A few months ago, he embarked on a new adventure with IKEA.

Major: Communication Arts with an emphasis in Theatre
Hometown: Reidsville, Georgia
Years of employment at Georgia Southern: 18

Current Position: I am the Information and Communications Specialist for the IKEA Savannah Distribution Center. I am focused on ensuring our co-workers are connected to the IKEA vision, culture and values. It is my job to maintain engagement and motivation, to strengthen connections and create brand ambassadors in all of our co-workers.

Why did you make the shift to IKEA?
Around two years ago I did some research into IKEA for a special project. IKEA impressed me with their values and unique work environment. In many ways, their values reflected the nurturing and supportive environment I experienced over the years in Georgia Southern’s Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Believe me, it was not an easy decision. I had a very difficult time leaving behind my Eagle family. However, I have not regretted the move at all. IKEA has made me feel so welcome.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this new endeavor?
Learning the language of IKEA and distribution. Besides being a Swedish company, IKEA has its own unique business language. Although challenging, it has also been fascinating. I have enjoyed the chance to delve into a whole new industry.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of this new endeavor?
Taking every opportunity to speak with the co-workers. IKEA Savannah has around 151 co-workers on staff. I have enjoyed the chance to hear their stories and to know my involvement is opening up new avenues to communication. Togetherness is the first IKEA value and one that aligns strongly to my own personal values.

What do you miss most about Georgia Southern?
After 18 years (23 if you add my undergraduate years), the one constant that made Georgia Southern such an amazing place to work, is its people. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the people who have touched my life and whose lives I have been fortunate to help develop.

How has Georgia Southern influence what you are doing now?
Over the years I have had so many great mentors and role models, not to mention the many years of experience and developmental opportunities. I guess to sum it up, Georgia Southern welcomed me as a student in 1990 and never stopped allowing my creativity and communications presence to grow. If there was ever an analogy of an eagle taking flight, then that would be the best answer to this question.

Hobbies:
Anyone who knows me knows I am a big Superman fan. When I can find a cool collectible with a big ‘S’ shield on it, I am a happy man. I am a big movie buff, enjoy spending time with friends and family, and when time and schedule allows, I also enjoy taking to the stage. Most recently, the spotlight hobby has been running. Thanks to that pastime and a better focus on healthy eating, I was able to lose 160 pounds and put my life on a new track. As the Olympic runner Frank Shorter once said, “Be willing to move forward and find out what happens next.”

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