Edith spotlight

Goodwill Associate Details Her 27 Years of Service to the Organization

Edith Schinkel is the senior salvage manager at Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia. She is among the top 10 longest-serving associates at the organization, giving 27 years of commitment and dedication to the non-profit.

Here’s more on Edith’s journey to Goodwill, how her job helps fulfill our mission and why she says she never wanted to work anywhere else.

Edith with Goodwill Associates in the early 90’s

When did you start working at Goodwill?

“I started working at Goodwill in October 1990. I saw a job opening in the newspaper.”

What was your first position at Goodwill?
“I ran a school-to-work adjustment program at one of our stores in Colonial Heights. That was back when we only had six locations. We provided training for young people who were still in school, but were about to graduate and enter the workforce.”

What does your current job mean to the organization?

“I have been in salvage or “post-retail” for 23 years and we’ve developed operational expertise so that we can manage salvage for other Goodwills, too. I handle salvage for seven Goodwill organizations in six states. It’s one of our social enterprises that generates revenue to power our mission of helping people facing challenges to work.

Salvage involves collecting goods that did not sell in our stores or had some flaws that prevented them from going to the retail sales floor in the first place, such as stains and rips in clothing. We sell toys, textiles and other recyclable materials such as papers, plastics and metals to vendors who re-sell and repurpose them. This helps us make sure that every donated item supports our mission and also helps us keep 40 million pounds of goods out of local landfills annually.”

It’s an interesting enterprise because salvage materials are commodities that have fluctuating prices. We leverage our transportation and logistics operation to move these goods efficiently to buyers all over the country.

Why did you want to work for Goodwill?

“I always liked the thrift store mentality. Before Goodwill, I was a supervisor at JCPenney. But, because I didn’t have a college degree, I was told I couldn’t be promoted. Goodwill is a place where you can grow through the ranks, regardless if you have a degree or if you took certain classes.”

What was your first experience in having more opportunities within the organization?

“In 1994, our then-vice president of sales needed someone to oversee production. I handled the day-to-day operations of getting products to our stores back when we processed all donations at one central location. From there, I handled auction, transportation and then salvage.”

Why have you stayed with Goodwill for more than 25 years?

“I don’t think there is a better organization to work for. Goodwill invests in growth and development of its associates. You can have fun and contribute to the mission. It’s unlike any other mission out there. Our workforce programs really help people in the community. It makes me happy that I can do that.”

Thoughts on Edith:
“Edith excels at her job and contributes a great deal to the organization. People have a lot of respect for her. She is loyal and protective of what she does for Goodwill – that is why she is so important to our team.” – Bill Carlson, Goodwill’s chief operating officer