By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
As the awards banquet continued, Dawn Schierman was getting frustrated.
The manager of the Keizer Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza was at a company conference at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. recently with her boss, store owner Chris Copp. Copp convinced Schierman to come under the guise of vice president of Operations, Craig Weiss, needing a partner in a trivia game.
“I told her it would be really good for her to be there and that the vice president of operations wanted to have her on his team,” Copp said.
There was an ulterior motive: Schierman was being recognized as the Papa Murphy’s Regional Manager of the Year.
Schierman, however, didn’t realize that.
“It’s hard to pull one on me,” she said.
Even though she’d already gotten an award for being a top Papa Murphy’s manager at a breakfast event, as the banquet continued Schierman found herself wondering why she wasn’t getting one of four Manager of the Year awards as other recipients started being called to the stage.
“She looks at me and goes, ‘What do I have to do to get that?’” Copp said of Schierman’s reaction. “She was the last one they announced. It was priceless. She was like, ‘I should be up there.’”
Schierman admits she was already processing a message to send to Weiss.
“I’m already brainstorming, thinking about what to tell him. I was thinking, ‘What do I need to get up there?’” she said.
While concentrating on what she would write, Schierman completely missed the introduction of the final award recipient. She was brought back to reality only when she heard her name being called.
“I was completely shocked,” Schierman said.
Copp, who first became a franchisee for Papa Murphy’s in 1983 and currently has five stores in the Salem-Keizer area and three more in the Portland area, long had trust in Schierman. He tapped Schierman to help open his Stayton location in 2005, then brought her to the Keizer store as manager.
“She’s pretty motivated,” Copp said. “She’s just one of those people that has no excuses. If you ask her to do something, she finds a way to get it done. When corporate came up with its new five-star program in May, it looks at quality of service, sales growth, speed of service, cleanliness and community involvement. Dawn said, ‘I’ll be a five-star manager.’”
The Keizer store is Copp’s first to be rated at five stars. That’s not bad for a store that in the past was one of Copp’s weakest.
“Of the eight stores I had, it was No. 7,” Copp said. “Now it’s No. 1. The bottom line, to go from No. 7 to No. 1, it has a lot to do with management. Dawn knows how to train people. She’s running the store and training people as well. She grooms them and gives them the opportunity to go to the next level.”
Schierman, a married mom with a 15-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter, manages a crew of 13 employees.
“We do a lot of fundraisers here, especially with the American Cancer Society and McNary High School,” she said. “My son will probably work in one of our locations when he’s 16. I’ve hired some of his friends already. I tell my crew things you learn now like work ethic will benefit you down the road.”
The award was for Papa Murphy’s northern region, which includes stores in Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and Montana. Copp estimates at least 500 stores make up the region.
“It was pretty prestigious,” Copp said of the award. “I wasn’t totally surprised. Dawn deserved it, but I wasn’t thinking it was a shoo-in because I don’t know a lot of these managers.”
Schierman, who is finishing her bachelor’s degree in business management through the University of Phoenix, appreciates her boss right back.
“Chris and (his wife) Julie are amazing,” Schierman said. “They are very family-oriented. That’s huge to us.”