Mark Wilson & Domino's

Volunteers from Southeast’s Southwest Campus recently delivered pizzas to local healthcare workers. The pizzas were donated by Domino’s, where Mark Wilson, a Southwest Campus member, works as a district manager. 

Domino’s Pizza district manager Mark Wilson has “lost” two Bibles since the start of COVID-19.

He’s had good reason.

“We’ve had a couple of young guys who have risen to the occasion, to step up and change their family tree so to speak, coming from nothing to be able to work at Domino’s, and now they’re getting ready to be able to take over stores as general managers as 20-year-olds,” said Wilson, 32. “It’s been a blessing. They’re asking all kinds of questions about my faith and obviously the store. I’ve ‘lost’ two Bibles during this … They were asking questions and I was like, ‘I want you to have something tangible to read. I don’t have all the answers.’”

Wilson is one of three district managers overseeing 14 Domino’s stores in Louisville.

Wilson’s faith is bigger than the uncertainty of the food industry.

“I’m not really approaching things much differently because, as far as my faith goes, my goal is to love people, and I want to create opportunities for people that they can achieve something,” added Wilson, a Southeast Christian Church attendee. “I want to be different in how I handle situations, listen to people, speak to people and go above and beyond for somebody. If they need a ride home, I can do that for them. It all starts with the same foundation of my faith and following Jesus that calms my nerves in the middle of a rush. That gives me hope that it’s just pizza and it’s not what defines me.”

Wilson was initially worried about how the coronavirus would collide with business, but he has seen God’s faithfulness.

“March Madness is a huge time for us, and I was obviously worried about sales dipping, but our sales have been through the roof … so we have been able to provide jobs for people,” he said.

The pizza business is fast-paced, but Wilson uses an alarm on his phone to remind him to pray.

“I have a prayer alarm that goes off about six times a day, whether I pray right then or not, it just kind of reminds me that I need to take time, center myself and follow what God has called me to do,” he said. “I’m a busy guy. I forget that prayer should be first and foremost. When it goes off, they’re like, ‘Hey, it’s prayer time’ and I’m able to ask, ‘Is there anything I’m able to pray for?’”

Leading from the front

Wilson moved to Louisville from a small town in Missouri last April with his wife, Sarah.

The Wilsons listened to Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman’s sermons and read his books when they lived in Missouri. They felt at home after visiting the Southwest Campus last June.

Wilson’s dad previously owned Domino’s stores in Missouri and he has worked for the chain since he was 16.

That provided an opportunity for him to lead from the front, especially at a time when leaders can hide in crisis.

“It was important for me to do a lot of the same tasks that we’re asking people to do, such as spend a day at this store delivering a few pizzas here and there, or we’re making pizzas,” Wilson said. “My approach was to be more available and present to people so they could ask questions and to be honest with them.”

Aside from the obvious—following CDC guidelines and maintaining good hygiene practices—Wilson has focused on communication to quiet the confusion.

“Being in the food industry, when you have a virus or it pertains to the CDC, things change constantly,” Wilson added. “I knew we were going to have to make a lot of changes. I was just really worried about taking care of our people. ‘Do we need to provide gloves? Can we get masks?’ There was a lot of confusion.”

Domino’s donations

Domino’s has donated hundreds of pizzas to first responders, those in the healthcare industry and to kids in need within school districts.

“You can only give a firehouse so many pizzas until they’re tired of pizza, so I knew that option would run out fast between firefighters, police and hospitals,” Wilson said.

Wilson then reached out to Community Pastor Aaron Troutman, who was able to give away 500 to 600 pizzas to different hospitals and businesses in Southwest Louisville such as Kroger, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

“A small group from the Southwest SE!Kids team met and prayed with some staff at Treyton Oak Towers (a senior living community),” Troutman said. “They blessed them with about 200 cards made by kids in our church as an encouragement to their staff and residents. Also, in partnership with Domino’s pizza and Mark, they provided lunch for the entire staff.”