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McDonald’s announced that Quarter Pounders in every US store except for ones in Hawaii and Alaska will have fresh beef without added preservatives starting in May.
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Some people think of McDonald’s as a go-nowhere job.

For the past six years, though, that job has taken Jacob Schearer places he never thought he’d be able to go.

Schearer, 20, is a shift manager at the Marketplace McDonald’s. A descendent of longtime Great Falls franchise owners the Himmelberg family, working at the restaurant is in Schearer’s blood.

In April, Schearer attends the 2018 Worldwide McDonald’s Convention in Florida for an all-expense-paid working vacation. Part of the convention features four full-size McDonald’s kitchens serving menu items not yet available to the public.

“I’ll be working in different kitchens depending on the day,” Schearer said, “and I’ll be serving thousands of people coming to the convention from around the world.”

The event also includes training, exposure to new products and restaurant equipment, a private day at a Universal Studios theme park and a live musical concert. Jonathan Siennicki is rumored to be the performer.

Being chosen to attend the convention was quite an honor for Schearer.

“My owner/operator selected me due to my customer service skill, positive attitude and experience within the company,” he said.

But this isn’t the first time McDonald’s has given Schearer a boost with his career. He has been to other management trainings some of which gave him college credit toward his program at University of Providence, where he’s nearly finished with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

He’s also taken advantage of the Archways to Opportunity scholarship program that offers McDonald’s employees college tuition assistance.

Schearer’s school was very supportive of his trip, giving him time off and encouraging him to attend.

“It’s a big help that my professors were like yeah, go, it’s a good experience,” he said.

Will all this lead to a lifelong career at McDonald’s?

“I think it’d be cool to make my way up in the company, but honestly I don’t know what I want to do yet,” said Schearer, adding that he’s excited for the networking opportunities the convention will open up.

Schearer is on a break from his job right now to attend school, but he’d like to look into some internships with McDonald’s after graduation.

“There’s going to be a ton of people from around the world that I’ll be able to work with and meet with (at the convention),” he said. “By meeting all these people, this will help me in the future with the company no matter where I’m at.”

It took Schearer less than a second to respond with his favorite part about working at McDonald’s.

“The customers,” he said, smiling. “Whenever I come back and work on breaks, customers recognize me, they ask me how school’s going. Making relationships with the customers, it just makes you feel good.”

It seems at every McDonald’s Restaurant, there’s a group of older coffee-drinkers that gathers in the early morning hours. Schearer has known some of those guys since his very first shift.

“As much as I don’t like getting up in the morning, I love the morning shift,” he said. “Most of the customers who recognize you, they come in in the morning and get their coffee.”

Schearer hopes his time at the convention will give him new skills and knowledge he can bring back and implement in his store, even if he does think “we’re going to get wrecked” with the number of sandwiches he’ll have to serve.

“I’ve always wanted to meet the higher-ups, so it should be interesting. Well, nerve-racking, but it’ll be fun,” he said. “I’ll just have to shift what I’ve learned here into a bigger working environment. Plus, I’ll get to try all the new food, so that’s super exciting.”

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Traci Rosenbaum at 791-1490. Follow her on Twitter @GFTrib_TRosenba.

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