The Heart & Soul of Precor: Ezell Thompson

The Heart & Soul of Precor: Ezell Thompson

Our Heart & Soul of Precor series highlights the incredible, inspiring people who work at Precor. These articles focus on employees who embody the Precor creed both inside and outside of the workplace. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the people who make our company so unique!

We would like to introduce you to Ezell Thompson, who has worked as a fabricator in the Precor strength manufacturing plant in Greensboro, North Carolina, for nine years. In addition to putting in many hours at the job each week, Ezell has also been hard at work pursuing and excelling at developing his culinary skills.

What inspired you to start cooking?

Ezell’s father was a cook for 30 years, and was the main inspiration for Ezell’s passion of cooking. Since the age of 16, Ezell has worked various jobs in the restaurant industry, and upon moving to Greensboro, he decided he wanted to take his cooking one step further. He made the decision to attend Virginia College to earn his culinary degree. Ezell believes that making food people enjoy and seeing smiles on their faces when they eat it is the main goal, so getting his culinary degree and learning about new seasonings, flavorings, and preparation styles was going to allow him to do just that.

How do use your culinary skills today?

After obtaining his culinary degree, he got a job right out of school at a local restaurant, but Ezell didn’t want to cook for a chain restaurant – he wanted people to taste the way he cooked food, and not be restricted in his approaches. Today, Ezell shares his culinary skills by running his own catering business on the side for fun and entertainment. Recently, he created a variety of desserts for the managers at Precor in North Carolina – we are still trying to convince him to send some desserts up to the Precor headquarters in Washington!

Parmesan Crusted Rack of Lamb

How did you balance working at Precor while still attending culinary school and internship?

Ezell said it was a definite challenge to attend school and work full time. He went straight from work to school with only 30 minutes in between. His typical work day was from 6:00 AM to 4:30 PM, with school starting at 5:00 PM and generally going until about 10:30 PM. Needless to say, sleep was not much of an option for Ezell.

Ezell explained that today he still works a hard schedule, but that working at Precor allows him to keep up on a regular exercise schedule due to its exercise room in the workplace. It allows him to have the energy to run his business on the weekends while still excelling in his full-time position during the week.

How has working at Precor/Amer Sports influenced your journey?

“Working at Precor has given me the will to strive to be better. It has motivated me to pursue my passion and chase my dreams to make something of myself.”

It has allowed Ezell to get his body in good condition and exercise daily. Ezell explained that Precor is a good, supportive company and that he truly believes he is a better person from working at Precor. He loves participating in events with Precor coworkers like the American Heart Walk, and he will always preach the values of Precor and encourage others to better themselves.

What is your favorite dish to make?

Ezell’s favorite dish to make is chicken and pasta, with a homemade sauce. Some of his favorite sauce choices are BBQ sauce, mustard sauce, and vinegar sauce, and then he will zest them up with the seasonings he wants.

Stuffed Chicken Breast

What are the differences between cooking for yourself or for an audience?

Ezell explains that cooking for yourself allows you to have more freedom in what you want to use, and then you can test it. This is what he usually does before cooking for an audience, because it allows him the chance to hone his own techniques and make sure it tastes perfect.

What are the biggest challenges to overcome when cooking for a crowd or customer?

The biggest challenge for Ezell is making sure the customer he is working with knows what they want as far as food selection and flavor. To help with this he provides them with a list of available foods and they select what they want. A month before the event, he’ll do a trial run and prep all the food, after which the customer then samples the food to make sure it’s perfect for them and will accommodate everyone. By the time the event has rolled around, Ezell has perfected his recipe, resulting in happy customers.

Warm Salmon Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomato Cilantro Butter

What are your long-term goals with your culinary skills?

Before he went to culinary school, Ezell owned a restaurant that specialized in chicken wings. It was open about 3 years and unfortunately had to close down due to the economy. Now that he has his degree and his catering business, Ezell is now playing with the idea of having a veggie food truck in the future. He’s ready to go with a business plan, vision, menu, and logo – we hope to see this food truck have great success!

What’s your fitness story?

Ezell has been into fitness all his life. He played football through high school and lifted weights. When he started working at Precor, it helped him get back to being consistent in the gym. He has trained coworkers at Precor, and training together has helped them to get into better shape. Ezell has been exercising the Precor gym every day after work for nine years, with the firm belief that without fitness, you can’t live a good life.