From Jumping Out of Helicopters to Running a Firehouse Subs With Jim Sherman

In honor of Veterans Day on November 11, we are recognizing and honoring some of our Firehouse Subs franchisees who selflessly served their nation in the United States military. This is part 3 of 6.

As a retired veteran of two decades, Jim Sherman continues to live the core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty, which he learned while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Prior to acquiring his sole Firehouse Subs restaurant in Mobile, Alabama in April 2006, he frequented the location as a customer who loved the taste of hot and hearty subs that the restaurant consistently served up. 

Learn more about the valuable lessons in leadership Jim learned from serving in the military, and how he uses his experience as a veteran to successfully operate his restaurant.

In what branch of the U.S. military did you serve and for how long?

I had the honor of serving the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years. 

What was your role in the military?

For the first six years, I was performing small boat search and rescue duty until the Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer program was created in 1985. For the last 14 years, I flew as a rescue swimmer in the HH-3F, HH-65, and HH-60 helicopters.

What’s your favorite part about being a military veteran?

I enjoy being able to wear my hair longer now than I was allowed to while serving. 

What made you become a Firehouse Subs franchisee?

I was a frequent customer at the Firehouse Subs closest to my home and loved the food. One day when the restaurant was shuttered, I was able to purchase and reopen the restaurant and turn it around. That was 15 years ago.

Did you learn anything in the military that transfers over to being a restaurant owner? If so, what?

My time in the military taught me quite a few lessons that are applicable to operating my restaurant which include: 

  • Lead from the front - Walk the talk
  • Don’t ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself
  • Be it a Senior Chief Petty Officer or a Franchisee, you set the example – good or bad – and your people will emulate all of you
  • Be consistent and provide continuity
  • Praise in public, counsel in private
  • 5 P's - Prior planning prevents poor performance

What was your favorite part about serving our country?

My favorite part was being a part of a team that is focused to put forth your best effort to help others.

What is your favorite Firehouse Subs sandwich?

The King's Hawaiian Pork & Slaw Sandwich is my all-time favorite sub. As a limited time offer, the sub is no longer on the menu but nothing can replace it!