Brice Kemle smiles next to one of the six McDonald’s locations that he supervises. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Havonnah Johnson

Brice Kemle went from cleaning floors overnight at McDonald’s to running a $15 million budget for the company.

20 years ago, Kemle came to California from Cameroon with the plan to enroll in school and stay with his uncle. However, there was a miscommunication and Kemle ended up in a different city from his uncle at 18-years-old with nowhere to stay. On top of everything, Kemle did not speak English or Spanish. He was in Fontana, CA and spoke French. After months of looking for work, he eventually got a job doing overnight maintenance at McDonald’s.

“I had never heard of McDonald’s before in my life, but I am so grateful for them. They changed my life,” said Kemle.

Soon after working at McDonald’s, Kemle became friends with one of his co-workers and they got a place together. Kemle’s English was also improving and his plans were starting to get back on track. He enrolled in community college and hit the ground running, having both a full-time work and full-time school schedule.

“I did both full-time and it is an experience never to be forgotten. You don’t have a life,” said Kemle. “I remember changing my work clothes in the car and in the bathroom sometimes, but I learned dedication and organization.”

In 2007, Kemle’s hard work was beginning to pay off. After ten years of working different positions, from cook to lower management, he was finally a general manager at a McDonald’s in Fontana. Simultaneously he received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in engineering from Cal Poly Pomona. More was to come for Kemle as a supervisor position became available for his location. He applied thinking that it would be a good insight to what it was like to apply for a higher position. Kemle did not think that he would get the job, but he did.

Kemle turned his obstacles into opportunity and now comes into McDonald’s as a supervisor.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Havonnah Johnson

As supervisor, his duties increased from making sure that the service employees were doing a good job to overseeing the managers as well. He also now has the responsibility of the budget for the location and making sure that there is a profit. Years of juggling school and work gave him the organizational skills to manage everything well and he is now supervising six different locations in Orange County.

“When I applied to be supervisor, I was going for the experience of the application and now I have $15 million to be in charge of,” said Kemle. “That’s significant. That’s a challenge. I appreciate the trust and responsibility.”

Even though Kemle studied engineering and has a passion for computers, McDonald’s has given him a lot of joy and new passion. Along with changing his life’s career, working at McDonald’s is how Kemle met his wife, who he has five children with and one more on the way. Kemle is also planning on pursuing a Doctorate degree that McDonald’s will fund.

“McDonald’s has given me everything. I like computers, but McDonald’s has the people,” said Kemle. “I like interacting with people and I also like that I am growing with the company. I feel like part of the family.”

Kemle went from homeless to now owning two homes and working with millions of dollars. Through his story, he encourages everyone to never give up and keep faith.