LOWELL, MA–Jeremy Novato, a recent graduate of a well-respected Lowell high school, has secured a position with the McDonald's Corporation, a high-ranking Fortune 500 company.

Recent McDonald's hire Jeremy Novato at the Fortune 500 company's Exeter Road branch.

"I'm tremendously excited to have this opportunity to work with the world's number-one restaurant chain," said Novato, 18, pouring ketchup into a large metallic pump dispenser at the $41 billion company's Exeter Road branch Monday. "I am determined to prove that their difficult decision to go with me over Dashanté Simmons was not a mistake."

According to Novato, it was McDonald's impressive Fortune 500 rank of 132–along with the fact that a branch office is located just down the street from his parents' house, where he resides--that convinced him to sign with the company.

"I had competing offers from both Dairy-Freez and Lube-In-10, but neither of those companies makes the list of top-grossing Massachusetts businesses, much less the Fortune 500," Novato said. "Dairy-Freez actually offered me a compensation package that was slightly better than the one I stood to receive at McDonald's, with a base salary of $6.25 an hour and a 50-cent raise after the first month, plus a $25 signing bonus. But in the final analysis, I felt it was in my long-term best interest to go with a global leader."

Guaranteed at least 32 hours a week in his new post, Novato said he is "extremely enthused by the numbers [he's] seen" in McDonald's financial summaries.

"For the six months ending June 6, total revenues for the company rose 7 percent to $6.9 billion," Novato said. "Net income rose 6 percent to $976.8 million. That's healthy growth."

Even more encouraging, Novato said, is the company's aggressive expansion into overseas markets.

"Earlier this year, McDonald's opened a restaurant in French Guiana, bringing the total number of nations in which it operates to 119," Novato said. "And, as John Ivankoe of J.P. Morgan recently noted, McDonald's stands to be one of the major U.S. players in the Asian Pacific region and Latin America in the coming decade. That's very exciting for a new member of the brain trust like myself."

Despite Novato's tender age, McDonald's executives are confident that he can bring a new dimension to the company.

"We're very happy to have Jeremy on board," said Gabe Diaz, manager of the Exeter Road location. "I saw a lot of extra-curricular activities on his application, and that's always a good sign."

In his first days on the job, Novato has already shown great promise. He has absorbed vital information about how the Exeter Road link in McDonald's chain of stores works, including where the brooms are kept and how to break down the cardboard boxes for recycling pick-up.

"Right now, I'm just trying to take in as much as I can, watching everything that goes on around me," said Novato, who, as a drive-thru cashier, will directly handle a portion of the company's projected year-2001 revenue of $14 billion. "But hopefully soon, I can get in there and begin to effect some real changes of my own."

Novato's plans include a full-scale restructuring of the walk-in freezer to get the chicken-patty bags off the floor and the installation of a paper-towel dispenser above the sink in the grill area.

"I can't tell you how energizing it is to be part of a dynamic company that controls a whopping 16 percent of the U.S. fast-food market," Novato said. "There's just so much to look forward to."

McDonald's CEO Jack Greenberg agreed.

"We just won a competitive bid with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority to open 11 new food-service plazas," said Greenberg, speaking from the company's Oak Brook, IL, headquarters. "Those outlets should translate to an additional $50 million in annual sales. In addition, we recently reached an exclusive agreement with Hasbro to sell Hello Kitty and Transformers Beast Machines figures."

Novato has already been tabbed to play a role in the multimillion-dollar Hasbro deal, assigned the important task of folding the specially designed Hello Kitty Happy Meal boxes.

"If handled correctly, this in-store promotion could be as successful as the one for Teenie Beanie Babies, which resulted in mile-long lines out the door," Novato said. "That would mean a strong final quarter heading into 2001 and plenty of extra weekend hours for me."