Customers rely on Amazon for fast delivery of just about anything they need. To some, it might seem like a miracle when a box with the familiar Amazon smile arrives at their doorsteps, but associates behind the scenes know there's science and great service behind each delivery.

For more than five years, Amazon has invited customers into its warehouses, known as Amazon fulfillment centers, to see what happens after they click the "buy now" button. Craig McCormick was one of those customers. He had no idea when he went on a tour in 2016 of a Phoenix fulfillment center that it would be a life-changing experience.

McCormick admits his expectations of the tour weren't very high. He assumed he and his wife would see an old-school warehouse. In his words, "dark, boring, and cold." To his surprise, "it was lit up and interactive."

"The employees were having fun," he said. "Everybody pretty much had a smile on their face. Packers were able to communicate with each other, managers were engaging with associates, Human Resources and safety reps were on the floor. It was really cool."

McCormick was also surprised when the tour leader shared that Amazon is a leading U.S. retailer in pay and benefits, and fulfillment centers are full of opportunities to grow and develop within the company. Although he enjoyed his eight years as a chef, McCormick began to notice similarities between his career in restaurants and the work he saw in the warehouse—a fast-paced environment, emphasis on time management, and the commitment to safety. But there was one difference, "I actually wanted that ability to move up. As a chef you have to move locations quite often; I wanted to stick with a company and work my way up."

After the Amazon tour, he made a decision. "This is where I'm going to go."

McCormick went home and applied for an associate role at the fulfillment center. In just a couple months, he was offered a full-time job as an inventory quality control associate at PHX6—the same facility where he took the tour. A month later, he transferred to the packing area.

I love the fact that I get to be here, be part of the team, making Amazon history.
Craig McCormick, area manager, Amazon fulfillment center

During the next two and a half years, he took advantage of the various Amazon programs that offer training for higher-skilled roles, learning as much as he could about the different departments. He was also able to be a part of creating new ways to get customer orders to them faster.

"I love the fact that I get to be here, be part of the team, making Amazon history," said McCormick.

McCormick was recently promoted to an area manager role, overseeing dozens of associates. "I see a future for myself at Amazon," he said. And while most FC tour participants don't end up working there, he encourages everyone to take a tour. "It's always cool to go see behind the scenes and experience what actually is happening."

There are 23 fulfillment centers in the United States and Canada that offer public tours. Go to amazon.com/fctours for more info.