Volume 31 • Number 01 January, February & March 2019 Ashton, IL 61006
Christmas Dinners & Raffle Winners by Jeff Meiners
Jose Hernandez (Production B), winner of a 2012 GMC Terrain in the Benevolence Raffle this year.
Christmas was celebrated just a little early at Crest this year with nine different dinners serving over 800 people on the 12th and 13th of December. We just have too big of a group for everyone to sit down and enjoy a dinner together somewhere off-site, so we do the next best thing and have dinners together here in the break rooms…not quite the same as Grandma’s house, but the folks at Headons put on a pretty good spread and it’s nice to spend a little non-work time together as a Crest family. As a result of everyone’s collective effort, Crest provided a Christmas Bonus in order to put a little something extra in everyone’s Christmas stocking this year. We also celebrated employment anniversaries with 13 new people join- ing the ranks of the 255 who have been here 10 years, 11 joining the group of 130 in the 20 year club, 11 celebrat- ing 30 years joining the 52 already in this group and 2 new members joining the 9 other die-hards in our 40 year group…we are so blessed to have so many people who have dedicated their work lives to Crest. We also raise money for our Crest benevolence fund that helps out fellow employees who are dealing with difficult
In This Issue 30 Year Club page 7
20 Year Club page 4
Jingle Bell Rock Video page 16
circumstances in their lives. Crest employees bought $13,000 worth of raffle tickets for thirteen different items and Crest matched that number resulting in a nice addition for the fund. Thanks to all that helped to contrib- ute auction items and to those that bought raffle tickets – your money will 100% be used for good purposes throughout the year. Also, congratulations to all the raffle winners! We hope everyone’s time off over Christmas and New Years was enjoyable and relaxing.
Winner: Zygmunt Cichosz (Ing. Div. Maintenance) $1000 Cash Donated By: Anonymous
Winner: Kim McClanahan
Winner: Jason Drew (Building Maintenance) $500 Casey’s Gift Cards & Chicago Cubs Tickets Donated By: Crest Foods
Winner: Don Cole (Ing. Div. Production A) TV Donated By: Purchasing, IT & Building Maintenance
(Accounting) Cricut Bundle Donated By: Accounting & HR
Winner: Mike Mols (Ing. Div. Truck Driver)
Winner: Russell Noyes (Ing. Div. Production A) Washer & Dryer Donated By: Ing. Div. Sales & Tech
Winner: Jim Lyles (Mix A) $500 Tattoo Gift Card Donated By: 3rd Gen. Meiners
Winner: Chris Pfoutz (Customer Service) Coffee & Espresso Machine Donated By: Mike & Joyce Meiners
2 Night Stay at Lincoln Way Inn Donated By: Ing. Div. Operations
(left) Virtual Reality Headset Donated By: Ing. Div. Customer Service (middle)
$500 Amazon Gift Card Donated By: Ing. Div. R&D (right) Bulls Tickets Donated By: Crest Foods
Winner: Josie Jenkins (Production C)
Winner: Bill Cover (Mix A)
Winner: Brent Warner (Set Up Manager)
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Denton Yocum (20 Year), Kim Gallagher (40 Year), Jeff Meiners, Jackie Ayling (20 Year) & Jeff Friday (30 Year)
Mark Fichter (30 Year), Frank Malston (30 Year) & Jeff Meiners
Brian Dvorak (30 Year), Jeff Meiners & Ben Kinn (20 Year)
Brent Warner (30 Year), Rick Karper (30 Year), Jeff Meiners, Amy Wilcox (20 Year), Andy McCannon (40 Year) & Martha Nambo (20 Year)
Jorge Ramirez (20 Year), Kevin O’Dell (20 Year), Anne Harris (20 Year), Jeff Meiners, Teri Wolber (30 Year), Becky Henson (30 Year) & Julie Pitchford (20 Year)
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Editor’s Note: The one thing each of the people listed below have in common, is the year in which they were hired – 1998. You will see there are 11 employees who received their 20 year ring in December during the Christmas dinners. Their smiling faces will join the ring of pictures that circle the main plant breakroom as members of the 20 Year Club. We congratulate each of these employees on reaching this milestone and hope to induct them into the 30 Year Club in 10 more years! Many of these employees have given us a little informa- tion to share with our readers. Enjoy! New Additions to the 20 Year Club by Cheri Kemp Anne Harris (Micro Lab Technician) I started on the line when I was 16, working sum- mers and during school breaks. I worked in many different departments in the beginning years while going to high school and then college. I’ve met many unique, hard-working people that taught me good things and gave me a chance to try different departments to find a good fit. Working with different characters in Sanitation and Product Development while going to col- lege was an experience. A few of those people still work here and continue to do some great things and are friends of mine. At this time of 20 something years here, I have appreciated the fact that when people work together for a common goal and get along relatively well, we can accomplish pretty rewarding goals while having some fun and making the work not seem like a job every day.
Jorge Ramirez (Ingredient Division Production A) I came to Crest Foods from Rochelle Foods. My friend told me about Crest Foods and said it was a good company with opportuni- ties to move up and that it was like one big family and that is what I was looking for in a job. At first I wasn’t thinking I would be here long-term. When I first started here it was so hard to get the job done but over the years Crest Foods has made so many improvements to try to make it easier for their employees. As more time passed I felt like I could be happy here and there were opportunities to move up. So here I am, 20 years later and couldn’t be happier. Also I like how they (Crest) notice their employees when they are doing a good job. A lot of
companies don’t take the time to show that they appreciate their employees. A special memory for me is when my dad passed away in Mexico. Crest was willing to pay round trip air fare for me but my passport was not good so I couldn’t go. The thought that Crest was willing to help is something that I will never forget. To be honest, I have a lot of good memories. Now, I see why people say it is like one big family here. That is why I stay here…because I know Crest cares about all of their employees.
Todd Lorenc (Mix A) Actually, when I came to Crest I thought it was going to be a short stint, but here I am 20 years later. I started in Mixing as a helper then became a lead mixer about a year later. I remember moving Mix into the new facility with Chris Reynolds as my supervisor. It has been a good 20 years and Crest is a good company to work for with good benefits plus all the extra things Crest does for us (meals, parties). There are at lot of good people here and many have supported me with my art and music over the years. My best memory is when my wife and I went on a 2nd honeymoon to a resort in Mexico for my 10 year trip. Thank you to Crest Foods! Martha Nambo (Production A) I would like to thank God for the strength that He has given me to be able to work here for 20 years. When I first started working here I was trained on Line 1 and 2. Since then I have learned new skills and met many people. Thank you Crest Foods!
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Lori Shinabarger (Karlin Warehouse Receiving) Where did 1998 go?! I, like many, enjoy life & appreciate a good job when it comes along. Remembering where I came from in life helps me to appreciate making memories these past 20 years with a long time family tradition at Crest. It is interesting to rewind the film when I was hired on through Burton Placement and how time just flew by. I started on 2nd shift on line 1 then changed to 1st shift line 1 and was hired on full time by Crest after a year. My jobs consisted of garbage, line dumping, line operator, stacking, driving forklift, runner and ended at the docks. I have enjoyed working with many amazing people and still do along this great journey. From there I was off to the still
wet floors of the brand new Karlin Warehouse. You talk about being a rookie! We used recipe cards to keep track of inventory and of course the pallets were not where the card said. We were very grateful that Mitch finally got us some computers. From there it was adding in all the products and information on the computer system and learning the AS400 computer system was a challenge, but again dedication brought great results. We all want to suc- ceed in life and become something better. Remember that a job might not make you rich but it is spending that time with family because you have a job that makes that happen which is more important. Thanks Steve, Jeff & Mike for helping me to raise my amazing family and also gain another one.
Amy Wilcox (Production A Floor Supervisor) It all started 20 years ago with the junior college program at Crest Foods. While attending Sauk Valley Community College I received a letter in the mail from Crest Foods stating they would pay for my tuition if I worked for them 3 nights a week on the production floor. After racking up a year’s worth of student loans already, I was on board! There were at least 10 of us in that first group, if not more, but only 2 of us are still here today. My first day, I was put on Line 21. In 1998 (back in the 90’s, as my kids would say), line 21 was a 3 pouch Hamburger Helper line with a glue spot for the topping pouch. You want to talk about a bad night, burn your fingers on that and try to keep going.
That’s probably the reason we no longer use the glue spot! I worked on just about every line in the plant after that. Around a year later, I decided I was bored working on the line and asked to be a line operator. Once I received my Associates Degree at Sauk and a Certification in Computer Networking, I was in the same boat as many others my age. Getting my Bachelor’s Degree was out. I had bills to pay and unfortunately, not enough experience to find a job in my field. So I stayed at Crest. I was already on first shift, I liked my hours and on most days I liked what I was doing. I eventually worked my way up to the Level 6 position in our West Facility and then into my supervisor role in the Main Plant. I enjoyed working in both facilities. I’ve met so many interesting people along the way and learned a lot about the operations here. Crest Foods is definitely a great company to work for and I love the people I work with. Thank you for keeping me around as long as you have.
Jackie Ayling (Production A) Having two children at home, I was in need of health insur- ance so working part time wasn’t an option anymore. So I started to look for full time work close to home. Looking in the local paper, Crest Foods had openings for full time, daytime working hours. I applied and got hired on through Crest Foods. When I first started, I didn’t think I would survive the first week, as it was fast paced work and I was not used to that kind of work. It has turned out to be a long- term career. This has been 20 years with a lot of good times, working with good people. One of the moments that meant a lot to me was when on my 10th year at Crest Foods, the company gave us our 10 year trip so we could do some-
thing special with it. My husband and I took a trip to the Grand Canyon by train and then by bus. It was an amaz- ing trip, thanks to Crest Foods. My special memories I have of working at Crest Foods is how family oriented the company is and working with good people. Over the years we have also lost some very special people due to illness. I miss them a lot. Over the years I am always touched how we come together to support those people through their illnesses. Crest Foods has been good to me over the 20 years. Thank you!
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Julie Pitchford (Micro Lab Technician) It’s hard to sum up 20 years into a paragraph, but here I go...I started out working as a line worker on the production floor. I soon realized that I’d like to be a line operator & run a packaging line. After many years of reaching the daily quota for the day, I wanted to try something new and found myself working in the QA De- partment for the Ingredient Division. I enjoy my career and the path I chose working in the QA Department and I feel it’s a very nice fit for me. Over the years I’ve met a lot of nice people working here, who I consider close friends and extended family. I’m glad to call Crest Foods my work home for the last 20 years Ben Kinn (Warehouse Floor Manager) I came to Crest Foods shortly after high school through the Junior College program. I was still working through the Junior College program taking classes but needed insurance so went to full time. I started off stacking on 2nd shift on an oatmeal line. During my stint there I worked 1st shift with Gina Smith and Jeff Roop for a while when they were floor supervisors. One person that I remember is Lou Stone who was a dumper way back when, and one of the first people who made me feel really welcome at Crest Foods. Over the years I have gone back and forth between shifts and departments and finally landed in the Warehouse as a floor manager. I have seen many things over the years at Denton Yocum (Mechanical Engineer) Twenty years really does fly by. I was 18 when I started at Crest and I didn’t know much about how getting a job worked. Jeff Meiners made it really easy for me. He asked if I wanted a job and I said yes. That was it! I grew up on a farm and always had many, many chores to do. It was different to work only Monday – Friday and have the weekend off. I got used to it and quickly learned about the production lines and how they worked while training with many line mechanics. I learned about parts for production ma- chines while shadowing Marcia Breeden and Roy Dickey in the Parts Room and how to make and fix parts from Lloyd Pretzsch and Garnie Stevens in the Machine Shop. Many of my years
Crest Foods but one vivid memory is the tornado of 2015 and what the warehouse went through.
were spent in the Machine Shop continually learning how to make parts better so they wouldn’t break and that led me to an engineering career. I am truly thankful to all of those that shared their knowledge with me and I try to incorporate that knowledge into the new equipment we buy, design and build. It has been a fun and challenging 20 years and I look forward to the next 20.
Kevin O’Dell (Ingredient Division Purchasing) Early on I worked part time at Crest Foods in high school, then again for a short time after high school before finding other employment. I then worked 18 years at my prior employer, but because my prior employer was restructuring I made a decision to come back to Crest Foods where I saw a future for career development. I took a position on 2nd shift as a Mix Manager in the hopes of getting back to 1st shift to spend more time with my family. Later I worked on 1st shift as a Mix Manager then on to 3rd shift as the Sanitation/Maintenance Set-up person for about 18 months. I had been patiently waiting for ‘the’ opportunity to come along. The “tap on the shoulder” came in 2005 when
Crest Foods asked me if I would be interested in a 1st shift position in Ingredient Division Purchasing. I had worked most all of my career managing and supervising but once I was in Purchasing, I knew that was my “call- ing”…what I enjoyed most. My decision to come back to Crest Foods has provided me a career path that I am very grateful and appreciative for. Working for Crest Foods…is like family!
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Editor’s Note: Thirty years seems to come as a surprise to many of our employees when they reach that milestone. They are amazed that their time here has really reached and surpassed 30 years. Our eleven inductees this year will each have $500 donated to a chari- table organization of their choosing as well as a brick that will grace the front of our main plant office area with their name and the year their employment started with Crest Foods. Congratulations to each of them. Please enjoy their stories below: 30 Year Club by Cheri Kemp Becky Henson (Analytical Lab QA Coordinator) I came to Crest at the height of a blistering hot summer, so working in air conditioned comfort was very appealing to me. It was the late 80’s and the job market was very tight. Back then we went through a company called Corporate Services, a temporary agency before Manpower. I still re- member the first time I came in the front door near where the receptionist, Paulette, was at that time. Crest had been running a Kool-Aid-type product and everything smelled like a mix of grapes, cake mix, and cheese sauce. To this day when I go through that door I still get a whiff of that aroma and it takes me right back to that first day. My first night on 2nd shift was a challenge, working on the line packing heavy brownie mix. My back and feet were killing me and my trainer did her best to get me up to speed, because the next night I was on my own. Through my misery I saw a girl walking around with a basket collecting samples and I thought, boy that is the job I want. Six months later I got my first position as a Line Weigher in the QA Department and have been in QA ever since. My first 7 years were spent on 2nd shift, which is a very special and unique environment tending to lean towards a younger demographic. We were all a very close knit group, almost like family. Back then everything was all under one roof, mixers, dumpers, production, and some warehousing. We worked well together and also had a lot of fun together outside of work, especially Thursday nights after the checks were handed out. I forged a lot of strong friendships in those years that have lasted to this day. Once my kids were in school all day I applied for an opening at the North Lab and that is where I have spent the rest of my years. Who knew- all those years ago, I came for a job and found a career. Brent Warner (Set Up Manager) My first years at Crest started as a Line Mechanic. Crest had just purchased their first Hayssen vertical bagger. Seeking direction in my life I chose to leave Crest to pursue Mission work and Discipleship Training School. I then returned doing “set-up” work with Kim Gallagher and Frank Zittle. Our work load was very demanding and hectic, so I decided to leave for “greener pastures”. But it wasn’t quite what I expected and Crest welcomed me back and shortly thereafter I became Set-up Manager. My years at Crest have taught me many things professionally and about myself: 1) Strive to do things right. 2) Strive to be positive. 3) Strive to be honest in all situations. 4) Don’t partici- pate in slander. 5) “Put myself in your shoes” to give a different perspective on situations. There are many things that I appreciate about Crest and one of them is the freedom that Crest offers to be creative. We are involved in a very interesting business with many moving parts and challenging situations. Thank you for my years at Crest. Brian Dvorak (Karlin Warehouse Lead) When Crest had their flood in the spring of 1988 they posted signs about needing people to help with cleanup. I can’t remember how much I helped but I remember what I saw and it was unbelievable. A short time after that I was walking home one day and a family friend, Neil Henert, stopped and offered me a ride. We were talking about families and he asked me when was I going to start one. I told him I needed benefits and he explained what Crest had to offer. I thought about it and the next day I went to see Neil and he hired me on the spot. Other than a brief work stint at the plant, I have always worked in the warehouse one way or another. It has been a roller coaster ride at the warehouse and technology has proven to be a major factor with the personnel. Memories? There have been a lot! Probably the one that sticks out is when Marshall Girton accidently hit a sprinkler system water pipe. He was screaming into the walkie-talkie but no one could understand him, and water was spraying everywhere…it wasn’t amusing at the time but looking back it definitely was a memory!
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Jeff Friday (QA Compliance Manager) Needless to say when I started at Crest Foods I had no concept of 30 years, since I had not yet even been alive for 30 years, nor did I think that I would be here for 30 years. I just thought it was odd to talk about my 10 year trip, when it was still 10 years away… Today, it seems like blocks of 10 years go rolling by at an alarmingly faster and faster pace. It’s even more sobering to realize that my first Crest Foods experience, as a student worker, was nearly 10 years before I started my last 30! During my earliest days, as a student, I worked as a Mix Helper with Lead Mixer Ray O’Dell and later did all of B-Shift Sanitation, by myself, as an after school job. I also worked one summer in the Ingredient Division Produc- tion Department in the basement of the North Building on Main Street, where the Fitness Center is today. How ever, the most vivid memories have always been the people. I remember Jerry Waters being an “old-timer”, even way back then, the quirkiness of Bernie Hillers, and Kim Gallagher was a recent hire with that long-haired hippie look going for him. Jay Meiners was a good guy, but seemed really intimidating. I got along with Dick Moeller because I raked his yard, mowed his grass and waxed his boat. Carmen Quadraro thought I worked too fast and Norbert Dunkel had the wildest stories about World War II. I could go on, because the list was huge: Jan Warner, Ken & Nancy Fischbach, Mike Fichter, Bob Maronde and many more employees, on which today’s success has been built… Certainly there was no shortage of colorful stories, crazy antics and memorable people. The good news, from my student experience, was that apparently I didn’t do anything to prevent me from be- ing hired back as a full time employee in October of 1988. Back then, the Payroll Department was just one per- son… me. DeLyle Pfoutz worked with me for a couple weeks before she quit. I think she had enough of doing payroll and was ready to give it up. After my first solo week of payroll I thought I had enough as well. None the less, I persevered and was subsequently glad that I had done so. The company grew and the Payroll Department expanded into the HR Department. I have since moved out of HR to develop the compliance function within the Packaging Division Quality Assurance Department. Over the years I have learned the importance of performing tasks with diligence, persistence and patience. Things do not always change quickly or in the way of my choosing, but things do change and opportunities are presented. I am thankful to God and grateful to Crest Foods for help- ing me provide for my family and for seeing potential in my career when many times I was unsure of myself. It’s been a great ride so far, not to mention “another brick in the wall” and I hope I’ve got many good years left to give. Teri Wolber (Ingredient Division Customer Service) I would not be a 30 year Crest employee if it wasn’t for Stephanie Quinton. Stephanie approached me 30 years ago (she was neighbors with my parents) and asked if I was content at my current job, and if not, would I be interested in applying at Crest Foods? The rest is history. I have been in the Customer Service area all 30+ years and it has been a wonderful experience. Working with the customers, sales reps and co-workers is the best part! I’ve made a lot of friends and have stayed in touch with several of the contacts I’ve worked with, after they left their position. I look forward to seeing what the next decade brings. Frank Malston (Preventative Maintenance Mechanic C) In my 30 years at Crest Foods I met a lot of strange and wonderful people. The things that stand out the most are when my wife and I needed major surgery. Crest Foods saved both our lives. Thank you all so much. Mark Fichter (Preventative Maintenance Mechanic C) Way back when, a former employee named Jason Anderson, was tasked with the job of creating a Sanitation team. Mark was part of that startup working on the third shift Sanitation crew. Over the years, remaining on third shift, Mark transitioned into the Maintenance Department as a Preventive Mechanic. A lot happens behind the scenes on this shift as Mark and fellow employees get our equipment in tip top shape and ready to roll for the day.
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Bill Henry (Warehouse A) Bill works in our warehouse where he spends a lot of time on a forklift picking stock orders for our trucks. Over the 30 years he has been here he has been a Dumper, Weigher, Lead Mixer and then to the dock in town. The last 20 years have been spent in our West Warehouse as a Stock Picker and pallet sorter. Rick Karper (Line Mechanic A) I made my way to Crest Foods 30 years ago after being laid off from the Byron Nuclear plant. I was off work for a few months from the Nuclear plant when my mother decided I needed to find something to do so she talked to Dick Moeller at Crest Foods and said “my son needs a job”. When I came to talk to Dick, he told me he was no longer in charge of maintenance so couldn’t help me but I told him “My mom said you could get me a job”. That lead to an introduction to Chuck Pfoutz who was in charge of Maintenance and he decided to hire me. For the first few years, because I was the bottom man, I was bounced around between 2nd and 3rd shift for Preventive Maintenance and Set-Up. The last 13 or 14 years I have been on first shift as a Line Mechanic. I remember on my 20th anniversary, when Jeff Meiners gave me my 20 year ring. I said “Jeff, I am just here until something better comes along”. And now I am getting my 30 year brick in the wall! Gerry Temmen (Forklift A) How did I end up at Crest Foods? Well, I had been working for a cattle farmer north of Sterling and they let me go right before Thanksgiving, leaving me without a job. I applied at Corporate Services (a temporary service agency) and they sent me here where I was eventually hired on direct to Crest Foods. I worked in Mix initially then was back and forth between Mix and Production and Dumping. I dumped a lot of Kool Aide and flavored coffee’s during that time. I have now been in the Warehouse for many years and I met my wife of almost 30 years here at Crest. And when our granddaughter, Ali, got sick with Tay Sachs disease…the Meiners family…well you could not ask for better people. My Ten Year Trip by Nathan Tippie (Ingredient Division Sales)
I used my ten year trip to continue a tradition that my friends and I started 9 years ago. We are all fans of college football and decided 9 years ago to that we wanted to start traveling and experiencing college football around the country. Every year, we take a look at the college football schedule and find a game and a destination that we find interesting. This year we decided to travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to take in two Pac 12 football games. On Friday, we traveled to Tuscan to watch the Arizona Wildcats defeat the Colorado Buffalos in a close game. Then the next day, we traveled to Tempe to watch the Arizona State Sun Devils defeat the Utah Utes in another exciting game. The rest of the trip, we just relaxed around the pool and palm trees and enjoyed the nice weather. I would like to thank Crest Foods for giving us the opportunity to continue our college football tradition.
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Our Sympathy Denton Yocum (Mechanical Engineer) and family on the death of his father, Melvin Yocum. Steve Osborne (QA Lab B), Rob Osborne (Machine Shop Project Manager) and Sue Osborne (Production Manager) on the death of Steve & Rob’s mother, Lucy Osborne. Erika Zepeda (Production A) on the death of her mother, Luz Mascorro and sister, Maria Chairez. Ruben Rodriguez (Production A) on the death of his I want to tell Crest Foods how thankful I am to be here at Crest Foods and have the job that I have. In the worst moments, you get the best things from people who help you through the difficult times. I lost my mom and my sis- ter 3 weeks apart and Crest Foods and the employees were there. I think God puts you where you need to be when the tough times happen. All the people who were there to support me...I am so very thankful for. Erika Zepeda (Production A) New Arrivals Congratulations to Justin Mackey (Ingredient Produc- tion A) and Lyssa Sanders on the birth of their son, Noah Eugene Mackey on October 25th. Noah weighed 6 pounds 5 ounces and was 20 inches in length. He is welcomed by big brother Nikalos age 9 and big sister Isabelle age 5. Congratulations to Bridgette Andel (Production A) and Radoslaw Cichosz on the birth of their daughter, Kaja Nikola Cichosz. Kaja was born November 26th and weighed 8 pounds 7 ounces and was 21 inches long. Big brother Blazej, age 5, welcomed his sister. And congratulations to grandparents Zygmunt Cichosz (Ingredient Division Maintenance Manager) and Ela Cichosz (Ingredient Division Lab Technician) on their new granddaughter. mother in Mexico. Thank You
Congratulations to Ashley Celestino (Production B) on the birth of her daughter, Alayna. Alayna was born on December 19th weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 21 inches long. Congratulations, Ashley! Congratulations to Jon (Scheduling) and Angie Bakener on the birth of her daughter, Vivian Taylor. Vivian was born on December 26th weighing 8 pounds and was 20 inches long. Congratulations to the Bakeners! Congratulations Celia Arredondo (Production A) would like to send con- gratulations to her grandson, Louie Mancinas who was crowned Rochelle Township High School Homecoming King. Susie Miller (Ingredient Division Customer Service) was named Illinois Assessor of the Year. Susie has been a Lee County a tax accessor for Ashton and Bradford Town ships, in Lee County, for 25 years. Congratulations, Susie! Dakota Shuck, daughter of Jim Shuck (Maintenance Floor Manager) and wife Trisha Shuck, on being accepted at Northern Illinois University in the Special Needs teacher program beginning in August 2019. Congratulations, Da- kota! Love, Mom & Dad. Congratulations to the flag football team of: Trevor Ferry, Kel Bond, Keith Larson, Jerry Sikkema, Colin Sikkema, Colton Morgan, Larry Shipman, Will Petinger, Cody Price, Mike Spencer, Brandon Hill, Hutch, J.D Gieson, Jesse Conour, Ben Lightner, Quinton Douglas & Diante Sand- ers! They ended up getting 1st Place overall and celebrated an undefeated season.
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Joanne & Jerry Waters Take Their Leave by Jeff Meiners
Jerry and Joanne have been at Crest almost as long as we have been in the Contract Packaging business. On October 26th they retired together ending the run of the lon- gest working couple at Crest with 85 years of service between them! It might just be one of those records that are never broken. Jerry started in 1972 with JoAnne follow- ing in 1979. Jerry started in Production at a time when the Line Operator was also the Mechanic, Quality Control Tech and Sanitation person as well. He found his home at Crest as a founding member of the Maintenance Department. Joanne was one of our more skilled Line Operators, but found her home and passion in Quality Control. Just imagine the changes they have seen since they have been at Crest…the supervisors, the programs, the policies and the technology changes. I’m pretty sure we didn’t even
think about the impact of allergens, gluten free, GMO free or organic in the 70’s. There is no doubt that the num- ber of different SKU’s that they have been involved with would number in the tens of thousands. They have been part of dozens of construction projects and participated in the recovery process from the great warehouse flood and the tornado that hit the West Facility. Crest has been so blessed with so many employees that have stayed with us for their entire work careers. Jerry and Joanne are perfect examples of people who have simply made Crest their home. Homes are associated with families and we are proud to know that they have been and always will be an intricate part of the Crest Foods family. It seems that the stories of events and situations over their time at Crest are almost endless, but what matters most to both are the friendships and relationships that they have built along the way. We wish Jerry and Joanne the best in their retirement…the place won’t be quite the same without them, but we’ll keep the doors open just so they can come back and visit often.
Congratulations to the following employees for obtaining new jobs at Crest Foods over the last few months!
Martha Holder Scheduling Clerk
Kaitlyn Hanabarger QA Line Technician B-Shift
Manufacturing Day Award This fall, Grainger presented Crest Foods with an Award for Excellence for Manufacturing Day of 2018: “We would like to recognize the incredible strides that Crest Foods has made for the Manufacturing Industry and the intentional focus that they have on their employees and the com- munity. There is a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into manufacturing and Crest Foods is a great example as to how to work hard to grow the business and rein- vest back into its family of employees. Grainger is honored to have partnered with
Crest Foods for many years. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the manufacturing industry!” To celebrate, Grainger brought in 67 dozen donuts for all employees to enjoy. We appreciate the recognition and the donuts, Grainger!
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Remembering Neil Henert
Neil Henert passed away Friday, December 7th at the age of 73 leaving behind his wife, Connie, three sons and daughter-in-laws, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He also left behind a very large Crest family that knew him as a friend, colleague and manager. Neil was the Warehouse Manager for the Packaging Division at Crest for 45 years until his retirement in December of 2014. He literally started as our Warehouse Manager before we even had a warehouse, and when he retired he was responsible for over 350,000 square feet of facility. He actually came to Crest with experience as a barber and laying flooring and simply grew along with us. While he didn’t cut much hair at Crest or lay any floors, his ability to work with people, his strong memory, his organizational skills and his quick wit made him a fixture at Crest for al- most a half of a century. Neil always had the ability to find the best in people and make the most of situations and we certainly presented him with a few opportunities to test those characteristics over the years. Neil represented all things good about the small little town of Ashton. In Ashton he was born, raised, schooled, married, raised his family, worked, served in leadership roles, retired and passed. He did all this as a consistently good guy that people respected and wanted to associate with. He will be missed and fondly remembered by all of us who were along for the ride with him. God’s speed partner…Neil Henert. Welcome Anne Noble, Benefits Manager
You may have seen a new face in the Benefits Department in the last few weeks. That face belongs to Anne Noble, our newest Benefits Manager. Anne comes to us with a great background in Human Resources as well as employee benefits such as health, dental, disability and life. Anne is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a B.B.A. in Management with an emphasis in Human Resources and has spent many years in the HR world at employers both large and small. Anne joined us during one of our busiest times of the year in benefits - insurance renewal time, and she has not flinched! I can say she has hit the ground running
and is proving to be a great asset to Crest Foods and its employees. Many employees have already had the benefit of her help in a multitude of instances so please feel free to ask her for assistance in any benefit related needs you might have. Anne will be shadowing me in the benefits area for the next few months as I (Cheri Kemp) transition to retirement with my planned retirement date of August 2, 2019. Anne and her husband, Dave, sons Seiler, Elliot & Jacob reside in Dixon, IL. Some favorite pastimes for Anne are going to sons sporting events and traveling to visit family. You will be in good hands with Anne now and in the future so please welcome her to Crest Foods.
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CIP 2019 1st Quarter Winners The Continuous Improvement Program (CIP) is a program where employees submit suggestions on ways they think we can improve Crest Foods. These suggestions may help improve overall efficiency, employee safety, sanita- tion, record keeping, maintenance and various other areas around Crest Foods. We received 39 suggestions from employees for the 1st quarter. Thank you to everyone for participating! Becca Dodd, Production B-Shift Jim Smith & Adam Giese, Maintenance B-Shift 1st Quarter 1st Place • $250 each
Line 87 takes a lot of people (which we are short on) to run and was difficult to pack with flimsy boxes. Becca, Jim and Adam came up with a rail to hold the boxes in place to make it easier for the packer. It ended up eliminating the need for a box maker and made the job easier.
Mikayla Cox, Production B-Shift 1st Quarter Runner Up • $150
Fabricate a small block lift for when lines are running trays. This would clamp on to existing packing tables to prevent moving any equipment. By raising the position of the trays it would help so the packers don’t have to bend so low. Randy Otten, Sanitation A-Shift 1st Quarter Runner Up • $150 Since we are often short on auger hoppers, make an interchangeable auger hopper lid for angel food. We gain an auger by making this lid modification.
Rico VanOosten, Production B-Shift 1st Quarter Runner Up • $150
Start printing the expected criteria for Zones on the back of the clean sign-off sheet to make information easier to find when doing inspections.
This fall, Crest Foods sponsored two teams to participate in trivia night to support the United Way of Lee County. Tom Windelborn, Max & Patty Ballard, Kristina McWethy, Erika Meiners, Em- ily Plapp, Casey Ward, Deven Sterbenz, Casey’s son, Cindy & Randy Reuter.
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Above & Beyond by Jeff Meiners You’ve heard the sayings…going the extra mile – pulling a rabbit out of the hat – hitting it out of the ball park – kicking butt and taking names. The new project recently put to bed in the contract packaging division brings all of those into play plus, just maybe, a little bit more. The folks who work in packaging are used to short turn-arounds…it is just part of the program when it comes to how we handle our packaging business. A recent major new project at Crest took us all to the edge of our limits. The end results have been fantastic, but this story is about what happened over 49 days and nights to take this proj- ect from an idea to product being produced on the line. A trial run for our new project left us with the sudden realization that it would not be possible to run this project in the area we intended for a variety of reasons. We were in a tough situation on a piece of business we did not want to jeopardize. That realization was on August 20th. The go ahead for a new plan that involved the literal construc- tion of a new production area was given on September 3rd. We ran our first product in that new area on October 22nd. That is nothing short of an impossible time frame for what we were able to accomplish. Our new production room was built inside of our warehouse in a walled off area that had been designated for stor- age of aromatic ingredients when it was originally built…so we had four walls and some cooling in place when we started. In 44 days, we needed to design a production area, engineer footings for floor loads, tear up existing floor, pour footings, re-install flooring, build and install a 60x60 steel mezzanine, paint, install all electrical, install a sprinkler system, install lighting, run vacuum and air and clean it all up and turn it over to maintenance to set up the line. Our suppliers and internal staff were fantastic! We’ve always said that you develop years of relationships with people and companies that pay dividends in moments just like this. Bennett Construction, Beesing Welding, Quality Electric, Automatic Fire, White’s Painting and our own internal Building Maintenance Team (Steve Zera, Brian Schafer, Dusty Koch, Peyton Brown, Jason Drew, Wally Karper and Ben Esgar) carried the load for us often work- ing long hours and seven day weeks. This type of project just doesn’t get done in the amount of time that it was done in…but somehow this dedicated group of individuals pulled it off. We couldn’t be prouder of the team effort that it took to make this all happen. Once the room was complete, the maintenance and engineering groups were quick to assemble the new equipment that was designated for this production area and we hit the ground running with our start-up. This was the third major start-up in a series of four that occurred over a three month period of time involving mostly new equipment on large scale projects that were handled by our internal maintenance and engineering staff. They balanced these projects while handling our existing volume during the busiest season of our year without missing a beat…once again, a huge effort that has produced nothing but great results. Being and staying busy is the name of the game in our packaging business, but I’m sure all involved are looking forward to some well-deserved time off during the holiday season. Our sincerest thanks go out to all who were involved with making these projects happen from start to finish and maintaining our reputation as a company that can rise to any challenge put before us. Pictures to the right were taken over the course of 49 days. From putting in footers and installing the mezzanine to a finished production room.
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Supporting Deana Duncan. This fall, employees raised money to support Deana Duncan (Production A), who is battling pancreatic cancer. They all wore t-shirts showing their support and snapped a picture to send to Deana on her birthday.
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Jingle Bell Rock Video In an effort to do something different, use a little innovation and have some fun, our Marketing Department de- cided to make an electronic Christmas card for our customers, suppliers and prospects this year. They knew it would be a lot of work and a lot of listenening to Jingle Bell Rock over and over, but they didn’t know just how much fun they would have getting Crest employees to participate. This December, Kristina McWethy sent out the video to 771 contacts and posted it to the Crest Foods website with a lot of positive response! If you haven’t seen it, go to www.CrestFoods.com/news-room/happy-holidays/ Thanks to those 18 groups of employees who were willing to be (or embarass themselves) in the video!
Trish Carter, Sherry Joos, Rod Paul, Erik Morales, Stina Kanaras, Kathy Dwyer, Stephen Osborne, Matt Downing, Dawn Summers, Candy Koch, Lori Talley, David Henrikson, Kelly Stevens, Deb Worley, Katrina Berogan & Jessica Fair of QA.
Shirley Reif, Carol Milens, Val Smith, Emily Smith, Carynn Puentes, Darcy Zera, Kim McClanahan & Rachael Muszynski of Accounting
Mike Boatwright, Marcia Breeden, Matt Richardson, Troy Campbell & Scott Storey of Purchasing & the Parts Room
Alex Herrera, Gary Evans, Jason Rowl, Ben Yates, Matt Harazin, Mike Spencer & Todd Lorenc of Mix
John Mont & Ann Wege of Sales
Ed Baylor, Stephanie Quinton & Kevin O’Dell of Ing. Div. Operations
Justin Mackey, Kyle O’Dell, Melissa Urena & Marshall Pankhurst of Ing. Div. Production
16 Crest Ink January, February & March 2019 Keith Sodaro, Josh Peterson & Marisol Lara of Production
Joe Loquasto, Jeff Hacaga, Herb Wyckoff, Steve Crook, Ela Cichosz, Emily Plapp, Cindy Reuter & Deven Sterbenz of Ing. Div. R&D
Ben Fichter, Tim Wittenauer, Karen Yardley, Glen White & Carol Murphy of Sanitation
Jim Kitchens, Spider Dan & Josh Saxton of the Warehouse
Savannah Dees, Cheri Kemp, Susan Larson, Nurse Heidi, Lynn Burnette & Erika Meiners of Benefits, Payroll & Human Resources
Peggy Dill, Tom Windelborn, Holly Gleissner, Joyce Meiners, Gaven Meiners, Jennifer Pittman, Pam Furman & Jamie Cooper of Consumer Products
Phil Blythe, Lisa Moscato, Chris Pfoutz, Kristina McWethy, Janet Sutton, Andra Tremble, Teri Wolber, Susie Miller & Pete Bullock of Ing. Div.
Max Ballard, Lee Hall & Tommy Hamm of Tech. Service
Jeff, Mike & Steve Meiners
Brandon Meiners, Anne Harris, Dan Brown, Mary McWethy, Rachel Saltz, Mandi Kersten, Becky Henson & Julie Pitchford of Ing. Div. QA
Jon Bakener, Jenny Drew, Shelley Schopp, Martha Holder, Pam Kelley & Dave Bushman of Scheduling
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by Erika Meiners Crest Foods was able to step up their volunteering efforts this holiday season due to the overwhelming amount of employees who wanted to help! 22 employees filled out 500 Christmas cards so that each resident at Kreider Ser- vices, the Jack Mabley Center and the Village of Progress would receive a card for the holidays. We also had 23 employees who volunteered to purchase and wrap gifts for local nursing home residents as well as residents from Kreider Services and the Jack Mabley Center (85 residents total!). 31 employees then rang the bell for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive over four weekends in November and December. Employees volunteered 27 hours outside of ACE Hardware in Dixon and helped raise a record $11,500 for the Lee County Salvation Army! We can’t thank all of the Crest Foods employees enough who volunteered this holiday season. We are fortunate that we work with such generous people who are willing to donate their time to help others in the community. Thank you to the following employees (and their families!) who volunteered their time: Peggy Dill, Savannah Dees, Julie Pitchford, Steve Meiners, Shirley Reif, Angie Paul, Kena Rivera, Holly Gleissner, Emily Plapp, Andra Tremble, Karen Yardley, Becky Henson, Sue Osborne, Jon Bakener, Mandi Kersten, Cindy & Randy Reuter, Brian Schafer, Steve Starke, Kim McClanahan, Janet Sutton, Teri Wolber, Lisa Moscato, Kristina McWethy, Pam Kelley, Shirley Reif, Tim Windelborn, Nate McKnight, Jared Stumpenhorst, Stephanie Quinton, Marianne Cox, Chris Reynolds, Carol Milens, Penny Ellis, Amy Wilcox, Sarah Clemons, Becca Dodd, Sherry Joos, Trish Carter, Jim Kettley, Phil Blythe, Ela & Zygmunt Cichosz, Casey Ward, Dan Yates, Jen Lally, Carol Murphy, Glenn White, Val Smith, Susie Miller, Cheri Kemp, Dave Bushman, David Henrikson, Al Duthie, Scott Storey, Julie Pitchford and Henry Bunger.
Henry Bunger & Family
Ela & Zygmunt Cichosz
Burn n’ Bush
(above) Noah & Trish Carter, Sherry Joos, (right) Noah Carter
(above) Steve Starke, (right) Tom Windelborn
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Glen White, Jen Lally, Dan Yates & Carol Murphy
Karen & David Henrikson
Susie Miller & Cheri Kemp
Charity Gingerbread Competition Crest Foods’ third annual Charity Gingerbread Competition was our toughest to date! Every customer that signed up to participate was shipped a standard gingerbread house kit to use with only two rules: the kit provided had to be used for the structure and anything that was added must be edible. Every team really pulled out all the stops to try and win some holiday money for their charity of choice! Our team of judges had a difficult time deciding on the top three winners. It was so close, in fact, that it didn’t feel right to only award three prizes. In a departure from our standard rules, we decided to make donations to all chosen chari- ties this year! Thank you to our customer teams for making 2018 our most fierce competition yet, and for helping us make a difference in your local communities!
1st Place: $1,000 donation to Covenant House Vancouver (www.covenanthousebc.org) Covenant House Vancouver provides shelter and support services to young people aged 16 to 24 who have fled physical, emotional and sexual abuse; those who have been forced from their homes; and those who have aged out of foster care. 2nd Place: $500 donation to DonorsChoose.org (www.donorschoose.org) DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a public classroom in need. This specific donation went toward an at-risk first grade classroom in Green Bay, WI that requested a new rug for students to gather at throughout the day and use for learning and collaboration. 3rd Place: $250 donation to The Abundant Living for All Foundation (www.alfafoundation.info) ALFA is an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to supporting art, horticulture, culinary and social programs for adults with intellectual disabilities so that they can have meaningful opportunities to achieve full and abundant lives.
All other charities received a $100 donation in honor of the customer who selected them. Those charities include The ARC of Fond du Lac, Channel One Food Bank, Toronto Humane Society, American Red Cross Hurricane Michael Fund, Crawford County Humane Society and Canine Hunger. Check out more photos of all of the sub- mitted houses at www.CrestFoods.com/Gingerbread.
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GETTING TO KNOW Kristina McWethy Marketing Coordinator
Dealing with Grief During the Holidays by Ashley Koza, LCSW, EAP Counselor, Sinnissippi Centers Ashley is the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Counselor at Crest Foods. This free & confidential service is offered to employees on Tuesdays from 1:00pm - 5:00pm. Please give Ashley a call (815-732-3157) to set up an appointment, or stop by during her office hours at the Ashton Clinic on Rte 38. What is grief ? According to the Mayo Clinic, grief is a normal reaction to loss. Grief can be experienced after a loss of a loved one, an ending to a relationship or something that someone had formed a relationship to. Kubler- Ross identified five stages in the grieving process; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. As the holidays approach, often loved ones who have passed are remembered. Many people want to avoid the grief has holidays approach, however this does not remove the pain. According to greif.com, “leaning into the grief ” helps get through those times. Below are some ways you can “lean towards the grief ”: • Light a candle for your loved one • Share a favorite story about your loved one • Have everyone tell a funny story about your loved one Another way to help cope is to have plan A and plan B in place. Plan A would be to celebrate the holiday like you normally would and plan B may be to watch a favorite movie you and your loved one enjoyed or go to a special spot. Often knowing there is a plan B can help aid in the grieving process. If you are struggling with grief, please contact your local hospice to learn about support groups. Kristina McWethy has been with Crest Foods for about 2 ½ years now. She is our Marketing Coordinator but really her job entails much more than that. Most of her work the majority of people here at Crest would never see. She designs and distributes various types of printed and digital material to customers and prospects in the Ingredient Division. She also helps us with any internal marketing that we may need at Crest Foods. Posters, handouts, vid- eos…basically anything creative that you see hanging on the walls or handed out has been designed and edited by Kristina. (She is probably most known around Crest Foods for putting together the Jingle Bell Rock video.) Kristina is a Dixon, IL native and currently makes her home there with her husband and their son. Recently she became a board member for Lee County United Way where she hopes to use advertising skills to raise funds to help people in our area. Kristina enjoys reading, working out and family activities (especially anything outdoors). One thing you likely did not know about her is that she has been skydiving 3 times and hopes to keep this up as a yearly event.
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