Volume 32 • Number 01 January, February & March 2020 Ashton, IL 61006
Christmas Dinners &Raffle Winners by Savannah Fagan
The start of most people’s Christmas season officially kicked off with dinners Crest provided on the 10th and 11th of December. At one time, Crest was able to hold one dinner to feed all of our employees, but now we have nine separate dinners to accommodate 3 shifts and over 800 employees! Headons once again delivered a delicious and filling meal, which I’m sure had everyone ready for a nap after eating! While everyone enjoyed their dinners, we celebrated the employees who reached their 20 and 30 year milestones with Crest Foods. This year we raised over $14,000 through our annual benevolence raffle. This means that with the money that Crest Foods matches, around $28,500 will be going in to the Benevolence Fund! While we will never make public the specifics of who is helped and to what extent by this fund, know that it is helping our fellow employees in need. We’d like to extend a big congratulations to the 14 raffle prize winners! In addition to celebrating those who reached their employment milestones and the raffle prize winners, everyone was doing a little celebration of their own when thanks to the hard work of everyone, Crest was able to hand out Christmas bonuses this year. We hope everyone’s time off over Christmas and New Year’s was enjoyable and relaxing. Steve Harrell (Ingredient Division Production C), winner of a 2010 Lincoln Mercury in the Benevolence Raffle this year.
In This Issue
20 & 30 Year Employees page 4
Expanded On-Site Healthcare Services page 8
Giving Back page 12
Salena & Nick Sterling (Production A & Sanitation A) donated by: Mike & Joyce Meiners, Ingredient Division Operations
Nintendo Switch Josie Jenkins (QA C) donated by: Ingredient Division Sales & Tech
Joaquin Villa (Production B) $1000 Cash
Stay @ Lincolnway Inn $500 Treins Gift Card
Bulls Tickets Stephen Osborne (QA B) donated by: Crest Foods
Lotto Ticket Wreath
$1100Farley's Gift Card Tina Withers (Production A) donated by: Cons. Prod, Ing. Div. R&D, CS & QA
Mike Spencer (Mix A) donated by: Crest Foods
Deb Worley (QA A) donated by: Scheduling
Wine Fridge Jim Lyles (Mix A) donated by: HR & Accounting
Snow Blower Daniel Estrella (Production B) donated by: Gen 3
Caseys Gift Card
Aurora Gonzales (Karlin Production A)
Francisco Garcia (Production A) donated by: Steve Meiners
Andy McCannon (IT) donated by: Purchasing, IT & Building Maintenance
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Jeff Meiners with the new 20 Year Employees at the Christmas Dinners: Joe Maronde, Vickie Monsarratt, Tara Lifka, Aurora Gonzales, Nikki Ramos, John Derr and Jerry Maronde
20 Year Employees: Deb Worley, Gloria Mason, Emily Smith & Shelley Schopp
Jeff Meiners with the new 30 Year Employees at the Christmas Dinners: Dave Branscum, Dave Bushman and Ray O’Dell
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Editor’s Note: This year we celebrated 11 employees who reached their 20 year anniversary with the company! Each of these employees received their 20 Year Ring during the Christmas Dinners, and 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! Some of these employees have given us a little information to share with our readers. Enjoy! New Additions to the 20 Year Club by Savannah Fagan
Deb Worley (QA Lab A) This is my second time working for Crest. I worked here for 9 years as a line operator on my first round before going to work at Erie Foods as an analytical technician. I guess you could say it took me 30 years to get my 20 years in! When I came back to Crest, I started working in the Consumer Products lab for about 2 years before I took my present position in the Wet Lab, where I test the majority of products Crest pro- duces. If you’ve ever sampled the brownies or cookies that come from the lab, I’m the one who tested, evaluated, and baked them. As far as my memorable moments or fond individu- als, I’m not even sure where to start because I have so many! I’ve worked with some won- derful people over the years. I think the most memorable and influential would have to be the Meiners. Thank you for everything you do for your employees. Shelley Schopp (Scheduling) In December 1998, the large insurance company I worked at for 10 years announced they were closing. I spent most of the next year enjoying extra time with my then-young kids and working some odd jobs here and there. I heard about a part time accounting position at Crest and was hired in September 1999. I was hired full time in March 2000 to work in the scheduling department, and 20 years later I’m still here! So much goes on in our department, and while it can be quite stressful at times, the fact that I work with the best team you could ask for makes it all ok. We have a little fun and laugh every day. I truly appreciate my work family! I would like to thank the Meiners family for their generos- ity over the years. Not only for all they do for their employees, but for our community and surrounding communities as well. I am proud to be part of the Crest Culture. Thanks for a great 20 years and here’s to many (well, about 13) more! Jerry Maronde (Maintenance B) When I first started at Crest, I was attending college and needed to find a way to still bring in an income. I started out as a line worker and driving a forklift, before I moved on to running my own line. Eventually I found myself in the main- tenance department, and I’ve been there ever since. I was asked if there were any memo rable moments I’d care to share, and that would obviously be when the Cubs won the World Series!
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Nikki Ramos (Production B) Twenty years has flown by! Prior to Crest, I was working at Avery Dennison in Rochelle. When they moved their factory to Mexico, I applied at Crest Foods, and have been here ever since. When I first started here, I was on 1st shift working as a line worker, runner, and stacker. I moved to 2nd shift where I currently work on the line. I think one of my favorite memories of my time here is when I received my 10 year trip and had the opportunity to visit Mallorca, Spain. Vickie Monsarratt (QA C) I was living in the Chicago area before moving out this way. As it would have been quite a commute to drive between here and Chicago, I found work at Crest Foods through a temp agency. Starting out, I worked on the production line and then trained to be and worked as a line operator, before finding my home in QA 13 years ago. Over my years here, there have been so many memorable moments and a variety of people, all special in their own way. One of my fondest times is when we had the opportunity to pick a charity that Crest donated to. We chose The Hooved Animal Humane Society. Jeff Meiners took a group of us from QA to tour the farm and it was such a wonderful and en- lightening day! To top it off, Jeff increased the amount of the donation. Emily Smith (Controller) Twenty years…really?! I never expected to meet this milestone so soon. I came to work at Crest Foods one month after turning 16 and haven’t stopped. While I thought babysitting was enough of a high school job my parents knew different and told me I had an interview at Crest Foods, be ready. In 1999 I started on a high school production crew, when volume wasn’t what it is today. I spent 4 years in production on the line or leading warehouse assembly crews and even filled in as production supervisor a short time when we ran Warm Delights on Sundays. Management knew I was working towards an Accounting degree and help was needed and in 2003 I started working in the Accounting department part-time while attending NIU. Just a short 16 years later and a handful of Ac- counting positions (intern, PL clerk, Staff Accountant, Financial Accounting Manager and now Controller) and I’m still here! Of all the many Crest Foods memories I can still remember having trouble packing cartons 6 on top of 6 on line 2 or hoping to be scheduled
for the easier onion soup line. How wonderfully generous all employees are when another is in need. How grateful I was to not go into labor at work because Pat Hilliker was just itching to deliver a baby in the ambulance. And project code 15-0409TOR is forever burned into my brain, the date of the tornado.It has been and still is quite an experience to grow up within a company full of people so willing to share their knowledge and experience to make every area of Crest the best it can be. My coworkers are my second family who have celebrated with me through graduations, my marriage, birth of my 2 boys and everything else along the way. No, I wasn’t ready at 16 and never would have guessed I would still be here, however, I truly have enjoyed these last 20 Crest years. Thank you Mein- ers Family and Crest Foods for my first ‘real’ job, putting me through college, a wonderful 10 year trip and this beautiful ring! I am so glad to experience all Crest offers and cannot wait to see what the next 20-30 years bring.
Construction is moving along at the West Facility and we are on our way completing 3 new production rooms, a me- chanical room, a washroom and a maintenance area. The support columns are in place and we’ll start constructing the mezzanine right after the holidays and are still working toward a completion date in April.
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Editor’s Note: We have 4 employees reaching their 30 Year Anniversary with Crest Foods this year: Dave Bushman (Scheduling), Dave Branscum (Mix B), Ann Wege (Sales) and Ray O’Dell (Warehouse A). These employees will each have $500 donated to a charitable organization of their choosing in their honor 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. We thank them each for their loyalty, dedication, perseverance and patience in helping Crest Foods grow to the company that it is today. Please enjoy some of their stories below: 30 Year Anniversaries by Savannah Fagan
Ann Wege (Ingredient Division Sales) I came to Crest Foods on September 1, 1989. I had been working in Research and Development for 10 years, primarily in fermentation sciences. I was looking for a change and while interviewing with another company, I met someone who had worked at Crest Foods in the past. As fate would have it, I noticed an employment advertisement for a Technical Sales Representative in the Chicago Tribune (yes, this was before Monster.com) and it was one way people looked for jobs back then. The company was Crest Foods. I replied to the ad and the rest is history. I started out as a Territory Sales Manager covering the Midwest and through the years moved from Territory Sales Manager, National Accounts Manager, and Sales Manager to my current position of New Business Development
Manager. In the early years at Crest, our primary role was to look for new business in our core products (sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, buttermilk and yogurt). We didn’t have a Technical Service staff at the time so we were tasked with running trials and troubleshooting problems. The hours were long but the lessons learned stayed with me all these years. I have been fortunate to work with a great team, not just in sales but in Technical Service, Customer Service, QC, Operations, R&D and of course, our customers. My success is a result of great teamwork, which Crest excels at. There are so many “memorable” moments and experiences I have had over the past 30 years that it would be hard to name one. In all, I have stayed true to my theory that in order to succeed, you need to work hard, be kind to everyone you meet, have some fun, and have a goal of learning something new every day. Crest Foods has given me the opportunity to put my theory into practice, and for that I am grateful.
Dave Bushman (Scheduling) I started at Crest Foods straight out of high school, the sum- mer of 1984. A friend’s father (Mike Fichter) worked here and he recommended that we apply. I started in the Mix Department and worked for a few years, then decided to chase the Rock- n-Roll dream, and loaded up the van and moved to California. That didn’t go so well, so after about 5 months of living in the van, and eventually driving it off the side of a mountain (a whole different story!), I moved home and came right back to Crest Foods. I then worked for another year and a half in the Mix Department, then got the itch again and moved to Arizona. No accidents this time, but after a few months decided to move back home and again, came back to Crest Foods. I guess it was meant to be because after returning in April of 1989, I’ve
been here ever since. I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. When I started there were a few years of slow times and layoffs, and now we’re always busy! The growth of the company with employees and all the new construction, it is hard to believe how much things have changed. Some of the jobs I’ve had over the years include starting out as a Mixer helper, and then moved on to a Lead mixer. From there I went to Lead Weigher and then Supply Expediter, before landing in the Scheduling Department where I’ve been for the past 20 years. I’d like to thank Crest Foods and the Meiners family for all they have done. It has been a privilege to work in such a great environment and for a company that is fair, honest, and does so much for our work families and the community. Thank you Crest Foods!
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Congrats to the QA Team! by Dawn Summers Another employment milestone we’d like to celebrate is that of Marcia Breeden, who has been at Crest Foods for 40 Years! Marcia, also known as my “day wife” by her and my wife, started at Crest in 1979 and has been working closely with me for the past twenty-two years. While you may not see her face on a daily basis, just know she’s busy keeping the parts room in order. Marcia knows about and is responsible for 7,000 parts, and being one of just a few women in what is typically a man’s world, probably knows more than most! When she’s not in the parts room, you can probably find her watching NASCAR or cheering on the Bears. Congratulations Marcia! by Scott Storey
RedZone (RZ) hosts an annual award celebration for the entire RZ community which consists of more than 500 companies. At this very large ceremony, RedZone gives out a few prestigious awards and this year Crest Foods Quality Assurance (QA) department was nominated and made it to the finals for the 2019 Regional Team of the Year Award. Although we did not win the award, we are very excited about the recognition for a job well done! The criteria they set couldn’t more accurately describe our team. In addition to our team performing their jobs exceptionally well, they demonstrate extraordinary commitment to RedZone (RZ) and Crest Foods. The things that QA and Crest has accomplished this year took great teamwork from all departments. This program has been successful because of the commitment of all our employees and departments including production, maintenance, sanitation, and QA. With all of these groups working together we have accomplished and will con- tinue to accomplish great things! Some notable accomplishments this year would be: Human Code errors : We have decreased the events in QA News for Human code errors by 48%. The amount of skids pulled for these events were reduced by 54%. QA Pulls for any reason: We have decreased the events in QA News for any quality errors by 21%. The amount of skids pulled for these events were reduced by 60% (left ) Heidi Topping, Crystal Kessel, Sherry Joos, Kathy Conant, Erik Morales, Jeannie Carter, Trish Carter, Jessica Guenther, Deb Worley, Kelly Stevens & Candy Koch. (right) Marissa Lopez, Elysha Wright, Jeannie Carter, Trish Carter, Dawn Summers, Jessica Guenther, Christina Shambaugh, Matt Downing, Kathy Dwyer & Stina Kanaras
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Expanded On-Site Healthcare Services by Jeff Meiners Crest recently took another big step in increasing our on-site, no- cost health care benefits by adding the services of a nurse practitio- ner. Ann Lee has been a practicing nurse for nearly thirty years and recently decided to take her career to the next level by working to become a nurse practitioner. She has spent most of her career in the KSB system since migrating to Illinois from New Mexico and has now found her home at Crest Foods in a position that is new both to her and Crest. We’re thrilled to have Ann as part of our
Heidi McGlown & Ann Lee
own health care team and trust that her services will offer a huge convenience and cost savings to Crest employees. In her short time here, Ann has noted that she can’t help but be impressed with the sense of camaraderie that she sees amongst employees and hopes that her position develops into a natural part of that atmosphere. Like most that visit Crest for the first time, she had no idea as to the complexity of work that was going on to supply many food items for the grocery store shelf from little Ashton in the middle of no place. She is especially enjoying apply ing the science of her new job in helping people diagnose and ultimately treat medical conditions that they are deal- ing with. She feels that one of the huge advantages to actually being on-site at Crest is that she gets to see her pa- tients on a regular basis and can monitor progress and change course of treatment if necessary on a basis that just isn’t possible from a normal doctor office setting. We’re confident that the level of personal attention for people utilizing the services of Ann Lee will be at the highest possible levels. It is important to note that Ann is not at Crest to replace the work that nurse Heidi is doing, but to make additional services available to Crest employees. There will continue to be services that Heidi specializes in, services that both Heidi and Ann can provide and those that only Ann will be able to provide. This all will be a little confusing to most early on, but we are confident that we’ll all become familiar with their roles in a short period of time. Ann’s primary focus is to be available to assist with acute health problems that you might visit a doctor’s office for. If you are experiencing bothersome health symptoms, she can assist in understanding your issues, assessing, ordering lab work or tests, giving out prescriptions or making referrals to other healthcare personnel. She is also available to help manage chronic illnesses such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, asthma and COPD.
Ann Lee, Nurse Practitioner (x214) (available 4 days a week) - Diagnose and treat medical conditions - Prescribe medication
Heidi McGlown, Registered Nurse (x268) (available 4 days a week) - Soft tissue therapy (treating aches and pains as- sociated with physical work) - Wellness testing (for Crest wellness program or doctor visits) - Blood pressure checks and monitoring
- Manage chronic illnesses - Ordering lab work or tests - Making referrals
- First aide and wound care - General health counseling
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With the addition of Ann Lee, Crest now has a team of four people that offer on-site health related services to employees at no cost with a maximum level of convenience. The combined efforts of these four along with collec- tive efforts of all employees on our plan have resulted in zero increase in rates charged to employees for their own coverage for the last three years....and that is something that just doesn’t happen very often! Please don’t hesitate to take advantage of these services.
Anne Noble, Benefits Manager (x262) (available 5 days a week) - Help to understand insurance benefits - Help to navigate the provider network - Review claims - Help to find best prescriptions options
Ashley Koza, EAP Counselor Sinnissippi Centers (815-732-3157) (available Mondays 12-4pm) - Counseling services for life related stress or dependency issues - Experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety
Welcome & Congrats! Brian Beckman was recently hired to fill the role of Maintenance Manager for the Contract Packaging Division. Primary areas of responsibility for Brian will be the day-to-day direction of the Maintenance Department in areas of production and preventative maintenance…inc- luding the supervision of staff over 3 shifts, facilitating communication within the depart- ment as well as with all departments that interact with maintenance, prioritizing activity and ensuring compliance with policy and procedures. His time spent previous to Crest includes 12 years of military experience with the army national guard which included two combat tours as well as 15 years of simultaneous work experience when he wasn’t serving Uncle Sam. He is a Dixon native who is currently lives in Oregon with his wife and daughter. Ryan Crouch has recently been hired to support the continued growth of the Consumer Products Division. While new to this sales role he is not new to Crest. For 15 years Ryan has experienced Crest as an outsider, selling us corrugated boxes. When it came time for a career change he could not think of anyplace he would rather call home than Crest Foods. We are excited to have him on board and know that he will be a great asset for the division. Outside of work, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife (Amy), son (Elijah), daughter (Hope), and 2 Boston Terriers (Bella and Boaz). He also likes to ride his bike, tinker with cars, and music. We welcome both Brian and Ryan and wish them well in their new positions. Jared Stumpenhorst was recently promoted to the position of Operations Manager in the Contract Packaging Division. This is a new position at Crest that was created to allow some one to focus the majority of their work time on our overall efficiency and effectiveness. While no position can ignore the demands of our day-to-day needs, Jared’s new position will allow him the freedom to work on long term solutions to many of the situations that impact us each day. Primary responsibilities for this position will be operational improvement, project management, customer driven initiatives and problem solving. Jared’s years of var- ied experience and his unique set of abilities put him in the position of being just the right person to fill this important role at Crest. Congratulations!
Brian Beckman Maintenance Manager
Ryan Crouch Consumer Products Sales
Jared Stumpenhorst Operations Manager
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Our Sympathy Colleen Hunt’s (Production A) father, James Hunt passed away in November. Sue Osborne’s (Production Manager) mother, Mary Leary passed away in November. Connie Schumacher’s (Production A) mother, Nancy Schumacher passed away in December. Babies Amber Fisher-Stiles (Production C) and Leon Milton (Production C) welcomed baby girl Emory on Decem- ber 12th. Congratulations! Cody Brill (Maintenance A) and Haley Kersten wel- comed baby boy Colten Anthony Brill on October 19th. Colten weighed 7lbs 4oz and was 19” long. Congrats! Thank You Thanks to Crest and all of the employees for the beaut- iful plant sent to me after surgery. It was much appreci- ated. - Steve Zera (Building Maintenance Manager) Congratulations Danielle Reinhart (Production A) and Cody Price were married September 14th. Ashley McCoy (Production B) and James Rogers were married September 14th. Jennifer Drought (Production A) and Adam Benford were married September 14th. Sara Snow (Production B) and Jon Ritchie were married October 10th. Christian Peterson (Mix B) and Kinga Skotnicka (Pro- duction B) were married October 1st.
Eric Droege (Maintenance C) and Amanda Lee were married August 22nd. Congratulations to Logan Mont,
son of John Mont (Sales), on the incredible football season he’s had! Logan has won the following awards this season: MVP Special Teams for his WA Blackhawks, Co-Team MVP for his WA Blackhawks, All Confer- ence and All State Academic,
Southwest Prairie Conference – Offensive MVP West Division, 8A 1st Team All State, and All Area 1st Team. These are all outstanding achievements and we wish Logan the best in his upcoming basketball season!
Congratulations, Melissa! Employees on the B-Shift at the Main Plant threw a baby shower for Melissa Mandujano (Produc- tion B) this November complete with cake, sweets and gifts for her soon to be born baby boy. A shout out to my hubby for becoming a US citizen this last October...so proud of him for doing such a great job...learning a different history wasn’t easy for him...it took him a year to com- plete the class. Four tests later he is a citizen...yay! Great job Jose Becerra (husband of Rosa Hernandez, Production A)
Conratulations to Keith Larson (Production A Supervisor) on joining the 1700’s club!
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I (Dan Brown, Ing Div QA) apologize if you’re getting tired of hearing about my kids and football, but I savor every play, game, and season. Most people look at the Friday after Thanksgiving as Black Friday and I do as well, likely for different reasons. Our school (Lena-Winslow) has black jerseys for our home games. When the state championship games are played in Dekalb, the northern school is the home team and the game is played on the Friday after Thanksgiving. With all that being said, we had the opportunity to play in that game for the fourth time since 2010, three being in Dekalb (yes, in black jerseys). As in the other three times, we again were victorious, going an undefeated 14-0 and becoming Class 1A state champions. Two of the Le-Win Panthers are my sons, including Ronny (senior, defensive end, #4), and Marey (sophomore, cornerback/running back, #43). Both were also All-Conference selections.A tremendous amount of hard work went into this great season and all of the kids had a spectacular year. We’re on to wrestling, where Le-Win-Stockton is defending our IHSA Team Championship from last year. worked up to her 32nd anniversary day and retired. Lona will be missed by all of those she touched throughout her years here at Crest Foods. She has always been a very quiet, humble and kind individual. The past several years Lona was the line operator for line 40. She owned that line and the people she worked with enjoyed working with her. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement. Congratulations, Lona! numerous jobs in just about every department over the years but one thing always stayed true, she wanted to stay busy! She was a hard worker and embraced the Crest Culture. She spent the end of her career working in both the Dairy Ingredient and Consumer Products labs where she helped test many successful projects. We are very thankful for her work, attitude, and hopes she enjoys her retirement. Congratulations, Pam! After 32 years at Crest Foods, Lona Berkeley has decided she does not want to drive to Ash- ton in the wee hours of winter weather. She After devoting 25 years of her life at Crest Foods, Pam Furman has decided to hang up her hair net and enjoy retirement. Pam held
Congratulations to the following employees for obtaining new jobs at Crest Foods over the last few months!
Alfonzo Alvarado Fabricator Machine Shop
Elaina Zintl Lab Technician Consumer Products
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Feels Good to Give by Gaven Meiners Crest Foods is an extremely fortunate company. Our way of life and way of doing business has put us in a position to support causes and people whom could use a smile on their face, especially around the holiday season. Crest Foods sponsors many charitable causes throughout the holidays, but our contributions would not be meaningful without having our employees step up to help carry them out. 25 Crest employees purchased gifts for residents of Kreider Services, Jack Mabley and both the Oregon & Franklin Grove nursing Homes. These gifts go to 77 people in our area whom might not see or receive a gift from any loved ones this year. As I have gotten older, with children of my own, watching their faces on Christmas morning is something that I look forward to each year. While the meaning of the season is not to acquire tangible things, there is something about leaving something behind for these folks that might make them smile. We do get a little help on making sure we know our recipients interests, which this year included a tattoo gift certificate, fancy hats, and cotton candy perfume. I would smile receiving any of those gifts this year. Spreading Christmas Cheer electronically continues to become ever so popular, especially with the millennial genera- tion. While I fit in that category and do my fair share of Instagraming, there is just something about opening up the mailbox to find a note or photo from someone I have either lost touch with or do not get the chance to see often. While we may only know some of these people personally, 25 Crest employees sent 600 Christmas cards to residents of Kreider Services, Jack Mabley and the Village of Progress. We hope that these cards made their day just a little bit brighter. With Amazon taking over the word, brick and motor shopping has slowed down. For this reason 42 Crest employ- ees signed up to ring the bell louder than ever for the Salvation Army, which took place just outside of Ace Hard- ware in Dixon. This group spent 28 hours of their own time to help support the cause. The reason for this article is not to boost or brag, but to say Thank You to everyone whom participated this year and to remind every one that when you can, help someone in need, as we all know this world could use more good.
Becca Dodd, Keith & Catherine Larson
Anne Noble, Rachael Muszynski & Savannah Fagan
Steve & KJ Meiners, Val Smith, and Holly Gleissner
Jordan Shank & James Stuckey
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Wallace, Warren, Carly & Brandon Meiners
Larry Stevens & Jen
Burn n’ Bush & Santa
Karla Rivera & family
CIP 2020 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 30 suggestions from employees for the 1st quarter. Thank you to everyone for participating! Jon Larson, Maintenance C-Shift 1st Quarter 1st Place • $250
Jon’s suggestion was to put guards over the transition area between the take-away conveyor from the Hayssen to the infeed belt on the pouch places on line 86. Also to install e-stops in this area that are easier to get to. This is a great human safety call-out that we will get fixed asap.
John Messenger, Maintenance B-Shift 1st Quarter Runner Up • $150
John’s idea was to put a relief valve into bar lug dumps, which will release pressure and drain fluid safely. Typically this task causes downtime and wastes fluid. This will ensure that pres- sure can be released without any downtime or food safety and human safety risk. Great idea!
Madison Tomblin, Production B-Shift 1st Quarter Runner Up • $150
Madison’s idea was to put an eye behind the web on 23/24 to indicate when the web is getting low (like we do for cartons). This will mean less down time for snapped/run through webs on this line. Great idea! Jesse Morris, Production B-Shift 1st Quarter Runner Up • $150 Jessie’s idea is to go paperless on magnet checks with RedZone. Great idea - we are considering this and figuring out how to make it happen.
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Turning Back the Hands of Time by Jeff Meiners Turning back the hands of time to 1971 would find Crest to be a pretty small company fo- cused primarily on selling dairy stabilizers and trying to make our new business of contract packaging grow. Most of our work was done out of the building on Main Street north of the railroad tracks. We had just landed a new packaging account by the name of General Mills and our first project for them was a Scandinavian themed hot drink mix packaged in glass jars that was unfortunately destined to be a very short-lived item. Our production line was in the basement of the North Plant roughly where our fitness center is today. The product smelled and our used equipment needed a lot of tender loving care…but we were brand new in the packaging business and thrilled to be working for a company of the stature of General Mills.
The stacker for that new line happened to be a 16 year old Steve Meiners since the start-up coincided with the sum- mer break from school and Jay Meiners definitely believed in keeping his kids busy if there was work available. Un- fortunately, Steve developed a bad stomach ache shortly into his new career of line stacker at Crest Foods. My dad was convinced it was nothing and he’d be fine in short order…most likely he was over reacting a bit. My mom really thought he should see the doctor and was pretty adamant about that fact. By the time the decision was made to see Doc Palumbo…Steve’s appendix had burst, his stacking career was put on hold and my mom verbally brought my dad to his knees for allowing his son to get in such a state by not taking him to the doctor when he should have. This is where the story gets interesting from my point of view. I was 13 that summer and was the next man up to be the stacker for our new customer’s line. Obviously, child labor laws did not come into play in this particular in- stance. My training was brief, but very clear…get down there and stack that line and don’t let them run out of sup- plies. No problem – what could possibly go wrong? A few impressions from my first day of work still stick in my mind. The paper hats that we wore looked ridiculous and didn’t fit my head very well, but since everybody else had to wear them it was OK. A glass production line was really loud, if I think about it hard enough…I can still hear that sound. My line operator, Lloyd Pretzch, sang a lot – he was particularly fond of yodeling. Dick Moeller, the Production Manager and my dad’s business partner, yelled a lot and I always seemed to be in his way. The younger girls working on the line wore particularly short skirts which were incredibly distracting to a 13 year old boy. In fact, that distraction lead to my first workplace accident since I drove the battery powered hand-lift and myself into the wall while keeping my eye on something other than where I was going. A bottle of pop from the vending machine cost a dime and you could hardly see across the very small breakroom because of all the smoke. An entire skid of empty glass bottles dropped down the elevator shaft while I was standing next to it…soiling one’s pants on the first day of work would have been a bad thing and fortu- nately I was able to avoid that – but just barely. Needless to say, my first day on the production line was quite eventful. Who would have believed I was getting in on the very first moments of a business relationship between companies that would still be going strong nearly fifty years later and has proven to be one of the foundations for our Contract Packaging Division. A bottle of Takk, one of the flavors, is encased on the timeline surrounding the receptionist area in the Main Plant. Oddly enough, the actual product is still in it (probably will be good for a hundred years) and just as odd...I’m still here occasionally running into walls – just in a different way and for different reasons.
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Safety in the 21st Century by Karen Yardley It’s amazing what technology can do for us in the 21st Century. Think of everything you do on your phone or in your vehicle that you never would have imagined just 10 years ago. Think of all the advances in medicine. Look at the impact Redzone has had on our productivity and quality. Now think about how technology is affecting employee safety here at work. When we talk about guarding today, in many instances it means highly sophisticated light curtains. We are currently researching robots and how we might integrate them into our process in the very near future. And we recently had the chance to learn more about a new technology developed by a software entrepreneur, Gabriel Glynn. He and co-founder, Mark
Frederick, who focuses on the hardware side of the technology, have introduced MakuSafe, a Des Moines, Iowa based company that offers a wearable device that collects all sorts of vital data from the environment we work in. The program was introduced to us by our Worker’s Compensation Insurance Company, United Heartland. The whole goal of a program like this is to be proactive – look at leading indicators to prevent accidents and injuries not just lagging indicators (after the fact). You may have seen the base station located at the Main Plant by the time clocks since mid-October. MakuSafe set us up with about 20 devices which charge here at the base station after being worn for an 8 hour shift. We have about 18 employees who wear the devices each day while here at work to collect the data – everything from humid ity, temperature, noise levels, air quality and light levels. The device also has an accelerometer to detect slips, trips and falls. MakuSafe has piloted the program at 5 other locations but Crest was the first food manufacturer. One of the goals of the pilot program we are participating in here at Crest is to help the cloud-based software learn what to look for when actions are detected on the accelerometer and sort those as either a “non-risk motion” or as a motion that requires an assessment...and we’re not just talking slips, trips and falls. We’ve looked at tasks that require the use of tools like bats and scrapers or awkward motions like handling large, although light material. The device also incorporates a voice recorder and gives the user a simple and handy communication tool to report near misses or other hazards. The recorded message is translated into text and sent to the dashboard for management review and follow up.
MakuSafe has been very impressed with the level of participation by our employees during the pilot program and we have been very impressed with their level of support with techni- cal issues and willingness to incorporate suggested changes to the program to make it more user friendly. Thanks to all who supported this shared endeavor as we learn about new ways to stay safe while here at work ! Winter Walking Campaign In an effort to raise awareness about preventing slips, trips and falls during the winter months, we turned one of Savannah’s life-long dreams into a reality: becoming a life-size cardboard cutout - in a penguin costume. These signs are meant to grab your attention and remind everyone to slow down while walking or driv- ing when conditions are wet or icy. If conditions are slippery, walk like a penguin: Keep your feet at least a foot apart, point your toes outward and shuffle!
January, February & March 2020 Crest Ink 15
What Christmas Means to Us Video Back by popular demand, Kristina McWethy put together a new electronic Christmas card for our customers, sup- pliers and prospects this year. 75 minutes of filmed footage was edited down to 2 minutes and 30 seconds of quality Christmas lip syncing by about 130 employees. Not quite an internet sensation, but we were up to 4,300 views on YouTube when this issue printed! This December, we sent out the video to 880 contacts and posted it to the Crest Foods website. If you haven’t seen it, go to www.CrestFoods.com/news-room/happy-holidays/ Thanks to those 20 groups of employees (plus 1 donkey) who were willing to be in the video!
Ben Fichter, Glen White, Nick Sterling, Karen Yardley, Tim Wittenauer, Austin Tornow, Carol Murphy (Sanitation)
Tom Windelborn, Joyce Meiners, Jennifer Pittman, Jamie Cooper, Gaven Meiners, Ryan Crouch, Holly Gleissner (Consumer Products)
Jerry Maronde, Dale Lippens, Cass Askegaard, Jordan Smith, Jesse Morris, Gina Smith, Arielle Johnston (Production & Maintenance B)
Janet Sutton, Teri Wolber, Susie Miller, Chris Pfoutz, Andra Tremble, Kristina McWethy, Lisa Moscato (Customer Service)
Cory Morris, Kevin O’Dell, Ed Baylor, Stephanie Quinton (Ingredient Division Purchasing)
Jeff, Mike & Steve Meiners
16 Crest Ink January, February & March 2020 Matt Harazin, Alex Herrera, Trevor Ferry, Randy Reuter, Jason Rowl, Todd Lorenc, Gary Evans (Mix)
Jenny Drew, Dave Bushman, Shelley Schopp, Jon Bakener, Martha Holder, Val Smith, Pam Kelley (Scheduling)
Brent Warner, Keith Sodaro, Keith Larson, Jared Stumpenhorst, Amy Wilcox, Sue Osborne (Production & Maintenance)
Phil Blythe, Sarah Clemons, Anne Wege, Pete Bullock, Joe Gomez, Mark Johnson, John Mont (Sales)
Marcia Breeden, Matt Richardson, Scott Storey, Mike Boatwright, Troy Campbell (Purchasing & Parts Room)
Tom Balch, Adam Drew, Justin Guenther, Zygmunt Cichosz (Ing. Division Operations)
Stina Kanaras, Art Moreno, Matt Downing, Marissa Lopez, Jessica Guenther, Stephen Osborne, Kathy Dwyer, Candy Koch, Dawn Summers, Jeannie Carter, Rod Paul, Dan Stumpenhorst, Heidi Topping, Erik Morales, Trish Carter, Sherry Joos, Jackie Becerra (QA)
Spider Dan, Josh Saxton, David Henrikson, Lori Talley, Kristina Kempton, Kristen Frieberg, John Loomis, Jim Schaefer (Warehouse)
Becky Henson, Rachel Saltz, Mary McWethy, Anne Harris, Mandi Kersten, Brandon Meiners, Julie Pitchford, Dan Brown (Ing. Div. QA)
Erika Meiners, Anne Noble, Savannah Fagan, Susan Larson, Marianne Cox, Lynn Burnette, Nurse Heidi, NP Ann Lee
Max Ballard, Brian Hamm, Tommy Hamm, Lee Hall, Nathan Tippie, Nate McKnight, Al Duthie, Steve Starke (Tech Service)
Darcy Zera, Emily Smith, Carynn Puentes, Rachael Muszynski, Carol Milens, Shirley Reif, Ashley Mairs (Accounting)
Steve Crook, Emily Plapp, Jeff Hacaga, Herb Wyckoff, Joe Loquasto, Tammy Crook, Ela Cichosz, Deven Sterbenz, Cindy Reuter (R&D)
January, February & March 2020 Crest Ink 17
Charity Gingerbread Competition ‘Tis the season for giving, and that’s exactly what the fourth annual Crest Foods Charity Gingerbread Competition is all about! 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. Thank you to our customer teams for participating in this fun, festive contest and for helping us making a differ- ence in your local communities! Check out more photos of all of the submitted houses at www.CrestFoods.com/ Gingerbread.
1st Place: Frosty the Milkman $1,000 donation to Channel One Food Bank https://www.helpingfeedpeople.org/ Channel One Regional Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is the largest hunger relief organization in Southeast Minnesota. 2nd Place: Gingerbread Castle $500 donation to Nature Conservancy of Canada http://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/ The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) works to protect our country’s most pre- cious natural places by empowering people to safeguard the lands and waters that sus- tain life. 3rd Place: Christmas on the Farm $250 donation to Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties http://www.ccrcda.org/agencies_and_programs/Saratoga-Warren-Washington-Counties_109_2_sb.htm This Catholic Charities chapter responds to the psychosocial needs of families and individuals of all ages through valuable programs that include family counseling, mentoring programs, and domestic violence advocacy and support.
Have you seen the new Lee Ogle Transportation System (LOTS) TV commercial? Not only does it feature Crest Foods, but it features two of our employees making their acting debut: Jon Bakener and Savannah Fagan. LOTS brought over a camera crew and drove around on the bus with these two until they got just the right footage that showcased how easy it is to utlilze the bus to bring you to work.
18 Crest Ink January, February & March 2020
Nurses Corner: Re-think Your Drink by Nurse Heidi McGlown, RN
Sugar may be sweet, but the health effects of sugar con- sumption are not. Drinking large amounts of sugar can lead to serious health proble- ms. Did you know? • Drinking large amounts of sugary beverages can increase the risk of gain- ing weight and developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and gout! • Sugary beverage intake is significantly associated with weight gain and obesity. • Women who drink one or more sugary beverages daily have almost twice the risk of developing diabetes as those who drink less than one sugary beverage daily. • A child’s risk of becoming obese increases by 60% with each additional sug- ary beverage consumed daily. • People who drink carbonat- ed sugary beverages have almost double the risk of dental cavities.
• Drinking just one 20-ounce bottle of a sugary beverage per day can result in gaining 25 extra pounds per year! • The health costs of obesity in the United States are about $147 billion annually. With that money, we could buy everyone in the U.S. an iPad. • Most sugary drinks provide no additional nutrients needed for our health and are “empty calories”. While it’s great to stay hydrated, consider reaching for drinks with no sugar added such as water, un-sweetened iced tea or coffee. If you prefer some sweetness to your drink you could always add some fresh fruit or lemon to your drink to give it some flavor!
January, February & March 2020 Crest Ink 19
How Do I Retire? by Cheri Kemp How do I say goodbye after nearly 33 years? I am not sure how, but one thing I am sure of is how happy I am to have made Crest Foods my home away from home for those 33 years. The people I have met, worked with, and come to know over the years have shaped my life and lead me in many directions and taught me many things that all put together, made me who I am today. And I am ever grateful for each and every one of you and the part you have played in my life. Making the decision to retire was both exciting and nerve-wracking. Prior to Crest, I spent 17 years working else where so, doing the math, I have worked for 50 years and decided it was time for me. I know it will be quite an adjustment to go from working every day, earning a paycheck and saving for the future, to not working, not earning and then spending the money I have managed to save! It is a total turn around in a way of life but I, and my hus- band, are ready for it. I am almost jealous of you ‘younger’ people who will get to witness Crest Foods continue to grow and build into the future as it has over my 33 years. In 1986, when I first started working at Crest Foods, there were between 225 and 250 employees and far fewer buildings at that time. That seemed like a lot of people way back then but look at us now- at times we have over 800 employees! In 1986 I had three young children and now those three children are adults with families of their own and have given me a total of eight grandchildren! This all seemed to pass in a blink of the eye. I like to say that after the first day of my new job at Crest Foods in 1986, I was so exhausted when I went home that I took a nap and woke up in 2019! Something that I am proud of is this newsletter, the Crest Ink. I worked on the very first issue when we decided to start a newsletter way back in 1988 and have worked on every issue in one form or another ever since. We have come a long way from printing on plain old paper to what you are holding today. Thanks to Erika Meiners who, a few years ago, brought us into the next generation of a bigger and better newsletter that makes me even prouder that I was able to be a part of it and what it represents for Crest Foods. I have always thought of Crest Foods as a hidden gem in the middle of corn fields and despite the growth Crest has seen over the years, still today hold the same family values and philosophy that was in place when I started. Advice I might give if someone were to ask? Work hard; be present at work; be a friend to others; be kind to oth- ers; think of Crest not as just a daily place to go, but a place to make a career out of. Crest Foods loves to look within its ranks to move people up the ladder. Don’t be afraid to work toward a new goal. How do I say goodbye? I don’t, I say “Until we meet again…”
Thank you, Kreider Services Every November, Kreider Services cooks up and deliv- ers Thanksgiving meals to all of their residents. When they delivered to the residents working on the Karlin Production Crew they were nice enough to bring along 20 extra meals so all of the employees working that day could share a meal together. Thank you for thinking of us with such a generous gesture!
20 Crest Ink January, February & March 2020
Larry McIntyre: Quality Transport Company by Tom Balch
The Crest family was saddened by the sudden passing of Larry McIntyre of Quality Trans- port Company on September 25th. Larry was the Senior Vice President of Operation & Sales for Quality Transport for the past 16 years. He started as part owner with his brother Curt and sister-in-law Linda, and worked in sales with the company for twenty five years. Larry’s goal at all times with Crest Foods was service and relationships. He was available to us 24/7. With his coor dinated effort, Quality hauled countless full truckloads of product outbound from Crest Foods to our customers. He was expert at coordinating back hauls of raw ingredients to Crest Foods. Larry also helped us in special instanc es, like getting extra trailers for storage of special projects. As a distinctive favor, Larry sent two trucks, trailers and drivers to Crest Foods for a Saturday/Sunday move of all the Ingredient Division Ingredients and finished products from our Contract Packaging warehouse to the newly finished Ingredient Warehouse. We were honored and fortunate to work with Larry for so many years. The relationship he built with Crest Foods will be genuinely missed. Our sympathies go out to his family and co-workers. May you rest in peace Larry.
Crest Foods was happy to pass out holiday hams this November to all 800 employees! It’s just a small way to say thank you and happy holidays to everyone at Crest Foods. Thanks to Karlin Foods for donating stuffing and potatoes! 2019 Ham Toss
The original West Warehouse sign was retired this November after standing for 28 years. In it’s place went 2 large signs that are much easier for truck driv- ers to see from the road - even at night, as they light up! We have also installed a similar sign for the West Facility employee entrance - making it impossible for anyone to miss us day or night! (pictured is old vs new)
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