The Crest Ink is a quarterly newsletter that celebrates the success of Crest Foods and our employees.
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Ashton, IL 61006 Volume 32 • Number 04 & Volume 33 • Number 1
Cheers to 30 Years
Susie Miller (Customer Service) and Phyllis Ott (IT) both celebrated their 30 Year Anniversary with Crest Foods this year! They will each have $500 donated to a charitable 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 both Susie and Phyllis! We thank them each for their loyalty, dedication, perseverance and patience in helping Crest Foods grow to the company that it is today. Phyllis retired before we could get her brick in the wall and take a picture, but she did get to celebrate and reminisce with co-workers and friends this August at her retirement party (see separate article). From Susie Miller: In 1990 I decided it was time to leave the bank down the street where I had worked for 10 ½ years and work for Crest Foods. I hoped it would be a long-term career since it was close to home! When asked if there was any one moment in the past 30 years that sticks out in my mind, I’d say the 2nd tornado that hit Crest Foods. It reminds me of change. I started out really not liking change (if it’s not broke don’t fix it!), but I learned that change is a good thing. So many times it’s ended up with “Wow! This is so much better than what we were
In This Issue Holidays at Crest 2020 Style page 4
Year End Celebration Week page 3
Slip, Trip & Fall Prevention Campaign page 15
New Additions to the 20 Year Club doing.” I still have a hard time with change, but it’s become easier for me to embrace seeing the benefits after the hard work so many times. Change shows that we are a living, breathing, evolving, growing company. I can’t say enough about Crest Foods and the people that I work with and have worked with. They have made coming to work enjoyable. The last line of the Crest Culture says it all: Have some fun. I’ve been in the Customer Service Depart - ment from the beginning, and I’m so glad I took that walk down the street from the bank to Crest. Crest is not only a work family but is truly family. I appreciate all they have done and continue to do for me and the rest of their em - ployees. My 30 years at Crest seems like a blink of the eye. I can’t believe it’s been that long! Thank you to Crest Foods for taking me in and making me a part of their family. It’s been a great 30 years, and I look forward to more years together to see where it takes us. Editor’s Note: This year we celebrated 5 employees who reached their 20 year anniversary with the company! Each of these employees will receive their 20 Year Ring, 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!
Kyle Lawrence Ing. Div.Warhouse Shipping & Receiving 2/15/2000
Wyatt Berogan Karlin Warhouse Forklift A-Shift 5/22/2000
Peggy Benford Contract Packaging Production A-Shift 6/6/2000
Maria Jeronimo Contract Packaging Production A-Shift 7/31/2000
Consuelo Nambo Contract Packaging Production A-Shift 8/7/2000
Super Saturdays at Crest Thank you to the many employees who worked Saturday overtime this fall and winter. Not only did the seasonality of the products we run push us to our capacity limits, but we were also dealing with a COVID-related surge in de- mand for product in a tight labor market. All of your efforts are very appreciated and we can’t thank you enough for taking care of our customers and Taking Care of Business...
Bob Logan & Ryan Crouch
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Year End Celebration Week 2020 has been a year like no other, challenges and frustration have spread across the entire company, hitting all three divisions and every single employee. Through the blood, sweat, and tears our Crest team continues to overcome ad- versity. More than ever, we wanted to thank our employees for keeping an open mind, working hard, and being part of solutions during this world-wide pandemic. Under normal circumstances our year end celebration consists of one full day of gathering and celebrating. Due to social distancing efforts, we spread this occasion out over an entire week. Both gloved and masked, we served lunch/dinner/breakfast to all employees at all times of the day and at most every building at Crest. We passed out Jimmy John sandwiches & Culvers ice cream. We think that Jimmy himself would have been proud of how freaky fast we passed out sandwiches, keeping our employees as safe as possible. Our suppliers came through big with door prizes, sending a lot of employees home with gift cards and new swag. Thank you again to all Crest employees and vendors, without you we are just another company. Hopefully we’ll be back under the big top next year!
Dinner at the Main Plant with Maria & Maria
Lunch at the Main Plant with Maggie, Calvin, Maria & Imelda
Lunch at the Main Plant with Maria & Consuelo
Ryan Crouch & Traci Hartmann
Cory Morris, Gaven & Brandon Meiners
Bevan Clark at the Mix Facility
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 3
Holidays at Crest 2020 Style
by Jeff Meiners
The Christmas season has always been an important part of our holiday experience at Crest as employees enjoy six paid days off between Thanksgiving and New Year’s along with Christmas bonuses, turkeys, dinners, raffles and a number of other get-togethers that go with the season. We had to get a little creative on how we celebrated the season at Crest this year while doing all of the things necessary to keep us healthy. We hope we were still a positive part of everyone’s Christmas season. Our modified plans for the year included all employees receiving a turkey, 6 paid holidays (2 at Thanksgiving, 2 at Christmas, 2 at New Year’s), Christmas bo- nuses, all employees received an ugly Crest Christmas shirt, and we had our first ever Friday drawings for either $1000 or a car! Sorry, we just couldn’t figure out a way to make the dinners work this year. Karlin Foods still wanted to make sure that a little comfort food was available for the cold winter, so they generously made mashed potatoes and family sized deluxe mac and cheese available to all. (We appreciate our long term relationship with Mitch Karlin and crew who are very grateful for all the effort that has been put into making product for them under difficult circumstances.) We also didn’t give up on the Christmas video, and even though it is so much more fun with big groups singing…we had to modify with pictures. We hope everyone enjoyed the season – it was a little different and maybe difficult, but good can be found in any- thing if you look for it and we hope you find much to be thankful for and celebrate in the coming months.
Art Moreno (QA B) $1000 Winner
Bailey Smith (Ingredient C) $1000 Winner
Nate Schubert (Mix A) $1000 Winner
Caleb Henson (Production B) $1000 Winner Car Winner Ray O’Dell (Warehouse A)
Neveen Alfarraj (Prodution A) $1000 Winner
Bob VanRaden (Production B) $1000 Winner
Robert Jones (Mix A) $1000 Winner
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October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 5
Welcome & Congrats! Ashley Buschek joined Crest Foods in November as an Accounting Coordinator. She was born and raised in Oregon, Il, and currently resides there with her boyfriend and 2 dogs. She received her Associates Degree at Kishwaukee College, and is a 2020 NIU graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Finance with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Outside of work, she loves outdoor activities such as walking her dogs, fishing, kayaking and boating on the river in the summer. She’s also a spin instructor at Reign XT in Oregon. As an Ac- counting Coordinator at Crest, Ashley will be processing Ingredient Division invoices, in- ventories, and variance analysis and will also be responsible for government census reporting and other high level sensitive invoices. Taylor Dempsey joined Crest Foods as a Staff Account in October. She was born and raised in Tiskilwa, Il, and currently resides in Amboy with her husband. She earned her Mas- ters Degree from Bradley University in 2018 and has been working in Accounting roles for the past few years. Outside of work, she likes to spend time with family and friends (espe- cially her nieces and nephews), read books, deer hunt, and work on their “fixer-upper” of a house. As our Staff Accountant, Taylor will focus primarily on Fixed Assets, Capital Expen- ditures, investments, and will be exposed to all aspects of our Accounting department. Laura Tewnion has joined the Dairy Ingredient Sales group and will focus on New Business Development. Laura and her family reside just outside of Denver, Co. She will base her sales activities from that location. Laura is no stranger to the dairy industry. She had a long career with the Morningstar-Suiza-Dean Foods group in various roles related to dairy technology. Her experience and industry contacts will put her in a position to help us grow future sales. We are very pleased to have her with us. Dan Stumpenhorst was promoted to an Analyst/Programmer in the IT Department this winter. Dan worked for many years in the IT field before coming to Crest Foods. For the past two years, Dan has worked at Crest Foods as a Line Tech in QA before being promoted to IT. In his new role, we plan to take advantage of Dan’s experience to help us migrate our Ac- cess database to an SQL database. Please welcome Dan to his new position at Crest Foods. Jesse Morris has accepted the 2nd Shift Production Supervisor position in Contract Packag- ing Production. Jesse has worked in Production on the 2nd shift for the past seven years. While he has been a line operator the majority of the time he has also learned the line tech role and assisted the Maintenance Department with change overs. We are excited to wel- come Jesse to the management staff. Jon Bakener has accepted the Employee Development Manager position in Contract Packaging. Jon started with Crest Foods back in 2012 and has worked in Production as a line worker, line operator and in the warehouse, then joined the Scheduling Department as a Scheduling Manager in 2016. We are excited to have Jon in this role at Crest Foods! (see article on page 17.)
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Thanks to COVID, our original plan to visit Ireland or take a Caribbean cruise was put on the back burner. We decided to still go ahead and celebrate my 10 years at Crest by taking a long weekend in Clearwater, FL, to visit some of Stephanie’s childhood friends. While there, we were able to attend our first BMX race that our friend’s kids were riding in. It was their first time racing and one of them got first place, which was great! There was a ton of live music and street performers everywhere we went which was very entertaining. Ste- phanie and I also went on a dolphin tour which was incredible. The dolphins were right next to the boat throughout the tour which allowed us to get some really great pictures. We were also able to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium which is the home of Winter, the dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale. Al- though we didn’t get to go on our big vacation just yet, we are grateful that we were able to get away for a few days! My 10 Year Trip by Alfonzo Alvarado, Machine Shop
As part of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week this past summer, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued certificates to those Emergency Responders who have been licensed for 5, 10, 15 20 & 25 years in apprecia- tion for their service. We are fortunate to have a very dedicated group of volunteers here at Crest who fill this role for us and would like to recognize these employees for their service. Volunteers who haven’t quite reached this mile- stone yet are - Cat Larson, Jesse Morris, Tara Lifka and April Cover. We also have team members who are affiliated with local fire departments - Matt Richardson, Martha Holder and Mandi Kersten. Congratulations to these employ- ees on their recognition and our sincerest thanks to them for their service each and every year! First Responders Celebrate Milestones
Randy Reuter 25 Years
David Henrikson 25 Years
Marc Smith 15 Years
Stina Kanaras, Alfonzo Alvarado, Justin Guenther & Stephanie Eich 5 Years
Crest Foods was happy to make a donation to the Ashton Fire Department this summer to help them purchase a Lucas CPR Device. This machine provides patients with effective, consistent compressions during cardiac arrest. It also allows the EMT’s to focus on other important care while the machine performs CPR. We hope this will help the AFD save many lives!
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 7
Congratulations Congratulations to Dallas Schafer, daughter of Brian (Building Maintenance) and Jaime Schafer (Scheduling), on her graduation from Sauk Valley Community College with a Nursing Degree. Congratulations to Reilly Schafer, daughter of Brian and Jaime Schafer, on her 8th grade graduation from AFC. Congratulations to Nathan (Maintenance B) and Aman- da Troye on the arrival of their daughter, Karecey Melissa. Shane Stover (Warehouse A) and Karley Nicholson were married on July 11, 2020. Congratulations to the newly- weds! Congratulations to Keith (Production A Supervisor) and Catherine (Maintenance B) Larson on the birth of their daughter, Quinn Greer Larson. Quinn arrived on July 30th and was 9 lbs 1 oz and 21” long. She is welcomed home by big sister Kaelynn. Congratulations Larson family! Congratulations to Darrell Elliott (Production B) on his marriage in July. Congratulations to Kelsie Beauchamp (Production A), on her marriage in August. Congratulations to Jared (Operations Manager) and Amanda Stumpenhorst on the birth of their daugh - ter, Grace Marie. Grace was born on August 27, 2020 and is welcomed home by big brother Andrew and big sister Madilyn. Congratulations to Dan (IT) and Sandy Stumpenhorst on their newest granddaughter! Congratulations to Elaina (Zintl) Spence (Consumer Products Lab) on her marriage this fall. Madison Tomblin (Production B) married Mahali Granados this fall. Congratulations!
Congratulations Congratulations to Al (Tech Service) and Holli Duthie on the birth of their newestgranddaughter, Grace Ann David. Grace arrived on September 4, 2020, and is wel - comed home by parents Emily and Mike David and big sister Claire. Welcome Grace! Welcome Luke Richard Karper, son of Chris and Erin Karper, grandson of Rick Karper (Maintenance C). Luke was born October 23rd, 9 weeks early! He weighed 4 pounds and was 17 inches long and grew so fast he was able to come home on November 30th! Waiting patiently at home to meet him were big sisters, Grace, 6 and Alice, 3. Ashley Rogers (Production B) welcomed Amiyah Le - anne Rogers on December 20th. She weighed 6 lbs 9 oz, and was 19 inches long. Congratulations! Jacquline Coronel (QA B) & Mario Villalobos (Produc- tion B) welcomed a baby girl this November. Arielle Johnston (Production B) welcomed a baby girl this November. Congratulations! Baby Showers!
Co-workers of Jackie Coronel (QA B) (left)
and Ashley Rog - ers (Production B) (below)threw some creative and socially distant baby showers for the moms-to-be this fall. Con- gratulations to the both of them on welcoming baby girls!
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Our Sympathy Our condolences to Audra (Production A) and Jim (Karlin Production A Supervisor) Reindel on the pass- ing of Audra’s mother, Linda Helfrich, in July. Our condolences to Jackie (QA B) and Flor (Production B) Becerra on the passing of their grandmother. Also to Rosa Hernandez (Production A) on the passing of her mother-in-law. Our sympathy to Michelle Berard (Production B) on the passing of her father, Sam Berard. Our sympathy to Kerry (IT) and Maureen Tumleson on the passing of Kerry’s mother, Kathryn Tumleson. Our condolences to Holly Adams (Production B) on the loss of her mother, Vickie Pratt. Our condolences to Tim Wittenauer (Sanitation A) on the loss of his grandmother, Helen Goley. Our condolences to Justin Early (Warehouse A) on the passing of his father, and to Helen Mead (Mix A) on the loss of her brother, Harry Early. Our condolences to Dom Anders (Sanitation C) on the loss of his father, Curtis Anders in November. Our condolences to Jen Lally (Production A) on the passing of her grandpa this winter. Our condolences to Marcia Breeden (Parts Room A) on the loss of her mother, Irene Hays this December. Our sympathy to Nurse Heidi McGlown on the loss of her son, Xavier in September. Our sympathy to Donna Long (Production A) on the loss of her boyfriend, Jon Marsh. Our condolances to Jeff Roop (Scheduling) on the death of his father, Keith Roop, this December.
Thank You To the wonderful people at Crest Foods: Thank you to the talented people who created the plexiglass dividers for St. John’s Preschool (Ashton). We are very grateful for the donation that helped our school meet some of the health/ safety requirements to be able to open our preschool in the time of this pandemic. It is truly a challenging time and your generous donation has helped with a difficult situation. We are encouraged by the excitement of the stu- dents who are able to be “in person” even with restric- tions. – St. John’s Preschool Board Thank you for the Christmas cards and donation. I appre- ciate the love that is put into writing each card. Our residents really enjoy getting mail, and we let everyone know that Santa and his helpers put all these cards togeth- er. We greatly appreciate you thinking of us during the holidays. -Steve Caudillo & residents of Jack Mabley To all our Crest Foods Friends & Family: Thank you for all your prayers, messages, kindness, and support during Mona’s illness and her and our daughter, Tracy’s surgery. We really appreciate your friendship and encouragement, and we’re glad to report they’re both doing well as they recover from a successful transplant! Rod & Mona Bunger, Tracy & Peter Pascua
We can’t thank everyone enough for all the kind words and generous gifts for our daughter, Quinn. We love our Crest family and can’t wait until you can all meet her. She feels the love already! You guys are amazing! Love, Keith (Production A Supervisor) & Catherine (Main- tenance A) Larson
Crest Foods: The Kiwanis Club of Dixon and the Salva- tion Army offer a big Thank You for your generous donation to the 2020 Salvation Army, Red Kettle Cam- paign. This year we raised over $18,000 in Dixon alone (a new 12-year record). These monies will go a long way toward fulfilling the needs of Lee County residents strug- gling to make ends meet. - John Holthaus
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 9
You Know What... Steve Zera Retires by Jeff Meiners For those that work with Steve, you might recognize that phrase – you know what – as one that he often leads with when making a point. After nearly 37 years of employment with Crest, his final “you know what” at work will be that it is time to retire. Steve is the classic example of a person who worked his way through the system using a combination of skill, dedication and desire to reach the top of his profession. His evolution at Crest started with establishing and managing a parts room to Purchasing to ultimately being our Facilities
Celebrating the Life of Guyla Pfeiffer by Jeff Meiners The Crest family was saddened to hear of the passing of Guyla Pfeiffer at the age of 101. She was truly one of the most endearing people who we have had the pleasure of working with. She began her work career at Crest at the age of 49 and a mere 47 years later she de - cided it was time to slow down a bit and retire at the age of 96. Those 47 years were spent on the production line where she worked on her feet all day until she retired...again at the age of 96! She could seemingly do a very physical job with little effort and was a true inspiration to many. This sweet, feisty, driven and fiercely independent little lady captured the hearts of those she worked with. Guyla was a farm wife first who tended to many of the chores on the family farm for years. It was in that setting that she raised her family and was an integral part of her grandchildren’s lives as well. She was the proud manager of a huge garden that she tended until the day she passed. If Norman Rockwell would have tried to capture the sense of the Midwestern-rural farm life ethic…Guyla would have been the perfect person to be featured in the pic- ture. We’re better people for having known her and feel privileged that she chose to share so much of her life with us. Rest in peace Guyla Pfeiffer…but knowing Guyla, her vision of eternity would have little to do with resting. Engineer. His most recent position found him responsible for the management of over one million square feet of facilities along with all of the grounds. These responsibilities meant that weekend work was almost a given and be- ing on call 24/7 was a necessity. Our facilities have never been in better shape and Steve was at the forefront of making that happen. He was most recently charged with the responsibility of building a new production area for packaging in the middle of our warehouse – with a very short lead time – in the middle of a pandemic. The results were nothing short of amazing and the amount of planning and effort on Steve’s part that went into making that happen is nothing short of amazing as well. We will certainly miss Steve and all that he has done for Crest, but he has left his department in very good hands. We can’t thank him enough for all he has done for Crest over his career and being a part of the Crest Culture that makes us a unique place. Best of luck in your retirement Steve…you have certainly earned it.
Co-workers and friends of Carol Milens purchased a tree to plant at Crest Foods in her honor. Carol worked at Crest Foods for over 40 years in the Accounting Depart- ment before she passed away last year. The plaque on the rock reads: In memory of Carol Milens. A friend and co-worker for over 40 years who treated all with kindness and respect. January 18th marked 11 years since we lost Stephanie Bormes (Production Supervisor) in a car accident. Co-workers will always remember her big smile and upbeat attitude. May she continue to rest in peace.
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Congrats Aurora Gonzales!
Aurora Gonzales retired in Decem- ber after a sweet farewell from her co-workers at the Karlin Warehouse. She started at Crest Foods back in August of 1999 and dedicated the entire 21 years of her career to work-
ing in the Production Department. Aurora will be missed by anyone who had the pleasure of working with her. We wish her all the best in retirement and hope that she enjoys all of the extra time she gets to sleep in and spend with her kids and grandkids. Congrats Ray Sixaysana! Ray Sixaysana (Production B) quietly retired this December after 35 years with the company. Ray fled from war-torn Laos in 1979 and through a long road of events, ended up in Ashton and working at Crest Foods. Since then he learned English, became an American citizen, and established himself as a person that co-workers will remember for his work-ethic, big smile and the wonderful goodie bags he would give to people. While we didn’t get to say good-bye before he retired, we want to wish him well in retirement and thank him for being such a dedicated employee for so many years!
Congrats Phyllis Ott!
Thirty years and a handful of weeks later, Phyllis Ott had her final day at Crest Foods as part of our IT Department and accomplished her goal of becoming an elite member of the 30 Year Wall. Friends and coworkers gathered in the break room (socially distancing of course) to reminisce over the good times had throughout her career at Crest and bid her “see you later” because farewells are far too permanent. Phyllis joined Crest Foods in July of 1990 and was one of the go-to people if you were having a computer issue of any sort. She was also the one to remind you NOT to open unknown emails or allow anyone but a Crest Foods IT Department to work on your computer! Word has it she’s enjoying her new found free time in the warmer state of Arkansas and laughing at those of us still stuck in the snow. We wish her the best and ask that she send some of that warm weather our way!
Congrats Celia Arredondo! Celia Arredondo (Production A) retired January 8th, which was also her 20 year anni- versary with the company! She wanted her smiling face to make it to the 20 Year Employee wall so everyone could remember her for years to come. She spent her entire career working in Production and we appreciate her being a loyal employee for so many years. We wish her the best in retirememt and hope that she gets to spend plenty of time with family!
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 11
2020 CIP Annual Winners Announced!
The Crest Foods Continuous Improvement Program (CIP) successfully completed its 28th year on July 31, 2020. Thank you to everyone who participated in the program this year! This summer, we were happy to announce that this year’s Grand Prize $1000 Winner is John Messenger from B-Shift Maintenance. 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. John receives $1000.00 for his sug- gestion. Congratulations, and thank you!
Brian Beckman & John Messenger
Jon Larson, Maintenance C-Shift • Runner Up • $500.00 Jon’s suggestion was to put guards over the transition area between the take-away con- veyor 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 was a great human safety call-out.
Jesse Morris, Production B-Shift & Jerry Maronde, Maintenance B-Shift • Runners Up • $250.00 Each While running some cartons with an X-Ray the cartons would turn and twist getting jammed inside the X-Ray causing significant down time and presenting a safety issue with clearing the jams. The solution was to fab- ricate and install rails that would go through the X-Ray guiding the car- tons through the entire machine. The prototype was implemented and worked well so far. We will modify so that the rails do not interfere with the function of the machine, but overall the solution has improved the function of the machine and mitigated an employee safety hazard.
Jesse Morris & Jerry Maronde
Randy Otten, Sanitation A-Shift • Runner Up • $250.00 Randy’s idea was to make a portable roller for the cereal line large belts. Currently, dirty belts are rolled off onto pallets, then pulled off onto the washbay floor to be washed, then rolled back onto the pallet to be dried by a fan. This is very labor inten- sive and time consuming for Sanitation. Randy’s idea would be a time-saver, and would help keep equipment clean. Ultimately it would make a very difficult job much easier. Once our Machine Shop has a little extra time, we will get this made and try it out!
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Congratulations to the following employees for obtaining new jobs at Crest Foods over the last few months!
Danielle Price Forklift Driver West Warehouse A
Alma Hernandez Level 7 Production C Chris Bryant Mechanic Maintenance C CIP 2020 4th Quarter Winners Alexandria Walters Level 6 (MP) Production B
Jesus Castillo Level 6 (West) Production B
Randy Otten, Sanitation A-Shift 4th Quarter 1st Place • $250
Randy’s idea was to make a portable roller for the cereal line large belts. Currently, dirty belts are rolled off onto pallets, then pulled off onto the washbay floor to be washed, then rolled back onto the pallet to be dried by a fan. This is very labor inten- sive and time consuming for Sanitation. Randy’s idea would be a time-saver, and would help keep equipment clean. Ultimately it would make a very difficult job much easier. Once our Machine Shop has a little extra time, we will get this made and try it out!
Jessica Jenkins, Production C-Shift 4th Quarter Runner Up • $150
Jessica’s idea was to have regular meetings for new employee trainers. The goals being to standardize training practices and make training more consistent. This is a great idea, and one that we would really like to work on this year. Training is a big part of retention, so Production will be working on how we can develop this program.
Larry Shipman, Mix B-Shift 4th Quarter Runner Up • $150
Larry’s idea was to remove the sensors and extension cords that we currently use on the Sweco door to turn on the dust collection system. We should set it up so that the dust col- lection turns on when we turn on the Sweco after the batch has been finished. This is a great idea, and all 7 Sweco stations have been upgraded.
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Thank You, Veterans
Regina Cortez, R&D Project Manager US Navy, 8 years David Henrikson, QA B Army, 4 years Jeannie Carter, QA A Army National Guard, 6 years Marc Smith, Mix B Army, 5 years John Van Dyke, Maintenance C USAF, 20 years Frank Malston, Maintenance C USMC, 6 years Katrina Berogan, QA A USMC, 5 years Doug Carolous Sr., Sanitation B US Navy, 20 years
Ray Van Drew, Warehouse B Army, 9 years Bob Ziankowski, Ingredient Production C USMC, 4 years Joe Loomis, Ingredient Warehouse A US Army, 8 years Brian Beckman, Maintenance Manager Army, 12 years Ken Franchino, Production A Army, 9 years and still active Calvin Bennett, Production A Navy, 1 ½ years Kim Gallagher, Maintenance A Army, 3 ½ years Bernie Iwema, Karlin Warehouse B Air Force
I Would Walk 500 Miles... by Savannah Fagan And that’s exactly what many of the Crest Foods Walking Club members are doing to raise money for a charity of their choice. With the pandemic canceling the majority of local 5K races this year, the club leaders had to come up with a new way for everyone to participate in what has become a much loved yearly tradition. The solution; log sheets and an app for phones called Strava for anyone who wanted to participate by walking, running or biking to donate up to $1,000 for a local charity of their choice. Each mile walked or ran raises $1 and each biked raises $0.50. As of September 10th, $10,389.83 has been raised by the 82 regis- tered participants. It may not be a normal year, but we are incred- ibly lucky to have the opportunity to continue raising money for local charities!
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Slip, Trip & Fall Prevention by Karen Yardley
We had a lot of fun last year with our SLIP TRIP and FALL prevention campaign and while that is a part of our culture here at Crest the more important goal is to get the mes- sage out about reducing the risk of slip, trip and fall injuries. This year, we kicked off the campaign by focusing on the hazards we might encounter within the building. Savannah Fagan willingly volunteered to help us with the campaign again and she convinced Jon Bakener to suit up as well. Again we tried to have a little fun as we illustrated the following situations that lead to slip, trip and fall accidents within our facilities and how we can prevent them - • WET FLOOR - Spilled liquids or other hazards on the floor should be cleaned up immediately or reported to Sanitation as soon as identified. • CORDS, HOSES - Keep electrical cords and air lines up off the floor.
• PALLETS - Empty pallets should be stored horizontally in the appropriate location. Pallets should be inspected before being used. If at all possible, pallets should not be stepped on. If you need to step on a pallet to reach supplies, inspect the pallet first and make sure it is safe to do so. All packing straps shall be removed from pallets as soon as the pallet is positioned. • STOOLS – Inspect the stool for damage. Use caution when transferring from a standing to a sitting position – make sure the stool is stable and all four legs are on the floor or other solid surface. • PRODUCT (POUCHES, CARTONS, PASTA, POWDER, BOXES) - Sweep the floor whenever you have an opportunity to keep pasta, powder, cartons and pouches from becoming slip hazards. Too much prod - uct on the floor can also cause equipment like ladders and web lifters to slip and result in an accident. • STAIRS (UNEVEN SURFACES , RAMPS) – Pay attention when walking up and down stairs, use extra caution when carrying items up and down stairs or better yet, use an elevator to move supplies whenever pos - sible so you can use the handrail on the stairs. Be aware we do have a few uneven surfaces here at Crest - Hall - ways to Lines 35 – 37, to Lines 1 – 3, Ramp to Mix Facility.
Now here’s some bad banana humor: We have a “bunch” of reasons to remind you to be aware of slip, trip and fall hazards – most importantly, your safety! Because we like you a “bunch”, we want to remind you to be aware
of slip, trip and fall hazards! We are “a-peeling” to you to work safe and to be aware of slip, trip and fall hazards! When conditions are “ripe” for slips, trips and falls, please be aware and use caution! December will bring winter weather – whether we like it or not so be prepared! • Ensure you have access to weather advisory alert systems. • Tune-up snow blowers and other snow removal equipment or consider hiring a snow removal contractor. • Maintain a supply of salt, sand and/or other ice melters. • Obtain proper footwear (boots, ice cleats, indoor shoes). • Walk like a penguin on slippery surfaces! • Pay attention to slip/trip/fall advisories at entrances. • Be sure to use the entryway mats to dry your feet when entering the building.
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 15
Automation in Contract Packaging has been a major initiative for Crest over the past year. While the concept of automating our production processes has always been attractive, the reality of implementing major automation proj- ects has always been a little tricky since we seldom know the long term forecast for much of our volume. The key for us being able to automate lies in finding the right combination of long term commitments on volume and sourcing flexible automation that is able to be utilized in a number of different applications. Much effort has been invested in making these conditions a reality and the results have been fantastic. Automation investments have resulted in 54 positions being saved across three shifts with many of these positions being the most physically demanding in the plant. Even better, no jobs were actually eliminated since our demand is extremely high and the labor market is very tight…so we were able to shift these positions to other areas allowing us to better support our customers’ large demand levels. The changes seen around packaging have been wide-spread...robotic stacking on 3 lines – pouch transfers on 4 lines – case packers on 4 lines – robotic pouch placing on 1 line – automated sleeving on 1 line. Many people have played a role in bringing this automation from concept to reality. Thanks to Denton Yocum, Rick Rice, Jeff Karas, Cody Brill, Brian Beckman, Matthias Kemmeren and Brent Warner for sourcing out equipment and setting it up in the plant. In addition, the Purchasing Department played a big role in keeping projects on schedule in a very dif- ficult supply market and numerous line operators and line mechanics had to learn to work with a whole new set of new and sometimes complicated equipment. The end result is that we are in a much better position as a company due to the efforts to bring more automation to our production process…we run more effectively, we limit our need for more employees in a tough labor market, we make our jobs less physically demanding and we are in a better position than ever to service our customers. No one knows what the production floor at Crest will look like in the years to come, but there is little doubt we will continue to take advantage of technology improvements that enhance the quality of work on the production floor. Automation in Contract Packaging by Jeff Meiners
16 Crest Ink October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021
Retention & the Culture Kings The Contract Packaging Division at Crest is typically pushed to our capacity limits in the Fall due to the seasonality of the products we run. This year was no exception with an added twist of an additional large surge in volume due to the COVID related demands – in fact, it brought way more orders than we could possibly handle. As a result, we were left scrambling to fill many open positions in the middle of a very
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 17 difficult labor market. Knowing that hiring and keeping entry-level labor would be an uphill battle, we decided to look at how we can be the most effective at retaining the new employees that we bring through the door. Jon Bakener (Scheduling Manager) and Ryan Crouch (Consumer Products Sales) were approached in September about improving retention and were immediately on board and on the Production floor. Over the next few months, they focused on improving all on-boarding practices (Orientation, Training); getting to know employees, supervisors and trainers on their designated shifts; helping new employees succeed; making people feel welcomed; promoting Crest Culture and having some fun. Retention and getting new employees converted to full time status continues to be the ultimate goal, but we measured a lot of small wins too (most notably how many people participated in Maroon Tuesdays or Fancy Fridays). Retention is going to be instrumental for staffing production lines and meeting our customers’ expectations going forward. Having someone to facilitate and focus on these goals and responsibilities just makes sense for our com- pany and the Culture we practice every day. Jon Bakener will be transitioning from Scheduling into the Production Department, where he will be our new Employee Development Manager for all 3 shifts and all departments at Crest. Congratulations to Jon on his now job within the company – we will look forward to improved onboarding, training, developement, and retention for new employees. Ryan will be headed back to the Consumer Products Division, where he will finally get to be the Salesman we hired him to be! We really appreciate all of the efforts that these 2 have put into retention over the past few months. I know it’s made a difference, and that they’ve truly en- joyed getting to know everyone. Getting to Know: Jon Bakener, Employee Development Manager Interests: Golfing, collecting beer and petroleum signs, and taking my donkey Penny for long walks. Weirdest thing in my fridge right now: Pillow cases. Your guess is as good as mine. How did you come to Crest: I was working at a park district and was looking to do something different. I was looking for an entry level job with a good company and loved the Crest Culture. Here I am 8 years later! Ryan Crouch , Consumer Products Sales Interests: I like to ride my bike. Last year I rode over 5,000 miles. Also, our family does Pizza/Movie night every weekend. (We have missed only a handful of times in the last 10 years.) Weirdest thing in refrigerator: Garlic and Jalapeño stuffed Olives. Man, are they good! How did you come to Crest? After being a supplier to Crest for nearly 15 years, I came begging for a job. I love the culture!
by Jeff Meiners
If a person stays in one place long enough, they gain a perspective that can only be seen through the lens of the passage of time. Crest Foods is amongst some of my earliest childhood memories and since I’m a little north of sixty years old…I have many Crest memories. While people will always be at the top of my list of Crest memories, the many situations we have faced as a company also make the highlight reel. A recent blurb in the “50 years ago” column in the Ashton Gazette brought back a memory and I thought it might be interesting to look at some of the natural disasters we have faced and survived as a company…fire, flood, wind and now plague. Fifty years ago Crest had a warehouse where the Mimini Market stands today. We were obviously a much smaller company then and it really wasn’t much of a building, but it caught on fire and burned to the ground along with everything in it. It was a spectacular fire that was fed by all the cardboard we stored there. It was the kind of thing that a kid would really get into watching and we all lined up to watch the destruction. Despite the spectacle of the fire, the thing that sticks out most in my memory was Dick Moeller, the plant manager, throwing bundles of boxes out of the back door of the building while flames were shooting through the roof so we’d have enough supplies to run the next day. I wouldn’t have been aware if we ran the next morning, but I bet we didn’t miss a beat. We built a new warehouse, one that wouldn’t burn so easily… Thirty-three years ago on an August night it rained hard and long enough in Northern Illinois that there was talk that Noah might be working on an ark again. Our warehouse was on the south side of Ashton at the time and much of the water from the overloaded storm sewer system headed that direction. The resulting flood itself wasn’t all that bad, but we had a three inch deep river running through our finished product warehouse. That might have not been that big of deal either except for the fact that most of our product was stored pallet-less resulting in the bottom layer of boxes getting very wet and most were stacked four high. Funny thing, wet cardboard has no strength and ultimately every single box of finished product ended up in a big pile on the floor when they all started to collapse. Through the heroic efforts of many, the entire warehouse was sorted by hand, box by box, from the endless pile of cases and while we lost a good portion of our finished inventory…we were back in business in a matter of days. We ultimately built a new warehouse, one that wouldn’t burn or flood so easily… Five years ago on an April evening, the first tornado of the year in our area decided that its path of destruction would lead in straight through the West edge of our warehouse West of Ashton. Miraculously no one was hurt, but it sure left a mess behind. This was by far the biggest disaster we had dealt with so far. The clean-up, the reconstruction, the scheduling, the accounting and the demand on peoples’ time was great, but it brought out the best in everyone and we were back in business in a matter of days due to the determination, hard work and ingenu- ity of all involved. This time we didn’t even think of relocating…we simply built it back up on the same foundation that it was built on the first time. Today we are dealing with a different kind of disaster. A situation that leaves us uncertain on how to fix it, we take it home with us every day and it is there when we wake up in the morning and we have no idea when it is going
18 Crest Ink October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021
to go away. Dealing with a fire or flood or tornado was easier because the problem was immediate and all we had to do was react and it would be over. A pandemic is simply a different kind of situation. The impact on Crest and everyone who works here has been great. We have a plan on how we can deal with the situation as a company and that seems to be working well. Having health care staff on site has been a tremendous help and most have em- braced the many changes we have made despite the level of inconvenience that it has meant to everyone individu- ally. As with other disasters, this situation has brought out the best in this group of people who today call Crest Foods their work home. We couldn’t be prouder and more thankful that the spirit of those that embraced difficult situations over the years is still alive and well at Crest. Good things do come from bad situations and the fact that our jobs are in demand, we are thriving when so many others are suffering and we are all treating each other well in less than ideal conditions is a blessing. Hang in there...this too shall pass and someday soon we will look back on 2020 and feel good about how well we came out the other side. Unsung Heroes by Chris Reynolds, Mix A Supervisor An unsung hero is a person who has committed acts of self-sacrifice, yet is not celebrated or recognized. It is some one who sacrifices themselves for the good of others without recognition. As we watch the nightly news, and the never ending reports of the tragedies of the Corona Virus, there are usually glimmers of hope provided by the unsung heroes who are doing whatever they can to help our nation get through this pandemic. We see and hear stories of doctors, nurses, teachers, postal workers, truck drivers, police, fire fighters and EMTs, grocery clerks, utility workers, bus drivers, and many more people who are making severe sacrifices for the wellbeing of others. I am so very grateful for all of these people, and countless others, who have quietly done what they can to try and keep our lives manageable in these difficult times. While there have been no television film crews or news reporters here at Crest Foods that does not mean that our company is not full of unsung heroes. All of you, who come here to work every day, are making sacrifices for people you will never know. You are making a difference to thousands of our fellow Americans who will never know of your sacrifice and dedication. You should be proud of what you are accomplishing. Thousands of families, many who are struggling financially, have affordable food because of your dedication. Please be proud of what you are accomplishing. You are making a difference for good. You too are unsung heroes!
Tom Balch, Ingredient Division Ware- house Manager, made a new friend this fall. Baby, a 4 year old Macaw stopped by with her driver to deliver a shipment of materials to the Warehouse.
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 19
Charity Gingerbread Competition For the past three years, Crest Foods has organized a charity gingerbread house competition among our customers. We have loved seeing the creative houses, hearing the team-building stories behind the designs and learning more about the charities that are meaningful to you! Not to mention helping make an impact in your local communities! With the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on both our collective office environments and overall demand in the industry, it wasn’t realistic to continue the contest in its existing format. So, we decided to reverse the roles. The rules did not change: • A gingerbread kit was provided to all participants to be used for the structure. • Additional edible embellishments could be added. • Crest would make a donation to each winner’s charity of choice, to be used for the holidays. Fifteen of our own Crest Foods Sales and Technical Service members decorated houses and 530 of you voted for your favorites! The results were overwhelming! You can check out all of the houses at www.CrestFoods.com/Gin- gerbread. Thank you to our competitors and to our voters for helping us make a difference this holiday season!
First Place: Ryan Crouch (Consumer Products Sales Representative) $1,000 donation to Zearing Child En- richment Center in Princeton, Illinois Second Place: Ann Wege (New Business Development) $500 donation to Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Kerrville, Texas Third Place: Steve Starke (Technical Service Manager) $250 donation to the Boone County Animal Shelter in Burlington, KY (Pictured are Steve and his niece at the Boone County Animal Shelter)
20 Crest Ink October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021
Mix Facility Fall Protection by Karen Yardley
After many years of discussion we were fi - nally able to find a practi - cal solution to the hazards involved with changing out the downpipes at our particulate hoppers and Swecos at the Mix Facility. Here’s a recap of how we were finally able to suc - cessfully mitigate this risk: In January of this past
(left) floorplate in place (right) floorplate removed
year, we decided it was time to get some outside resources involved since we felt like we were spinning our wheels looking for solutions internally. We contacted Equipment Depot and Fitzgerald to see if there were manlifts avail- able that would meet our needs. We shared an idea about modifying the floor plates with Beesing Welding out of Oregon, IL. And finally, we sought out a fall protection specialist through Grainger. In February, we trialed articulating manlifts but they still couldn’t get to the area we needed to reach. In April, Beesing Welding made the modifications to the particulate hopper floorplates so that these downpipes could be handled from the Sweco room. They were able to do all of the work on site with minimal impact to the mixing operation. Since this wasn’t an option for the Sweco downpipe, we still needed to investigate fall protection. After working with a recommended fall specialist, we ordered the necessary PPE including anchors, harness vests and SRLs (Self Retracting Lifelines.) In May of 2020, Facility Maintenance installed the ceiling anchors for the PPE and by the second week of June, we had the SRLs installed and we had completed in house training with all affected employees. We were feeling pretty good about finally having a resolution to this hazard. We were planning to do an article for the Crest Ink then to celebrate this “win” and then we started having issues with the SRLs not extending like they should for normal use. We contacted the manufacturer and their response was that this happened quite often; they considered it “normal.” We were not comfortable with this response so we contacted the vendor to explore other options. Purchasing also started looking at other vendors and manufacturers. One of our other vendors suggested we meet with a fall protec- tion specialist that works with Honeywell/Miller. After a visit to Crest, he recommended a different harness (more easily inspected) and a different SRL. After a trial of the new fall restraint system in August, we were comfortable moving forward again and have not encountered any issues to date. Employees who were to use the fall protection system attended a training session presented by the fall protection specialist to learn about the new equipment. It was stressed how important a careful inspection of this equipment is before each use to assure it is in good working condition. It is vital not to use the equipment if the inspection reveals an unsafe condition and to report those conditions to management immediately.
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