Crest Ink July, August & September 2021 Ashton, IL 61006
Volume 33 • Number 3
815Eats by Gaven Meiners
Ashley Mairs, Jamie Cooper, Ryan Crouch, Kristina McWethy & Gaven Meiners
After 75 years manufacturing dry food products for leading retail brands, Crest Foods Co., Inc., is pleased to an- nounce the launch of its first retail brand - 815Eats. Sales initially launched online at 815Eats.com and product continues to be available for shipping throughout the continental US. Retail distribution is rapidly expanding and currently includes several area retail stores. The first 815Eats product is a line of microwave dips in four savory flavors: Chili Con Queso, Black Bean & Jalape - ño, Tuscan Bean and Curried Chickpea. To prepare, simply remove the lid, add water to the fill line, stir and micro - wave for 90 seconds. The end result is a filling, flavorful snack with only 100 calories per container. We have been getting great feedback and look forward to reaching new customers every day. Venturing into the retail space on our own has been a learning experience but I know we will succeed as all three division’s efforts are in play. Our brand and image has been built to represent the hard working people whom enter Crest’s facilities every day.
815 isn’t just an area code. It’s a way of life. A pretty simple one, actually. Based on hometown values, solid roots, and good food. Where we say what we mean. And we do what we say. Where our company is our family and family always comes first. Where we’re proud of where we came from. And everyone feels welcome. Because everyone is. Welcome to 815.
2 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
Year End Celebration and the Launch of 815Eats by Kristina McWethy
After a tumultuous year and an atypical, social distanced celebration in 2020, the Crest Foods Year End Celebration returned with a bang in 2021. The grills were fired up at 3 am in preparation for the day ahead, and managers gathered around to begin grilling steaks and chicken for the entire company. Employees were treated to freshly grilled meat, sides from Headon’s, Kristie’s Sweet Treats ice cream and door prizes from our exceptional supplier partners. It was a long, hot day full of food, laughs, fun and an abundance of appreciation. Appreciation not only for the commitment of our employees, but also our sustained business and the continued health of our entire Crest Foods family. In addition to celebrating another prosperous year, we also celebrated the launch of Crest’s first foray into the retail market – 815Eats! Every employee was gifted a four pack of the product, t-shirt and the opportunity to pose with the retail brand’s larger than life mascot – Cuppy!
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 3
4 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
Happy New Year by Jeff Meiners That’s right…Happy New Year! For the purposes of avoiding all of the hustle that comes with the end of the cal- endar year, Crest does their book keeping in such a way as to recognize August 1st as the start of our new fiscal year. Unlike typical celebrations on December 31st, the passing of an old year and the ringing in of a new year are pretty laid back events at Crest. We typically pass out well earned bonuses and wage increases that go into effect on August 1st. The accounting group is very busy wrapping up the financial work that it takes to close out a fiscal year. Budgets for the coming year are put into place and goals and objectives are established for the new year. We usually have a company-wide cook out as a way of celebrating all that has been good for the past year and we take some time to thank our suppli- ers at a separate event for all they have done to help us operate in the best way possible. As we all know, the past twelve months have been anything but typical for us. Covid had a big impact on nearly every aspect of Crest life. We are essential workers providing food for the grocery stores and dairy manufacturers throughout the country so we had to be at work every day. Our volumes soared in all areas at the same time the labor market got extremely tight. Wages were increased earlier than usual at an accelerated pace in an attempt to stay competitive with local industry. Supplies got tight and costs went up across the board. Policies changed often to reflect the ever-changing guidance given on dealing with the pandemic. It seemed like there was a new crisis nearly every day and everyone felt the tension of dealing with the high-stakes gauntlet that was ever-present. Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it? Few will probably recall the past year as the most fun ever, but there is an old saying about making the best out of the cards you get dealt in life…and Crest Foods as a group of 700 some people has made the best of the circumstances we could. There is no doubt that we have shined the brightest when things were the most difficult. We have treated each other well – with kindness, respect and patience. We have treated our customers well and literally turned ourselves inside out making sure we are doing everything possible to meet their needs. We have relied upon and respected our suppliers. We have stayed true to our culture and who we are as individuals and as a company. This past year won’t go down in the books as one of our best financial years…however, it may well be one of our best years ever based upon how we handled everything that was thrown at us. I continue to be humbled by the dedication and results produced by this group of people from the middle-of-nowhere Illinois. We go to our own work-type of battle every day…and there’s no doubt we’re winning the war! Here’s a toast to you all and a wish for a happy new year…while there is no doubt that we can handle anything that is thrown our way, how about just a little bit of normal so we can all catch our breath!
Make It Count Monday Savannah Fagan recently took over as the one who fills and orders uniforms, and she heard the request for fun colored shirts loud and clear, so we came up with the idea of “Make It Count Monday”! On a random Monday during each month, employees have the chance to purchase a new Crest uniform shirt. A new color is picked every month and as long as the individual is working on that day, they can order a shirt. We keep it to one shirt per person because it’s an exclusive shirt after all!
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 5
In August Jose Hernandez went out to Colorado for his 10 year trip! Pictured is Jose (far right) along with his son (in green) and his brothers and nephews at Red Rock. They had a great trip and thank Crest Foods for the opportunity! My Ten Year Trip by Tyler Ewens, Sanitation C For my 10 Year Trip, my wife and I took a road trip through Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. We started off by spending a weekend in the Wisconsin Dells, where we played mini golf at Pirate's Cove, rode the Ducks, and went to the zoo. From the Dells we drove all the way up to Marquette, Michigan, where we stayed for four day. While in Marquette we toured many of their small shops and local parks, like Presque Isle where there is still a working iron ore dock. While up there we also visited Big Bay a couple of the days. Big Bay is a town the size of Leaf River. It has a campground and is on it's own lake as well as being right off of Lake Superior. The Big Bay Lighthouse is just outside of town as is Squaw Beach, which is where we spent most of our time there. On the way home from Marquette we stopped over in Madison and spent our second week- end going to their farmers market on the square and the Olbrich Botanical Gardens before finally making our way home. My Ten Year Trip by Jose Hernandez, Production B
Happy Birthday Crest Foods by Jeff Meiners Late in the summer of the year 1946, entrepreneurs George McDonald and E. C. Scott decided to try their hands at opening their own business in downtown Ashton. They specialized in extracting and drying the dairy proteins that were available from a local milk source and selling them to those in the food industry seeking such a product. In fact, the first product they ever sold was a high protein dry shake product that was to be used by the government for helping nourish returning soldiers from World War 2 that had been mal-nourished in POW camps. After several years of meager existence, the business slowly began to grow and through a change in ownership was renamed Crest Foods…that’s right, the very same Crest Foods that we all work at some 75 years later. Through perseverance, some good luck and the hard work and dedication of many…Crest is a company today that neither of its founders could have even hoped to imagine so many years ago. Crazy how things like that work! Imagine how generations not even born yet might look back at Crest in another seventy-five years and wonder how we ever managed to get by in the 2020’s. We’ll always be grateful that fate brought Mr. Scott and McDonald to Ash- ton to open their business and for the circumstances that unfolded to make a place of employment for so many out in the middle of the cornfields of rural Illinois.
6 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
Happy Retirement Scott & Sue! Two of our longer tenured managers have recently made the decision that now would be a good time to test the retirement waters. Sue Osborne, Production Manager and Crest employee for 27 years, and Scott Storey, Purchasing Manager and Crest employee of 28 years, have made it official that there will now be an “ex” in front of their Crest status. Sue put her experience in manufacturing to work when she started with Crest and has been involved with the supervision and management of the packaging production department from the start. She has been a steadying influence in a period when packaging has seen nothing but change and growth. Her understanding of our operation combined with her true compassion for those that work in her area was much appreciated and will be missed. Sue plans to keep her roots in this area, but hopes to put many miles on her RV exploring the good old USA. Scott came to Crest looking for a steady job and found a career. He started on the production floor of the Ingredient Division and quickly found a home in our Purchasing Department becoming the Operational Purchas- ing Manager. He developed programs and systems where there were none that kept us always supplied and incorporated Crest culture into his style of
purchasing which resulted in many strong relationships that will serve us well for years to come. Scott is leaving the ever-changing climate of Illinois to build a home in Florida and bring the golf courses in the Sunshine State to their knees. We wish both Sue and Scott much happiness in their retirements and thank them for all they have done for Crest and the lasting impressions they have made with many. Wishing Nancy Gleissner a Happy Retirement! Nancy Gleissner has been a welcoming, positive face in Quality Assurance for many years, and a member of the Crest family since 1996. Nancy first began her career as a part timer working in production as part of a job sharing initiative Crest had a long time ago. She was then asked to work doing special projects at the warehouse and over- see a high school crew. I am sure many words of wisdom were shared with those youth, as Nancy has a wonderful positive outlook on EVERY situation and could brighten the dreariest of days! She eventually worked full time in production until she joined the QA team. That was a great day for QA!
On Thursday September 30th, 2021 Nancy worked her last shift in the lab, which was an exciting day for her, but a bitter sweet one for us. We appreciate her and will miss her greatly! Nancy will be enjoying her many hobbies and time with her husband, John who also recently retired, and her family, doing the things she loves and no doubt spreading sunshine wherever she goes! On behalf of the QA department and all of Crest Foods, we thank Nancy for 25 years of service and wish her the very best!
Nancy Gleissner & QA
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 7
Our Sympathy Our condolences to Bill (Mix A) and April (Production C) Cover on the passing of Bill’s mother, Joyce Cover, in July. Our sympathy to Jon Bakener (Employee Development Manager) and family on the loss of his grandmother, Lenora Bakener, in August. Our sympathy to Karsanna Crump (Production B) on the loss of her brother, Karson Crump, in September. Our sympathies to Coco Palafox (Production) on the loss of her grandmother, Maria Palafox, in August. Our condolances to April (Production A) and Ben (Sanitation A Supervisor) Fichter on the passing of April’s father this August. Our sympathy to Jesus Castillo (Production B) on the passing of his sister-in-law this August. Thank You I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Crest Foods. Our summer league ball program was in desperate need of a new dugout as it was damaged in a storm. Crest Foods very generously donated 1/2 the cost of the dug- out. With their donation along with the builder donating his time and others donating the remainder of the ma- terials we were able to get this put up quickly and before their season began. The summer league program kids and our board members were very thankful you helped us make this happen! Thank you Crest Foods for always helping out with our community needs throughout the years. We appreciate your support more than words can say! – Mandi Kersten (Ingredient Div. QA) Please once again accept our most sincere thanks for your generous gift to the food pantry. Gifts of friends like you are critical to the important mission we strive to fulfill! Sincerely, The Rochelle Christian Food Pantry
Thank you for your sponsorship of the First Annual Grist Mill Grind 10K put on by the Franklin Creek Conservation Association (FCCA). Your contribution not only made the event a success, but will go back in helping keep the trails clear for visitors, providing edu- cational activities for kids, and engaging people of all ages to appreciate the unique geology and history of Franklin Creek State Natural Area. Crest Foods’ generous support of the College of Busi- ness Experiential Learning General Use Fund is inspir- ing. Because of your company’s generosity, students will receive an outstanding and unique experience working on an engaging experiential learning project, which will, in turn, give them skills to propel them on to successful careers. Crest Foods’ philanthropy is a shining example of what makes a true Huskie. – Lisa Freeman, President, Northern Illinois University Congratulations Congratulations to Aliyah Stinnett (QA B) and David Smith (Production B) on the arrival of their baby boy, Alexander Jayce, on July 23rd. Congratulations to the new family! Congratulations to Nina Sims (Production A) on the birth of her granddaughter, Persephone Mae, on July 22nd. Congratulations to Domingo Mancilla (Production A) on the birth of his daughter, Priscilla Alexandria Man- cilla, on August 28th. Congratulations! Congratulations to Jessica (QA Supervisor) and Justin (Ingredient Production Supervisor) on the birth of their daughter, Zoey Mary Guenther! Zoey arrived on Sep- tember 14th and was 7 lbs 4 oz and 19 ½ inches long. Congratulations to the Guenthers! Congratulations to Cody Brill (Electrical Controls) and his new bride, Haley, on their August marriage!
8 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
Congratulations Congratulations to Karsanna Crump (Production B) on her new grandbabies, Luca and Kai, who arrived on Au- gust 17th and both weighed 5 lbs 13 oz. Congratulations to everyone!
Congratulations to Samantha Breeden (Sanitation A) on her August marriage! Congratulations to Olgert Refatllari! 12 years after Olgert moved from Albania to Ashton to live with his brother, he officially became a US Citizen! While the process took about 2 years to complete due to the pan- demic, he and 19 other people from 12 different coun- tries took their official oath this July in Chicago. Olgert has been with Crest Foods
Congratulations to Mark (IT) and Mary (Ing QA) McWethy on the birth of their grandson, Connor! Connor was born on August 22nd, and is welcomed home by 2 big brothers, Logan and Cameron. Congratulations to Shirley Reif (CFO) on the birth of her granddaughter, Brooklyn Reif. Brooklyn is the daughter of Adam and Kelsey Reif, and was born on August 12, 2021.
ever since the move, and he’s worked his way into a Mainte- nance Mechanic on our 2nd Shift. We are so happy for you, Olgert! (pictured with his wife, Caitlin)
Welcome Joe & Jake! We are excited to welcome two new members to our Dairy Ingredient Technical Service Team! Joe Buckner comes to Crest Foods with more than 33 years of dairy plant experience from a variety of plants and positions. Joe’s extensive expertise in cultured dairy products will serve our customers well. Joe and his wife, Stacey, reside in Illinois. They have two grown daughters and are expecting their first grandkid in November. Exciting times! When he is not working, Joe enjoys spending time with Stacey gardening, fishing, and taking long drives through the rural country side. Jake McKnight joins Crest Foods bringing extensive UHT and dairy plant experience from his 19 years in the dairy industry. Jake brings experience from a variety of positions from multiple plants. Jake and his wife, Toni, reside in the Boise, Idaho area. Jake and Toni enjoy traveling and spending time on sandy coastal beaches. Jake also enjoys fishing and hunting. We look forward to serving you even better with the added complimentary support and experience of Joe and Jake. Please let us know how we can serve you!
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 9
2021 Walking Club Wrap Up by Erika Meiners
If you’ve followed along in the last few issues of the Crest Ink, Walking Club 2021 has wrapped up, and everyone is already working on logging miles for the next year. When we put out the challenge last year, we weren’t sure how this COVID-driven change would go. For years, we had been walking/running at lo- cal 5K’s as a group, and this year we would be logging miles on our own. While worried about participation with the new format and motivation without the group pushing each other along, it turns out we had nothing to worry about - Crest employees stepped up! The motivation was different for many, and for me, the motivation was reaching the maximum $1000 donation for charity. All I had to do was walk 500 miles throughout the year. With my old dog by my side, we averaged about 2 miles per day together and reached our 500th mile on the very last day of the 2021 deadline. I was thrilled to be able to give my charity of choice, Kreider Services, a check for $1000. 82 Crest Foods employees took on the challenge with me last year, logging a whopping 39,466 miles walking, run- ning or biking! This meant that as a group we would be donating a total of $42,600 to 45 different local charities ($22,000 of that total was from employees reaching 500 miles). The thank you’s from the community have been roll- ing in, and I’m so proud of us as a group and company to be able to make that much of an impact on so many local organizations. Thank you to everyone for embracing the change and for making it such a great success. We will be following the same format for the next year, so get out there and start walking, running, or biking! Every mile counts and we are working on breaking our record and making at least $50,000 in donations in October of next year! Local organizations that were given donations from the Walking Club were: 11 Day Power Play Ashton Rescue
Serenity Hospice & Home Shining Star Ashton Care Pantry The Caroline Mark Home
Happy Tails Honor Flight of Lee County Hooved Animal Humane Society Hope Life Center Hub Cluster Ministries Kreider Services LHCS Friends of Parks & Recreation Loaves & Fishes Maggie & Amos Foundation Mending Hearts Rescue Menno Haven Camp & Retreat Miss Carly’s NW IL Children’s Dyslexia
Ashton Park District Boy Scout Troop 78 Buddy Bags CASA Chabad Jewish Community Center Crest Foods Benevolence Fund Dixon Community Food Pantry Dixon Police Department Charity Focus House Franklin Creek Conservation Assoc. Goodfellows Granny Rose Animal Shelter Habitat for Humanity Lee County
The Kitchen Table The Lending Closet United Way of Lee County Village of Progress We Care Pregnancy Center Franklin Grove Fire Habitat for Humanity Kerr County The Coming King Foundation Home of Hope Dixon Park District Regap Greyhounds as Pets
Pegasus Special Riders Sauk Valley Food Bank
Thank you so much for your donation to Kitchen Table! We are blessed with your thought of helping us! Thank you for your support! - Habitat for Humanity Kerr County Thank you very much for your generous donation! - TCKF Thank you so much for your generous donation! We appreciate it and will put the money to good use to serve our clients. -Shining Star Thank you for thinking of us. It is greatly appreciated. Delores, Dixon Community Food Pantry Thank you for your support to the Ashton Care Pantry and our community. Your generosity of greatly appreciated. - Tom Balch
10 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
The Goodfellows of Lee County want to thank you for your donation. We can’t thank you enough for thinking of us at this time. Gifts such as yours are important to us so we can provide for those in need at Christmas time. On behalf of Home of Hope Cancer Wellness Center, I would like to thank you for making a generous contribution. You have made it possible for our friends & neighbors to receive support during one of the most challenging times in their lives. Thank you so much for your wonderful gift! We are honored to count Walking Club members as friends of We Care Pregnancy Clinic. Thank you for your recent donation to Serenity Hospice and Home Foundation! As a not-for-profit hospice, we rely on the generosity of the communities we serve to ensure that we can continue to provide the best care possible to terminally ill patients and their families. I want to personally thank the members of your Walking Club so much for their support of the Franklin Creek Conservation Associa- tion! The gift supports our work to protect this beautiful place for the plants and animals that life here, the people who restore their peace-of-mind here, and the children whose sense of wonder and love of nature are nurtured here. We were amazed at the large donation from the club! Thank you from all the dogs & cats that benefit! Granny Rose Animal Shelter We here at CASA are so incredibly grateful for your donation! Your donation is already hard at work providing hands-on help to the abused and neglected children in Lee County who are caught up in the juvenile court system. What a difference this gift can make in the life of a child! The Sauk Valley Foodbank would like to thank you for your generous donation. Your gift is appreciated and will be put to good use. Because of your generosity and prayers, women have a safe place to process the overwhelming emotions they feel when faced with an un- planned pregnancy. - Hope Life Center Thank you very much for your donation to Buddy Bags of Dixon. We appreciate your generosity so much. With donations like yours, this program will provide weekend brown bag meals for youngsters in need. You must be an awesome group of people to help so many in our area. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and hard work! High Five to All! - The Buddy Bags Team We the Hub Cluster are deeply humbled by the donation made to us from your club. It is with deep appreciation for what your organiza- tion has accomplished with your challenge. Sincere thanks! - Hub Cluster Ministries Thank you so much for your donation. We are touched by your gift for our animals during these difficult times. We so appreciate your thoughtfulness and so do the hooved animals here on our farm. - Hooved Animal Humane Society Thank you so much for your generous donation to Dixon Habitat for Humanity. We will make every effort to use your contribution as effectively as possible in providing decent, affordable homes for families in need here in the Dixon area. Thank you for your generous contrition to 11 Day Power Play. We are so grateful for your donation to help put cancer in ice. We are very grateful for your generosity which helps us get closer to our goal of putting handicapped accessible restrooms in Atlasta Park. We feel very blessed to be chosen. - Friends of Park and Recreation (Franklin Grove) Thank you for your generous contribution to Scout Troop 78 of Boulder, Colorado! Your contribution will provide Scouts with the abil- ity to fulfill the aims of the Scout program: character development, leadership development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Kreider Services would like to thank you for your very generous donation from your walking club. It is because of friends and area busi- nesses who continue to believe in our mission, that we are able to serve the nearly 600 adults and children with disabilities that we do each year in Northern Illinois. Thank you for the donation from the Crest Foods Walking Club! The generosity is truly appreciated. Thanks again for your support of the Village and its mission to adults with disabilities in Ogle County! - Village of Progress On behalf of the Honor Flight Committee from Lee County, we would like to thank you for your donation. These funds will go towards our next flight to Washington DC to send local Lee County veterans on an Honor Flight Trip. Thank you for your generous gift to the Caroline Mark Home. We are thrilled to have your support. Your donation will help with the cost to maintain the home. You truly make the difference for us, and we are extremely grateful! Thank you so much for the donation. The money will be used to purchase books for our students. Children’s Dyslexia Center NW-IL
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 11
Congratulations to the following employees for obtaining new jobs at Crest Foods over the last few months!
Jake Warren Warehouse Forklift A-Shift
Whitney Marsh Warehouse Shipping Clerk
Ashley Mairs Consumer Products Coordinator
Kelsy Kuhnle Mix Ingredient Set Up B-Shift
2021 4th Quarter CIP Winners
Shawneen Arreguin, Production B-Shift • Runner Up • $150.00 Shawneen’s idea was to add “master clean” to the Line Operator Basic Training Guide. Line Operators need to understand and know what to do when their paperwork says “master clean” on it, which will provide more details help them understand the expecta- tions of being a Line Operator. This is a great idea, and we will get it added to the Line Operator checklist. Jesus’ idea was to specify where allergens are located on the Plan of the Day that comes from Sanitation. This will help Line Operators and Maintenance know what tooling to take down, and will help QA know what equipment and level they are looking at. This is a great idea that will save time and clear up a lot of confusion. Sanitation will work with Jesus to get this added to the Plan the Day! Jesus Castillo, Production B-Shift • Runner Up • $150.00 Kathy Dwyer, QA B-Shift • 1st Place • $250.00 Kathy’s idea was to always use a 2nd head when running cheddar broccoli soup on line 14. When we only set it up with 1 head, we seem to have a lot of missed fills, pouches not opening, and powder not going into the pouch. By always using both heads instead of 1, it allows powder to settle in the first fill, and it has more time to settle before it gets to the seal bars. Good call-out to always use the method that works best for this product!
12 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
2021 CIP Annual Winners Announced! The Crest Foods Continuous Improvement Program (CIP) successfully completed its 29th year on July 31, 2021. Thank you to everyone who participated in the program this year! This summer, we were happy to announce that this year’s winner was Tyler Ewens from Sanitation C-Shift! He had a lot of great competition this year, but ultimately we were impressed with the safety call-out and solution. Congratula- tions and thank you for the great suggestion, Tyler!
Tyler Ewens, Sanitation C-Shift • $1000.00!
Tyler’s idea was to mount the mixer CO2 drip pans more securely. The manufacturers way allowed the drip pan to fall off of the mounts with the mixer vibration, which is a big safety concern. Tyler suggested a larger tab mount be put on the drip pans and drilling a hole through the tabs and pan support. Then pin the pan to the mixer pan support. Our Machine Shop got this made and installed right away.
Natasha Pretzsch, Production A-Shift • 2nd Place • $500.00
Natasha prepared an entire set-up book for the Line 31 dump area, then worked with Marketing to get it made into a laminated binder. Different hoppers are used for different products, and it was easy to make mistakes. With her set-up book, she made it easy to identify what goes into each hop- per. This was an awesome idea that we are sure will eliminate a lot of confusion and frustration!
Becca Dodd, Production A-Shift & John Howell, Maintenance A-Shift • Runners Up • $250.00 Each John and Becca had the same idea at the same time, so we wanted to recognize both of them. Their idea was about adding a bent bucket eye before the Massman on this line. It didn’t have one before, which is a safety concern. A few times a bent bucket came around and caught on the Massman, dragging it down the line. This is a great safety call-out, and will be worked on ASAP.
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 13
Crest Suppliers...Part of the Family by Jeff Meiners
Jamie Cooper & Graham Redding, Prairie State Group
Cory Morris & Rick Balkema, Silva International
Tom Balch & Dave Dettman, Quality Transport
For the past 31 years, we have set aside a day in September to celebrate the suppliers who play an absolutely essen- tial role in keeping the doors open at Crest every day. Last year we were unable to meet together, so we improvised and celebrated remotely…while the sentiment was the same, it was far less than satisfactory compared with being together in person. This year, with a clear day and an outdoor venue, we were once again able to meet in person to thank our suppliers for all they have done on Crest’s behalf over the past year. Over sixty representatives of our suppliers and numerous Crest staff gathered on September 10th for some golf, stories, supper, a few beverages and some presentations all centered around our appreciation for the relationships we have developed with this group of people. We confirmed, for the most part, that most of us must work pretty hard because it was obvious that we weren’t spending a lot of time on the golf course. We also recognized the fact that despite the most difficult set of circumstances that the last several years have laid on us all, this group of sup- pliers went well beyond the normal to deliver an unbelievable level of service to Crest that allowed us to in turn de- liver exceptional levels of service to our customers as well. We are truly amazed and humbled by the effort and care that our suppliers have given to Crest despite the pressures they were all dealing with in their own jobs and personal lives. In a business world where the quality of a relationship is too often defined by the parameters of a single transaction, we have together proven that true and enduring business relationships are built on personal in- teraction, integrity and mutual respect. The essence of true business relationships is alive and well amongst this group of people and we couldn’t be prouder or more appreciative of all that has been accomplished between us. Crest typically singles out one supplier each year as our supplier of the year. This year we thought it only appropri- ate to recognize more than one considering the swamp of problems we all have been wading through this year. Three companies were recognized as suppliers of the year at this year’s event: Prairie State Group, represented by Graham Redding , has been a supplier of packaging web for our Consumer Products Division. They built a roll stock film for a launch of a new product line this year that has performed flawlessly and their service has been top notch. Silva International, represented by Rick Balkema , is a supplier of dried vegetables to Crest. We increased our business with them by over four times this year and they did not miss an order or even have a delay in ship - ment despite a very difficult supply market.
14 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
Quality Transport, represented by Dave Dettman, has been working with Crest for nearly 30 years supplying freight services to our Dairy Ingredient Division. They average 20 deliveries and 8 return loads to Crest in any given week. Their service is impeccable and has remained so even when scheduling freight has become more than difficult. A big thank you goes out to all of our suppliers, we couldn’t do it without you.
Local Spotlight: Lee-Ogle Transportation System by Erika Meiners
As an employer of 700 people, we find that one of the things we enjoy most about being a part of a rural commu- nity leaves us at a disadvantage when trying to recruit employees. With 1000 residents and cornfields as far as the eye can see, Ashton, Illinois is probably the least-likely candidate for some type of public transportation system, and it takes a good 20 minutes to get here from Dixon or Rochelle. What do you do when you are deemed “in the middle of nowhere”? The Lee-Ogle Transportation System (LOTS) has been operating for the last 12 years as a way to provide public transportation to our community. Functioning as a collaborative with Kreider Services, Lee County Council on Ag- ing, Hub City Center, Village of Progress, and Rock River Center, they offer bus rides to those with disabilities, seniors, veterans, and the general public. Monday – Friday, about 26 buses hit the road to drive people all over Lee and Ogle counties for an affordable fare. This makes the service especially helpful for those that don’t have a ve- hicle, the resources to maintain a vehicle, or can’t drive.
During a normal year, LOTS provides about 100,000 rides to residents in the county area which totals about 700,000 miles per year. Many of those miles are from employees coming to and from Ashton! A few years ago, Crest contacted LOTS out of a need to help people who didn’t have reliable transportation or couldn’t drive to get to work. In addition to helping our current employees, we also wanted a way to attract potential new employees to give Crest Foods a shot – even if they didn’t have a vehicle. LOTS listened to our needs, and figured out how to route buses here from all over Ogle and Lee county so that employees had an option for reliable transporta- tion, where the cost was covered by Crest. Employees have to call for a ride 48 hours in advance, and can then be put on a regular schedule, where they receive a reminder call the night before and have to check in when they get on the bus, which helps us keep track of all riders and fees. This has been a great partnership from the beginning, and we are so happy that LOTS has been able to help us creatively solve a problem. We appreciate the service that they provide for our employees, and look forward to working with them for years to come! To schedule a ride with LOTS, call 888-239-9228
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 15
Crest Foods has about 45 employees who are new employee trainers for Contract Packaging Production. Chosen for the role based on their patience, positive attitude, and understanding that not everyone learns the same way, these individuals are tasked with training new employees about the responsibilities of their job, as well as making them feel welcome and comfortable. The work they do is monumental for the beginning development of new em- ployees and is truly something to highlight. A typical day for a trainer consists of meet and greet, gradually introducing new tasks (packing, stacking, dump- ing), explaining what all of the machines are doing on a production line, what each tub color means and why it’s important, and making sure employees know how to find their way around the building (bathroom, water fountain, breakroom). Getting to Know: Production Trainers by Jon Bakener & Savannah Fagan
Ken Franchino , Production A, Main Plant Years at Crest Foods: 1.5 Hobbies/Interests: reading, researching, exercising, gaming, spending time with family, attending church 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I enjoy sappy romance movies. Tiffany Porter, Production A, Main Plant Years at Crest Foods: 1 Hobbies/Interests: I like to ride on the back of my man’s Harley. I like to go camping with the family. I like to read (James Patterson). 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I lived in New Orleans for 11.5 years, and worked as a bartender. Leanna Smith , Production A, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 3.5 Hobbies/Interests: Camping, playing cards/games, spending time with family 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: My background is in bookkeeping and accounting/management. Jenny Loomis, Production A, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 27 Hobbies/Interests: Being with family & friends. Watching old Westerns. Trying new restaurants/food. Getting tattoos. 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I am older than I look. I am 52 years old and have been married for 30 years and we have a 30 year old son. Emily Perez, Production B, Main Plant Years at Crest Foods: 2 Hobbies/Interests: Listening to music and painting. 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I have 2 kittens named Mickey and Bigote.
16 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
Having a patient and personable trainer can make a world of difference for someone, and we appreciate the work trainers do on a daily basis to help new employees succeed. While we can’t feature all of them at the same time, we will continue to highlight a few from each shift/building going forward in the Crest Ink.
We also want to give a special shout-out for the first receipient of our M.V.T. (Most Valuable Trainer) award, Michelle Kemmerer from Production B in the Main Plant! Michelle was nominated by her supervisors for doing a wonderful job with new employees. She consistently gets great feedback about her patience, great personality, helpfulness, and her ability to make people feel welcome. Congratulations, Michelle!
Kameron Pretzsch, Production B, Main Plant Years at Crest Foods: 5.5
Hobbies/Interests: Trading card games. Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic! The gathering and the poke- mon TCG. I am an avid player of video games (Rody Band, Pokemon, and Japanese RPY’s.) 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I try and make it public knowledge when asked, but I was born with club feet. This is a birth defect that caused my feet to be curved inwards. Mario Mendez, Production B, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 5 Hobbies/Interests: Beer Drinker & Hell Raiser, Chicago Bears Baby! I dig 70’s southern rock (Fooled around and fell in love) and only now listen to “Tejano” music. Keep it Conjunto baby! 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I was in the Marine Corps (U.S.M.C). Jamie Taylor, Production B, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 5 Hobbies/Interests: Latch-hooking, painting, video games, huge classic anime buff, Bahamut 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I have never been to Disney World. Kyler Johnson, Production C, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 2 Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, reading, bowling, and video games 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I almost lost my finger with a hammer. Becky Schultz, Production C, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 2.5 Hobbies/Interests: Drawing, reading, fishing, camping, taking care of my grandchildren, football (Vikings), and baseball (NY Yankees). 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I used to run track back in the day. I like to sing! I don’t like driving even though I drive 45 minutes to and from work.
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 17
2021 Safety Review by Karen Yardley, Safety & Sanitation Manager We strive to make human safety a priority each and every day but thought the start of a new year here at Crest was a good time to review and celebrate some of the accomplishments from the past year! • Implemented new fall protection system at the Mix Facility • Acquired new hearing protection for employees who use radios to communicate • Added spill kits to dock areas at the Warehouse • Updated our phone system for compatibility with 9-1-1 system • Had a little fun with our SLIP, TRIP and FALL campaign when we focused on hazards both inside and outside our facilities this past winter! • Finally modified the mezzanine for Dump Area 35 – 37 and eliminated employee and food safety hazards! • Upgraded equipment like Bartelts, Vertical and Horizontal cartoners (or replaced them completely – good rid - dance Line 32 cartoner!) • Added “low profile” scissor lifts to Line 70! • Added automation to many lines! • Added a physical wall in the 3rd Warehouse Equipment Maintenance Area to protect people working in this area from falling product and product in this area from people working on equipment! These were just some of the bigger projects that probably required both a capital ($) and labor investment on the part of Crest but we’d also like to recognize the employees who have a big impact on employee safety on any given day when they call out even the smallest hazard or risk and we are able to correct it or remove it! Keep it up!
Connect with Crest
Instagram: instagram.com/CrestFoodsCo Facebook: facebook.com/CrestFoodsCo LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/CrestFoodsCo
18 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
COVID-19 Fatigue by Ashley Koza, LCSW, EAP Counselor, Sinnissippi Centers
Insurance Insights: Preventative Screenings by Anne Noble, Benefits Manager If you are struggling with mental health during these times, have increased stress, or feel overwhelmed please reach out. I am available in person or through virtual sessions to meet the needs of Crest employees: 815-732-3157 More and more I have heard clients, co-workers, family, and friends talk about feeling tired. “I can - not wait for this to be done; I am tired of feeling tired.” Have you noticed yourself feeling this way? According to the American Medical Association, here are some signs of COVID fatigue and coping skills you can use to improve your mental health and energy. • Exhaustion • Physical and mental fatigue • Lack of energy • Feeling constantly overwhelmed, sad or helpless • The inability to complete daily tasks • Increased irritability • Reduced work performance • Isolating from others If you are feeling any one of these symptoms or a combination of the three this could lead to burnout. We are go- ing into our second winter under restrictions. With less sunlight and less time outdoors these symptoms could in- crease. Planning ahead to put self-care into our schedules will help us stay safe physically as well as take care of our mental health. Here are some daily self-care ideas to help promote health and wellness: • Research and try out new recipes this season • Take up self- or guided meditation/quiet time before your day begins or as a break in your day • Take a moment to assess your mental well-being • Do a self-check on your feelings • Listen to music and playlists geared to your mood • Catch up on your reading and consider starting a virtual book club with friends • Check out podcasts on topics that may pique your interest • Spend time with friends and family through whatever medium is best and safest • Connect with a mental health professional • Limit social media activity and news consumption • Exercise • Take a walk It is time to get back to preventative screenings. Covid-19 has caused many to not schedule check-up type appoint- ments. Our health and dental insurances are designed to help you keep your health in check without costing you much, if any, money out of your pocket. We have also recently learned that Forest City Diagnostic Imaging is of- fering mammograms. The benefit of going to Forest City for your mammogram is that if the test is diagnostic, our health plan will cover the mammogram at 100%. If a diagnostic mammogram is performed at any other in-network hospital, you will pay deductible and co-insurance. Contact Anne or Savannah in the Benefits Department for any questions about preventative tests, immunizations, or office visits.
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 19
Team Triumphs Starting this past July, we have been featuring groups of employees in our Weekly Information Communication who have been nominated by Managers because they embraced cooperation & teamwork to accomplish something. Just a small way to say Thank You & help celebrate all of the “triumphs” that go on at Crest on a daily basis! Check out the last few months’ worth of triumphs at Crest Foods!
Way to go Line 91 B-Shift West Facility Crew! “Thanks to Haley Mason, Joe Johnson & Miles Van Raden for running their line with excellent effort and team work to accomplish a very high OEE Percentage averaging 97% over the last week!” Way to go A-Shift Maintenance/Set Up! “Not only do they come in a kill it with startups and changeovers every day, but they also work really well with newer line operators by coaching them and helping with changeovers. They understand that every line operator is different and learns differently, and the Production Department really appreci- ates it!” Way to go 815Eats Team! “Thanks to Gaven, Ryan, Jamie, Kristina & Ashley, who have been working really hard as a team to get our new product line implemented by 8/15/21!” Way to go B-Shift Maintenance, Sanitation & QA! “Thanks to these 3 groups for always working well together and working ahead to complete cleans and 1st case inspections for the next day – it is appreciated!” Way to go Line 83/85 C-Shift West Crew! “Thank you to Alma Hernandez, April Cover, Cornelia Randle, Bryan Kocanda & Kip Vincent for working together to make these lines run flawlessly when we were short-staffed.” Way to go Line 10! “Thanks to Jasey Moore, Jackie Ayling, Amy Williams, Tiffany Porter, Robert Schaffer, Deb Beran, Salina Sterling and Colleen Hunt for working so well together the other week with variety pack potatoes on Line 10. They did an amazing job with a tough product.” Way to go Ingredient Division Warehouse! “Thank you for letting Kyle Lawrence help out at the West Ware- house when they were short in receiving. We appreciate the teamwork so that we could continue to fully function.” Way to go Line 85 B-Shift Crew! “Thanks to Andrew Stowell and Robert Rains for working together to run their line really well.” Way to go Carmen Quintana & Caleb Henson! “Thank you to both of these Line Operators on 2nd shift for working together to help get line 3 going after a rebuild and major setup/changeover.” Way to go West Facility 3rd Shift Maintenance & Warehouse! “Thank you to Roger Wolber and Chris Bryant for their continued efforts on Line 72. Thank you to Josh Larsen, Fred Lewis & Kip Vincent for also helping out on Line 72 by separating cups in their spare time. The team effort is very much appreciated!” Way to go to everyone in the Consumer Products Lab! “Thank you to Jennifer Pittman, John Davis, Tom Windelborn & Joyce Meiners! We blended, pouched, labeled, and completed the customer product information sheet for a large sample out going to GM in 1 day! Feeling lucky to be part of such a helpful and supportive team!” Way to go Susie Miller, Justin Guenther, Adam Drew, Dan Brown, Teri Wolber, Rachel Hutcheson, Lisa Moscato, Jorge Ramirez and Mark McWethy! “For the past few months, this group has worked together on the redesign of our finished product labels for the Ingredient Division. Thank you for all your efforts – the labels look great and our customers love them!” Way to go ALL employees at Crest Foods! Thanks to all employees working at Crest for your dedication, long hours, patience and understanding as we have worked through the circumstances that have turned our work world a bit upside down over the past year...it is such a pleasure to work with people who truly care for one another.” Way to go Machine Shop! “Fabrication of the agitator belt guarding was completed 2 weeks ahead of schedule by the Machine Shop Team and we can now start installation. Thank you!”
20 Crest Ink July, August & September 2021
Way to go to Justin Lugo, Heather Thomasson, Joe Johnson, Trenton Thomasson and Payton Sipes! “Thank you to this group for working together and staying over to finish up seasoning on Line 89 last Monday so that Sanitation could clean the line and have it ready for an A-Shift start-up.” Way to go Kim Gallagher, Rick Rice & Cody Brill! “These 3 worked together to discover an issue with registra- tion timing on line 32 that enabled us to run noodle soup at bid speed. This is something that this line has not done in over a year!” Way to go Art Stark, Matt Reynolds, Adam Giese, John Howell, Matt Gorzela, Annie Etchison and Olgert Refatllari. “Thank you to this group who stayed late on 8/20 to get line 70 changed over and ready for the start-up on Sunday night with C-Shift. Also thanks to Olgert who covered line calls so this group could help with the changeover.” Way to go Contract Packaging Scheduling Department! “Thank you to this team for working together to do whatever it takes to keep things rollin’ while we are short-staffed. Everyone has stepped up and learned new things and the effort as a group is very appreciated!” Way to go C-Shift Sanitation! “Thank you the crews in both facilities for working together to manage change- overs and other requests while being short-staffed. Thank you as well to the other departments who helped this group along the way!” Way to go Sanitation & Maintenance Departments! “We don’t often get to pressure wash a Bartelt that is going back on the line right away (which is MUCH easier than handwiping it for many hours), so when Manitenance agreed to pull the CHEX Bartelt we were relieved! B-Shift Sanitation worked with Maintenance to get it in and out of the washbay, C-Shift worked on the parts and pieces, and A-Shift washed the Bartelt. Great team effort!” Way to go David Smith, Robert Raines & Will Hand from B-Shift Production! “They worked together to run both lines 83 and 85 at the same time to run out seasoning on 83 so it could be changed over in time to run on A- Shift.” Way to go to the West Warehouse Receiving Crew! “The receiving crew and QA have done a great job with one of our new suppliers. Thank you for working together to make sure each load from the supplier is received cor- rectly. Your patience and attention to are truly appreciated.” Way to go Chris Buhler (Production B West)! “We were short a dumper and Chris helped me out by dumping 83, 85, 91 & 85 so the team could be ready for a changeover and wouldn’t have to run something at half speed. Thank you, I appreciate the help!” Way to Go Mike Boatwright (Parts Room) & Maintenance! “Thank you to Mike and the Maintenance group for figuring out how to make a part in-house instead of ordering it custom. This saves us $259 each time we need to order a handle for the 3M tape machines. Outstanding job!” Way to go Matt Reynolds, Mike Jenkins, Holly Adams, Addison Walters & Adam Calderon! “This group stayed late and worked together to finish cases on line 81 so that the clean and changeover could be started sooner on C-Shift.” “Big shout out to all the extra hands we have had from various departments in the Ingredient Division this month! With all of your help, we have managed to keep the wheels rolling and the pipeline full for our customers. Whether you spent a few hours with us or a few weeks, I truly appreciate your willingness to help us through a chal- lenging time!” Thank You to the Mix Department! “Thank you to the Mix Department who volunteered to re-stack 37 pallets that weren’t stacked properly so that we could still ship product in a timely manner.” Way to Go on Master Cleans! “We are 3/4 of the way through the current quarter and we are only 8.8% behind on our scheduled masters - it might sound silly to celebrate being behind schedule but this is actually a pretty good number considering level of activity and staffing. Thank you to the many employees in many departments who have put in time and effort to complete these master cleans.”
July, August & September 2021 Crest Ink 21Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28
Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker