The Crest Ink is a quarterly newsletter that celebrates the success of Crest Foods and our employees.
Crest Ink October, November & December 2021 Ashton, IL 61006
Volume 33 • Number 4
The Crest Foods of 40 years ago was a very different place than it is today. None of the West Facility complex ex- isted at all – it was a cornfield with a cattle lot on it. We had yet to enter the computer age. Our packaging mix rooms were in the same rooms that we dumped product to feed the lines. There was no such thing as a formal allergen program. The starting hourly wage was in the low $4 range and jobs of any type were tough to find. Our total employee headcount was near 100. Needless to say…many things have dramatically changed. However, the one constant between 1981 and 2021 is that there are a lot of really good people that call Crest Foods their work home. 40 Year Club Welcomes Jerry Lawrence & Jon Harrison!
The year of 1981 brought two strapping young men to Crest within days of each other who would find themselves still at it over four decades later in the same departments that they started in. To say that they have seen a lot of changes in their time would be an understatement since we have increased in sized nearly 10 fold and the Packaging Division has changed their product mix and style of operations numerous times along the way. Jon Harrison thought his first day at Crest might be his last. He wore the wrong shirt, parked in the wrong place, his lead took one look at him and shook his head and just walked away and all the batches produced that day were put on hold. Despite that rough start, he has spent all of the next forty years working in the Mix Department as a lead mixer, in the weigh-up area and as a shuttle driver. To this day he can still remember how the smell of sea- soned salt stayed with a person no matter how many times they tried to shower it off. He also recalls Watson Smoot dumping a jug of yellow dye from the top of his forklift that instantly turned him yellow from head-to-toe. Jon vividly remembers a heated confrontation on the floor between Jay Meiners and a representative from Pillsbury that left him with a strong desire not to get on the bad side of Jay going forward. Jon feels that this job simply fit him well from the day he started and that he has always felt at home at Crest. Jerry Lawrence says that he bugged Neil Henert long enough for a job that he eventually gave in and told him to show up for work the next day. He has worked as part of the warehouse team ever since starting at the main docks, being a truck driver and ultimately becoming the manager of the packaging division warehouse. He recalls unload- ing 100 pound sugar bags from rail cars by hand since they were all loaded on the floor. He also recalls that being a truck driver meant that they were their own mechanics and even were responsible for rebuilding the hardwood floors on trailers. His truck driving stories also included being talked into running the Crest trucks to Oregon to help Steve Meiners move and how our second-hand trucks really struggled with the job since it was the first time they had traveled more than a couple blocks in one trip. Of course there was the great warehouse flood and the tornado, but who wants to dwell on that other than we got through both with flying colors. More than anything, Jerry appreciates all of the good people he has worked with, is proud to have been an integral part of all of the growth we have seen at Crest and can’t believe how fast it has all flown by. Work is always so much better when it is being done with good people who you like and trust. Jon and Jerry are amongst our best and we are so proud of what they have meant to Crest and thankful for all they have done for us over the past 40 years. If you see them around, give them a pat on the back and a big thank you for paving the way for the rest of us. Congratulations to the following employees for obtaining new jobs at Crest Foods over the last few months!
Tim Wittenauer Jr. Weigher Ingredient Division
Linda Hollewell Stager Ingredient Division
Calvin Bennett Warehouse Sanitarian
Maurice Millan Purchasing Ingredient Planner
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RedZone Team of the Year by Jared Stumpenhorst & Karen Yardley
Karen Yardley, Glenn White, Jared Stumpenhorst, Roman Kozak & Trish Carter
Did you hear? We won a major award! At this year’s Redzone Awards Show Crest Foods walked away with Team of the Year honors for the central region. Out of 800+ plants that utilize the Redzone production system, there were 60 that were identified as finalists in the central region of the United States, and out of that group we were recog- nized as the Team of the Year for 2021. What did we do to deserve this honor? Glad you asked! We identified a huge opportunity with changeovers on Line 70 and decided that we needed to make some changes to help improve our process. We put together a cross-departmental team and launched a Kaizen in an effort to focus our attention and energy on a sustainable improvement. The goal for the Kaizen was pretty simple at the start: Reduce a 3HA changeover by 50%. While we all agreed there was room for improvement, a 50% reduction is something that many did not think could be achieved when we started. HOWEVER, we are proud to say that we did! During the Kaizen event that was facilitated by Juarez Jackson from Redzone, we actually ended up seeing a reduction to 4 shifts (33% reduction) initially and then continued to refine our process further and have been able to reach the 3 shifts (50% reduction) goal! The exciting thing is that we know that there is even further that we can go! We now believe that 2 shifts is something that could be achievable and just a few months ago we collectively could not get our heads around a 3 shift changeover. Additionally, we saw that we were able to apply many of the process improvements from the 3HA to other cleaning levels and actually saw a 50% reduction in changeover time for our level 2A cleans (12 hours) and level 3 cleans (12 hours). While that all sounds pretty good, what does it actu- ally mean for us? For Line 70 alone this team was able to recover: • Level 3HA clean: 50% improvement
• Level 3 clean: 50% improvement 27,000 cs of additional revenue 7.5 shifts of additional capacity • TOTAL Improvement/Capacity Gain
129,600 cs of additional revenue 36 shifts of additional capacity • Level 2A clean: 50% improvement
55.5 shifts of additional capacity 3.7 weeks of 3 shift production
43,200 cs of additional revenue 12 shifts of additional capacity
Beyond the numbers, what was the most impressive thing about this team is the way that everyone came together across different departments and shifts to reach the goal. People developed a genuine appreciation for each and ev- ery team member’s role in a changeover. There was a level of trust that was built that enabled everyone to Keep Moving Forward . This was the mantra for the team and the reason that we are confident that we will sustain and build on these results on Line70 and throughout the rest of the operation!
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Cheers to 30 Years!
Bill Cover & Lori Talley
Jeff Capes, Bill Cover and Lori Tally all celebrated their 30 Year Anniversary with Crest Foods this year! They will each have $500 donated to the charitable organization of their choosing as well as a brick that will be added to the 30 Year Wall on the front of our Main Plant building with their name and year their employment started with Crest Foods. Jeff Capes started working on the production line 30 years ago and after trying a few different jobs within the de- partment on all three shifts, has found his home as a Forklift Driver, where he sorts and routes recyclables, card- board and trash for our West Production Facility. Jeff speaks fondly of all the people he’s worked with over the years. He spoke of Jim, who was training him to be a dumper while he was on the 3rd shift. Jim told Jeff not to touch the electrical cord under the hopper, and instead Jeff pulled the cord which shut the power off for most of the building. Then there’s Dan Yates, who had Jeff drive the Machine Shop forklift outside to Forney’s Warehouse in the middle of winter with lots of snow… Jeff will never forget Dan telling him to just drive it as fast as he could through the snow while he walked next to him. Bill Cover spent 3 years working through a temporary staffing agency, and was officially hired on as a full time employee in 1991 at the young age of 19. He started as a dumper, learned mixing and pretty quickly became a Lead Mixer in the Mix Department, which has been his happy home for the last 30 years. Bill’s favorite memories over the years center on the people that he’s worked with. He remembers being a dumper with Watson Smoot, how scary Dave Bushman was with his long hair, and being in Mix Room 2 with Tim Bushman when Crest was hit by a tornado at noon in 1994. “Crest Foods has treated me well over the years. I loved taking my mom on my 10 year trip to Chicago, and the 20 Year Ring. I have really enjoyed all of the people I’ve worked with over the years.” Bill said. Lori Talley started in Production as a Line Worker 30 years ago. After about a year, she was hired by Quality As- surance as a Line Weigher, and she’s been with the department ever since! Lori currently is currently the Quality Control Receiving Technician at the West Warehouse where she is responsible for all quality tasks related to receiv- ing inbound supplies for packaging (examples being recording lot information, verifying and maintaining COA information, sampling ingredients, and rejecting supplies that don’t meet specifications). She likes her current job and the Warehouse group that she gets to work with everyday. Congratulations on this major accomplishment to Jeff, Bill and Lori. We appreciate that they’ve chosen to make a career at here, and want thank them each for their loyalty, dedication, and patience in helping Crest Foods grow to the company that it is today.
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My 10 Year Trip (delayed nearly 2 years) by Stephen Osborne, QA B-Shift
Originally, I was supposed to go to Hungary and Roma - nia in May of 2019. That was cancelled due to COVID. then tried for a Romanian tour in the fall of 2019. That was delayed, then cancelled. I thought I’d be safe book-
ing a tour of Transylvania for Halloween 2020. That was cancelled. At the last moment, I booked a space on a sail- ing yacht going up the coast of Croatia from Dubrovnik to Split. I didn’t believe it would actually happen. Up until the plane touched down in Dubrovnik, I was still sure something would go wrong. Everything went right. Well, apart from getting lost in Dubrovnik trying to find my hotel room. I was toting my lug- gage up and down stone steps and alleyways, finally asking an old lady for help. She spoke little English, but we managed to agree that yes, I was lost. She thought this incredibly funny. She pointed and held up three fingers, which I took to mean the street I needed was the third ahead. It wasn’t, but I found a waiter at an outdoor café who helped me out. Waiters also seem to know English. He laughed to0, mainly because I was a mere 20 feet from where I needed to be. The next day I met up with our Skipper and the rest of the crew. We had two Canadians, two from the U.K., and an Irish girl. All of us were single travelers and only one had sailed before. We boarded our boat, the Pamone, and settled into our rooms. When I say room, I exaggerate slightly. John-Luke and I shared a room that was a glorified closet. The two of us couldn’t fit in the room unless one climbed into his bunk. It was a good thing we got along. We set sail the next morning and spent a week island hopping. We bicycled around a lake on the island of Mljet and trekked over rocky terrain to discover the Odysseus cave. On the island of Korcula, we went wine-tasting and swam in the Adriatic Sea. We went to the second highest peak on the island. A long sail to Hvar brought us to more wine- tasting, a visit to a Napoleonic fort, a Spanish fortress, and an opportunity for me to get lost again. Seriously, those waiters are invaluable. Our last island visit was Vis. The sailing there was rough, and as the boat rocked, heaved, tilted dangerously from one side to another, several of the crew were seasick. Not me. I just got soaked from the spray. Our skipper, Niko, was ecstatic. “The wind is 30 knots, and our speed is 10.8 knots! Write that down in your diary, Steve!” Apparently. that’s excellent for a boat like ours. Did I mention that I helped to hoist the mainsail? Yep. Totally did that. In Vis we saw the end of a regatta, went to several more wine-tastings, climbed a bell tower, and I didn’t get lost AT ALL. Granted, it was a small island. We ended in Split, Croatia, where I got lost again trying to find my hotel. Really, some signs would be nice! We climbed more towers, visited crypts and cathedrals, and generally wore ourselves out wandering around. It would be hard to pick a favorite moment out of the trip, but one standout was the trip to the Odysseus cave (so named because it’s thought to be the cave Homer chatters on about in the Odyssey). The view was spectacular, and well worth the sore feet caused by scampering over rocks and hilly terrain. It’s a good thing I took loads of pictures, otherwise I could easily have believed I dreamed the whole thing.
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Christmas at Crest Foods by Gaven Meiners December is always a busy month at Crest Foods, and this year was no different. While the Pandemic continues to spoil many traditions both at home and at work, we all have had to adapt and find fun in new ways. This year, it felt like the Crest-Mas spirt was at an all-time high. Our Crest family continues to amaze and came together to enjoy the Holiday Season. It was a Merry Crest-Mas indeed. On the first day of Crest-Mas my true love gave to me: Mariah Carey & Cousin Eddie – Volunteers starting in the fall filmed what might be our best Christmas greeting yet. Gathering in small groups (a few solos) we all tried to do our best Mariah singing “All I want for Christmas is you.” The video was sent to customers, vendors, and even found its way on social media. The video was filled with laughter, joy and cheer. Thanks to everyone who participated, although some of us were not given a choice, it will be hard to top this one next year. On the Second day of Crest-Mas my true love gave to me: 815Eats including Curry - The 815Eats team, including Santa, gave two cases of 815Eats Dip away to all employ- ees. Santa cranked the Christmas tunes and we had many laughs. 815Eats thanks everyone for their continued sup- port as we grow our new brand. www.815Eats.com On the Third day of Crest-Mas my true love gave to me: Cake Pops & a Crest Beanie – The Crest-mas Elfs & Angel were busy handing out cake pops and festive Crest knit stocking caps to all employees. A big thank you to (Jackie Fransen, Scheduling) for spending countless hours making the cake pops! On the Fourth day of Crest-Mas my true love gave to me: A Christmas Bonus, not Jelly – Hopefully most everyone was greeted by a member of the Meiners family as we passed out Christmas bonuses this year. While these bonuses are not guaranteed, we were happy to award our hard working employees during the Holiday season. On the Fifth day of Crest-Mas my true love gave to me: A Chance at lots of Money – The Pandemic makes it hard to do our traditional benevolence fund raffle, so in- stead, all Crest employees were entered into a weekly drawing to win $1,000 cash. Every Friday during the month of December a Christmas greeting was played over the loud speaker to announce the winners. A big congrats to Henry Bunger (Ingredient Warehouse A), Nayeli Cervantes (Production A), Mark Powers (Production B), Chris Renard (Ingredient Sanitation B), Elysha Wright (QA B), Matt Harazin (Mix A), and Devlen Buh (Production B) for win- ning some green this Crest-Mas. On the 6th day of Crest-Mas my true love gave to me: A Nissan Rogue with 5 seats – Our grand prize drawing winner Mark Smith (Maintenance A) was greeted by a group of Christmas Characters and an inflatable Santa as he learned he just won a Car! Very surprised, Mark drove away that day with a new set of wheels. Congrats Mark! On the 7th day of Crest-Mas my true love gave to me: Time off with Family – All Crest employees were extended 4 paid off days to celebrate the Holidays and ring in the New Year. Let’s all hope that 2022 brings some easier times, not a repeat of 2020 – two.
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Car Winner: Mark Smith (Maintenance A)
Nayeli Cervantes (Production A) $1000 Winner
Mark Powers (Production B) $1000 Winner
Chris Renard (Ing. Sanitation B) $1000 Winner
Henry Bunger (Ing. Warehouse A) $1000 Winner
Matt Harazin (Mix A) $1000 Winner
Elysha Wright (QA B) $1000 Winner
Devlen Buh (Production B) $1000 Winner
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8 Crest Ink October, November & December 2021 Congratulations to Alfonzo Alvarado (Machine Shop) and Stephanie Eich (Production A) on their engage- ment! Congratulations to Lori Talley (QA A) on the arrival of her grandson, Clint Jensen Priest, in October. Baby Clint was 9 lbs 4 oz and 20 ½ inches long. He was wel comed home by mom; Kristin, dad; Austin, and big sister AnnaLynne. Congratulations all! Congratulations to Annalee Kelley, daughter of Sherry Joos (QA A), on her graduation from NIU with a de- gree in Elementary Education! Our Sympathy Our sympathy to Ben Soulon (Production B) on the passing of his father, Richard Soulon, in October. Our sympathy to Jackie Ayling (Production A) on the loss of her father, Robert, in November. Our condolences to Martha Nambo (Production A) and Consuelo Nambo (Production A) and their families on the loss of their mother-in-law in November. Our condolences to Will Hand (Production B) on the loss of his father, Bill, in December. Our condolences to Rick Hilleman (Mix A) on the pass- ing of his brother, Fredrick Hilleman, on November 22, 2021. To Travis Day (Warehouse Forklift B) on the passing of his sister, Teresa Darling, this December. To April (Production A) and Ben (Sanitation Supervisor A) Fichter on the death of April’s mother, Shirley Webb, this December. To Brian Lilly (Truck Driver B) on the loss of his brother this December. Congratulations Congratulations to Mike Spencer (Mix A) and his wife, Payton, on their November wedding!
Congratulations to Neli Coronel Quintana (QA B) on the birth of her son, Juan Ezequiel Lopez. Congratulations to Traci Hartman (Manpower Supervi- sor) and Dan Turk on their January 11th wedding! Thank You On behalf of the Maggie and Amos Foundation we want to thank you (Crest Foods Walking Club) for your generous contribution to our foundation. Being chosen as a monetary recipient of funds from your club means a lot to all of us involved. Thanks for your donation. Thank you for making our 2021 TOSOC ride a success. Everyone was so happy to be back in person! We at the Village of Progress are so grateful for your support. Thank you for caring about the people we serve. Please accept the very sincere thanks of the pantry board for your recent donation of food. Your continued support is very valued! The Board of the RCFP Thank you for the delicious ham. We had a potluck here at the office for everyone to enjoy. Thanks! LOTS Thanks for your support when I was in the car accident. Thank you for the beautiful plant after my recent surgery. God bless you all, Gloria Mason. I want to say Thank You for the beautiful plant I received after my surgery. It was a very nice surprise. It looks great and adds a little happiness to each of my days while recov- ering. Thanks again! Michelle Kemmerer Thank you so much for your group’s (Walking Club) generosity. Your “miles” are being put to help anyone who needs or wants a good meal. With funding from groups like ours, we continually find our “baskets” full and more than enough to share. Thank you and God bless, Loaves and Fishes On behalf of Serenity Hospice & Home, I want to thank you for your generous donation. We greatly appreciate your faithfulness and generosity.
Thank You Crest Foods: Thank you for participating in the 2021 Salvation Army, Red Kettle Campaign! We raised over $15,600, which will go a long way toward fulfilling the needs of Lee County residents who are struggling to make
ends meet. Your group was awesome, as usual. Sincerely, John Holthaus, Dixon Kiwanis, Salvation Army Thanks so much for the plant, calls and texts while I was off for my surgery. I really appreciated it. Jim Nalley
Retirements Congratulations to Vickie Monsarratt on her retirement from Crest Foods. Vickie has been a part of the Crest Foods family for 22 years. She began as a Line Operator in 1999 and then became QA Systems Auditor. In 2014 QA had a restructure, and her path transitioned to a QA Line Tech on B-shift. Vickie volunteered to make the hard schedule change to C-shift, when 3rd shift was added, in 2015. This turned out to be a great fit for her and Crest foods. Vickie was a fantastic addition to the 3rd shift team bringing QA knowledge and experience with her to the new shift. She has spent the last 6 years on C Shift keeping things going smoothly. We’ve appreciated Vickie’s time, her dedication, her easy going style, her humor, and her input on all things QA. We love all that she did for us and now we want her to go and do all that she loves… pretty sure enjoying that new that new pup is on the top of her list. Congratulations and best wishes to a wonderful colleague and friend. Georgia Temmen has been a “lifer” at Crest spending over 41 years as a mainstay in our Contract Packaging Division’s Production Department. Virtually anyone who has worked on the production floor knows Georgia because of her outgoing personality. If asked, one could easily imagine Georgia explaining that she has seen it all at Crest…and she probably has. What she hasn’t seen enough of is her grandson Tucker and she has announced her well-earned retirement to remedy that situation by taking on her next full time role as grandma and chief babysitter. Georgia and Tucker stopped in for some farewell cake and said “see you later” to her former coworkers. Since she lives just down the street, no doubt we’ll probably be seeing Georgia often. We will miss her at work and wish her the best in retirement.
Crest had a few employees quietly retire this fall. While we didn’t get to formally say good-bye, we would like to wish them all well in their retirements. Erskine Sturges worked in Sanitation on the 3rd Shift and retired after spending 15 years with the company. Art Stark worked in Production on the 2nd Shift and retired after spending 12 years with the company. Thank you to both Erskine and Art for their dedi cations and years as members of the Crest family.
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New Additions to the 20 Year Club This year we celebrated 15 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!
Celia Arredondo Contract Packaging Production A-Shift 1/1/2001
Shad Hewitt Contract Packaging Production A-Shift 3/26/2001
Fidel Ramos Contract Packaging Mix A 4/16/2001
Kerry Tumleson MIS System Programmer 5/1/2001
Matt Richardson Corporate Purchasing Manager 6/11/2001
Ray VanDrew Contract Packaging Warehouse B 7/3/2001
Dale Lippens Maintenance Supervisor B-Shift 7/9/2001
Irene Roberts Contract Packaging Production A-Shift 8/6/2001
Kathy Conant Contract Packaging
Bob Ziankoski Ingredient Division Production C-Shift 9/4/2001
QA A-Shift 8/20/2001
Joaquin Villa Contract Packaging
Michelle Berard Contract Packaging
Deb Beran Contract Packaging
Marianne Cox Switchboard Operator 10/22/2001
Steve Zellers Contract Packaging Machine Shop A 10/31/2001
Production B 9/10/2001
Production B 9/24/2001
Production A 10/1/2001
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The Crest Family Mourns
The Crest family recently lost three people who made a big impact on our work lives who will be sadly missed and fondly remembered. While we’ve all been caught up in the craziness of the past two years, we’re again reminded that there are bigger priorities in life than the little problems we face each day and each of these three have left us with the example of focusing on the things that mattered most and living their lives to the fullest. Maria Guerrero spent 24 years working in production for the Packaging Division on the second shift. She brought a kind personality to work every day that was contagious to those around her. Her biggest pride in life was her 6 children and 21 grandchildren whom she showered with love and filled with her good cooking. Undoubtedly, this group will honor her life by living their lives to the fullest. Eugene Stilson spent 25 years working in production for the Packaging Division on the second shift. He was a soft spoken, kindly man who enjoyed discussing topics that he was passionate about…and Eugene was a man involved in many passions. He was a pastor, had Masters Degrees in Counseling as well as New Testament Studies, taught and was the academic dean at Oregon Bible College, built his own house, played viola and piano and was a vocal soloist. He was the father of 3 children and had 5 grandchil- dren and a great granddaughter. There is no doubt Eugene lived his life to the fullest. Joan Wubbena was the first nurse that worked at Crest for our in-house nurse program. She was known simply as “Nurse Joan” by everyone at Crest. She turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for starting our program as she was personable, caring, outgo- ing and just a little bit sassy. Prior to her work as a registered nurse, Joan worked as a semi-truck driver and ran a food van catering at auctions and fairs. Her family included 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. Joan was a free spirit who would back away from no situation and left an impression on all she came in contact with. We are thankful for having crossed paths with each of these people and hope that a little bit of each one lives with us ongoing. May they rest in peace. Welcome Andrea Svela! Andrea Svela joined Crest Foods this December as our new Accounting Coordina- tor! Andrea will be processing Ingredient Division invoices, utilities, inventories, and variance analysis, and will also be responsible for govenment census reporting and other high level sensitive invoices. Andrea comes to Crest with over 15 years of administrative experience and will be a great addition to the department and Crest Foods.
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Local Spotlight: The Village of Progress by Jeff Meiners
One of my favorite quotes begins with the lines: We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differ- ences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices in life no more easily made… Certainly no one chooses to be born with developmental disabilities and none of us will ever understand why some are while most are not. We all, who have been blessed with so much, have a responsibility to support those who haven’t. Those that established and work for The Village of Progress have taken that concept from words to ac- tions that impact the lives of their clients in a very positive way. The Village of Progress works with Ogle County adults with developmental disabilities to challenge them to reach their potential at work and in the community to ultimately feel valued and respected in society. They believe that all persons should be treated with respect regard- less of intellectual or physical disabilities and work to change the general public’s perceptions by promoting interac- tion amongst clients and the community in a multitude of different settings. Forty-five full time and thirty part time employees of The Village serve over ninety men and women from all cor- ners of Ogle County in their 28,000 square foot facility. Services provided range from evaluations and assessments, job training, supported employment opportunities, social and recreational experiences, health care and maintenance, living skills instruction and physical and occupational therapy. Village of progress clients share the work load at the Village Bakery in Oregon and also are involved with working for the Village Cleaning Service. Clients also work on industrial subcontracting projects on site at their own facility as well as working with external businesses in roles that fit their skill sets. We at Crest are fortunate and proud to have a team of 12 clients and 2 supervisors from the Village of Progress working in our assembly area in the Karlin warehouse four days a week for four hour shifts. They are indeed wonderful people who give their all to their jobs and fill a much needed role in our assembly program. The interactions of Village of Progress clients and Crest Foods employees are a shining example of how well the Village is meeting their goals for their clients. If you haven’t had a chance to meet the folks from the Village of Progress, don’t hesitate to do so if the opportu- nity presents itself because they will certainly bring a little sunshine to your day and put a smile on your face. “Working with the Village of Progress is nothing short of amazing. They are a very respectable group of people. They greet you every day when they come to work. Every day they come to work they basically look at it as a challenge as to how much they can get assembled. They really have the drive to do better than the day before and for the most part they can achieve their goals. Every day is a good day for them and me when they are here. They are aslo a very fun group to be around. I am very proud to say that I have the Village of Prog- ress people working for me. They just simply AMAZE me.” Jim Reindel, Karlin Production Supervisor “Working with the men and women from the village of progress is the highlight of my week. They keep me on my toes and let me know when I am doing something wrong. They really will put a smile on your face when you walk in there. You can not have a bad day if you stop in there and joke around with them.” Jon Bakener, Employee Development Manager
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Crest employees embraced the spirit of the holidays and volunteered their time to spread Christmas cheer and put a smile on people’s faces. Christmas cards were filled out, gifts were bought and bells were rung by a number of Crest employees. As in the past, volunteers shopped and wrapped gifts for local residents at Jack Mabley, Village of Progress, Kreider Services, Franklin Grove Nursing Home and the Oregon Nursing Home who no longer have family close by to celebrate the holidays with. Volun - teers were given wish lists for these individuals and were then able to find the perfect gift to hopefully brighten someone’s day! We were able to buy for 90 residents this year! Spreading Holiday Cheer at Crest Foods by Savannah Fagan
Cousin Steve Starke
In addition to shopping for these places, volunteers filled out 550 Christmas cards to send to the residents as well. Sometimes there’s nothing better than receiving a good “old fashioned” Christmas card! Some volunteers even got their own families involved and had them fill out and decorate the cards before being sent off to the recipients. Crest also partnered with the Lee County Salvation Army again and 42 employees volunteered to ring the bell for a total of 28 hours in front of Ace Hardware in Dixon. This is so appreciated by the local community and all money raised goes to such an amazing cause. We are so appreciative to everyone who volunteered this year and made the holidays a little brighter for so many. It wouldn’t be possible without you!
Becca Dodd, Kim Gallagher, Tara Lifka & her daughter
Jenny & Jason Drew
(left) Ben Henrikson, Caleb Henson, Katherine Henrikson & Cameron Thomas (right) Rod Burnette, Dave Bushman, Karla Rivera & Jon Bakener
Traci & Dan Turk
Zygmunt & Ela Cichosz
Brandon, Warren, Wallace & Carly Meiners
Billy Wilcutt & his daughter
Larry Stevens & crew
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All I Want is ...a Crest Christmas Video After an off year due to COVID, the Crest Foods Christmas lip sync video was back and bigger than ever. This year, 180 employees came together to sing and dance to Billboard Hot 100’s official #1 Christmas song, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. Thanks to everyone who gave it their all this year, it’s our best yet! If you haven’t seen the 4 minute video, check it out now at https://crestfoods.com/happy-holidays/ or on the Crest Foods Facebook or Instagram pages.
Ingredient Division Production
Production C-Shift West
Ingredient Division R&D
Karlin Production Crew
Ingredient Division Purchasing
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Production, QA & Maintenance B-Shift
West Warehouse & Lucy Crew
Sales & Tech Service
Ingredient Division QA
HR, Benefits & Payroll
Parts Room & Purchasing
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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. We are continuing our highlight of trainers from the last Crest Ink. “It takes a village”. That is what it feels like around here sometimes with all of the trainers we have and need in order to train the new employees we get every week. We cannot say enough about and give enough praise to all of our trainers that spend this much time with our new individuals in order to help them succeed and thrive. As we continue to try to find all of the help we need for labor we put a lot on our trainer’s plate. These individuals truly are the highlight on a daily basis with their patience and guidance. Getting to Know: Production Trainers by Jon Bakener
Laura Mares , Production A, Main Plant Years at Crest Foods: 27 years Hobbies/Interests: Love spending time with family, doing puzzles, and eating my hubby’s cooking 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I have tattoos and love donating plasma to help others in need Mary Pelayo, Production A, Main Plant Years at Crest Foods: longer than my marriage! Hobbies/Interests: Reading, gardening, watching true life crime shows, working with wood 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I was a contestant on the Bozo Show and ap- peared on the Romper Room Carlos Buelvas , Production A, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 5 years Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with my wife and kids, watching sports (especially soccer), and writing stories 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I hope to one day get my short stories pub- lished. Marla Shaner, Production A, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 5 months Hobbies/Interests: Hiking, biking, cooking, baking, gardening, DIY home renovations 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I am a licensed comsetologist with a hair salon in Franklin Grove. Cutting, coloring and styling by apt. Text 815-440-6300 Caleb Henson, Production B, Main Plant Years at Crest Foods: 2 years Hobbies/Interests: Long walks on the beach. Self portraits of peoples dogs (appt only) 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: Soundcloud Rapper
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We also want to give a special shout-out to the 2nd receipient of our M.V.T. (Most Valuable Trainer) award, Amy Williams from Production A in the Main Plant! Those that have trained with Amy always comment on her being polite, helpful, encour- aging, nice, and fun! Congratulations, Amy!
Darrell Elliott Production B, Main Plant Years at Crest Foods: 6 years Hobbies/Interests: Drawing mazes, Game of Thrones, Survivor, (not) making my wife smile, Rock n’ Roll, Country & Classical music, and I love to read. 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I have lived in 10 states over the past 35 years. Born in Charleston, South Carolina. Raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Traveled and worked in Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Illinois. I also sing in the shower. Justin Lugo, Production B, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 8 years (It has definitely been a journey, overall a good one.) Hobbies/Interests: I love to play with my Nintendo Swith and i love hiking and the great outdoors. 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I love the UFC. Chris Buhler, Production B, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 2 years Hobbies/Interests: RC cars and car audio. Having fun with my family. 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I work at Casey’s on my off time. I dominate it. Alma Hernandez, Production C, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 8 years Hobbies/Interests: Going canoeing with my kids and hiking at Starved Rock State Park. 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I owned my own house in my early 20’s, and was able to remodel the whole house on my own in 2021. April Cover, Production C, West Facility Years at Crest Foods: 20 years Hobbies/Interests: Reading, spending time with family, going to sporting events and listening to music 1 Thing Most Wouldn’t Know About Me: I used to help coach girls slow-pitch softball.
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Walk•Run•Ride for charity
We’ve organized a creative format for the Crest Foods Walking Club that is COVID-friendly! From September 1, 2021 through August 31, 2022, you can earn money for a local charity of your choice by being active! Making a difference in your community is as easy as taking a walk, going for a run or riding your bicycle! There are two different ways to turn in your mileage:
1. Log your miles and turn them in to Val Smith, VSmith@CrestFoods.com by September 1, 2022. Val will accept printed logs (available in the Walking Club bins) or screen shots from an existing fitness app that you use. 2. Join the Crest Foods Walking Club group on Strava for free. Log your activities within the Strava app or online platform. Val will pull your miles directly from the club each month, so you don’t need to turn in anything. https://www.strava.com/clubs/crestfoods
Note: Strava is free! You do not need sign up for a paid strava summit subscription. When it prompts you for a free trial, just select, “no thanks!”
At the end of the season, you will be notified of your final mileage and donation amount and asked which local charity you would like to donate to. Crest Foods will pay out $.50/mile for cycling and $2.00/mile for walking or running, up to a total donation of $1,000 per employee! Pool your money with other employees to make an even greater impact to your selected charity. The more miles you log, the more we will donate! contact Erika X 7201, Jamie X 7270 or Kristina X 7271 with questions
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Insurance Insights: What’s New in 2022 by Anne Noble, Benefits Manager
The biggest change for our employees enrolled in Health Insurance is the addition of HealthJoy. During Open Enrollment, we asked for email addresses and cell - phone numbers so that you can be enrolled in HealthJoy. HealthJoy is a company that provides guidance to help you make decisions with healthcare. The easiest way to use the program is through the app on your smart phone. If you don’t want to use your smart phone, they have a website and a customer service phone num- ber for you to utilize. Everyone that activates their account by February 3rd will be entered into a drawing for $50 Amazon gift cards. HealthJoy is replacing the Teledoc service that we have had through Auxiant. If you have a medical need that can be described easily over the telephone, use the Online Medical Consultation. It is free and easy to use!
“Joy” is the “person” that will help route you to the service you need within HealthJoy. Just by typing in a few words, Joy will respond with questions. This helps her figure out how to navigate your question. Once she has identified the correct service, a live customer success team member will conduct the research and respond to your need. Some examples of using Joy are: • You need to go to a specialist, but aren’t sure who to go to. Once you tell Joy the type of specialist you need to see, the customer success team member will look within our network to give you options. Once you select who you want to go to, they can make the appointment for you and initiate the transfer of records that the specialist may need. • You need to have a medical procedure and want to keep your out of pocket expenses as low as possible. Let Joy know what the procedure is, she will ask you a few questions, then route your information to a customer suc - cess team member. You will receive options of where to go for the procedure, an estimate of how much the procedure will cost as a whole, and for your out of pocket expenses. Once HealthJoy determines the lowest cost/high quality provider and facility, and you follow through with having the procedure at that facility, you could receive a reward for using the HealthJoy recommendation. • You receive a new prescription and aren’t sure how much it is going to cost. Tell Joy the name of the prescrip - tion & dosage. A customer success team member will then research within our CVS network and other non- insurance options to find the lowest cost for you. • You receive a medical bill that you don’t understand. HealthJoy can review your bill and the Explanation of Benefits, then give you the information you need. Since HealthJoy is new, we will be learning as we go. Watch for more news to be provided through weekly commu- nications and posted near time clocks. The other change to our health insurance is what we have referred to as our Wrap Network. Meaning, if you needed to seek medical services (non-emergency) outside of The Alliance network, you could search within the Zelis net- work to find an in-network option. Now, you will utilize HealthJoy to help you find a provider. In rare circum- stances, a specialist that is not available in our network will be needed. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact Anne or Savannah in our Benefits Department for assistance.
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Starting this past July, we have been featuring groups of employees in our Weekly Information Communication who have been nominated by Manag - ers because they embraced cooperation & teamwork to accomplish some - thing. Just a small way to say Thank You & help celebrate all of the “tri - umphs” that go on at Crest on a daily basis! Check out the last few months’ worth of triumphs at Crest Foods! Way to go Mix Department! “Thank you to the Mix department on the great job they are doing keeping lines supplied with powder, while still short people. It takes a team on both shifts to make this happen.” Way to go to the Line 70 Changeover Kaizen Team! “Congrats to this team on being a finalist for Redzone team of the year! The team has been able to reduce the time it takes for 3 different cleaning levels by 50%!! Amazing job and good luck on winning team of the year!” Way to go QA Line Techs! “Thanks to QA Line Techs for always working so well together as a team and keeping such positive attitudes when we are often short-staffed and jumping around to different lines.” Way to Go Jordon Smith & Annie Etchison! “Thanks to Jordon for stepping up to help with CCP’s and check- ing weights for 1st cases to make them as quick and easy as possible when QA is short-staffed. Thanks as well to Annie Etchison for changing her shift hours twice to help out on 1st shift while they are short.” Way to go Bill Kirk (Maintenance C)! “Thanks to Bill Kirk for working with us at West Production to help out while we were short a Maintenance person.” Way to Go to the Ingredient Division R&D Team! “Thank you for putting formulas together to compensate for ingredient shortages over the recent months. Because of their efforts, we have not shorted our customers on their products!” Way to go Line 87 (Production B)! “Thanks to Yolanda Cadenas, David Smith, Ashley Cadenas, Joe Johnson Delnora Martinez, Lance Larsen and Art for staying late to finish up cases and clean up so that Sanitation could start working on their clean and have it ready to go for Monday morning.” Way to Go Corporate Purchasing! “Thanks for Evan Knack and Matt Richardson for the great job they do get ting us supplies!” Way to go on Master Sanitation Cleans! “Great job to everyone who played a part in the strong finish to this quarter’s Master Sanitation numbers! We finished the quarter 93.7% completed, which is the highest percentage since 2017!” Way to Go Jamie Cooper, Ryan Crouch, Ashley Mairs, Holly Gleissner, Tom Windelborn, John Davis, Jonathan Aldridge & Jennifer Pittman! “Big thanks to the Consumer Products team for stepping outside their normal job to help staff production lines. Your dedication and willingness to help out is what makes Crest such a great place.” Way to go Switchboard Backups! “Thanks to Savannah Fagan, Connie Karper, Val Smith, Jackie Fransen, and Shelley Schopp for filling in on the switchboard over the last few weeks! I don’t think we accidentally hung up on anyone this time!” Way to go Production B-Shift West! “Thank you for Yolanda Cadenas, Miles VanRaden, and Adam Calderon for working together to keep line 72 while the lug dump was down for repair. Also, thank you to David Smith, Rob ert Rains, Chris Buhler, and Will Hand for running 2 lines so we could stay on schedule for a changeover.” Team Triumphs
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Way to go C-Shift Maintenance! “Thank you to the C-Shift Maintenance crews in both facilities for helping Sani- tation whenever we need assistance. They are really a great group to work with!” Way to go Catherine Larson (Maintenance A), Nathan Troye (Maintenance A), Jim Smith (Maintenance B) and Hannah Derksen (Production B)! “On January 4th we were down to 1 Maintenance person on B-Shift in the Main Plant, and I want to thank these 4 for helping out. Thanks for Catherine and Nathan for staying after their shift, thanks to Hannah for helping out, and thanks to Jim Smith for coming over from the West Facility to help. It was a group effort!” Family Traditions by Savannah Fagan The majority of families out there have some sort of tradition. It may be an an- nual vacation or baking Christmas cookies for some; but for the Brown family, it’s winning state titles in football for Lena-Winslow. In fact 6 state titles have been won between 4 brothers: Marey Roby (2019, 2021), Rahveon Valentine (2017), Bobby Brown (2017) and Ronnie Valentine (2017, 2019), who are part of Dan (Ingredient Division Quality Control) and Teresa Brown’s large family.
In November, Marey rushed 241 yards and scored 3 touchdowns helping Lena- Winslow win the 2021 1A State Championship against Carrollton. This is the 5th class 1A state title for Lena-Winslow, and three of them have come with either Roby or his brothers on the team. As with any set of siblings, some fun competiveness has arose. In the final game, Marey rushed for more yards in one game than Rahveon ever did, but didn’t quite catch Rahveon record season which had 2,165 yards and 27 TDs in 2017. Rahveon, Bobby and Ronnie all contributed to the start of these wins in 2017 and while this much-loved tradition came to an end this year with son Marey Roby in his senior year, the legacy of the family’s football dynasty will forever be remembered.
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Welcome to WalkSafe: United Heartland’s Winter Weather Safety Campaign United Heartland, part of the AF Group, is (and has been for many years) our Worker’s Compensation Insurance partner. Each year, they provide helpful information such as safety articles, printable PDFs, videos and other mate- rials to help us reduce slips, trips and falls, not only during the winter season but throughout the year as well. Their goal is to help us help you put your best foot forward by increasing awareness about slip and fall prevention. Preparing for Winter Weather. Slips, trips and falls are prevalent when winter weather takes hold — and preparation is the first step in reducing the risk. Some things to do to prepare for winter weather: • 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). • Observe slip/trip/fall advisories around the building. • Use entryway mats and housekeeping supplies (shovels, ice melt, etc.) as provided
FOOTWEAR The right winter footwear is critical to preventing slip and fall accidents on the job. Because of the unpredictable and often treacherous conditions winter can bring, footwear should provide as much stability as possible. Tips for winter footwear: • The outsole of the shoe is the area that’s in contact with the walking surface, and the depth and spread of the tread is important. Too closely-patterned treads or those with minimal depth will not allow liquids to be dis - persed properly and may create a potential hydroplaning effect. • Periodically inspect shoe tread and replace shoes when significant wear is noted.
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