Crest Ink October, November & December 2022 Ashton, IL 61006
Volume 34 • Number 4
Cheers to 40 Years!
by Jeff Meiners
Wally Karper, Barney Wittenauer, Tammie Liston & Bob Pittman
Forty years goes faster than you think. Four Crest employees all came to that collective conclusion as they remem- bered their forty years of employment with Crest. The arithmetic piles up pretty fast when one takes a step back to consider the totality of forty years of working for the same company. In 1982 when they started, Crest’s sales in one full year were less than they are in one month now. We had less than one hundred employees and none of the West facilities existed at all. This group of four has each worked over 10,000 days, received almost 3 years of paid time off each between holidays and vacations and worked with so many different people that the names become hard to remember. We are honored, humbled and thankful to welcome Tammie Liston, Barney Wittenauer, Bob Pittman and Wally Karper to our club of forty year employees. This year’s group brings the total number of people who have worked
at least forty years at Crest to twenty-four. We talk a lot about culture and family, but there is no better way testify to those concepts than to understand the dedication it takes for someone to commit forty years of their life to one work place. Crest simply isn’t Crest without these folks. Tammie Liston started with Crest in 1979 when in high school. After school, she did a stint at Del Monte long enough to know that she belonged back in Ashton at Crest. She started on a production line on Main Street work- ing B-shift and over the years spent time as a line weigher for QA, working in the wet lab, working in mix weighing minors and back to production as a line operator. From having the best party house in town in her earlier years, to challenging Mike Meiners to a push up contest, to being one of the most recognizable faces at Crest…Tammie has always been at the center of it all. Barney Wittenauer also started at Crest working nights while in high school and left to check out things at Del - Monte for a bit after school ended. Fortunately for Crest his path led back to us and while he planned to stay here for just a while…that turned out to be forty years. Barney started for Crest by stacking on production lines, worked as a mixer when our blenders were in the rooms that we call dump rooms now directly over the production lines, worked mixing for the Ingredient Division and found a home with the warehouse when we built the new facilities west of town. Barney has always been a steady influence wherever he has been at Crest and remembering the list of people he worked with along the way paints quite a history of Crest. Bob Pittman worked at Crest while attending Ashton high school and spent a bit of time at Carron Spinning before thankfully returning to Crest. Very few have worked in as many different roles in their Crest career as Bob has. Like many he started in production as a dumper. His Crest journey from there saw him being a mixer, a line opera- tor, a line mechanic, a production supervisor, a set-up mechanic, the ingredient division maintenance person, a parts room person and currently working in the machine shop. In between that Bob was involved with our first aid group and has really enjoyed all of his positions at Crest. Bob is a soft spoken, home-grown Ashton guy who has brought something special to all of the areas that he has worked in. Wally Karper came to Crest after spending ten years selling auto parts in Rochelle. He had a bit of a tough time getting his application in at Crest, but an evening bowling with Bert Kemp, a former partner in Crest, found him starting with us the next week (maybe he let Bert beat him at bowling just that one time). Wally started as a dumper for production and moved on to mixing, weighing for mixing, sanitation, mixer maintenance, parts room and build- ing maintenance where he has been for the past twenty years. It’s pretty safe to say that Wally knows every nook and cranny at Crest and has been a big part in keeping our facilities in great shape over the years. To a person, this group’s best memories of Crest involve all of the people they have worked with over the past forty years. The backbone of any family is the people who have been there for the long haul to see everyone through thick and thin. Our Crest family is in debt to this group of four who has been there through good times and bad and helped to make us the company we are today. Thank you Tammie, Barney, Bob and Wally.
Welcome AFC & Amboy FFA! Crest was happy to host the Amboy and AFC FFA chapters in November! Stu- dents spent the morning touring our West Production, West Warehouse and Mixing Facilities learing all about the manufactur- ing process.
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Craig Friday Karlin Warehouse Manager Interests: Fishing, camping, spending time outdoors. Something most people don’t know about me: I farmed for 28 years and retired from it in 2015. First job at Crest Foods: I actually worked in the Mix Department one summer when I was in high school. I then worked 2nd shift as a fork- lift operator on the docks in town. Some of my favorite memories from Crest over the last 30 years: The day after the tornado hit the warehouse. I believe the best in everyone came to work that day. The day started with a little confusion, but ended with incredible stregnth. I was proud to be a part of it. Also, when Jeff Roop wore a suit and tie for his job interview - he should dig it back out! Jeff Roop Scheduling Specialist Interests: Spending time with my grandkids, listening to Christian music, and watching The Chosen. Something most people don’t know about me: I officiated the IHSA Girls Basketball 2A finals. First job at Crest Foods: I replaced Ken Fishbach as Warehouse Expediter. Some of my favorite memories from Crest over the last 30 years: Being a Production Supervisor and having Erika, Brandon, Garett, and Gaven work for me during the summer. Also, road rallies, and all of the friendships I have made. Karen Yardley Safety & Sanitation Manager Interests: I love to read (history, mystery, biography - you name it!), camp, hike, bike, and spend time with my family - including my dog Peaches, who also loves to hike and cuddle when I’m reading! And I’m sure most everyone knows - I’m a huge Harry Potter fan! Something most people don’t know about me: I’m interested in genealogy and local history and I volunteer at the Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society every Saturday morning. First job at Crest Foods: I started on B-Shift in Production. My first night was on a bulk pack line and I thought “this is pretty easy, I can handle this.” It didn’t take long to find out that most lines are not as easy as a bulk pack line and I was very happy when I was approached by QA about a transfer after being in production for about 2 weeks! I’ve worked on the lines a few times over the years and I know it takes some special skills that not everyone has! Some of my favorite memories from Crest over the last 30 years: Way too many good memories since I’ve worked in three different departments on three different shifts! I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some special people - and some real characters - over the years! B Shift twenty five years ago was quite a fun crowd ! Thursday night was payday and uptown Ashton was the place to be! I’ll never forget the afternoon my boss, Marty Barclay, found me “resting my eyes” in the weigh station at the start of the shift! Sanitation C Shift was a rough transition at first. Thomasa Webb and I were trained to wash mixers and were pretty proud of the job that we did. Chris Reynolds, Kyle Hassler and Ray Van Drew were major influences for me during my overnight stint. Being the Sanitation Manager and working on A Shift brought the wonderful experiences of working with the veterans like Pat Hilliker, Jim Spangler, Kim Gallagher and Brent Warner. And as nice as these gentlemen all are, there was a time that I was very intimidated by them! Now I’m approaching “vet- eran” status myself but one of the best parts of my job is that I continue to learn new things every day - from my co-workers, from the vendors and suppliers I get to work with and from the opportunity Crest gives me to pursue additional training and education. Getting to Know: 30 Year Employees This year we celebrated 6 employees who reached their 30 year anniversary with the company! Congratulations to Jeff Roop, Karen Yardley, Roger Wolber, Gerald Gibson, Craig Friday and Kyle Hassler! Each of these employees will get a brick engraved with their name placed on the 30 Year Wall at the Main Plant. Crest will also be donating $500 to the charity of their choice in their honor. We congratulate each of these employees on reaching this mile stone and thank them for dedicating their careers to Crest Foods!
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Roger Wolber Maintenance Mechanic C-Shift Interests: Playing guitar, riding my motorcycle, and hanging out with my beautiful wife. Something most people don’t know about me: I was in a band. First job at Crest Foods: Line worker. One of my favorite memories from Crest over the last 30 years: Working on the line with Gerald Gibson. Gerald Gibson Maintenance Mechanic A-Shift Interests: Hockey, snow mobiling, camping. Something most people don’t know about me: I love to cook and make candy. I am also a Roger Wolber impersonator. First job at Crest Foods: Produciton worker. Some of my favorite memories from Crest over the last 30 years: Run- ning the Nutra-sweet line and all of my co-workers. Kyle Hassler Advanced Lead Mixer A-Shift Interests: Working on my house. Something most people don’t know about me: When I was in my 20’s, I had long hair and a perm! First job at Crest: My first job was in Sani- tation on the 3rd shift. I worked in that department for 11 years! Some of my favorite memories over the last 30 years: Working with Chris Reynolds & Ray VanDrew on 3rd shift. New Additions to the 20 Year Club This year we celebrated 8 employees who reached their 20 year anniversary with the company! Each of these em- ployees 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 are so thankful that they have made a career at Crest Foods.
Congratulations to: Carmen Quintana (Production B), Armando Macias (Pro- duction A), Ricky Hilleman (Mix B), April Cover (Production C), Trish Carter (QA A), Val Smith (Mail Room), Jeff Hacaga (Ingredient Division R&D) & Herb Wyckoff (Ingredient Division R&D Director) (Herb & Jeff pictured to the right) Armando Macias
What brought you to Crest Foods? I had a friend who was working here and they told me about a job opening so I decided to give it a try! What was your first job at Crest? I started out stacking on Line 3. What’s a favorite memory of your time here at Crest? All of the people I’ve met through the years. Carmen Quintana What brought you to Crest Foods? My friend Maria Herrera recommended me to Crest Foods. She told me it was a nice job, fun, fast and that the supervisor (Gina Smith) was awesome! What was your first job at Crest? My first job was the Shake-N-Pour on Line 5. What’s a favorite memory of your time here at Crest? My favorite memory was working with my kids, nieces, nephews and brother. It was fun and we made the line awesome! Anything you’d like to add: When I started being an operator, I used to have dreams about run-
ning the line. I think it was a good thing because I was practicing even while sleeping haha!
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Trish Carter What brought you to Crest Foods? My first time working here, I was on the High School crew. I had decided I was tired of asking my dad for money when I needed it, so in September of 1997, Crest took me in. I was here until right after I graduated high school, then I left for the summer. I decided to come back once summer was over, so there started my second time working here. That didn’t last long….I was fired! As it turned out, Crest preferred to have employees that actually came to work every day. At that time, I was not that employee. Two years later, I found myself in need of a job again. I was young, living at home, and at that time, without a car, so Crest was the obvious choice for me since I could walk to work if they were willing to give me another chance. What was your first job at Crest? I started out as a line worker in Contract Packaging. Three months after I start- ed (the third time), I asked to be a line operator. I was a line operator for a good 11 or 12 years (minus a short stint in the Parts Room) when I was asked to be the B shift level 6 backup. Then, once I became a mom, I knew B shift wasn’t for me anymore, so I applied for an A shift line technician position in QA. I was a line technician for two years before I became the backup, also known as the #7. Two years after becoming the #7, I was asked if I was interested in being the Quality Engineer, and I’ve been doing it ever since; and loving it. What’s a favorite memory you have of your time here at Crest? I’ve got so many memories here; it’s so hard to pick one. The Christmas auctions were always fun. I am not one who likes people to bid against me, so I would end up paying more than I should have for things I didn’t need...like 21 lbs of chocolate!! Anything you’d like to add: I would just like to thank Crest Foods for taking a chance on me. I was not always an employee people would have expected to last 20 years; but Crest was patient with me. I finally grew up and be- came someone they can rely on and someone I can be proud of. Ricky Hillman What brought you to Crest Foods? I liked that it was a family owned company and not a union like previous jobs had been. What was your first job at Crest? I started in the Mix Department and have stayed ever since! What’s a favorite memory of your time here at Crest? I really enjoy the people I work with. Val Smith What brought you to Crest Foods? I started Crest Foods in high school and once I graduated I came back and joined the college program where I got my associates degree paid for by Crest while I worked second shift part time. It is such an amazing program that Crest still has today. What was your first job at Crest? I was on a Hamburger Helper line working second shift. What’s a favorite memory you have of your time here at Crest? I have made so many amaz- ing memories at Crest over the years, my favorite is meeting my husband at Crest Foods in 2003! Anything you’d like to add? Thank you to Crest Foods for a great 20 years. I love my job and all my Crest family Truly blessed to work for such a great family. April Cover What brought you to Crest Foods? I needed a job with steady hours because I had small chil- dren at home. What was your first job at Crest? I started out packing on Line 3. What’s a favorite memory of your time here at Crest? I can’t give one specific memory but I will say that if it weren’t for the people I’ve worked with, I wouldn’t have the memories I do.
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Craig Friday & Kyle Hassler
Val Smith, Trish Carter & Karen Yardley
April Cover & Roger Wolber
Carmen Quintana, Wally Karper, Bob Pittman & Armando Macias
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Redzone Frontline MVP’s by Jared Stumpenhorst, Contract Packaging Operations Manager We did it again! At this year’s Redzone Awards Dinner Crest Foods walked away with more awards! This time it was in the form of 2 Frontline MVPs, Hannah Derksen and Rico VanOosten from 2nd shift production. Out of more than 1000 plants and many thousands of frontline workers, these two were recognized as a couple of the best at utilizing Redzone to create and share knowledge on the plant floor. You likely have seen the posters hanging around the various facilities but you might not know the whole story for why they were chosen.
Hannah Derksen & Rico VanOosten
In April of 2022 Crest Foods launched a new module in Redzone called Learning. The purpose of the module is to help create standardized training, career progression and knowledge sharing that can be accessed and shared right on the iPads. In order to do that a lot of content has to be created and uploaded into Redzone so that people can see it and use it. One of the ways that we are able to do this is through a function called Plays. You probably have heard a little bit about Plays in a previous Crest Ink article, but basically these are videos that have the ability to share an individual’s experience and knowledge with others on the plant floor. Here is where Hannah and Rico come in! Right from the start these two saw the potential in Plays to help share knowledge and train employees on the plant floor that do not have the same level of experience as some of the veteran employees at Crest Foods. They immediately became a 2 person video production crew and started cranking out Plays that people could watch to learn tips and tricks for how to do jobs easier, more efficiently or in some cases just correctly! At the time of writing this article these 2 had created or had a part in more than 80 Plays and likely by time you read this the total will be even higher! Because of their initiative and example, they were nominated for the Redzone Frontline MVP award and on Oc- tober 25th Hannah and Rico attended the annual Redzone Awards Dinner in Chicago, IL. There were only 4 “MVPs” given out and when all was said and done Hannah and Rico heard their names called and received their MVP awards together to show their commitment to teamwork throughout the whole process. It was a great event and they were able to hear the stories from, and talk with some of the other finalists from companies throughout the country and even internationally. During this entire process Hannah, Rico and the many others that have created and watched Plays have found that not only has this been extremely valuable for supporting training of new employees, but many veteran employees have found that they are learning tips and tricks by watching them as well! Certainly a big part of what has moti- vated these two was not the promise of an award. They did not even know that Redzone gave out awards! It has been all about being able to help with the development of not only their peers but also new employees that will walk through the door tomorrow and months down the road. They have shown what can be accomplished when departments work together with a common goal and how everyone can add value. Their ambition and the example that they set for others was a big part of what led to their nomination, and eventual win, as Redzone Frontline MVPs. We could not be more proud of them and the recognition that they received. Equally as impressive is the many additional people that have gotten inspired and involved in the creation of Plays due to their leadership in this area. Congratulations again Hannah and Rico! We can’t wait to see what comes next and who else out on the plant floor might step up as the next Frontline MVP!
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Our Sympathy Charles Harvey, father of Heather Thomasson (Produc- tion B) and grandfather of Trenton Thomasson (Production B) passed away October 14th. Our condo- lences to Heather and Trenton. Our sympathy to Keith (Production Supervisor A) and Catherine (Maintenance A) Larson on the passing of Keith’s father, Garry Larson on November 28th. Our condolences to Darrell Elliott (Production B) on the passing of his sister on November 25th. Congratulations Emily Lessman (QA A) and her husband welcomed a baby boy, Nolan Brett Lessman, on December 1st. Con- gratulations to them and to grandma, Marla Shaner (Ing. Lab Tech.), on their new arrival! Sherry Joos (QA A) and her husband are proud grand- parents to Micah Louis Joos, born October 13th to son Steven and daughter-in-law Reina. Congratulations all! Mike (Mix A) and Payton Spencer welcomed a daughter, Adelaide Lou Spencer, on 10/12/22. Adelaide is wel- comed home by big sisters Kiyarra and Shyenne. Congratulations everyone! Thank You Thank you so much for the opportunity to tour your facility. We learned a lot about how food is processed. AFC FFA To my Crest family: Thank you very much for the conforting care package. I also appreciate all of the cards, messages, food and phone calls. I have been overwhelmed with all of the kindness shown to me while being out for surgery & my recovery. Love, Shelley Schopp
Grace Fellowship Church would like to thank Crest Foods for your generous food donation! Many people in our area have been blessed because of it and we were so touched. It truly made it a very happy Thanksgiving! Walking Club Members of Crest Foods: On behalf of the Lee County Honor Flight Committee, thank you for your recent donation from this year’s events. We just sent over 110 area veterans to D.C. last month on a flight. So many great memories were made. We couldn’t do these trips without people that support the Honor Flight. Wishing you and your Crest Families a wonderful holiday and a blessed New Year. On behalf of LOTS, we would like to thank you for your generous gift. We will be cooking up the ham and serving it to our staff in appreciation of their fine work. It will be appreciated by all. Thank you for the generous donation to be used in the Activity Department for individuals events. We greatly appreciate your willingness and great gesture to help support our program. Jack Mabley Center The Kiwanis Club of Dixon and the Salvation Army offers a big Thank You for participating in the 2022 Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. We raised over $13,900 in storefronts around Dixon this year. These monies will go a long way toward fulfilling the needs of those struggling to make ends meet. Crest Foods Walking Club: Thank you for your dona- tion to the Dixon Community Food Pantry. To the members of the Walking Club: On behalf of everyone at Illinois Valley Animal Rescue, including the dogs and cats, I want to thank you for your recent dona- tion to our organization. Please know this money will be used to benefit all of the animals of the community. Crest Foods Employees: Thank you for the beautiful Christmas gifts. It brought much joy to the Mabley resi- dents - especially individuals who’s family is no longer around. We wish you a Happy New Year. Mabley Center
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The Crest Family Mourns: Rob Roath December 10, 2022 the Crest Foods family had to say goodbye to a friend. Rob Roath worked with us for 25 years on the A shift in the mix and warehouse departments. Rob was a pleasure to be around type of guy and always in a good mood. He worked hard and played his guitar even harder. The biggest pride in Rob’s life was his family and church. He will be missed by many! Deepest condolences to his wife Candy and his family.
Congratulations to the following employees for obtaining new jobs at Crest Foods over the last few months!
Caleb Henson Maintenance Mechanic B-Shift
Tanya Millan QA Line Tech A-Shift
Alanna Thomas Warehouse Clerk
The C shift Sanitation and Mainte- nance group want to wish Bob Knight a Great Retirement and say Congratulations! Bob worked with us for 6 years and has always been a pleasure to work with. Enjoy Bob! You earned it. Congratulations Bob Knight!
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Happy Retirement, Stephanie Roe-Quinton! by Brandon Meiners After 37 years of dedicated service in the Ingredient Division, the mother hen is flying the coop!
While this announcement seemed sudden to some, in true Stephanie fashion, she had been coordinating her retirement and transfer of responsibilities much like she has spent her entire career running the Ingredient Divi- sion...quietly behind the scenes. It’s hard to think of the Ingredient Division and not think of Stephanie Quinton. The two go hand in hand. Stepha- nie has worked in the Ingredient Division longer than I have been alive! To say that she has been a pivotal factor in the success of our division all these years would be an understatement. She has spent her career developing the Ingredient Division and it’s support staff into a well-oiled machine that’s primed to keep running strong for many years to come. Most importantly, she has consistently been a compassionate leader who is truly respected by every one around her! We are so thankful she left a career as a Promotion Director at Champaign WCIA-TV in 1985 to start her long journey with Crest Foods! It’s been a great ride and we are excited for her to finally have the opportu- nity to join her husband Jerry in retirement. Congratulations to Stephanie on a well-deserved retirement!
Crest Champion is our new employee recogntion program itended to acknowledge employees that perform above and beyond their normal job duties and those that identify and prevent mistakes from happening. Peers can recognize each other, or Managers/Supervisors can recognize
employees. We want employees to know they make the difference and that their efforts are recognized and appreci- ated! Employees nominated have either : Gone above & beyond (anything outside of normal job duties), Pre- vented or Minimized a problem, or Demonstrated creativity (creatively solves problems or improves procedures).
Congratulations to all employees nominated for as Crest Champions! Becca Dodd and Dan Shipyor were the winners for November. Becca Dodd (Production A) Becca volunteered to come in and give our Level 6 a hand while it was her first night without Gina here. Becca was on vacation at the time - we really apreciated the help! Spider Dan (Warehouse B) An outside truck driver lost his ID at the warehouse. Spider Dan searched high and low and found the ID and personally mailed it back to the truck driver per the address on the ID. The truck driver was SO appreciative!
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2023 1st Quarter CIP Winners
Al Kvool, Set Up A-Shift • 1st Place • $250.00 Al’s suggestion was about adding a step to the changeover process for either cleaning or changing out the Hayssen knives on Line 21. This will give us less exposure to any allergen contamination hazzards when changing from one product to the next.
Cheryl Sanderson, Production A-Shift • Runner Up • $150.00 Cheryl suggested that we try to make it safer when dumping lines 37 & 35. Prior to her suggestion, she needed to stand on a thin frame with a gap next to it to get powder out. She asked if we could add a plate over the gap. Tread plates have been added to both drum dumping stations, which provides a safe platform when stepping on to empty drums. Great idea! Andrea and Kyle suggested that we work on a way to add permanent air purge to all shortening extruders at the Mix Facility. Currently, there is no air purge, and the shorten- ing hardens within 24-48 hours in the pipes, meaning that pipes need to be purged by taking apart all of the parts piece by piece (which takes about an hour). Andrea Hess & Kyle Hassler, Mix A-Shift • Runner Up • $75.00 James had a suggestion about adjusting lug dump equipment on line 28 when we run pasta. Once pasta starts to flow from the tote into the hopper, there is a short time period where pasta flows out of the tote, hits the bevel and flows back onto the floor. As a result, we lose product and are continually cleaning up spillage after each tote. We are working on replacing the leading bevel with a welded bar. James Houghtailing, Production A-Shift • Runner Up • $75.00 Matt had an idea to minimize loses while dumping potatoes on line 85. We are working on a solution that will save product and keep potatoes off the floor. Matt Rogers, Production B-Shift • Runner Up • $75.00
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Riding the Waves of Life by John Mont, Ingredient Division Sales
Time for a 10 year Mont Family Vacation – only 8 years later? We had the opportunity come up to travel to Hawaii with my daughter Riley’s DePauw WBB (Women’s Basketball Team) & families. This was their winter trip to play in a basketball event in Hilo, HI. All of us (my wife Rhonda, daughter Riley, son Logan and I) were able to make the trip – this was our Christmas Celebration/Trip together. We had never been to Hawaii until this trip or opportunity. It was also great to get to know all of the players and their families better. We were all coming to Hawaii for the weather, the beach, the tropical activities and a bit of Women’s College Basketball. During the trip, there were plenty of planned events. As a group, we went to see the Pearl Harbor Tour – specifically the USS Arizona Memorial. This was quite the Tour to open all of our eyes that we have people that give up their lives to provide all of us better future
lives. The USS Arizona sank in Pearl Harbor but was never de-commissioned. There was a Wall of Names to re- member all those lost in this event. The DePauw WBB Team played well overall. They won the 1st game but lost the 2nd one. Early in the trip we learned that Riley would not be able to play due to a current injury that she is working through – good to shut down to heal. She handled it well and helped cheer on her teammates. We did a bit of island hopping in Hawaii. Initially, we flew to Oahu (Honolulu) then flew over to Hilo for the games and back to Honolulu for a few more days. Oahu has about 1 million people on it while the total population of ALL islands is about 1.4 million people. Our entire group was able to attend a Germaine’s Luau. We were able to enjoy some Hawaiian entertainment with a little Christmas twist for the holidays. The group was able to enjoy some real Hawaiian food that was cooked special for the event. The Mont family made sure to have our Hawaiian shirts for this special night of fun. The family was able to spend a lot of quality time together. We had a lot of laughs along the way – many great pictures. Hawaii provides some great beach time opportunities to see “white caps” and the surf/waves. The Hawaii sun is definitely quite different – great sunrises and sunsets. Yes, some of us did spend a bit too much time in the sun but still are all good. We continued to go with the flow of life with our travels home. The family ended up experiencing 6 flight cancel- lations overall. The only way to get home over the holidays was to separate and make things happen! Sometimes you have to just “Ride the Wave” that is right in front of you to get where you need to be. Logan and myself ended up renting a car on Christmas day from the Minneapolis Airport and driving home. Both of us were put on later flights in December respectively due to a cancelation but both flights ended up being canceled. We picked the right “wave” to ride – we made it home. It ended up being a special Christmas for a few hours – my wife and daughter really had out done themselves with a great meal and Christmas celebration once we arrived. It was a great 4 hours of Christmas together as a family – many hugs and smiles of joy. Thanks to Crest Foods for helping make some great Mont Family Memories for a life time. This Trip provided many different things to do and try. We continued to ride each and every “Wave of Life” during our trip. It showed us to continue doing the different and enjoying each and every “Wave” that comes our way – make the most of everything!
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My 10 Year Trip: Matthias Kemmeren My wife, kids and I were finally able to enjoy my 10 year trip to Disney. Thankfully, our flights weren’t delayed because of the hurricane and we were able to enjoy an entire week away. We stayed at The Boardwalk resort and it was a great location. We managed to visit all of the parks while we were there and we were able to attend Mick- ey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party which was a neat experience for a one-time trip. I’d say the highlight of the trip was having dinner with my wife on top of The Contemporary which overlooks Magic Kingdom. We enjoyed the parades and were able to ride the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride. I happened to see a local friend’s post on Ins- tagram and discovered they coincidentally were at Disney too so we all met up for ice cream one day. I’d like to thank the Meiners for the chance to take a nice family vacation! Village of Progress Honors by Jeff Meiners
The village of Progress is an organization devoted to serving adults with developmental disabilities in Ogle County by providing programs and job opportunities that help to provide purpose and fulfillment for the clients they serve. Their goal is to help individuals feel valued and respected in the community at large and to change perceptions of those with little personal contact with this group of people. Twenty-three of VOP’s clients have been placed to work at Crest and we are more than confident that they have emphatically met their goals in their interactions with us. Crest was recently honored as the business of the year for our associations with the Village of Progress at their t awards banquet. We are honored and thankful for the award, but the truth of the matter is that this group of people has given us far more than we have given them. Little did we know that when we first started working together that our hearts would be touched with the warmth, kindness and desire to succeed despite whatever obsta- cles that might stand in the way that this group of people all possess. We have all been taught some important life lessons from the clients of the Village of Progress and are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside them. We’re pretty sure that Jim Reindel, their Crest supervisor, has adopted a whole new family! So, Village of Progress – thank you for the honor…but you all are the true heroes of this story.
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Smiling is Our Favorite: Christmas at Crest by Gaven Meiners There was no shortage of smiles this Christmas Season. Crest Employees spread Christmas cheer and sang loud for all to hear. In the weeks leading up to Christmas many employees participated in some festive fun. 12/1 – Tees the Season (Wear a holiday T-Shirt) 12/8 – Deck the Halls (Wear a festive holiday sweater, shirt or vest) 12/15 – Sassy Stock ings (Holiday sock Friday, wear fun holiday socks) 12/19 – Merry Monday (Wear Red, White and Green) 12/22 (Twas the night before Christmas (Wear your favorite holiday PJ pants) Following all GMP’s of course, Crest em- ployees reminded us it’s ok to be silly and have fun at work. Who doesn’t smile after winning cash and prizes? 13 Crest employees won a variety of items throughout December. Several $1,000 Cash prices, Cubs tickets, $500 gifts cards, a TV and the grand finale prize of a car! Speaking of Cash, every Crest employee got a little extra Bonus in their stocking this year. Hopefully it helped cover some of the inflated costs we all see this time of year. We can’t think of anyone needing a smile more than those in the area with little or no family to celebrate with; so Crest employees volunteered to buy gifts for about 70 residents at 2 local nursing homes, Jack Mabley Center, Vil- lage of Progress, and Kreider Services. Employees also filled out 800 Christmas cards, going to those same organi zations. Thank you to those volunteers, what you did made a difference to these groups this Christmas. You may have not known it, but Crest employees were going to make you smile at Ace Hardware this Holiday sea- son! We bundled up and braved freezing temps, we strapped on our guitars to sing songs, dressed up as Santa and even Ralphie from the Christmas story made an appearance. Crest employees spent 27 hours ringing the bell for the Salvation Army Red Kettle program this year. Lots of Fun for a great cause. Smiling is contagious, and after a COVID break, we got to celebrate the season at our traditional Christmas dinners. We had 10 different dinners over two days for about 600 employees! The food was amazing and we all got to listen and laugh at Jeff Meiners, some us thought he was funny, some of us laughed at him, but we all smiled and it was great to get back together again. This time of year we always celebrate those employees reaching significant employment milestones. This year we had 8 people reaching 20 year status, 6 reaching 30 year status, and record breaking 4 employees reaching 40 year status! We are humbled and thankful for these people calling Crest their work home for all these years. If you can smile at work you can smile at home, it’s just the same. All Crest employees got 4 paid off days to spend time with friends and family. It was a Merry Crestmas indeed, now let’s keep those smiles going into the new year!
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October, November & December 2022 Crest Ink 15
Run Run Rudolph ... Thank you to everyone who gave it their all in the Crest Foods Christmas Lip Sync Video this year! If you haven’t seen the video, check it out now at https://crestfoods.com/happy-holidays/ or on the Crest Foods Facebook page.
Production C-Shift West
Ingredient Division Production
Ingredient Division R&D
Ingredient Warehouse & Lucy Crew
Sales & Tech Service
Karlin Production Crew
Ingredient & Corporate Purchasing
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Production & Maintenance
Production & Maintenance B-Shift
Production A-Shift West
Ingredient Division QA
HR, Benefits & Payroll
October, November & December 2022 Crest Ink 17
Ukraine by Dawn Summers, QA Operations Manager
I am Dawn Summers. My husband Dave and I have lived in rural Dixon for 28 years; we have 7 daughters and have welcomed several foreign exchange students. Our girls are all grown, all out of the house and have started their own journeys. We finally had an empty house. But that empty nest did not stay empty for long… Dave and I were watching the news on February 24th and saw what was happening in Ukraine with hordes of women and children boarding trains to flee their country to safety. People who looked and dressed like all of us in the USA. People who were going to
Olesia, Volva, Dave & Dawn Summers, Polina
work every day and taking their children to school and to the park to play. All of a sudden WAR looked very differ- ent, and was not just something you read about in history books. It was real, it was happening in 2022, with real people just like us. We knew we had to try and help, with boots on the ground type of help. I searched and searched to see if they were allowing refugees in the US. Nearly 2 months later on April 25th Uniting for Ukraine was launched through the department of homeland security, and I immediately started an ap- plication. I was under the impression they would “assign” me a refugee, but that was not the case. I saw an Or- ganization Welcome US, was linked to the DHS website and also had a social platform. That is where I met Olesia who has a 7 year old son Volva. My husband and I felt we could help still another person as we had 3 open bed- rooms in the house. Olesia’s cousins girlfriend, Polina was in desperate need to get out, as she lived in Kherson region, and had to travel though Russia to escape. We added Polina to our family as well. In August we added Olesia’s fiancé Vlad. Our application was filed out May 6 and they were here on June 11. We had no connections or resources, but in talking to people, we found a lot was available in our small town. A huge thank you to Ziggy and Maurice, here at Crest for their insight, guidance and encouragement. Both of them helped with everything from filling out the ap- plications, maneuvering refugee services and helping to get English lessons! Having had several exchange students in our home and having experience in cross-culture immersion we felt this was a something we were equipped to do. It has not been the same experience; however I will say it is a wonderful one. Like our exchange students, we love these guys like our own. Unlike our exchange students, who chose to be here, had prepared for the journey for a year and spoke English, these ladies were forced to leave their homes and families without notice, and could only grab the necessities. They came with a small carry on suitcase and a back pack for 3 people, bringing their documents and the most basic clothes. They were not excited and prepared with a list of “things to do” in America as our students were, they came traumatized and with mixed emotions: sad to leave and grateful to be here. So thankful to be safe, but worried about their loved ones and their towns. Unlike our stu- dents who knew they had 12 months in another country and they would see their parents, families and friends again, Olesia, Vova and Polina have no idea if they ever will. Vova is 7 and holds our heartstrings. He is happy, adaptable and loving. He is also sad and hopeful. His drawings say a lot... The first weeks he was here, his drawings were bombs and guns and soldiers. As the time passed he jour- naled on how he saw this story unfold. I hope he is right. He wants a happy ending; he loves Ukraine and wants to see his grandmother and grandfathers. He also loves us and the USA and I believe will always remember his stay with good memories.
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Ukrainians in the US, on the Uniting for Ukraine program, are not here as refugees. They are here as Humanitarian parolees, and are allowed to stay for 2 years. The government may change that status to Refugee, which would al- low them to stay longer, but as of now, that is not the case. They do receive some benefits and are eligible for a work permit. As for the process, on June 21st we applied for eligible programs for them and received those benefits in early August. The process for acquiring a work permit was stressful as they wanted a $410 fee and were told it was a 9 month wait. I contacted state representatives and senators to help expedite the process. Jeff Meiners also wrote a letter of intent to employ them. Maybe a combination of those things worked, or maybe the process got better, but we received their work permits beginning of September. It has been quite the journey, and although there are benefits for humanitarian parolees, it is not enough to have them be independent. So that is where sponsorship and community steps in. In the US: To get housing: you need a credit history, a job, and references to get housing, which is expensive and you need the first and last month’s rent. To get a vehicle, you need a credit history for a loan and a job history, and you need insurance. To get a phone you need a credit history and a job. We finally received their work permits and Olesia and Vlad have jobs here at Crest! Thank you to our Crest Foods family for their help and support in bringing this family to safety and to all of the employees for welcoming them! The biggest thing we want people to realize is that this war is not over.. It has fallen out of our headlines and seems like it is quieting down, it is still VERY much going on and its one of the most important things happening. It has escalated even more in the past few days. Olesia’s parents had to flee and now Russian Soldiers are currently occu- pying her parents’ home, where she grew up. Everyone in Ukraine is doing what they can, whether it is older village people giving their last 2 eggs to help feed the soldiers or a 50 year old woman training to be a medic and volunteering to help. That is exactly what Olesia’s mom is doing. She volunteered to help, and was sent to help the wounded in hostile areas, but there is not basic equipment for them. She is in need of tactical glasses, ear protection and a back pack. Basic equipment that she needs to protect herself. Olesia has sent what little money she has to help buy these things for her mom’s protec tion. There are many ways you can be a helper! Anyone can do this… One way is to be a sponsor. Welcome US has a website and a database now to match sponsors with people in need from Ukraine there are over 5000 Ukrainians waiting for Sponsors and there are plenty of other organizations and social platforms where people are looking for sponsors. You don’t have to do it alone, it can be a group of friends, a church, a business... They need support with
housing and food to start with and help with the documents for programs, connecting with schools, rides to ap-pointments. Other ways to help: You can help supply the needed equipment for the civilians signing up to help. You can pray for all of Ukraine that it will keep its strength and independence, and re turn to the beautiful country it was. It is not so hard to be that helper…As Ronald Reagan said “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
October, November & December 2022 Crest Ink 19
The Crest Foods
Tech Team at Your Service by Al Duthie
Nate McKnight, Nathan Tippie, Jake McKnight, Joe Buckner Al Duthie, Steve Starke, Lee Hall
Crest Foods has a group of remote “hidden” employees in the field, residing throughout the country, that in con- junction with a similar sales force group, assist dairy plants with their dairy products. After the sale of a custom built stabilizer blend much of the service responsibility rests with The Crest Technical Service team. This activity in- volves product troubleshooting, plant employee training, cost saving analysis, and product performance reviews, to name some services available to customers. Prior to the final sale of stabilizer the dairy plant has had a plant sur- vey conducted, a plant trial, and a plant start-up assisted with by Crest Foods. Under the leadership of Nate McK- night, Director of Technical Service, all these aspects are coordinated with the plant and Crest Foods Sales Man- agers, and then executed. Each of the 7 members of Technical Service possesses unique job strengths, which com- bined result overall to a highly competent group. The Crest Technical Service team is diverse and experienced enough in dairy products to solve any dairy issue or challenge presented. In fact, with the emergence of UHT pro- cessing, and its continued growth for the future of dairy products, Crest Foods has evolved with this by adding our own resident “expert”, Jake McKnight. And as plant equipment becomes more complex and complicated to main- tain and use for efficient product scheduling Joe T. Buckner, with his background in production scheduling, be comes even more valuable as a resource. Our newest member is Joe T. Buckner, Jr. He has been with Crest Foods for 16 months. Joe currently lives in Il- linois with his wife Stacey, but they will be moving to North Carolina in the near future. Joe immediately fit into the Technical Service group and with the Crest Foods culture. Joe and Stacey have 2 daughters, Summer (27) and Jaicee (26). Summer has a daughter, Ameera, who is a year old. Joe loves to spend time with his family, read, garden, work on home projects, and fish. Joe really enjoys his job, especially being able to work with so many different dairy plants around the country and help educate them. One of Joe’s most rewarding moments of the job so far has been, with short notice, significantly helping an HTST operator pass a required state exam. Jake McKnight has been with Crest Foods for 18 months. Jake lives in Idaho with his wife Toni and 2 dogs, Shelby and Roxy. Jake immediately fit into our Technical Service group. In fact, Jake’s first week with the company he at tended our Crest Sales Meeting with the entire Tech/Sales team. Jake is an outdoors person, who loves to explore the streams, rivers, and mountains of Idaho and surrounding area. Jake really enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, whether that is during training sessions, or during a troubleshooting visit. Jake gains great satisfaction at the end of a long week helping a customer by receiving a simple handshake and thank you. Nathan Tippie, our Training Coordinator, has been with Crest Foods for 14 years. Nathan began his career with Crest as a sales person, then he shifted to part sales responsibility and part technical service responsibility, and finally he was converted to 100% technical service. Nathan lives in Ohio and has 2 nieces, Avery 7 years old and An-
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nisytn age 5, and 2 nephews, Austin 15 years old and Parker, who is 3 years old. Nathan’s favorite hobby is PC gam- ing. He has always loved playing video games. Nathan enjoys the job because there are always new people to meet and new things to learn about and new situations to figure out. Nathan points out things never remain the same with this job as there is constant change. Nathan gets a good feeling helping out our customers with solving prob- lems and providing and sharing dairy knowledge with customers through our Crest training sessions. Steve Starke has been with Crest Foods for 11 years. Steve resides in Kentucky with his wife Kristy and 11 year old Shih Tzu dog. Steve has 2 daughters, Chelsey 32 years old, and Alysha 28 years old, and one son Andrew, who is 25. Also, Steve has 2 grandsons, Kalvin, age 5 and Remy age 3. Steve is our adventurous member. He loves to power paraglide and ride his motorcycle for fun. Steve loves the challenge of troubleshooting plant issues for our custom- ers and the satisfaction of arriving at the causes to correct and fix the issues for them. Steve feels this is one of his biggest job rewards. Lee Hall has been with Crest Foods for 7 ½ years. Lee lives in Indiana with his wife of 33 years, Julie. Lee has 2 daughters Tessa and Jessica, and 2 granddaughters, Josie (1) and Lilly (8). Lee loves to spend time with family, and especially loves to go on beach vacations with Julie. Lee really enjoys helping out customers with all their trouble shooting opportunities, as well as conducting all the training sessions he does for HTST training. Lee’s most reward- ing moments on the job center around his trainings where an employee has a “light bulb” go off when he or she realize they have just learned something valuable to use on their job; learning new information thanks to him. Nate McKnight has been with Crest Foods for 4 ½ years. Nate heads up the Technical Service group in terms of coordinating our weekly assignments and schedules to ensure that there is adequate coverage in a timely manner to all customers in need of Crest service. Nate lives in Idaho with his wife Tena, his high school sweetheart, who he married 32 years ago. Nate has 3 grown children, Scott (31), Devin (29), and Raelee (28), as well as six grandchil- dren, ranging in age from 2 to 10 years old; Beau 10, Brynlee 6, Sadie 3, Brooklyn 3, Ryan 2, and Ryker 2. And, the list of grandchildren will soon grow to seven, with the next arrival due sometime in June. When not working Nate loves to take advantage of his surroundings and experience the mountains of Idaho on horseback. Also, Nate has a very unique personal interest outside of work, that is, operating a small farm and ranch. When Nate is on the road traveling for work Tena manages this and the 85 beef cattle. Nate really enjoys helping customers troubleshoot plant issues and teaching people why we do what we do within the dairy industry. According to Nate the most rewarding part of his job is working with the entire Crest Foods Team, or as Nate points out, the Crest Family. Nate values his being part of the commitment to always providing high quality service, and like many other Techni- cal Service Managers, the reward of helping plants implement solutions to problems, as well as educate their em- ployees. Nate’s favorite part of getting the opportunity to do these things in the job is meeting new people all the time across this great country and Canada. Al Duthie is the last member of the Technical Service Team to mention. He is the “old timer” in the group, 19 years with Technical Service, and also a total of 30 years with Crest Foods, including positions in R&D and Sales. Al lives in Illinois with his wife of 41 years, Holli. He has 3 grown children, Brad (37), Emily (35), and Eric (28), as well as 2 granddaughters, Claire (5), and Grace (2). Outside of work Al loves spending time with Holli, and making as many visits as possible to be with his grandchildren. Al also enjoys reading crime and mystery fiction novels and being an avid sports “nut” by closely following his Clemson Tiger football team, University of Vermont soccer and hockey teams, The Boston Red Sox, and Major League Baseball games in general. One of Al’s personal goals is to watch a MLB game at all of the teams’ stadiums. So far he has attended games in about half the parks. Al gains a lot of satisfaction in his job by solving the troubleshooting issues that arise in dairy plants and explaining and showing customer plants how to avoid these issues repeating in the future. Over all the years the most rewarding times in the job for Al has been when the week ends for his customer plant visit and he leaves feeling like he truly made a differ- ence with improving things at the plant.
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