As one of CIRAS’ chief points of contact, you’ve been inside hundreds of business over the past several years. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen happen in an Iowa company?
In food processing, there can be a variety of waste streams including scraps, unclean water and dust. Common practice used to be for these items to get hauled off as animal feed or treated by the municipality. Now, clients have started investing resources to look more closely at their current processes with an eye toward elevating certain material from waste to a revenue stream. Closer examination of these once-discarded waste streams helps identify sellable components while reducing disposal costs. In the past year, several Iowa companies have taken a deeper look at their water usage and waste streams to identify ways to reduce, repurpose or reclaim.
Tell me what a client should expect the first time that you meet with them.
I encourage a friendly conversation so clients can get to know me, and I them. We want to build the trusting relationship necessary for CIRAS to effectively help their team. I tell the people I meet a little about CIRAS, and then I mostly listen. I ask clients to talk about their company, and how they got to where they are today. I ask about where they struggle day-to-day. I listen for plans to accomplish goals in the coming 12 months. I want to hear about the approach to topics such as growth of the business, use of technology in processing, developing new products, how well they understand the businesses they are in, and the company’s overall commitment to food safety.
How many miles do you drive in a given year?
20,000 to 25,000
What was your first job?
My first paid employment was with a local discount store as a cashier.
My first professional job after graduating was as a Quality Technician in a canned meat production plant.
How much time did you spend in the private sector before coming to ISU?
If you could wave your magic Account Manager wand and change one thing for Iowa manufacturers, what would it be?
My wish would be for all to experience a workplace with:
- Open, honest communication and leadership committed to employee involvement at all levels.
- Leaders who know how to lead and provide the resources necessary for employees to be successful.
- Leaders who share their vision, ask for input to develop the strategic plan, working together to take the company where they want it to go.