It’s the start of a new year and I’m humbled by the opportunity to lead the heart of our company in my new role as VP of manufacturing. Every member of Hershey shares in a purpose to make more moments of goodness with our brands. But it’s our manufacturing teams who are at the heart of making these moments possible. The care we put into producing our beloved brands becomes part of your next movie night, road trip or holiday celebration.
I joined Hershey in 1991 as an industrial engineer after serving in the Army. I quickly recognized manufacturing as the lifeblood of our brands as I worked on a variety of projects at our plants. In 1993 I accepted a role at our Stuart’s Draft plant to support the installation of our Nutrageous line (it’s hard to believe that was four expansions ago). At the time, I was struck by the tight family culture of the team. You could feel the high expectations and pride of each team member when you were on the plant floor. A few years later, I moved to our Hershey plant and had the privilege to lead alongside an expert team of the makers of our flagship brand, Hershey’s. Over the past three decades I have spent most of my time working in manufacturing, and what I love most is the incredible sense of accomplishment you feel every day when you can see the results of our teamwork.
What I love most is the incredible sense of accomplishment you feel every day when you can see the results of our teamwork.
I have spent the past two months visiting my team members at each of our U.S. plants listening to the opportunities and challenges we face as we navigate through the most unpredictable moment of our lifetime. These conversations have helped to create a refreshed vision for our work together—calling on the best of our long-standing values and ways of working and building new tools, resources and recognition to be stronger and better than ever before.
The cornerstone of our vision is people-first manufacturing. The wellbeing and safety of our teammates is fundamental in everything we do. We have set expectations for what wellbeing means for us as individuals, for our families and for being part of our communities.
We are working together to create more flexibility to balance work and our personal lives, enhancing our training and development programs to learn new skills and grow experiences, and implementing new recognition and incentive programs to reward great work on an ongoing basis.
While these priorities have always been important, the disruption we are experiencing in supply chains around the world presents an opportunity for us to come together as one team to construct the next generation of best-in-class manufacturing teams.
I look forward to sharing our journey as we set the pace for what the future of manufacturing can be.