Chris S., Automation Intern
Tell me about your career path and/or education before coming to Nestlé Purina.
Before joining Nestlé Purina, I was an Automotive Mechanic for 10 years. Then, I worked in an underground gold mine as a mechanic in Nevada before making the decision to move back to Iowa to be closer to family.
Can you share a little about how you’ve advanced in your career path?
I started with the company as a Maintenance Mechanic. I learned about the Automation Internship and became excited about the possibility to learn and do something new day to day. The program has allowed myself and the automation team to mold the job to fit the current structure of the organization, and also develop skills to benefit the group while gaining valuable teamwork experience.
What’s a typical day like in your role?
Day to day I work closely with operators to proactively address issues with machinery, in addition to teaching them signs to look for that indicate a machine needs maintenance. I also perform scheduled maintenance, like sensor repairs and replacement, and diagnose/repair normal machine failures. There really is not a “typical” day. My day varies so much depending on the needs of the facility—that is what makes it challenging.
My internship provides time for me to shadow the Controls Team when troubleshooting machine electrical issues and be involved with the implementation of new, cutting-edge design ideas for controls to prevent future issues.
What unique skills make someone successful in this position?
Flexibility! Keeping a class schedule and work schedule, you might go to class and then work half the night one semester, then next be in at 5am before classes start. This, in addition to a natural inclination for mechanics and staying up to speed on the latest advancements in electronics, will be helpful.
What's the most exciting project you’ve completed or are currently working on?
Upgrading the slip-sheet dispenser for the warehouse. It's fun working on a custom design made especially for our working conditions. The project will ultimately reduce downtime the plant experiences due to repairs and general maintenance.
Our Founder challenges us with the 'Dare to Stand Taller.' How do you Stand Taller?
I am proud to produce and stand behind a quality product with a global reach, and that it’s produced in my hometown.
What are your future career aspirations?
Soon achieving my Bachelor of Science degree in Technology. I look forward to joining the Controls group in the future and continuing to learn within my role.
What advice would you tell someone considering applying for a role at Purina?
Our Fort Dodge factory is a great place to work and grow with. The company stands behind you and what you care about.
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
I enjoy riding my motorcycle and spending time with my kids.