Position Title: Product Specialist | Technical Applications Group (TAG)
What skills have you gained in your current position?
Sometimes we travel as a group and sometimes you are the sole TAG representative in the factory for a test run. Running a trial alone requires decision making, leadership, organization, and product knowledge. My food science knowledge has expanded to be more in-depth in baking and protein sources. I have also learned a lot about working in teams outside of Research & Development (R&D), which means that usually everyone has different priorities but the same end goal.
What has been the most interesting project you've worked on?
Unfortunately, my favorite project has not launched yet, so it's still confidential! But my second favorite project was working on Beneful Baked Delights Heartfuls – it's an apple and bacon heart-shaped biscuit with an apple-jelly filling on top. This project required a lot of new equipment and ingredients at a new facility. We really broke through the standard pet treat expectation and took treats to a new level. It was fun to be a part of something so unique.
What was your area of study in school? If it's different from your current role, what kind of career path did you take to get where you are today?
I majored in Food Chemistry at Michigan State University. I started in a wet canning factory as a Quality Assurance Trainee and was promoted to Quality Assurance (QA) Assistant. After two years, I moved to a dry pet food factory as a QA Assistant and was promoted to QA Assistant Manager. After one year, I moved into the Technical Applications Group at the St. Louis Headquarters as a Product Specialist and have been in this role for two years. I knew I was always interested to work in TAG, so I made sure I was the trial point person within the factory to gain exposure to this group.