Monday, October 30, 2017

'Schwan's People You Need to Know'

Freese makes the equipment that makes our pie tins

"Schwan's People You Need to Know" is an ongoing series of stories that share some of our employees' experiences as we celebrate our 65th anniversary and participate as a founding partner of the Minnesota Super Bowl 52 Host Committee
Tom Freese
Oct. 30, 2017 — Ask Tom Freese how long he has worked at the Schwan’s Company facility in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and he’ll simply smile and say “a long time.”

But earlier this year, it was brought to his attention that he had worked at the facility for 47 years, and no active employee has worked for the company longer.

“I guess that’s a heck of a long time,” he said.

Tom currently works as a machinist at the company’s manufacturing facility in Pottstown, where Schwan’s makes packaging such as foil pie containers. The facility was purchased by Schwan’s in 2003, when it acquired Mrs. Smith’s® desserts.

Tom recently sat down with us to talk about his career, his favorite football team and pie pans.

Q: What are you passionate about in your job?

A: I want what I work on to look good, not just function well.

Q: Tell us why you think your job is one of the most interesting or important jobs in the company.

A: If you don’t have a die, you don’t have a pan. Also, some of the machines I run can actually replicate themselves.

Q: What’s your typical day like?

A: I usually start working on a project, make time to repair or troubleshoot the dies (the stamps that form pie pans) running in production, make time to advise and instruct younger workers, make time to plan and evaluate existing and new jobs with the shop foreman, and then return to a project.

Q: What’s your favorite memory in all the years you’ve worked in Pottstown?

A: An open house was held by the company. Some family and friends saw pie pans being stamped out. When they visited the tool room, a couple of dies were laid out for display. My friends could not comprehend how the dies made the finished pan. I have to admit, I was proud of my skills and thankful to the toolmakers that trained me.

Q: Tell us about your career journey here at the facility in Pottstown.

A: I started on third shift two weeks out of high school. I was trained by a toolmaker in maintenance and machining of blank and form dies. The dies were for tin-foil containers (pie pans) and steel shields for TVs. I then left to do my required military time, which I served aboard the USS Coronado LPD-11. I returned to the Foil Company after my tour. I continued working alongside a toolmaker. I took a few night courses in CNC machining. So I guess the time spent training and schooling prepared me to be here today, designing, building and maintaining our stamping and thermoforming operations. I also train new people to continue this moving forward.

Q: Schwan’s is a founding partner of the Minnesota Super Bowl 52 Host Committee this year and the football season has begun. Are you a fan?

A: Only when my team is doing well.

Q: Which team are you hoping will make it to the Big Game this year?

A: Philadelphia Eagles.

Q: What’s your favorite Schwan’s product to serve at your Big Game viewing party?

A: Red Baron® pizza goes well.

Q: What’s your favorite Schwan’s product?

A: That’s a tossup. I like Mrs. Smith’s pumpkin pie, but Edwards® Hershey's™ Chocolate Crème Pie is very good.

Q: How have you grown at Schwan’s?

A: Well, instead of just getting the job done, I enjoy what I do. I want the customer to like our product. So how have I grown? I think I just grew up.

Popular Posts