Tuesday, January 30, 2018

'Schwan's People You Need to Know'

Jackson has enjoyed growing and winning as a team

"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

Jan. 30, 2018 — When Ryan Jackson graduated from college in 1994, he felt compelled to join Schwan’s Company. There was just something about the people, the products and the vision that appealed to him.

Now, looking back over the past 23 years, Ryan says he feels grateful to have made the journey and has enjoyed growing with the company over the years.

“Schwan’s has provided a number of opportunities, across multiple divisions for me to develop and grow my skills and experiences,” Ryan said. “It has been exciting to grow and win as a team.”

Ryan first joined Schwan’s in a sales position called “Strike Force” with Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., which develops and sells products to food operators such as school cafeterias, restaurants and convenience stores. He was quickly promoted into sales management for Food Service; and then in 2001, he transferred to the company’s Home Service division where he eventually led New Channels. Five years later, he joined the company’s Supply Chain division, where he focused on selling ice cream and beverage capabilities to national brands.

Today, Ryan is the senior director of ice cream sales for Schwan’s Strategic Partner Solutions, a business that focuses on making foods for private labels and other companies as a contract manufacturer.

Ryan recently talked with us about the business, the growth he’s experienced as a member of the Schwan’s team and ice cream.

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

A: Reflecting on my time here, I have been fortunate to work within multiple divisions of the company. With each opportunity, I have met new people and have built meaningful relationships. The diverse experiences also presented new challenges along the way, which have contributed to my professional development.

Q: What are you passionate about in your job?

A: Many of us have worked together for many years to build our organization, and I enjoy working together to execute something that is meaningful (to the company). It has been an amazing ride.

Q: What’s your typical day like?

A: I spend the majority of my day working with our customers. I would say 90 percent of my time is spent working with customers and our internal team to execute our business priorities. I also spend a lot of time working with our customers to build new, innovative ice cream products. As a result, we are always working on projects that are ahead of the industry.

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

A: My job is to know the ice cream industry inside and out, so it’s my job to eat a lot of ice cream.

Q: How have you grown?

A: Schwan’s has given me multiple sales, marketing, management and manufacturing opportunities across three business units. I’ve also led a contact center, started a new business (fundraising) and helped start another one with other Supply Chain leaders.

Q: What are you most proud of throughout your career at Schwan’s?

A: The specific team that I work on set an ambitious sales goal when it first began, and we achieved the goal last year. We have grown from $0 revenue in 2008 to become a significant contributor to the Schwan’s organization.

Q: Tell us something about your job that most people don’t know and might find interesting.

A: I’ve had the opportunity to work on an ice cream project with legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus. Mr. Nicklaus is interested in building brands that generate revenue for children’s charities. Both he and his wife, Barbara, are amazing people, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them.

Q: Schwan’s is a founding partner of the Minnesota Super Bowl 52 Host Committee this year, are you a football fan?

A: Yes, of course.

Q: Which team are you hoping makes it to the Big Game next year?

A: Minnesota Vikings.

Q: What is your favorite Schwan’s® food to serve at a Big Game viewing party?

A: Schwan’s Oven Roasted BBQ Chicken Wings (#414).

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

A: Freschetta® pepperoni pizza. We have it every Sunday afternoon in our house.

Q: Do you have any recipes you are a master of that you would like to share?

A: It’s not really a recipe, but we love to marinade Schwan’s Chicken Breasts (#407) in a teriyaki sauce and grill it. Also, there are some great recipes with Jack Nicklaus Ice Cream. I didn’t come up with them, but you can find them at www.jacknicklausicecream.com/recipes.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you.

A: I love to run. I’ve run a few marathons, and I run frequently with my dog, Kona.

Q: As a part of our culture at Schwan’s, we talk a lot about working as “one Schwan’s team.” What does that mean to you?

A: That we work together to achieve a common goal. Everyone is accountable and has a specific responsibility, and we work across the business to achieve our goals.

Q: What do you like about our culture?

A: Our people! We’ve built great teams over the years that are focused on a common set of goals. This is the most exciting time in my 23-year tenure at Schwan’s!

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