Tuesday, February 27, 2018

'Schwan's People You Need To Know'

Burckhardt brings focus to packaging development

"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

Feb. 27, 2018 — For Schwan’s Senior Packaging Process Engineer Lena Burckhardt, packaging plays an important part in how consumers experience our foods. She makes it her goal every day to ensure packaging protects the items it carries, catches the eye of consumers and makes life as convenient as possible.

“The package is the first thing the customer sees of our products, and I want every one of them to be perfect,” she said.

Lena joined Schwan’s nearly five years ago as its first in-house packaging process engineer. Since then, the company has added a small team of packaging process engineers, focused on delivering excellence for the benefit of the company’s customers.

Lena recently talked with us about the business, the growth she has experienced as a member of the Schwan’s team and her passion for packaging.

Q: Tell us about your career journey here at Schwan’s.

A: I have held the same role at Schwan’s the entire time I have been here. But when I started, I was the first packaging process engineer. They saw a need and created a position. Since I came on board, they have now created a whole team of packaging process engineers, so it’s exciting to see the role expand.

Q: How have you grown since joining the team?

A: I have learned so much about my role throughout the years and that knowledge has given me confidence to speak up and question things that I see as potential issues.

Q: What’s your typical day like?

A: A typical day for me usually involves some project conference calls. And then, I might be writing equipment testing plans, documenting tests that I have recently done, contacting equipment vendors for information or working on packaging-related specifications for future equipment purchases.

Q: What are you passionate about in your job?

A: I’m passionate about sharing knowledge and documenting successes and failures. I feel like there is a lot of information out there, but it’s not always in the correct hands. So I work hard to document and store information that I collect on projects or equipment so that others can use it.

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

A: I think I have brought attention to the packaging side of the operations process that was not a focus before.

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

A: Yes.

Q: Which team do you hope makes it to the Big Game next year?

A: Vikings, of course!

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

A: My children and I love the Mini Corn Dogs.

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

A: I like the classic Vanilla Sundae Cone. It always hits the spot.

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

A: I enjoy all of the skillet meals. I usually make them and add a little something extra to them to make them my own. Delicious every time!

Q: We often talk about working as “one Schwan’s team.” What does that mean to you?

A: To me working as one Schwan’s team means that we collect all the information and make the decision that is best for everyone and not just for one entity.

Q: How would you describe the culture at Schwan’s?

A: I think it has evolved in the few years I have been here. I think that just having culture as one of our business priorities tells employees that this is really important to Schwan’s. I think we have an environment where people can openly share their opinions, and if not everyone agrees, that is OK.

Q: What do you like about our culture?

A: I personally enjoy the culture at the Schwan’s Product Innovation & Development building. It is full of people who will always say good morning, ask how your weekend was, or share what they’ve learned about projects you are working on. That makes work a place that I want to come every day.

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