Thursday, December 13, 2018

Schwan's People You Need to Know

“Schwan’s People You Need to Know” is an ongoing series of stories about some of the people who help make Schwan's Company and its subsidiaries a great place to work.
Jennifer Holmberg is the senior manager of product development.

Getting to know Jennifer Holmberg, one of the people behind Schwan’s desserts

Dec. 13, 2018 — From pizza to pie, Senior Manager of Product Development Jennifer Holmberg has helped with several projects at Schwan’s Company throughout her 10-year career. She is the next team member featured in our “Schwan’s People You Need to Know” series, which explores the day-to-day operations and journeys of employees all across Schwan’s.

Jennifer started with Schwan’s in 2008 as a senior engineer in process engineering, primarily working on innovation and improvement projects at the Schwan’s Product Innovation & Development facility in Marshall, Minnesota. In 2015, she moved into a product development role
and eventually became the main point of contact for cross-functional business partners for all things dessert related including the Edwards® and Mrs. Smith’s® brands as well as Schwan’s® desserts.

Taking a moment away from her role, Jennifer shared some insight on her career journey with Schwan’s.

Q: How have you grown since working at Schwan’s?

A: I’ve been very fortunate to work with a wide variety of departments, including accounting, information services, maintenance, operations, sales, marketing, sourcing and even logistics. My background has always been engineering and product development focused. At Schwan’s, I’ve learned so much about how all these groups work together. Even though the day-to-day skills each group needs to function are different, I’ve grown an understanding that how we get things done within our respective functions and cross-functionally are very much the same.

To succeed, we all need to communicate, influence and understand our customers. Seeing that commonality among the groups has helped me figure out how to get through rocky patches on projects.

Q: What are you passionate about in your job?

A: From the moment I started at Schwan’s, I recognized a strong sense of teamwork within the organization and that really energized me. I have worked on some really great teams who have all pulled together to fight through the tough stuff and lifted one another up.

Q: What is a typical day like in your role?

A: Attending and influencing in meetings to help progress projects and initiatives, some marketplace research through reading or trying new products and gathering project portfolio information. I also work with the sales team to better service our customers.

Q: What does working as “one Schwan’s team” mean to you?

A: It means we are all looking out for one another. It can be really easy to say “that’s not my area,” or remain quiet when you see trouble coming in a different department. I have the philosophy that if it’s the right thing to do, then we all have a responsibility to speak up and help one another.

Q: What do you like best about the culture?

A: I am proud of the successes my team has had. We’ve had some very technically challenging and high-profile projects that required the best out of people and I’ve been able to witness that best come out in them.

Two things that come to mind include working on our clean-label initiatives removing high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and artificial colors from our Edwards® crème pies. The consumer testing results were fantastic and the ramp-up in the plant required all hands on deck. With everyone pulling together the end result was success!

Another was the success we experienced in the startup of a new pie line in Stilwell, Oklahoma. With some well thought out planning and a can-do attitude from all involved, we were successful in commissioning the new line on time and under budget.

Q: What is your favorite food product from Schwan’s?

A: It’s not possible for me to choose just one. My favorites are Edwards® Key Lime pie, Schwan’s® Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches, Schwan’s Cheesy Quik Taters® Potato Rounds and Mrs. Smith’s® Very Berry pie.

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