As Kruger Packing’s new plant continues to grow in Elizabethtown, women are key to its success.
Women in leadership positions at the factory work together to encourage and support each other and everyone they work with.
“To say we have a great group of women on our team would be an understatement,” said John Hardin, Kruger Packing’s Elizabethtown plant manager. “They are some of the most determined and hardworking people I have ever worked with.”
Hardin said the company is lucky to have everyone on the team.
One of these women, Lacie McGuffey, works as a customer service representative.
She said she works to collaborate and build relationships across different backgrounds and industries, allowing her to grow every day with the people around her.
“Being in customer service, I’m not just the voice of Kruger Packaging, but the voice of customers,” she said. “Creating a mutually beneficial partnership is the ultimate goal.”
McGuffey said everyone’s perspective, male or female, is unique. Her goal is to help create an environment where everyone can share their ideas to not only succeed, but to exceed expectations.
As women in business, she says they help each other achieve their personal and professional goals.
“We make it a point to always celebrate together not only the major milestones, but also the most minor ones,” she said. “Women’s roles in the industry are only growing, and we’ll be there to help develop the talent in every individual.”
Carissa Vowels, food safety and quality manager, said she could use her knowledge of quality to help the team become an even better business. The food safety part of her job challenges her to learn something new and help the company achieve the necessary food safety certification.
“I think being a woman in the industry is going to give the company a new perspective – a female perspective – and can allow them to do things a little differently than they’ve done in the past. “, she said.
Vowels said she enjoys sharing her knowledge with anyone if it can help and mentor other women so they can be successful. One way she does this is to share her experiences, good and bad, with other women so they can learn from her successes and mistakes. “I love empowering the other women I work with and encouraging them to be the best they can be and to be confident in their abilities,” she said. “I think as a woman in any industry, it’s very important that we support each other, strengthen each other as much as possible, and complement each other in a job well done.”
Teresa Spevak works as a plant controller at Kruger.
Because of the opportunities she has had in her career, she strives to leverage her experience to help influence a positive culture in the factory. “I want my ripple effect to be positive and touch all facets of our Kruger team,” she said.
Spevak knows that a small number of women have traditionally worked in manufacturing or factory settings.
“These ladies paved the way for women in today’s market to pursue various types of career opportunities in the industry,” she said. “Encouragement, communication and collaboration are some of the tools we use every day to help each other.” She encourages women not to be afraid to put on safety gear and try industrial careers. Spevak said it’s a way to bring unique perspectives and skills to share with colleagues in the workplace.
Shelby Peters, office coordinator, said being able to help create a new factory is a rewarding aspect of what she does. She also enjoys working with positive and compatible people. “Developing relationships with every person who walks through our door is important to me,” she said. “I am the first face you see and appreciate my ability to create a first impression that represents the Kruger Packaging difference.”
Peters said that in manufacturing, it’s common for women to be underpaid and undervalued, but at Kruger, she knows her voice will be heard and her efforts will be valued. Women, she said, bring a new perspective to manufacturing. “We are always ready to help each other when needed and make sure our ideas are heard,” she said of the women she works with. “We celebrate our accomplishments and have open communication that allows us to discuss ideas and give encouragement.”
Kruger Packaging Elizabethtown general manager John Keith said these women, along with human resources consultant Chloe Anderson and conversion supervisor Beth Grantz, are the best part of the team. “Most companies only dream of hiring employees like we have in Elizabethtown and these women are the best of the best local talent,” he said.
Keith said they had achieved a “huge success”.