By Eric Gneckow, Jeff Quackenbush and Dan Verel, Business Journal Staff Reporters
Facilities and Maintenance Manager, La Tortilla Factory, 3300 Westwind Blvd., Santa Rosa; 707-586-4000; www.latortillafactory.com
Residence: Santa Rosa
Professional background: 32 years of technical and management experience
Education: Journeyman carpenter, commercial and residential projects, many certifications in safety, facilities management and HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points)
Staff size: 12
Describe the facilities you oversee: 75,000-square-foot concrete tiltup building with 29,000 square feet of warehouse, 15,000 square feet of office and cafeteria space and 31,000 square feet of manufacturing area. We run seven high-speed manufacturing lines 24 hours a day, five days a week. Supporting equipment includes silos, high-end air-compressor units, water chillers, etc.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I have been in manufacturing since 1980 and in the facilities and equipment maintenance field since 1983. Before 1980, I was a journeyman carpenter and built many residential and commercial structures throughout the Central Valley. I have been a facilities and maintenance manager for the last 22 years with four different companies.
I spent 24 years in the high tech industry and moved to food manufacturing in 2006, when I joined La Tortilla Factory.
My favorite pass time when not at work is to take long motorcycle rides in the country with my wife. I have two grown sons, two grown step-daughters and two adorable grand-kids. I’ve had an interest in machines and systems since my childhood, so it was a natural move for me to go into this field.
What do you see as the role of the facilities managers within your organizaton?: The facilities manager’s main function is to lead and support the facilities and maintenance crews to insure the equipment and building systems are maintained, assuring reliability and efficiency. Also the role supports growth, both for each team member and the company as a whole.
A facilities manager can wear many hats and be involved in many areas where his expertise and skills can help in improving systems, creating new systems, facilitating expansion and growth, etc.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?: My biggest achievement to date would have to be the planning and building out of a manufacturing facility within an eight-month timeframe, moving the entire factory into that facility and starting back up within four days.
My second most proud achievement would have to be the installation of two new mega lines here at La Tortilla Factory. The second mega line was moved into the building and was running quality product within four days. The whole project took just two and a half months, start to finish. That was a major achievement accomplished by my team and me with the startup help from the manufacturer.
What is your biggest challenge today?: Controlling costs. With costs on the rise in every aspect of our business, we have to stay focused and spend the time to shop around for best pricing on quality parts and supplies. Being a bakery, we use an enormous amount of utilities, and we are always looking for ways to reduce that usage and reduce our costs in that area. This plays a large part in our selection process for new equipment and systems. We look for the most energy-efficient products possible that will fill our needs at the same time.
What the next major project either under way or on the horizon?: Growth. Our products are very popular and over the last few years our company’s growth has been phenomenal. I’m really not sure what the next big project will be, but it will be tied to company growth.
What product or service would help or is helping you do your job more effectively?: I have a select group of service organizations that I use regularly to help maintain certain parts of our processes as well as help install new systems and equipment. I know I can depend on these companies to come through and accomplish the tasks at hand in a timely and professional manner with quality results. We also utilize a quality CMMS (computerized maintenance management system) program, which helps us to track and evaluate every aspect of our departments’ responsibilities such as costs, downtime, spare parts and supplies inventory, equipment history and ongoing day-to-day activities that effect the efficiency and reliability of the equipment and facilities.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: In my field, food safety is always a big concern. With new regulations and requirements always coming down the pipe, we’ll have to really stay focused and on top of the changes to stay compliant and food-safe. Also, equipment and facilities technology is always evolving, so that also requires a degree of ongoing learning, change and focus.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: My former mentor and manager from previous employment, Jon Martens, CFM, CFMJ, principal in JEMCOR, LLC. I learned a lot and grew a lot as a facilities manager during Jon’s mentoring, and much of what I do today as a facilities manager is the direct result of that experience.
Current reading: Nothing in particular at this moment. I read a lot about lean manufacturing, predictive and preventive maintenance systems and techniques as well as many publications that are specific to the baking and food manufacturing industry.
Most want to meet: I’ve met her and married her — my wife. She is always encouraging and supportive in everything I do.
Stress relievers: Nothing relieves stress for me like a ride through the country side on my Harley with my wife. We also enjoy traveling and adventure and plan at least two trips per year to someplace we’ve never been.
Favorite hobbies: Riding my Harley and working in my yards, where we are always changing something.
Words that best describe you: Devoted, detail-oriented, hard-headed (sometimes), easy-going, loyal.
What would you like to add?: I firmly believe in the old saying that you are only as good as your people. Not only do I have an outstanding crew reporting to me, I also have outstanding co-workers and work for some great people. In other words, I work with great people and for a great company.
Copyright © 1988–2013 North Bay Business Journal
View the policy for linking to website content.