A year or so ago, I was sitting comfortably in a classroom proctoring an exam. Freshly tenured, a few books and articles written, and now an associate professor in the humanities, I should have been feeling pretty content. My former Ph.D. student self would have thought so…yet, my mind was wandering. As students filled out their exams on film history, I couldn’t help but ponder what necessary standards potentially were used for the bottled iced coffee with milk beverage that I was drinking that evening. How was the milk procured? What did their facility look like where they brought these ingredients all together? Did they monitor temperature during transport? Was it properly handled when it was shelved at the convenience store? How had pH levels been monitored throughout the process?
Yes, this would just seem like neurosis to many; however, there was something more going on…The past five years I had been doing research and writing for Nelson-Jameson on the side, in the hopes of filling in some economic gaps left by my then current position. Over the course of those several years, my research heavily focused on food safety and quality control/assurance. Far from neurosis, the clouds parted that night when I realized I was staring into the face of a passion that had developed (no, not an appreciation of iced coffee), the want to help provide a safe, quality food supply.
I suppose slowly, the research methodologies and patterns of critical thought/engagement I was so comfortable with in my work at the university, seeped into pursuing this topic. Yet, I had never seen this path coming. So when I had the opportunity afforded to me to continue on this trail as a manager of the Laboratory Products area, I jumped on it.
Several things helped in making this decision that would bring so much change to me and my family. Quality mentoring by folks here at NJ over the years (including Fritz Buss, the person that built the lab area so effectively and successfully) made me comfortable and a welcome part of the business. It also certainly helped that I grown to appreciate and believe in the ownership, leadership, and project that is Nelson-Jameson. Being part of a family-owned company that truly prides itself on effectively supplying the food industry with all of the tools it needs to make a safe, quality product means a lot me. This especially became the case as those years in the trenches at Nelson-Jameson made me realize the vast complexity of our food supply and the talent it takes to get products from the farm to the table. Nelson-Jameson is here to make that process as easy and convenient as possible for so many stakeholders that are making the food products your loved ones and my loved ones consume on a daily basis.
So, a year later here I sit typing away. What, you may say, is the point of all of this long-winded autobiographical information? Well, let me just say I am here because I care, and because this is a company that cares about its mission, and its family of employees. Most importantly they care about their customers and the important work the food industry does on a daily basis. Next time you call in an order or add something to your basket on our website, know you are in some good, invested hands and we sure appreciate the opportunity to help you negotiate your own path too.
Just wanted to congratulate you on your new position! I think you are a great choice for this position with Fritz retiring. With your inquisitive mind and eye for detail I’m sure you’ll continue the tradition of keeping us safe from all unwanted germs and bugs and what is changing and moving the industry.
Bev – Thank you for your kind words – we will be sure to pass them along to Mat!