Name: Steve Grabowski
Years with Westby: 11
Position: Processing Operations Lead
Hello; I'm Steve Grabowski, and I've been working here at the Westby Cooperative Creamery manufacturing facility for over ten years. My role now is Processing Operations Lead; which means I operate, control, and monitor some of the automated processing equipment used in the various stages of converting fluid milk into great tasting dairy food products.
We produce several types of dairy foods, including Cottage Cheeses, Sour Creams, Dairy Dips, Yogurts (including Greek-style yogurts), Cream Cheeses, Hard Cheeses, and more. Every product starts with fresh milk that is delivered daily to the Creamery from the local family dairy farms of our Patron Members. This fresh milk first goes through multiple stages of pasteurization; and then, depending on the daily product production schedule, is further processed into one of these products.
It's impressive when you enter the main Processing Area where I do most of my work. The stainless steel tanks, tubing, and piping sparkle in the brightly lit room. There's a humming-sound from the various processing and cleaning equipment, and the flickering of electronic controls and computer monitors. The air is warm and moist as the milk and other ingredients are 'cooked' according to various product recipes or formulas.
It's a throng of processing automation in a modern food manufacturing facility. It looks complex, and in many ways it is; all part of the science and technology that's used in our daily processing and production operations.
For as much technology and automation that's in place, there's also craftsmanship involved. It's the kind of craftsmanship that comes from training and experience to know that things are functioning properly; when the equipment is operating right; when the controls are performing as they should; or, when one of the computerized monitors indicates that something needs attention or modification. My job is hands-on, and head-on; with some routine physical tasks, and constant mental attention to what's going on, and what's next.
Foods manufacturing is highly regulated by federal, state, and local entities. That's why we have the latest processing and packaging equipment, technology, training, and record keeping systems in place. Inspections are common; so, we must always be diligent in our jobs and operate as a team from start to finish in producing quality, healthful, and safe foods.
Two words guide us all: Safety and Quality. Safety, first, of the workers, equipment and ingredients to produce safe foods. Quality in the milk and processes to manufacture these safe foods every day; and Quality of final products as the only acceptable outcome for our customers, and ourselves.
And, I'll add two more words: Satisfaction and Pride. There's a lot of personal satisfaction and pride in knowing that you're working as part of a team, day after day, to safely produce quality and healthful dairy food products that you, your family, your friends, and other humans will consume.
I get a real kick out of seeing Westby brand products in a grocery store, and in someone's shopping cart. I'll tell that person that I work at Westby Creamery, and they'll always say something like, "my favorite, great flavor, best tasting, consistently good."
How could you not be proud after hearing comments like that about the products you helped make?
Remember; when you Take home country goodness from Westby Cooperative Creamery, you take home country goodness from me - Steve Grabowski.
And for that, all of us here say THANKS!