CA: Hilmar Cheese Recognizes Employees, Announces New Strategic Plan

Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. honored its 35th year in business with a celebration of the past, a recognition of employee accomplishments, and the announcement of its Strategic Plan 2021 at the company’s first-ever “Academy Awards” event.

Grand Champion Teamwork award winners shown from left are Austin Plaa, Muthu Vijaakumar (accepting for Surya Vijaakumar), Sasha Acosta, Bridgette Smith, Gene Dulay, Jose Plancarte and John Coate. Team members not pictured Mike Hawkinson and Scott Swanson. -photo by Hilmar Cheese

The program kicked off with personal stories and a historical photo presentation of how 12 Central California dairy families took a tremendous risk by betting their farms on a new endeavor –Hilmar Cheese Company. The owners reflected on the sustained growth and success of the company, attributing it to the hard work and dedication of their employees.

 

 

And it was the employees who were the stars of the “Academy Awards” program, receiving awards in two categories:

  • The 15 winners of the employee-nominated Hilmar Way High Five Award demonstrated personal and professional commitment to the company’s cultural values of excellence, integrity, teamwork, improvement and relationships.
  • Ten cross-functional teams, with participants willing to embrace change and improvements, received the Teamwork Award.

Every project receiving the Teamwork Award added value to the company, and winning projects were selected on the value contribution of project, project completion and the long-term sustainability of the change. In total, more than 75 individuals were recognized and rewarded, including two different site efforts by the Dalhart manufacturing employees and a major Hilmar manufacturing project.

This set the stage for everyone to learn about Hilmar Cheese Company’s new Strategic Plan 2021. “This plan builds on our strong culture and purpose to improve lives while setting a bold vision for the future,” explained David Ahlem, CEO and President of Hilmar Cheese Company. “The plan identifies the strategies we will use during the next three years as we move to create sustainable growth that is repeatable, ethical and responsible to current and future communities.”

The Plan’s three strategies focus on people, operational excellence and delivering products and solutions that “WOW” customers. Ahlem prepared the group for the changes ahead, noting, “What was successful these last 35 years is not what will make us successful in the future. We must evolve and adapt to the changing environment. We will integrate new processes and technologies and what employees do may be different; we will stop doing activities that do not fit the strategy and we will take on new challenges.”

Founded in 1984, Hilmar Cheese Company and its division, Hilmar Ingredients, serve customers in more than 50 countries. State-of-the art production facilities in California and Texas convert high-quality milk received from local independent dairy farms into a variety of nutritious cheese, whey ingredients and milk powders. The company specializes in the production of cheddar and American-style cheeses utilized by private label and national brand companies worldwide. Its Hilmar Ingredients division manufactures and markets globally a wide range of whey protein, lactose products and milk powders. www.hilmarcheese.com

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