Employee Profile: RM, Director of Facilities, FSI
Title: Director of Facilities, Food Safety & Integrity
Hire Date: 12/18/00
How would you describe what you do to someone who knows nothing about Clif Bar or your role?
Making safe food doesn’t just happen. It is intentional. I have the privilege of leading a team that inspects our ingredient supplier and bakery facilities. While you might be picturing a person holding a clipboard and checklist, that couldn’t be further from what we do. Our goal is to help the facilities we work with be the best they can be.
During our visits, the time is spent walking through the process from start to finish with the people who operate the facility. We observe and ask a lot of questions. A ton of questions. We are like that two year old who is always asking why. The whole point is to anticipate where a problem might occur so we can take steps to prevent the problem in the first place.
And in the instance when a problem does occur, we embrace it as a learning opportunity. We become detectives to understand why the problem happened, we fix it, and we take action to prevent it from happening again. It is how we continue to improve.
What do you love most about working at Clif Bar?
I liken Clif Bar to summer camp. On the surface, there is a casual vibe with plenty of activities whether it be breakfast before weekly company meetings, crowding together to watch the World Cup in a conference room, or monthly birthday celebrations. At the same time, the people that make up Clif Bar are passionate, hard-working, and incredibly dedicated to our contribution to the company’s success. There is purpose to the work we do. We are engaged in finding a better way for how companies do business.
What are your interests and passions outside of work?
My wife and I are lucky to have 2 kids, ages 8 and 5, who keep us hopping. To see them wake up ready to explore, learn, and grow each day is inspiring to watch.
Another passion of mine is brewing beer. I earned a degree in Fermentation Science (read brewing and winemaking) and a Master Brewers Certificate. While I’ve been brewing beer for many years, I took a break for a while when the kids were younger, but now I’m back at it. My recent go was a Belgian Wit. It’s the part science, part art aspect that draws me.
What is one of your most memorable food experiences?
Watching the sunrise on Haleakala in Maui gets rave reviews from a lot of people. My family decided to give it a shot, waking up at 3am to start the 2-hour drive. Long before we hit the winding climb to the summit, my daughter who is prone to getting carsick, couldn’t hold back anymore. We pulled over, cleaned up, and made the foolish decision to keep going on the remaining 90 minutes to the summit. We did finally make it after 6 pullovers. My son contributed. Unfortunately, the summit was clouded in, cold, and rain was falling. We saw no sunrise that morning. We then started our return, ending up at the Kula Lodge for breakfast. A fire burning in the fireplace warmed us up, and we enjoyed a view of the valley over omelets and pancakes. We were finally able to laugh at ourselves. The contrast of experiences led to a memorable food moment that morning.
What has been or will be your greatest adventure?
You can’t talk about Clif Bar without mentioning the sabbatical. I’ve been fortunate to take two. My most recent sabbatical was spent in Australia with my wife and kids feeding kangaroos, petting koalas, eating food, exploring playgrounds, drinking hot chocolates and cappuccinos at different cafes, and most of all snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. We based out of Brisbane where we rented an apartment during our 4-week stay. Now that is living.