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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Schwan’s Heroes: Our people making a difference


Marc Balfour, left, and Bill Pedersen helped individuals while on the job.
Feb. 20, 2019 — By definition, a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.

Here at Schwan’s, we have our own heroes, and we have captured their stories in company newsletters for years.

On any given day our team members are faced with opportunities to help individuals in many types of situations, whether it’s a property fire, medical emergency, motor-vehicle accident or helping during a natural disaster.

To celebrate our heroes and their achievements, we’d like to share a few stories the past few months:

Balfour helps save man from drowning

Marc Balfour, a route sales representative out of Harvey, North Dakota, recently helped save a man from drowning after a traffic accident.

While off duty, Marc was on his way to his father’s funeral when he saw a pick-up lose control, veer off the road and crash into the Sheyenne River. He then ran to the bank and saw a person floating in the water, so he called 911, kicked off his boots and swam out to help the individual.

Marc grabbed the man and helped him to the bank, but was unable to pull the unconscious person out of the water. Instead, he held the person’s head above water until emergency crews arrived on the scene. Emergency personnel then revived the individual.

The individual that Marc helped is related to a Minot customer and former Schwan’s employee. That person called in to let everyone know that they felt Marc’s deeds were heroic.

Pedersen assists in traffic accident

A customer wrote us to commend Route Sales Representative Bill Pedersen for his assistance during a traffic accident.

The person said that following a traffic accident along a very busy highway in Gainesville, Florida, Bill stopped to learn if everyone was OK.

“The traffic was very busy and one of the vehicles was in the lane of traffic. Bill then proceeded to his truck and took out his safety triangles to advise people to move over,” the person wrote. “He stayed with us until the tow truck removed the car. He is to be commended for his help!”

Pedersen works from the depot in High Springs, Florida.

At Schwan’s, we strive to live by our corporate values, which include “integrity” and “helping one another.” Thanks goes out to all of our “Schwan’s heroes” for living by these values and caring enough to make a huge difference in people’s lives.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Schwan's People You Need to Know

“Schwan’s People You Need to Know” is an ongoing series of stories about some of the people who help make Schwan's Company and its subsidiaries a great place to work.
Area Distribution Manager Mark Burt has been a part of the
Schwan's team for nearly 28 years.

Company values help Burt at work and in his personal life


Feb. 14, 2019 — Area Distribution Manager Mark Burt has been with Schwan’s Company for nearly 28 years. During this time, he has always kept the company’s core values in mind as he developed new skills and helped others develop in their careers.

“Schwan’s has helped me grow in many different areas of my personal life and in my career with Schwan’s. I have grown to be a better employee, husband, father and grandfather by working to live by the values that Marvin Schwan (the company’s founder) set in place for this organization years ago,” Mark said. “The values include … hard work, integrity, helping one another, growth and enthusiasm. I feel in work or your personal life, you can be successful if you live with these types of values.”

Mark, who works for a Schwan’s subsidiary that sells foods to grocery and club stores, is our next team member featured in the “Schwan’s People You Need to Know” series, which explores the day-to-day operations and journeys of employees all across Schwan’s.

Mark recently took some time to answer questions about his journey at Schwan’s. Here is what he had to say:

Q: Tell us something that most people at Schwan’s do not know about you.

A: I love to be around and work with horses and livestock in general. We have a few cows and a couple racehorses. My wife and I volunteer and work with youth who are in Future Farmers of America.

Q: What are you passionate about in your job?

A: There are several things that I am passionate about, but the No. 1 thing is safety for my team. As a manager of employees, the worst fear I have when I get a phone call from an employee, is that they are calling me to tell me that they have injured themselves or have had a vehicle accident. As a manager, you want to create a great safety and work culture that people like to be a part of. We all have to make a living and work so why not make it as safe, enjoyable and fun as we can.

We all have our bad days, and the goal is to have more good days than bad days. I want to see every employee go home the same way they came to work. I see how hard my team woks each and every day. I try and stay grounded and put myself in their shoes so I don’t lose touch of what they do day in and day out. It does not matter what position you hold within the company, we all have different responsibilities so we have to work together and do our part so we can be safe and be successful in our work life and professional life.

Q: What is a typical day like in your role?

A: Every day is different. It can range from doing a ride day with employees that starts at 2 or 3 a.m., or it can start at 6, 7 or 8 a.m. It just depends on what the day throws at you. You have to be flexible and go with the flow. You have to be good at multitasking to accomplish your daily activities, but also take care of the unplanned things that come up. Every day is different. Some of the various tasks at any given time include conference calls, truck inspections, meetings with third-party partners, customer meetings with the account teams, store visits, safety meetings with other managers and meetings with my own team.

Q: What are you most proud of in your career with Schwan’s?

A: The thing I am most proud of is being the recipient of the Marvin Schwan Excellence Award. It was a great honor to receive this award, but for me the award goes back to all the people that stepped up and helped me along the way. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with.

Q: What do our company vision and values mean to you?

A: They mean everything. As Marvin said, “My vision for our future is a strong, solid, well-managed, fast-growing, exciting, innovative company with high business ethics and an excellent reputation – a company that offers great opportunities, a place where people like to work.”

The values of growth, hard work, helping one another, enthusiasm and integrity are great values for any company but also in my personal life. We have to be honest with our employees and as transparent as possible. If we say we are going to do something, we need to follow through and do it. We have to be good listeners. We have to help each other. I have had quite a few mentors over the years that have helped me learn and grow. In return, I try and do the same for newer team members.

Q: How would you describe the culture at Schwan’s?

A: Schwan’s has a great people culture. It is a culture where you feel empowered and have a seat at the table. We have great people that live and lead by the values that Marvin put into place.

Q: What do you like best about Schwan’s culture?

A: Our culture gives people the opportunity to grow and develop into great leaders.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in our company’s growth?

A: Growth, opportunity and profitability. Our world is changing every day along with the way we go to market. We have to continue to change to be successful. I feel very confident and excited for our senior leadership to guide us into the future. It will take every employee doing their best.

Q: What would you tell someone considering a career with Schwan’s Company?

A: I would tell them to get their running shoes on! We are a fast-paced company with a lot of opportunity, but you have to be willing to work hard, be open-minded and learn from others. It is a great people culture and we have great values to help guide and develop each individual. It is a fun and exciting place to work.

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