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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Brunner named STEP Ahead Award honoree


March 3, 2020 — This week, the Manufacturing Institute announced that Senior Director of Customer Logistics & Operations Kim Brunner will be honored as a recipient of the Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award. She is one of 130 women in the manufacturing industry to receive this honor for their demonstrated leadership and excellence in their careers. She will receive the award in a formal ceremony on April 30 in Washington, D.C.

“Manufacturing brings to life quality products enjoyed by consumers around the world. They are critical to our economy by employing and training millions of people,” Kim said in an interview with the Manufacturing Institute. “Manufacturing works with all functions of the organization. I personally enjoy the challenge of continuous improvement and waste reduction which is part of the everyday life in manufacturing.”

Celebrating its eighth year, the STEP Ahead Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative launched to promote the role of women in manufacturing through recognition and research. The stories of these women and the leadership they show will help inspire next generation female leaders in manufacturing and support current female talent within the industry.

In Kim’s nomination form, career highlights and contributions from her 13 years at Schwan’s Company included the following:


Kim plays a vital role as a global supply chain and manufacturing liaison to the club commercialization and sales team. She led crucial cost-savings projects to simplify raw materials and packaging on the company’s multi-serve pizza portfolio across retail and food-service businesses. This team was credited with saving the company more than $100 million.



Over the years, Kim has maintained several formal and informal mentoring relationships. With a passion for coaching and training others, she has helped many reach their goals within the organization. By formalizing a mentoring circle program specific to women, Kim has helped foster relationships throughout Schwan’s Company while strengthening learning and networking experiences. Kim is also an advocate and volunteer for the Network of Executive Women (NEW) Twin Cities regional committee, an organization with a mission to advance women, grow business and transform workplaces.



Kim deeply believes in the power of building community and providing continuous learning opportunities to employees. Her broad experiences, knowledge, relationships and skill set are a benefit to the organization, but her attitude is an accelerator to her experience. Through mentorship, education and the community, Kim is dedicated to giving back in all aspects of her life.


The Manufacturing Institute, the education and workforce partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, is dedicated to supporting the manufacturing workforce of today and growing the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow. It does so through a variety of programs designed to excite, educate and empower with a focus in four key areas: women, veterans, youth and skills training.

The Institute also serves as the leading authority on data and research for the industry through its Center for Manufacturing Research, closely examining issues of importance to manufacturers both to help understand them and illuminate what needs to be done to solve them.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Schwan’s Teaching Kitchen opens at University of Minnesota

Feb. 28, 2020 — The University of Minnesota recently debuted its new Schwan’s Teaching Kitchen located in the Athlete’s Village. The kitchen will serve as a place where student athletes can learn lifelong tips and tricks on how to prepare and cook nutritious meals. Schwan’s Teaching Kitchen was made possible with a donation from Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation as part of the foundation’s five-year commitment to various endeavors at the University.

“The Schwan’s Teaching Kitchen has allowed the Gopher Sports Nutrition Department to impact our student-athletes through hands-on education on how to prepare quick, nutritious, and budget-friendly meals.,” said Tommy Jensen, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, director of sports nutrition for Gopher Athletics. “The space has been a key focal point in our life skills approach to educating student-athletes and we look forward to expanding the capabilities of this space.”

Jensen added that the Schwan’s Teaching Kitchen has also become a focal point on recruiting visits, showing parents and prospects alike the importance of performance nutrition and developing life skills necessary for success beyond their time at the University. The space is used frequently by the Sports Nutrition Department as well as various teams for shared events.

The Schwan’s Teaching Kitchen is modeled after the Apollo Theater located at the Product Innovation & Development facility in Marshall, Minnesota. Its classroom-style setup will serve as an area where student athletes can attend special cooking demonstrations.

"Schwan's Corporate Giving Foundation is excited about this initiative at the University of Minnesota as it directly supports our philanthropic focus areas of youth and education," said Theresa Zaske, community relations manager. "It’s encouraging to know that our support will help student athletes gain nutritional and culinary skills that will carry-on with them beyond their time on court."

Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on efforts to end hunger, promote youth education and leadership development, and provide essential services that advance the health of the communities where Schwan’s Company employees live and work. The foundation is headquartered in Marshall, Minnesota.

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