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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Conley recognized for helping team and customers

Depot Training Specialist Jon Conley was awarded the company's
top honor. He is pictured with his wife, DeAnna, along with
CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios, right, and Home Service President Joe Kirby, left.
May 23, 2018 — If you talk with people who work alongside Jon Conley, they will tell you there’s no better model for the Schwan’s corporate value of “helping one another.”

He has been known to shovel snow from a wheel-bound customer’s ramp, help other route service representatives complete their routes and even volunteer his Fridays off to help a neighboring depot.

“I became the area manager here two years ago, and I noticed right away that Jon was very self-motivated. You don’t have to tell him what to do. He just starts doing what needs to be done,” said Tom Christiansen, area manager at our Schwan’s Home Service depot in Fennimore, Wisconsin. “He has even come in early without being asked to help load and fuel trucks.”

Jon, who serves as a route service representative and depot training specialist in Fennimore, has worked for Schwan’s for five years. He was one of four Marvin Schwan Excellence Award recipients named in March.

During the ceremony, he was presented with the award by CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios and Home Service President Joe Kirby. Dimitrios gave a summary of Jon’s nomination, citing instances where Jon went above and beyond to serve customers, help teammates and cover shifts at other depots.

“Jon is a person who is extremely respected by his colleagues because of his selflessness, his commitment to service and his ability to help others achieve their best,” he said. “He has quickly become a leader at his depot.”

Bringing forth the effort

For Jon, being successful in Home Service — our company’s home-delivery business — boils down to being safe, caring about customers and putting in hard work.

“You have to put into your business what you want to get out of it,” he said. “If you put your time in, you will do well.”

Before joining Schwan’s, Jon worked on farms and in construction. He first joined the company as a material handler, where he excelled and eventually joined the sales side of the business. He then took on the added responsibility of being a depot training specialist, a position in which he helps train other route service reps.

Tom said he appreciates having someone like Jon on the team.

“He is an employee that you never worry about. He always makes the right decision, and he makes sure he does what he needs to do to be efficient and successful at his job,” he said.

In his nomination form, one example given to show how Jon helps others was when a coworker called into the depot and said there was not enough time to finish a route. Without being asked, Jon finished his route and then jumped in the truck with the new employee and helped complete route.

Tom said Jon also pushes individuals on the team to be better each day, bringing a heavy dose of enthusiasm to his job.

“He comes to work with a smile and gets his coworkers excited for the day,” Tom said. “He consistently mentors the newer RSRs by creating contests and challenges, and he communicates with the team throughout the day to learn about their progress. It was brought the team closer together and makes it easier to talk through issues and overcome obstacles.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Lenz recognized for leadership

Senior Project Manager Shannon Lenz (holding plaque)
received the company's top honor from CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios,
right, along with Home Service President Joe Kirby (not pictured)
and Chief Information Officer Kathy Persian, left.
Her husband, Mike, also was in attendance.
May 16, 2018 — Through the years, Shannon Lenz has built a reputation at Schwan’s Company for being a leader who knows how to get things done.

Her commitment to success was on full display recently when she successfully led a project to replace the hand-held devices used by route sales people in Schwan’s home-delivery business. Her effort on the project is one of the many reasons she was named a 2018 recipient of the Marvin Schwan Excellence Award.

“I’ve been told throughout my career that people look up to me, and that I need to continue to push the envelope. But you don’t realize how many people might be watching until something like this comes along,” Shannon said.

Shannon, a senior project manager who has worked for Schwan’s for more than 15 years, was one of four employees this spring to receive the company’s most prestigious honor. During the award ceremony, CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios spoke of Shannon’s tireless efforts to make sure the hand-held project created minimal disruption to day-to-day operations.

“(Shannon) lives by the company’s values in everything she does. While most of the examples given in her nomination refer to the hand-held project, I am told they are indicative of how she works every day and on every project,” he said.

Shannon was nominated for the recognition by multiple Schwan’s employees who stated that her success comes from the ability to take on new challenges with enthusiasm and dive in with 100 percent ownership.

“There were many points during the (hand-held) project where roadblocks were encountered or a decision had to be made from a list of undesirable options. Shannon led through it every time with enthusiasm and optimism, which spreads and gives others confidence,” peers stated in her nomination form.


In addition to the hand-held initiative, Shannon said she was especially proud of two additional projects during her career.

The first project, called “Ready, Set, Grow,” transitioned computer systems from mainframe computers to a web-based platform. This effort included the development of a minute-by-minute plan that took months to develop. The plan enabled shutting down and updating most of the company’s computer systems over the span of a weekend.

The second project was one that lightened Home Service delivery trucks by about 6,000 pounds while expanding the size of the freezer box. By working with different vendors, Shannon and her team developed the trucks in use today.

“Both of these projects allowed me to develop my leadership skills while helping improve the company,” Shannon said.

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