Thursday, August 1, 2019

Two employees receive Marvin Schwan Excellence Award



Gary Apon and Melissa Vit were recently recognized with
the company's top honor, the Marvin Schwan Excellence Award.

Apon, Vit recognized with top honor


Aug. 1, 2019 — In a surprise ceremony this week, two employees from our team in Schwan’s Consumer Brands were named recipients of the Marvin Schwan Excellence Award. The award, which is the most prestigious honor our company bestows, is given to those who demonstrate the company's values and exemplify the culture we aspire to everyday.

The two people recognized include:
  • Gary Apon, a Schwan’s Consumer Brands employee out of Harrison, Arkansas.
  • Melissa Vit, a Schwan’s Consumer Brands employee out of Bloomington, Minnesota.
Honorees received the swan-shaped Marvin Schwan Excellence Award, a plaque and a monetary award.

During the event, CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios thanked the award recipients, and said the efforts and careers of the two Excellence Award recipients should be held as examples of the company's Culture.

"There will be five Excellence Awards handed out this year, and we are recognizing two of those people today,” Dimitrios said during the ceremony. “I couldn’t be prouder to be here with you to celebrate their achievements, their ability to execute and deliver results, and the personal impact they have had on their teammates and our company.”

Vit honored for delivering strong results

Melissa Vit, the first to receive the award this year, has worked for the company for more than six years. She currently serves as a human resources director for Schwan’s Consumer Brands.

Melissa was nominated for the award when she was leading the corporate recruiting team. During that time, she strived to grow in her career by taking on additional responsibilities with Consumer Brands’ human resources team.

While doing both roles, she and her team continued to deliver great results. Melissa’s leadership, along with the help of many others, led to Schwan’s being named “Recruiting Partner of the Year” by the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and the company received the “Emerging Employer Award” from Iowa State University. Both awards have helped the company build momentum in attracting the best talent and create credibility for Schwan’s as an employer of choice.

“Whatever (this person) does, she gives 110 percent and wants to be the best,” her colleagues wrote in her nomination form. “She isn’t afraid to have tough conversations and takes the approach of ‘care personally, challenge directly.’ This makes her an effective leader and HR business partner.”

Dimitrios and Consumer Brands President Julie Francis presented Melissa with the award. Julie gave a summary of Melissa’s nomination, citing instances where she went above and beyond to help the company meet its goals.

“The first person I am going to call up here today is an individual who is extremely respected by their colleagues because of the passion they bring to their work, their ability to lead others, and because, time and time again, they deliver excellent results,” Julie said. “In fact, when I read this person’s nomination form, I came to realize just how much this person is held in high regard with their colleagues.”

Apon recognized for flawless execution

Gary Apon has worked for Schwan’s for nearly 16 years and currently serves as a Consumer Brands area sales and distribution manager out of Harrison, Arkansas.

Coworkers nominating Gary recognized him for his hard work through the years, and for always being willing to give his time to meet the needs of his peers, his zone and his company.

“Gary routinely communicates with the customer sales team and has positively affected our business several times,” one colleague wrote in Gary’s nomination form. “This person single-handedly saved a major customer’s event in the Wichita market. They were tracking to miss their target, but Gary reached out to supply and field teams, and the Wichita team exceeded plan. That would not have happened without (this person’s) help.”

Dimitrios and Julie presented Gary with the award. During the ceremony, Julie spoke of Gary’s tireless efforts to assist teams through tough times.

“Gary stepped up and volunteered to assist in North Carolina after Hurricane Florence,” Julie said, reading from Gary’s nomination form. “He worked long days and was fully engaged with the team to accomplish whatever was needed in the market and helped the team work through obstacles on a daily basis.”

One of Gary’s peers also said that he is always willing to lend his time to help teammates get better.

“When I was a new manager with Schwan’s, Gary took time out of his busy schedule to assist, train and encourage me to grow and develop my knowledge of this industry,” one person said in the nomination form. “I consider him an excellent mentor and leader, and I continue to learn from him. He is always willing to pitch in and doesn’t hesitate to help when needed. He also volunteers to help train other new managers who join the Intermountain Zone.”


The Marvin Schwan Excellence Award was established in 1994 to recognize employees who best demonstrate our values of “Growth, Hard Work, Helping One Another, Enthusiasm and Integrity” and exemplify the culture we aspire to each and every day.

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