This is part of an ongoing series called Industry Insights, where people in the industry share their stories. Today’s is Michelle Wellman.
“Hi! My name is Michelle Wellman and I graduated from Purdue in May 2015 with a BS in Biological and Food Process Engineering. While in school, I always knew I wanted to work in the food industry specifically in production. Out of college, I got a job working for Land O’ Frost as the Food Safety Manager. I’m responsible for our regulatory programs (HACCP, GMP’s, SSOP’s, etc.), Pest Control Program, Foreign Material, and Microbiological Program. I also work closely with the USDA inspectors in our plant in case they have any issues with something we’re doing in our process.
Throughout my career so far, I have learned so much and grown more as a person. I wanted to share a few things with you that I’ve learned both in the Industry and in life!
1. Explore new hobbies or reignite old ones: In high school and college I was constantly going. I joined many different clubs, was involved in sports, and still tried to spend time with friends and family. After graduating college and working for a smaller company, I felt limited with extracurricular opportunities. There didn’t seem to be a lot of “extra” ways to get involved with “clubs” at work; Purdue had provided many different clubs and sports teams that you could join/ participate in and it didn’t seem like my company did. Luckily, this lady I worked with had a volleyball team she was trying to recruit players for, and she asked me if I wanted to join. In high school I loved playing volleyball, but in college I didn’t have the time to play. I love having the time to get back to playing, and it was great finding someone who had the same interest I do! Don’t be afraid to try new things or reconnect with past hobbies.
2. Organization: In college, I was very organized. I color coded every subject, had matching folders and spiral notebooks, matching pens that I would write with in my planner for corresponding homework assignments… I had a system that worked for me and kept me on task. In industry, it was completely different. I struggled trying to organize all my work and I would find myself making many different “To-Do” lists in various places. It wasn’t as easy to correlate a work assignment with a color. It took me a while, but I was able to classify my job into different categories, and color code each category. I recommend finding a way early on to keep track of your assignments, what you’re working on and due dates. Things can pick up very quickly, and if you know a system that works best for you it makes your job 10 times easier!
3. Travel! After graduation, I moved somewhere where I knew no one. I had no friends or family within a 1.5 hour radius, and I’m not one who is very outgoing and meets people easily. I was sad that all my friends were in different places around the US (and other countries), but I took that as an opportunity to travel! I was able to go to Honduras, New York, New Jersey, California, and Evansville within my first year of work. I love traveling, and even though my friends weren’t close, it gave me new destinations to travel to. Taking vacation time to go on a trip (even if it’s a weekend getaway) is important so you don’t burn yourself out. Although my close friends aren’t close geographically, I know if I need a quick place to travel to they are always there for me!
I hope these tips help or at least give you something to think about in the future!”