Industry Insights: Michelle Wellman

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!”

-Leann Demorest


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