I started out as a bus driver, delivering children to and from school, although I knew I would soon want to spread my wings career-wise. So, I went back to school and studied industrial maintenance and automated technology. After acquiring my degree and relocating from New York to Fresno, I started working in the food industry sector.
My journey began with raisin production. While working my way up, I witnessed first-hand the high expectations that customers anticipated from sorting technology. My natural curiosity led me to become a ‘jack of all trades’ in product quality, sorting and cleaning technology.
My newly acquired technological know-how and customer understanding led me to TOMRA Food, where I further upskilled myself. Today I like to think of myself as a pivotal part of the field service engineer team, delivering first-class service to TOMRA customers.
What is your role at TOMRA Sorting Food?
At TOMRA I wear many hats. My official title is Field Service Engineer (FSE), although when I am visiting customers, I am more than that. When I arrive to see a client, I start off as a customer service representative. I am there on behalf of the company to find out exactly what’s wrong. Secondly, I’m a diagnostician, probing and troubleshooting the machine based on the often limited information that the customer has provided.
My third role is that of a surgeon, extracting and replacing the faulty mechanical part that’s the root of the problem. Once everything is running smoothly again, and the customer has gained confidence in my work I have earned the status of ‘expert’ in their eyes. This then leads to a professional friendship and frank rapport between me and my clients.
Why did you decide to work for TOMRA?
After researching the company, I found that my own personal views were aligned with what TOMRA is trying to accomplish. Globally, the company’s outreach is broad, being involved in the mining, food, and recycling industry sectors. The fact that through their technological advancement they are positively impacting industries across the globe, made my decision easy. I was also keen to enter an arena that offered both challenges and rewards. Not being office-bound, I’ve had the privilege to travel across the USA and beyond.
Want to join Chris and the team? check out our careers here.
What does your average workday look like?
Each day is a new chapter for me. Being based in Central Valley, there is a large number of customers nearby, from every single city in the region. On some days I may be 30 minutes away from home, while on others I may spend half of my workday with a single client.
My workweek rounds usually commence at 6am, with a morning gym and obligatory coffee routine. For the remainder of the day I stay mobile in my car, traveling from client to client.
When onsite, the procedures follow defined dress protocols. Besides having to personal protective equipment, a hair and beard net are a must to ensure a food safe environment is maintained. Once the problem is detected and resolved, the machine is put safely back into use.
What's the best thing about your job?
The most satisfying feeling is when a machine is restored back to its full production capacity. In this field of business, there are no shortcuts. Any machine that is not running 100% after my intervention will negatively impact the reputation of our company. I take great pride in our machines and equipment, especially when it is a machine that I have put my time and effort into.
What's the skill you'd most like to have?
Besides my current skills, I do want to learn other aspects of the machines, like PLC programming and the logic that’s being given to the machine to complete its complex tasks. Skills like these could make the troubleshooting process a lot easier.
What are you passionate about professionally or personally?
Professionally, I am passionate about every aspect of the work that I do on the machines. I put in 120% to try to diagnose and fix the issue the first time around. I always strive to provide a service that is both effective and resolution-focused.
Personally, I am passionate about jiu jitsu. It provides me with a stress-releasing vent and a means to stay healthy. As a person who travels a lot, food choices aren’t always the greatest when you’re out on the road. So, I found something that I love to do, and I’m proud to say that I am a world champion in my age and weight group.
What's your greatest business achievement?
I feel that TOMRA is the only place that I have been recognized for the work that I do, giving me the motivation to put so much effort into my job. Within my first 9 months of employment, I was recognized as a “Top Performer of the Quarter”.
I have had multiple customers reach out to my upper management to express their satisfaction with my work. A top achievement was receiving a compliment for my work during a service meeting at one of our biggest customers, from the executive vice present of our company, Volker Rehrmann.
What's your greatest personal achievement?
I think the greatest personal achievement was becoming a father and making sure that my children understand and know the values of hard work and dedication.
What did you eat for lunch?
I love preparing chicken drumsticks or thighs with avocado for lunch.
What's your favorite holiday destination?
There are so many places I want to visit but, so far, my favorite places have been Disneyland and Disneyworld. Visiting them gives me a chance to channel my inner child and shift into a totally different gear.