If you’ve had a chance to visit us in York, you may have taken a peek inside our Viewing Gallery and seen our production line running. Inside, you can watch products like Wild Maine Blueberry Jam make their way down the line before the jars are packed up and shipped to a store. With such a vast array of products on not only our shelves but also our wholesale shelves, a lot of planning and organizing is required for making sure these items get produced on time with the right quantities. The man behind the scene? Meet Tom Cassidy, our Manufacturing Planning Manager, pictured below with his colleague, Sam.
Tom has been with us for the past 13 ½ years and has held various positions during his time at Stonewall Kitchen. Hired on April Fool’s Day, he originally joined us as our Production Planner/Master Scheduler. Throughout the years he advanced to roles including Materials Manager, Operations Analyst and his current role as Manufacturing Planning Manager.
We caught up with Tom to ask him about his daily duties, his favorite products and his unique hobby of ballroom dancing.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you as the Manufacturing Planning Manager?
A: To someone not familiar with manufacturing, I describe my position as ‘the person who tells production what to make, when and how many.’ A typical day might include reviewing inventory and/or sales orders, forecasting finished goods and raw materials or running a variety of daily, weekly and/or month end reports. I plan new production monthly, revise existing plans as required and issue weekly/monthly production plans. I also review plant capacity against forecasted sales/component demand and look for any issues or concerns that may rear their ugly head.
Q: Why did you choose to work for Stonewall Kitchen?
A: Many years ago I found myself in a job search situation. A former boss put me in touch with Stonewall Kitchen through his connection with APICS. I applied, got an interview and the rest is history. I do remember my first impression after the interview telling my wife ‘you should see this place!’ I am a firm believer in ‘all things happen for a reason’ so I am not sure choose is the correct word, but I cannot see myself working anyplace else.
Q: You’ve seen a lot of products come and go over the years – do you have a favorite product?
A: So many delicious products, where to start? But of course, Wild Maine Blueberry Jam, Spicy Corn Relish, Country Ketchup, Horseradish Mustard and Horseradish Aioli. And one must not forget Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce, Roasted Apple Grille Sauce and Mango Chutney. I did mourn the day we discontinued Black Cherry Jam and could not persuade the powers at be to give it more time.
Q: Rumor has it that you’re an excellent ballroom dancer – is that true? Have you taken lessons?
A: My wife and I did take ballroom dancing lessons for several years. To say that I am an excellent dancer is probably a bit of a stretch. My two favorites are East Coast Swing and Fox Trot. That being said, we just recently started talking about Country Line Dancing.
Q: What else do you like to do in your free time?
A: When asked to describe my likes I often times say good dogs, good books, classic rock ‘n’ roll and fly fishing from a kayak. Hanging with Abby, our Chocolate Lab, is always good for my mental health. I am somewhat or a book worm and am always reading something. Fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter – as long as it is well written. After reading several pages I can usually tell if I want to continue or send it back (to the library). My wife is the Children’s Librarian at the local library and they usually will order anything I ask for. I think the Beatles are/were the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time, which very succinctly sums that up. Why I fly fish from a kayak is a mystery to me, but maybe I am in search of that perfect back cast.
Q: Can you tell me an interesting fact about yourself that someone might not otherwise know about you?
A: Related to my love of classic rock ‘n’ roll, I am a total bar band guitar player wannabe. The year I turned 59 I finally started taking guitar lessons. After so many years of procrastination, I said to myself ‘it is now or never.’ I’ve taken lessons for going on two years. Currently I am in between instructors, and my first and best has since retired; but, I still try to play five or six days out of the week.