Page 6 - Daviscope - Spring 2015
P. 6
Working Smart
It’s All About the Cheese
“Cheese Making 101” is taught enthusiastically by Kartik Shah and provides insight into the science behind the process.
Kartik Shah has a passion for teaching people about cheese. Those attending his class come away with knowledge of the various steps involved in the cheese process and a bet- ter understanding of their co-worker’s jobs. A class at the Lake Norden Cheese Plant received excellent feedback from those who attended, so Shah plans to do several more training sessions at other plants in the near future.
“We wanted to do some awareness in the plants of how cheese is manufactured,” says Shah, Technical Services Coordinator for cheese. He believes if people know the
goal is to fulfill that void with some fun facts, history and science. If they know all of the steps they feel more empow- ered and more curious about their activities,” Shah says.
“Kartik was very professional in his approach to explain the information, Says Tim Cossette, HR Safety at Lake Norden Cheese Plant. “He connected with everybody and all of us walked away with a good understanding of the cheese-making process. We learned information we could use on a daily basis with our job. The content of the training was exceptional. He brought us down the road of ‘Cheese-Making 101!’”
“why/how” of the task they are daily basis, they will do a bet- ter job every day.
Shah works with Beau Hornig, the Production Manager at the Lake Norden Plant to plan and carry out the training modules. They want the class- es to focus on explaining the science behind the steps in the process, he says.
performing in the plant on a
“I found it quite interesting,”
says Cara Meyer, who is Of-
fice Manager at Lake Norden
Cheese. “I typically don’t go
down into the plant. Now I
have a better understanding
of what people are actually
doing and what goes into the
whole process of cheese-making. It is quite an undertak- ing to make milk into cheese and it takes a lot of people who have specific knowledge. Kartik is good at breaking it down step by step in layman’s terms. It’s not as simple as I once thought,” she says.
Meyer appreciates that the knowledge she gained enables better interaction with her co-workers because she now has more understanding of their jobs. She will encourage her office partner to take the class next time it is offered.
A varied audience takes the course, which Shah has de- signed to take 40-45 minutes. “Cheese make operators and supervisors, employees who make day-to-day manufactur- ing decisions directly related to the profit of the company, will learn things during the training to help them do a bet- ter and more consistent job,” says Shah.
Also taking the course are employees responsible for each step of milk processing, such as the milk pasteurizer, milk silo or milk intake, cutting and packaging. “Many times an employee is involved in a specific task. The process of cheesemaking above and beyond can be very daunting for someone who doesn’t have a basic understanding. My
Kartik Shah, Technical Services Coordinator
Cossette recommends that others take the class and would take another session if “Part II” was offered. “Kartik is an exceptional guy and a great employee to have here. I have heard only good com- ments.”
Shah has the dairy and cheese science background and strong communication skills to teach the course. He earned a master’s degree in dairy manufacturing at South Da- kota State University in 2012, with teaching assistant and graduate student research ex- perience. He managed a team
in the process cheese blend formulation area of a cheese plant for 3.5 years prior to his studies at the university.
“I have been getting good responses from the people that have attended the training session. I started the classes af- ter talking to people on the floor and their supervisors. They wanted to know more about what I had explained to them,” Shah says. “I know the basic background of cheese-making and wanted to make it interesting for people who wanted to learn more about it,” he says.
“Many employees are performing a specific task assigned to them on a daily basis. Some of them may/may not know the science behind it. For example, they all have heard about casein and whey protein but they may not have seen how a casein or whey protein looks, how the rennet gel is formed, what starter bacteria are, or what is their role in cheesemaking,” he says.
If each person involved knows more about the process, Shah hopes it may help in problem solving in the plant and lead to greater understanding between employees. “If they know, they feel more empowered and equipped,” he says. n

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