#WinTogether CREW Spotlight – Anita Haynes

For our second installment of our #WinTogether CREW Spotlight, we spoke with our Grenada Plant Manager, Anita Haynes, who gave us some insight into her daily routine, her long-standing experience with Novipax, and what it’s like being a female plant manager. Read on to learn more about Anita, enjoy!

Where are you from?
“I was born and raised in Grenada, MS. I even learned to drive right in front of the plant here.”

When and how did you join Novipax?
“When we were a former company, I had known the Plant Manager and he offered me a job as Quality Technician. Within only a few months, I was promoted to Quality Manager. I was only 20 years old at the time.”

If you had to describe Novipax in one word, what would it be?
“Family.”

What do your day-to-day responsibilities consist of?
“As soon as I get into the office, I get dressed in safety gear. I then locate the night supervisor to see how night production went and to discuss any events that occurred that may be an opportunity for improvement during our daily operations meetings. From there, I begin responding to emails and checking my calendar for any upcoming calls that will take place that day. After that, there are meetings with different department staff to obtain updates and the status of ongoing projects. We also want to determine how the plant can move forward, in addition to raising the bar for personal performance. We always want to challenge our employees to be the best that they can be. Finally, I spend time updating the communications that go on throughout the plant, while also recognizing those that are exceeding our expectations at the plant. I close out the day by spending time in the plant itself to see how operations are running and what improvement can be made.”

Do you notice any differences being a female plant manager? Have there been any specific struggles related to this?
“Not really, I was a Production Manager for 26 years prior to becoming the Plant Manager. By being a Production Manager first, I had the opportunity to lead and direct from that position. Early on I think I had to prove myself, until everyone realized I had a mechanical mind and could think outside of the box. Because of this experience, I have not had any specific struggles related to being a female Plant Manager.”

What is your favorite thing about working for Novipax?
“My favorite thing would have to be the people I work with. We have a lot of different personalities that can make for a lot of wit and humor.”

What is something unique you have experienced at Novipax?
“Being the first female Production Manager and then Plant Manager at Novipax.”

What is your favorite thing about living in Grenada?
“My favorite thing would be Grenada Lake. Most people do not realize that Grenada Lake is home to the three-pound crappie and it is the number one lake in the nation for crappie fishing. In the March 2022 qualifier for the national crappie tournament, fishing on Grenada Lake broke all of the previously set records. In addition to the lake, we have hiking, camping, kayaking, and nature preserves. There are many things to do outdoors.”

What is your favorite restaurant in Grenada?
“I really enjoy hamburgers so my favorite place is High on the Hog. It is more of a take-out restaurant though, so when I want to go to a sit-down restaurant, I tend to go to No Way Jose or the Kennel Club.”

Who is a mentor that you have had?
“In my profession, it would have to be our previous Plant Manager, David Kinard. In my personal life, I would say Luisa “Lucy” Harris. She is a Mississippi native who has been featured in a documentary titled, “The Queen of Basketball.” She was the first woman to ever be drafted into the NBA and I have had the privilege to meet her and to work with her in my younger days of playing basketball.”

What is your favorite hobby?
“My favorite hobbies consist of reading, boating, traveling, and watching/attending sporting events.

Do you have any hidden talents?
“In my younger days, I was a pretty good athlete. My specialty was basketball, but I also enjoyed playing softball as well. I enjoy mechanics and I have over-hauled the engine in my 1973 MGB which I still own today.”

What is your favorite vacation spot?
“I love both the mountains and the beach when I want to go on a vacation. My favorite mountain areas to visit are Steamboat Springs, CO and Boone, NC. My favorite beach spots are the Mississippi Gulf Coast and South Padre Island, TX.”

What is your favorite genre of music?
“I enjoy 70s and 80s Classic Rock, along with Contemporary Christian music.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to a woman going into a generally male-dominated field?
“My advice would be to stand up for yourself and to not be intimidated.”


#WinTogether CREW Spotlight

Welcome to our first #WinTogether CREW Spotlight monthly feature where we set out to learn more about the people of Novipax!

Behind Team Novipax are individuals from various backgrounds, with different hobbies and interests, with unique talents and work experiences. Each bring a special flavor that complement the overall recipe that is our #WinTogether culture.  Each installment we’ll strive to highlight the diversity that makes our team special.

In today’s inaugural feature we sat down with our CEO Keith Schroeder who shared with us some inspirational observations of the culture here and some surprises about what he likes to do when he’s not leading our business. Enjoy!

Where are you from? 
“I was born and raised in Southwest Indiana.”

What is your educational background?
“I earned my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from the University of Evansville.” 

When and how did you join Novipax?
“I joined in February of 2019 as the CFO through an opportunity presented to me from connections I had already established at Novipax.”

If you had to describe Novipax in one word what would it be?
“Collaboration.”

What is something unique that you have experienced during your time at Novipax?
“I would say that Novipax is the most team-oriented and supportive group of folks that I have worked with in a long time.” 

What is the biggest change you have seen during your time at Novipax?
“Becoming an entirely absorbent pad business, versus the previous model of tray and pad combined, has allowed Novipax to grow as a company. After this change, the energy of the company has seen a noticeable shift to become more lively and enthusiastic.”

Despite the obstacles that the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic brought, were there any positives or lessons you were able to take away from it?
“Some of the positives were that you can never be too careful. We were quick to implement safety procedures to ensure that all staff would feel comfortable coming into work during such a difficult time. It also allowed us to shift our perspective on how we view our staff. The Pandemic has changed how people view working and we have had to change our thinking as well. For example, we have implemented new employee appreciation and training programs to ensure that employees enjoy coming to work and feel valued.”

How would you like to be remembered at Novipax?
“I would like to have helped to build a different culture and a strong team that allows Novipax to achieve our goals and reach our vision.”

What is your favorite hobby?
“I like to scuba dive when I have the opportunity, but I typically enjoy reading and spending time with family when I am not in the office.”

What is the last book you’ve read?
“Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis.”

Do you have any hidden talents?
“My mother was a piano teacher and my father was a skilled piano player, so I began lessons when I was young and also became skilled like them. When your mom is a piano teacher, you can’t skip practice so that is why I became so good at it.” 

Who is a mentor that you have had?
“When I worked for Cummins, my boss Bonnie was a great inspiration to me and we have stayed close over the years since she has been a great mentor to me.”

Where is your favorite vacation spot?
“St. John, US Virgin Islands.”

What is some advice you would give to someone who wants to go into business, but may be intimidated by it?
“My advice would be to seek out a mentor. They can offer great advice and support and help to guide you through the process. I would also say to go in with the confidence that you’re going to get it done, and do not be afraid to ask questions. Be focused and bring a lot of energy to wherever you may be so that you can excel at whatever tasks you are given.”

Mike Sugrue Joins Novipax As Vice President of Sales

Mike Sugrue, with more than twenty-five years of experience in packaging, has joined Novipax’s executive team as Vice President of Sales effective June 27, 2022. Most recently, Mike served in a sales leadership role with Berry Global following prior senior positions in sales, marketing, operations and technical support at CCL Label, American Fuji Seal, Viscose Closures, and Fuji Seal Europe.

“Mike Sugrue has a known track record of leading highly strategic and intensely customer focused sales teams that deliver packaging solutions across a myriad of markets,” stated Keith Schroeder, Chief Executive Officer of Novipax. “Mike will offer our customers an experienced yet fresh perspective on current and innovative applications for Novipax’s absorbent technologies across all of the markets we serve. We are pleased to welcome Mike to the Novipax CREW.”

Mike will lead Novipax’s team of absorbent specialists as the company continues to expand with new innovations, sustainable materials, and exciting absorbent applications in adjacent markets.

Novipax’s Role In Lowering Food Waste Highlighted on EARTH TV Series

Novipax’s ongoing initiatives to lower food waste are featured in the world-renowned television series, EARTH with John Holden, which will air on several major business networks in late December 2021 and early January 2022.

A six-time Emmy Award winner and esteemed journalist, host John Holden commented, “A major problem in America is food waste … the average American household wastes almost one-third of the food they purchase.” After traveling to Grenada, Mississippi to visit one of Novipax’s four manufacturing facilities as well as their state-of-the-art innovation center, Holden observed, “…the food preservation technology happening right here is helping to change that.”

Keith Schroeder, Chief Executive Officer of Novipax, noted, “Our mission is to provide innovative, high-performing absorbents that extend product shelf life and thus reduce food waste. We are thankful that EARTH with John Holden recognizes the positive impact that Novipax continues to have on lowering food waste across North America.”

The program will air on Fox Business Network on Sunday, January 2, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST, Bloomberg TV on Sunday, December 26, 2021 at 3:30 PM and on Sunday, January 2, 2022 at 3:30 PM EST and BNN Bloomberg on Sunday December 26, 2021 at 10:00 AM EST.

ACON Investments Acquires Novipax

On December 1, 2020, Washington, DC-based ACON Investments, L.L.C. and its affiliates (“ACON”) announced the acquisition of Novipax.

Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, Novipax has a long history serving some of the largest protein processors, tray manufacturers, distributors and grocery chains through its four manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Mississippi and California.

Keith Schroeder, CEO of Novipax, said, “Our team is excited to partner with ACON to leverage their experience and relationships across our core and adjacent markets and beyond. We are further excited about ACON’s plan to invest in our manufacturing facilities, sustainable materials and our growth as we continue to create new and innovative products and find ways to better serve both existing and new customers.”

To learn more, click here.

UltraZapXtendaPak Promotes Food Safety, Extends Freshness

Food safety and freshness are top priorities in retail grocery meat, poultry, seafood and produce departments. Every effort is made throughout the supply chain to maintain the freshness, quality and safety of packaged meat, poultry, seafood and produce products.

To help food processors and retail grocers maintain the safety, appearance, and marketability of packaged meat, poultry, seafood and produce, Novipax launched UltraZapXtendaPak, a revolutionary active absorbent.

Developed by a team of food industry and packaging experts, UltraZapXtendaPak maintains the food product’s organoleptic features – smell, color and texture – through a technologically advanced, proprietary system.

Moisture from the packaged protein is absorbed by the UltraZapXtendaPak absorbent pad, which then produces a steady stream of CO2 gas inside the package.

CO2 gas “wraps” itself around the protein creating an envelope that helps retard the growth of spoilage bacteria present on the surface of the meat. Plus, a second anti-microbial ingredient reduces the bacteria growth inside the absorbent pad and in the purge.

To learn more about UltraZapXtendaPak, click here.

Novipax, a Certified Packaging Manufacturer

With a 60+ year heritage of industry leadership, Novipax is firmly committed to adhere to the industry’s best manufacturing, operations and management practices.

Each of the company’s four manufacturing facilities is audited annually to ensure that our tray and absorbent packaging products adhere to the highest food quality standards.

Our absorbent manufacturing facilities located in California, Mississippi, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are certified to the SQF Food Safety Code.

The SQF standards are included in the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked food safety scheme that covers the hygienic production of packaging materials.

UltraZapSpillGuard: The Smart Way to Protect Your Store Against Slip and Fall Incidents

According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and fall accidents in supermarkets are the number one cause of injuries to employees and customers.

The NFSI estimates that the United States’ grocery store industry spends $450 million annually to defend slip and fall claims.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that slip and fall accidents are the number one cause of accidents in hotels, restaurants, and public buildings.

The National Safety Council estimates that the average restaurant has from three to nine slip and fall accidents each year.

The speed and efficiency of the clean up process is critical to ensuring a safe, accident-free shopping and work environment.

Novipax has developed a smart and simple way for retailers and facility managers to quickly provide a safe resolution for spills of any size.

UltraZapSpillGuard safety pads are a fast and safe way to initialize the clean up process and mark an area as a hazard to surrounding patrons and employees while minimizing liability damages for negligence.

To learn more about UltraZapSpillGuard safety pads, click here.