Back Story – Work Ethic Developed…
George started working when he was in the seventh grade. He was mowing four lawns and working at the barber shop so he could buy his uniforms for Catholic School. As he got older, he and his brothers went to work at his uncle’s farm. As you can imagine, farming was hard work. His parents raised him with the mindset that once you graduate, you get a job, pay off your student loans and you get working. George graduated from Shippensburg University.
Life Before Utz – learned a valuable lesson about self-worth…
Shortly after graduating, his aunt asked if he ever thought about a career in banking. George walked into the bank, filled out an application, and someone interviewed him right on the spot. They offered him a job and gave him the opportunity to work there. He wanted to get into the Training Program at the bank, but he had to go for psychological testing. He went through all of the aptitude tests and the results came back that he was not cut out for their Management Program.
He was discouraged by this but also determined not to let this stop him, so he began looking for another opportunity. He walked into Snyder’s of Hanover to fill out an application and once again he was interviewed on the spot. He accepted an opening for a Personnel Supervisor. After two years in Personnel Administration, he became a Night Shift Superintendent in the plant. He eventually became a Plant Manager and was back to working Day Shift.
Career at Utz
In 1991, George got his career started here at Utz. He started as a Day Shift Manager at 900 High Street, with a department of about 140 associates and 3 supervisors. In 1999, George was approached about an opportunity in HR. That was the start of what George thought would be a short-term transition to HR, which ended up being the bulk of his career and contribution at Utz!
George began in HR by creating a Training and Development Program for our Route Sales Professionals. He had to prove he was willing to work hard and learn the ropes in Sales because he had only ever known Plant Operations. He quickly earned the respect of the Sales Team because he was passionate and truly cared about what he was teaching. From there, he worked with Gary Laabs to become an HR Professional. He earned his certification and was promoted to the Director of HR. George had a lot of great things to say about Gary, especially that he was a great mentor and one of the finest HR Professionals in the area. According to George, Gary paved the way for others to follow him and taught others how to do things the right way.
George is proud of the people that he has worked with over the years, and shared that by working in the HR department, there is an opportunity to impact many people and that is a privilege. He explained that for years, people would run through a brick wall for this company because they love working here. When people feel appreciated, they will go the extra mile. We can’t stop telling people how much we appreciate their efforts; it has to be genuine and it has to be true.
When asked what makes Utz successful, George said, one thing is that we offer opportunity. We have so many success stories, and he is an example of that. In his training, he said that a manager’s job is not to hang on to their people, it’s to develop them.
After almost 30 years, George has proven that he was absolutely fit for training, management and leading the Utz Family as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources. His contagious enthusiasm, his leadership training, and his profound wealth of knowledge will certainly be missed.
George left us with many of his life lessons:
- Don’t ever let someone tell you how good you can be.
- Nobody gets to where they are going without the help of others.
- Everybody counts.
- It’s important to remember where you came from.
- No job is too big or too small.