Thursday July 11, 2019

12:30 am: Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. My alarm goes off to start the day. My wife is half-asleep and brushes me off. I double check my things for the day; change of clothes – check; surface & notebooks – check; bump hat, boots, test kit – check. I need to get on the road by 1:00 am to get to the plant on time for the start of clean-up.

2:00 am: I arrive at the plant with my heart about to explode out of my chest. I had 2 close calls with deer on the county roads to the plant. I enter the plant and seek out the plant supervisor to discuss any issues or concerns since the last service visit. I start to walk the production floor to inspect areas of concern and WOOSH! I get blasted with cold water from above.  I look up and it’s a familiar face and a big smile on his face.  Must be his way of showing his appreciation or something! Also, I don’t know why I didn’t put on the yellow rain coat that the plant has set aside for me (I have my own locker here).  Chemical titrations are checked on the CIP circuits.  All good.

6:00 am: I debrief with the plant supervisor and review areas to address prior to the next clean up. Chemical inventory was taken and weekly chemical order reviewed.

6:30 am: Arrive at McDonalds to use their Wi-Fi to work on the service report for the plant so I can send that off this morning for their review.  I also get a large coffee to recharge the batteries.

7:30 am: Arrive at the office to change and freshen up for the rest of the morning. I attempt to take a power nap.

8:30 am: I can’t sleep. Text & email notifications are vibrating my phone. It’s time to resume the day! I respond to the text and email messages.  A customer is going through a plant expansion wants to check my schedule so I can attend a planning meeting. I grab the flowmeter from the technical services department for the next service visit of the day.  I will be doing CIP verifications at a cheese plant.

10:00 am: Arrive at the plant. I find the plant manager to see how production is going as they wrap up production for the day. I am a little distracted by the aroma of fresh cheese curds. “Jon, I’ll leave you a bag in the store to take home before you leave.” I walk the plant and talk to a few of the line workers to see if there are any cleaning concerns. A couple were noted.  I enter the CIP room and get my equipment set-up for the CIP verifications. “Um, we are having CIP issues that we need to work through with the programmer.” Two hours later, it is apparent the CIP circuits that I wanted to verify were not going to be completed today. I relay the info to the plant manager. I tell him that I have shuffled tomorrow’s schedule and I will be back tomorrow to get this done. I grab my curds and head home.

1:00 pm: Home. Feeling pretty tired. My wife made me a lunch in the fridge. I grab my surface and notes and complete the service report. Chemical order placed with customer service. More emails and phone calls to customers.

2:30 pm: I attempt to take a nap because of a visit at a plant later tonight. Phone rings. A customer is frantic that the washer is not cleaning the forms properly. I talk through some possible troubleshooting ideas before I decide whether or not to head to the customer. “Check the chemical drum if it is empty.” Silence on the other line. 20 minutes later, “Yep, it was empty. We are all good now.  Thanks!” I learned this lesson the hard way 10 years ago!

3:30 pm: Sleep

7:30 pm: My two alarm clocks (my two kids) wake me up. I warm up my supper and play with the kids before their bedtime. I check my things before I leave the house for the night.

9:45 pm: Arrive at the plant to conduct chemical safety training for 2nd and 3rd shift sanitation. After the training sessions are complete, I walk the floor with the sanitation manager to address any target areas for Friday’s big weekly clean up. See you tomorrow at 10:00 pm!

12:45 am: Arrive at home and sleep.

Why do we do it? We love making our customer partners successful in every aspect of their operation. Their success equals our success. We love being that resource for our customer when help is needed. We have a feeling of being a part of their team as well.  Even though the days sometimes can get long, the relationships, sense of accomplishment and value to the customer makes it worth it.



Jon Graf

Vice President Marketing & Account Manager Services – ProActive Solutions USA

Jon has been with ProActive Solutions USA for 17 years serving in Territory Manager, Business Development and Sales leadership roles. He strives to ensure that the customer is #1 priority in all aspects of our business. Degree in Business Administration from Saint Norbert College.


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