Johna Baldassaro

baldassaroK-State graduation year: 2004
Degree: BS in Industrial Engineering; Minor in Business Administration
Current employer: General Mills, Inc.
Position: Operations and Logistics Manager / Continuous Improvement Leader

 
How many times did you change your major during college?

Zero

Describe the process of choosing your major:

My high school math and science teachers encouraged me to pursue engineering as a major because math and science were my strengths. Upon deciding to attend K-State, I researched their various engineering programs to decide which field to pursue. I decided Industrial Engineering was the choice for me, since the focus is on optimizing people, processes, and systems.

What activities/organizations were you involved in while in college?

Institute of Industrial Engineers
Engineering Ambassadors

Did you complete an internship or have related work experience prior to receiving your job?

Yes.  I completed two summer internships in my field during my college career.  I graduated in 4 1/2 years, so that last semester of school afforded me the opportunity for a second internship.

Describe the process of finding your first job:

Both of my internships during college were working for General Mills.  Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door and show the company your skills and work ethic. I spent a lot of time preparing my resume and interview skills for the All-University Career Fair, and it paid off because that’s how I got my first internship with General Mills. I received an offer for a second internship at the end of my first summer, and I then received a full-time job offer at the completion of my second internship.

Briefly describe a typical day at your job:

No day is typical in the industrial manufacturing world. We lead teams of people, analyze data, and execute against action plans that are developed to improve our operation’s performance. We work on improvements to safety, quality, cost, customer service, inventory control, schedules, engineering projects, and employee relations.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

There’s never a dull moment.  It’s satisfying to be responsible for producing some of the best-known and loved food products in the world.  I work for an excellent company with great people, salary, and benefits. I have earned opportunities to work in multiple locations across the country in many different roles.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

That “never-a-dull-moment” quality is great at times, but it can also be stressful because of the constant changes and always something that needs improvement. Most manufacturing facilities operate 24/7 which can cause stress on work-life balance.

What advice would you give someone interested in your field?

Do some research to ensure the manufacturing environment is right for you, plant tours are good to give a view into this line of work. Industrial engineers also work in many different fields, such as health care, supply chain management, logistics, and consulting, etc.