By: Brooke Gushen, Quality Control Lab Technician - Packaging Specialist Published:
Last October, our friends at Web Industries, a fellow ESOP company, invited a group of Harpooners to come to their facility in Dayville, CT to attend their annual Ownership Month celebration and activities. Their “Ideas system,” a program for harnessing ideas for improving company performance from each and every employee, made a huge impact on us. The reason behind the "Ideas System" made a lot of sense: every employee naturally has ideas every day about how to make his or her job easier, better, more efficient.
When we saw the "Ideas System" in action, we saw employees who were engaged, excited, and enthusiastic. It was obvious from these meetings just how much power there is in having every employee in the company striving for its improvement. And we knew then that this program was something we had to do at Harpoon.
At Harpoon, work teams have always met frequently and shared ideas for improving performance and making employees’ jobs easier, better, more streamlined. Since becoming employee-owned we formalized this system to make the most of those ideas and celebrate the contributions of our fellow owners. Ideas that get put into practice are showcased on the Ideas Wall in the brewery. This month's employee owner feature comes from the Quality Control Lab where Brook Gushen made a small suggestion with huge benefits...
Name: Brooke Gushen
Title and Department: Quality Control Lab Technician - Packaging Specialist
Idea: Every morning the packaging line operators start up by sanitizing the lines and everything the product will be touching, including the filling valves, crowner, etc. Afterwards, they take sterile swabs and wipe samples from each of these surfaces. In the lab, these samples are transferred to media on micro films and incubated, and the films can be inspected for microbe growth the following day, which looks like tiny red speckles on the yellow background. Since we collect and inspect these samples, the lab and packaging team are able to work together to quickly pinpoint certain areas that need a little more tender loving care.
I set up a system with labeled pocket protectors (those sheets we used to fill with baseball cards as kids) to hold and display the microfilms on each of the lines. This was a change as these used to be analyzed and discarded in the lab, so the line operators were not in the loop on the results.
Benefit: Having this information visually available on the lines helps to keep the start-up team updated on how the swab results have come back in the past few days. They are better able to adjust cleaning practices to maintain a high standard of cleanliness on the packaging lines. This small idea really helps to connect the roles of the lab and packaging department and foster constant open communication.
Favorite Beer: Take5
By: Merrill Allen, Harpoon Helps Published:
Since the beginning, Harpoon has strived to be a good neighbor. In 2003, we organized Harpoon’s charitable work under one name: Harpoon Helps. Here at Harpoon, we embrace our charitable arm’s tagline, To Brew & To Serve, by supporting local charities with donations of fresh Harpoon beer and volunteer hours, and by raising thousands of dollars through Harpoon events to aid their efforts.
But sometimes a Harpoon employee truly goes above and beyond in supporting causes on their own. This month we’d like to feature Jordan McMillan, Harpoon’s Digital Content Coordinator and all around bad-ass, who is participating in Belles of the Brawl next week. Jordan is doing her part to raise thousands of dollars for cancer research. Harpoon Helps couldn't be more excited to be the official sponsor of her fight and we wish everyone the best of luck (we just wish Jordan a little bit more :) )!
Tell us about Belles of the Brawl!
Belles of the Brawl is the third all-women’s fight in the history of Haymakers for Hope, a charity boxing event organization. Founded by Andrew Myerson and Julie Anne Kelly, the boxing events have raised more than $3.6 million for cancer research in New York City and Boston. This year’s Belles of the Brawl will take place at the House of Blues in Boston on October 7th at 7:30pm.
Why are you fighting?
I first learned about Haymakers for Hope back in May of 2014. After attending a fight, I joined a boxing gym – having no idea what I was doing. Haymakers always stayed top of mind for me. It is such an inspiring event, people fighting who have been affected or touched by cancer in some way somehow just made me want to get in the ring. When it came time to sign up for the 2015 Belles of the Brawl everything just seemed to come together and it was my time to fight, and to give back!
I’m fighting for my good friend Mary Harley and all of those out there that have been affected by breast cancer. Getting hit in the face is no joke, training for a fight like this is no joke, and it’s hard, really, really hard. But if someone can go through rounds of chemo, and still fight their battle with courage and optimism, then I can surely train my ass off and take some punches to the face.
I can’t make the fight. Can I donate?
Of course you can donate! We are all raising money for such a great cause, and I would be so grateful to anyone that donates. Donate here.
Whew, sounds like you are going to need a beer after your fight. What beer do you look forward to having and why?
Oh man, I can’t even explain how excited I am for a beer post-fight! I will be indulging in a good ol’ Harpoon IPA. Having gone weeks without having one, it is going to taste better than ever. More importantly though, I’m looking forward to enjoying this beer with all my fellow Harpoon employees that will be there to watch and support me. For months they’ve heard about the fight and encouraged me along the way. The community we have here at Harpoon is so supportive, and to be able to enjoy a post-fight beer with people that are so important to me is going to make it taste that much sweeter!
Good luck, Jordan!