By: Tim Kast, HDC Sales Assistant Published:
In 2014 we became employee-owned. Sounds cool, but what does that mean exactly you ask? This new structure of employee ownership means you can count on Harpoon to stay independent and dedicated to its mission: brewing great beer and sharing unforgettable beer drinking experiences. In order to do that, we have some pretty incredible people working at the brewery. This new blog series - The Harpoon Employee-Owner Spotlight - is meant to introduce you to those people. That way, when you see them at the brewery or in your neighborhood, who know who to high-five (or hug).
Name: Tim Kast
Title/Department: HDC (Harpoon Distribution Company) Sales Assistant
How did you get started at Harpoon? Throughout college, I had always joked with friends about how much I would love to work for a craft brewery after school. Flash forward to a few months after graduation and I found myself serendipitously getting introduced to Harpoon President, Charlie Storey. After a quick conversation about our shared love of beer and what it’s like to be a part of the craft beer industry, I ended up landing myself an interview, and the rest is history.
What are the different jobs you’ve had? I started off as a Beer Captain, giving tours of the brewery and pouring pints for our lovely guests up in the Beer Hall. After half a year or so, I made the jump over to sales where I happily remain to this day. I’m currently an HDC Sales Assistant, meaning I spend my days hanging out at restaurants, bars, and package stores in the greater Boston area, making sure they never run out of fresh Harpoon beer.
What do you like about Harpoon? The people, the beer, the festivals, the promotional events, Harpoon Helps, being an employee owner, the fact that we have a gorgeous brewery on the Boston waterfront, the fact that we have a second gorgeous brewery tucked away in the green mountains, and definitely the beer hall pretzels. I’m pretty sure that covers it.
What’s changed, if anything since being ESOP? I was hired shortly after the ESOP was formed, so I can’t speak directly to what’s changed since the switch. What I can speak to though is the amazing and inclusive culture that I came into when I was hired. It’s pretty incredible to be a part of a company where a young kid like myself can talk openly with the CEO or President about ways to improve the brewery.
Favorite beer: Take 5 before 5 PM, Leviathan after 5 PM.
Who would you want to sit at our bar and have a pint with? (dead or alive): Springsteen, no brainer.
Have a question for Tim? Comment below and we'll try and get it answered!
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 Brooke 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