Noel Amor has worked for several food companies including Wattie's, Edmonds, and Cedenco.
Vocation stories – Technical manager, Cedenco Foods
Noel Amor: I was in a situation, finishing school deciding what I was going to do – was going to go to university and do something, had no idea really what that was going to be. It just happened that in Gisborne here we had Wattie's which is a large food processor, so we had the meatworks.
We had significant kind of industry here at the time, so I thought, "Well I’ll go and visit these people and see what they do". So one of the places I went was Wattie's actually. So that was good, so I went back to school and then, as the year progressed, they actually were looking for people to do food tech degrees. Well that’s the way I’ll go, let’s do that, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked back to be honest.
I started with Wattie's and spent what five years there, working in different roles and I guess that’s one of the advantages of a little bit bigger company than a small company is that, you do have opportunity to move around and get experience in different areas, so I think that's all else is valuable for your knowledge it’s also quite good for having some fun and enjoying what you’re doing.
I was a little bit fortunate because I was able to transfer to Australia and work for another company that was an affiliate of the Wattie group. Then I actually went to Auckland and ran the production side of Edmonds, so that was making jellies and baking powders and chicken mixes and all that kind of stuff. When this company Cedenco started I was fortunate that the two brothers that started the company were looking for somebody and they tapped on my shoulder. So that’s kind of how the Cedenco experience started.
I’ve been involved in this business for a long time and I just felt like doing something different so, that was enjoyable and it’s interesting what you learn from it, I mean it’s not an easy industry these days. It’s pretty much a bulk industry, need to make large volume at low cost. It’s very similar to making wine, you’ve got to understand the raw material, you've got to understand what you can do to it or can’t do to it.
To develop the product at the other end, and in this business here we know what the customer wants – he gives his specification. We know what colour, shape, size, viscosity, package, the whole thing, so we can easily work back where in wine... It’s a little bit different, people are actually looking for some variation in that. Season to season, not necessarily the same thing. But the lessons are the same and, and I think what’s important is that you really understand kind of what is the end game and work yourself back – try and understand what you need in the paddock. What does that raw material have to look like, how do I test it, how do I validate that’s going to fit?
Carla McCullouch started work in the meatworks in a laboratory and now manages quality assurance for Cedenco Foods.
Fran Edwards trained as a medical laboratory technician. Now she manages a lab ensuring products meet customer specifications.
Jane McBreen has found a job that grows her interest in science.