New Opportunity: VP of Operations at Trailblazer Foods

Company Summary

Inspired by the rich agricultural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, Trailblazer Foods was incorporated in 1984. Today, the company produces branded, co-pack and private-label products in many core grocery categories including; preserves and jellies, table syrups, sweetened flaked and shredded coconut, drink mixes, Italian syrups, food service pie filling and glazes, and savory sauces and marinades. Its customers include; Kroger, Safeway, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, UNFI, Topco, Boyd Coffee, ConAgra Foods and others.

Position Summary

This position, which reports to the CEO, will manage all facets of the company’s operations including; production, quality, distribution and warehousing.  As a key member of the senior management team, this executive is a key company leader who will be involved with all aspects of the business.

Major Responsibilities

  • Oversee supply chain operations including Plant Manager, Quality Manager, Distribution Manager, Maintenance Manager and coordination with Inventory Control.
  • Formulate policies and strategic plans for future growth. Assess Company’s current production and distribution facility to determine its capability of meeting growth projections.  Approve the implementation of tactical operations and organizational plans that support Company’s Strategic Plan.
  • Oversee management of inventory, Oversee system of coordinating, tracking, shipping, as well as production schedules.
  • Proactively align Operations with IT, Finance and Sales to create a seamless work flow with Warehouse and Production.
  • Oversee and manage long-term staffing needs including hiring, training, motivating and review of department personnel.
  • Ensure the safety, security and accountancy of all company personnel, facilities, equipment and operations in line with all federal, state, county and local regulatory agencies as well as OSHA and FSMA requirements.
  • Work closely with Finance and Purchasing to assess inventory needs and projections to optimize inventory levels.
  • Analyze all inventory related costs to identify cost reduction opportunities.
  • Preserve relationships and negotiate with suppliers.
  • Maintain and develop ongoing sources for products.
  • Coordinate with Sales Department on specs, deadlines, and final proofs for production of printed materials.
  • Be a resource and support the sales team with respect to customer requirements, communications and resolution of issues.
  • Work with sales team to forecast sales based on pending and historical sales, inventory reports, and other pertinent records.
  • Together with Technical Services, anticipate, coordinate and problem solve needs for new product roll-outs.
  • With staff, establish procedures for maintaining high standards of manufacturing operations, product quality, reliability, and safety.
  • Coordinate with Sales leadership to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Determine and enforce productivity, quality, and safety requirements in accordance with current and foreseeable company needs.
  • Evaluate and develop improved techniques for the control of operations, quality, reliability, and safety.
  • Assume additional responsibilities as assigned.


Position-Specific Skills

  • 15+ years progressive experience in an operations role in a high-growth Consumer Packaged Goods.  Food industry experience strongly preferred.
  • Solid working knowledge of food safety, quality assurance, maintenance, environmental compliance requirements, continuous improvement and operational financials.
  • Prior experience working on the manufacturing floor (not just in a management role).
  • Strong understanding of engineering and manufacturing process.
  • Deep understanding of supply chain operations.
  • Strong business knowledge (including budgeting and forecasting) with ability to effectively communicate and support revenue and business financial objectives.
  • Project management experience with demonstrated history of delivering projects on time and within budget.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills. Can communicate effectively at all levels within an organization.
  • Highly detail-oriented and organized.

Leadership Skills

  • 10+ years management experience with 5 years minimum in a manufacturing environment.
  • Strong interpersonal skills that foster the development of an efficient and cohesive operations organization.  Ability to organize and develop the talent around them.
  • Self-starter who can develop goals and deliver on initiatives without day-to-day oversight.

Technical Skills

  • Strong systems skills including MS Office (Excel, Word, Outlook).
  • Well versed in MRP/ERP systems.
  • Data driven with high level of comfort using systems to manage people and processes.


  • College degree in Engineering, Industrial Management, Food Science or other operations/business related field.
  • Multiple years of food manufacturing management would be considered in lieu of college degree with demonstrated success and organizational progression.

Ready to Apply?

180one is a retained search firm and has been engaged by Trailblazer Foods to manage this search. If interested in learning more about the opportunity, please contact Kim Barnes at 180one.

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