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Steve Smith

Technical Coordinator
General Mills - Yoplait Division

During my time in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at RIT I never imagined that I was preparing myself for a career in yogurt making. Since taking a job with General Mills after graduation I not only learned how to make yogurt, I learned how to lead people. I currently manage the operations department at our facility in Massachusetts where we produce over 200 million pounds of yogurt every year.

The ISE department at RIT provided the foundation I needed to launch my professional career. I was able to use my classroom learning and co-op experience to come up to speed quickly and start contributing. I had a number of great mentors within the department and it's relatively small size made it easy to spend time with them. The challenging BS/MS program allowed me the chance to push myself to earn two degrees in five years.

While at RIT my co-op experiences were invaluable. I was exposed to a variety of industries from automotive to circuit boards to semiconductors. I worked for corporations large and small with as many as 12,000 co-workers and as few as 20. This gave me an opportunity to experience different corporate cultures and determine what worked for me.

My experience at RIT has helped me become successful at General Mills. The leadership abilities I gained from leading design teams and managing other co-op students were quickly recognized by plant leadership. I was given the chance to develop and implement a high performance work system. Through training, and team building our work cells now do their own peer based assessments, interview applicants for openings on their teams and develop their own standardized training.

While at RIT I learned to work hard, have fun and challenge myself. These lessons helped me land a great job and gave me the confidence to succeed.

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