Face-to-Face: Meet Julie Divis April 2017

Ever wonder if anyone else is facing the same professional challenges as you? Or just looking to connect with some new people in your field? In IFT's Face-to-Face series, we will be introducing you to a different IFT member every month with a fun, insightful Q&A session.

 

Julie DivisThis month meet...

Julie Divis, Quality Manager, PRE Brands

  1. How did you get your start in the food industry?
    I get my passion for food and cooking from my dad. He was the chef in my family, and we always cooked together as I grew up. Now that I’m older, we get excited about everything food related—from our favorite dishes, to discovering new recipes and restaurants. He taught me to always be open to trying new flavors, cuisines, and ingredients, which opened my eyes to see a future career focused on food. That helped me decide to major in food science and technology at Virginia Tech, allowing me to combine my love for food with my curiosity for science. This led me to an internship with Sara Lee, then a full-time position with Hillshire Brands/Tyson. Most recently, I decided to accept the role as the Quality Manager at PRE Brands, a Chicago-based food startup.

  2. What do you love about your job?
    I love knowing that, at the end of the day, we provide our consumers with a delicious, high quality product that is safe to eat. I also love working for a company that promotes and embodies healthy and active lifestyles, like my own. I’m am proud to be a part of a startup that is pushing the limits of the meat industry and encouraging consumers to know more about what they are eating. It’s exciting times here at PRE!

  3. What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
    One of the biggest challenges I face in my job is being innovative and disruptive in a traditional category. The beef industry is a $36 billion well-established industry that has been providing to consumers for years. Once you become so large, it can be difficult to quickly respond to changing consumer behavior. At PRE, our consumer-first mentality is working to overcome these hurdles. A day-to-day challenge that I currently have is looking for ways to extend shelf life while maintaining the natural integrity of our product. This challenge is compounded by being the sole member of the PRE quality team with limited resources, which has driven me to tap into my network and my push my personal limits.

  4. What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
    Joining PRE 8 months ago has exposed me to the mindset of a startup. Working at an established and large company, you can easily fall into your department silo and do not always see the bigger picture. Working for a startup, there is truth in the saying “wearing many different hats.” Understanding each piece of the business, from sales to marketing to finance, broadens my perspective and helps me attack my goals in a strategic manner.

  5. How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
    For years, consumers have been demanding to know more about where their food comes from, how it is processed, what ingredients are in them and why, etc. Consumers have also been trending towards food that is better for their health. The evolution is that shoppers are now starting to put their money where their mouth is. The food industry needs to meet those demands, offering full transparency and providing healthier products at a fair price point; otherwise, consumers will reinvent the industry themselves.

  6. Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
    I always have the hardest time answering this question! If I had to pick, it would be eggs. I eat eggs every single morning for breakfast. Poached, fried, scrambled, soft boiled … I love them all.

If you are an IFT member and wish to be profiled, please contact Kelly Hensel at khensel@ift.org or 312-604-0211.