Welcome back to our Bob's Red Mill employee-owner interview series! This month we had a chance to talk with Dawn Hughes, a company mainstay who has worn several hats during her decade-plus tenure, including waitressing, cooking, production lead, and now: receptionist and human resources personnel. Her deep knowledge of so many areas of our company makes her the perfect person to welcome and help everyone who passes by her desk, and we're excited to share her story.
Bob's Red Mill: How long have you worked at Bob’s Red Mill?
Dawn Hughes: I've worked at Bob’s for 14 years!
BRM: Can you run us through all of the different positions and departments you’ve worked in?
DH: I started my career at the Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Store as a server in 2005. A line cook position opened shortly after that and I thought I’d give it a try. I hadn’t cooked in a restaurant before, but had plenty of experience cooking at home for my family and my boss was willing to let me give it a try. I loved it! This was my position for the next 12 years. I also helped make soups, cashiered, waitressed when needed, and helped in the store. In 2017, I decided that a change would be nice, so I took a job at the World Headquarters working in production. I became a production lead after a year and a half, but then the receptionist position became available, and now I work in HR at the front desk. I’ve also assisted with events and tours in the mill.
BRM: What brought you to reception? What do you like about this position?
DH: The opportunity to learn about what goes into day-to-day business in a corporate company is why I took an interest in the receptionist/HR position. A desire to grow and learn more about the company from the business side. That, and working with customers and vendors.
BRM: What are some of the major changes you’ve seen since you started at Bob’s Red Mill?
DH: Well, the biggest change is that we are now an employee-owned company, and also how much we’ve expanded, both in our product and how much space we need. We only had two buildings when I started working here. Now we have four.
BRM: What drew you to the company in the first place?
DH: Funny story . . . my cousin’s wife worked at the Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store, and she knew I was looking for a job so she called me and told me I should apply. I told her I wasn’t really interested in working in a feed store. I honestly thought it was a feed store for animals. Big Red Barn. She laughed and said, “Well, I guess it is a feed store, but not for animals.” She said I should come in and look around, so I did. I loved the vibe the minute I walked in. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I filled out an application, had an interview, and was hired on the spot.
BRM: What are the most important skills you’ve developed here?
DH: I’ve learned a lot of physical skills. How to prepare lots of different foods, how to run a packaging line and the mechanics of a packaging machine. I’ve learned computer skills and office etiquette. However, probably the most important skills I’ve learned have been the art of interacting with people, patience and kindness. Making our customers #1 and making their experience with us the best it can be.
BRM: What is your favorite BRM product, and why?
BRM: What do you like to do for fun?
DH: For fun, I hike, snowshoe, kayak, camp . . . anything outdoors is my favorite. I love to hang out with my adult kids, bake, read, listen to music, go to concerts, garden, and try new restaurants in downtown Portland.
Our thanks to Dawn for taking the time to chat with us. Interested in the flexibility offered Bob's Red Mill? Check out our Careers page and find your next career path!