NDSU Alumni Career Advice

Shane Ward
Degree: Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, Minors in Criminal Justice and Business Administration
Position: Senior Customer Executive
Company: Hormel Foods
Location: Boise, ID

Why did you choose to work for Hormel Foods?

A combination of the high level of responsibilities provided, the training necessary to be successful, the corporate culture and the financial rewards.

What do you love most about Hormel Foods?

Hormel is a company which puts the best interest of the employees as a priority.

Describe your job and responsibilities.

My position is tailored towards account management. I manage the sales of Hormel portfolio of products to one retail partner.

My responsibilities include:
1) Developing, implementing, and executing sales and distribution plans
2) Efficiently managing a trade budget to drive sales
3) Working cross functionally with Category Sales and Trade teams to develop insights and recommendations for optimal sales tactics to grow our brands

What skills are necessary for your position?

Skills necessary to be successful include:
Decision-making, ability to work as a team, analytical skills, and well-developed written and verbal communication.

What is the most challenging part of your job, and how do you overcome it?

The most challenging part is overcoming obstacles provided by the customer which causes for a quick need in strategic change to deliver our expected results.
These challenges are overcome by working with team members to analyze the sales and business needs to develop a new plan.

What is an average work day like for you?

The average work day tends to be more office oriented than in the sales field. Working on long-term strategies to grow the sales is the ultimate goal.

What advice do you have for someone aspiring to work in your field?

Take part in as many sales, marketing, and analytical courses and/or internships as possible. The more you can learn, the more prepared you will be to compete for highly competitive entry-level positions.

What’s the best way to network with people in your field?

The Consumer Packaged Goods industry is a wide-spread industry that spreads throughout the entire country. Many industry professionals, groups and networking events can be found on LinkedIn.

What is one career-related tip you have for students?

Take advantage of all the resources available to you while in college. Everything from the professors, internships, extra-curricular activities, and other programs are all intended to benefit your personal growth and future opportunities.

By Jamie Tait
Jamie Tait Events Assistant & Marketing Coordinator