Deb StoneDeb Stone
Project Manager at Perfection Pet Foods
Education: Major in Feed Science and Management, Pet Food Processing Specialty, Minor in Animal Science and Industry
Graduation Year: 2016
Deb Stone serves as the project manager for Perfection Pet Foods. In this position, she works cross-functionally with all of the departments to manage the development of new products. She regularly works with the sales team, product development team, operations team, and quality team to ensure that the timeliness of new product deadlines are met.
Communication is key for Stone, as her workweek consists of meetings with almost every department, and communicating with the teams to see the progress of the new products.
“Perfection Pet Foods takes on a true team effort for their products,” Stone says.
As a student, Stone was involved in the Feed Science club and attended several conferences such as the Grain Elevator And Processing Society (GEAPS), International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) and the Pet Food Forum. Stone feels that the classes she took related to feed technology, pet food processing, and extrusion processing have benefited her the most.
She worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Stark and Dr. Aldrich. She assisted their graduate students with research projects by collecting and processing samples in the lab and providing support during nutritional and processing research projects. Stone was able to conduct her own undergraduate research project with Dr. Aldrich.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about research, project management, and the industry,” Stone says.
During the summer of her junior year, she served as a quality intern for Pro-Pet LLC, at their kibble manufacturing plant in Kansas City(KC or MO?). She helped the company prepare for the new regulatory changes of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) by organizing and preparing retained samples and facilitating employee training.
Whether in college or middle school, students find group projects to be challenging. Stone explains how those experiences relate closely back to her job.
“My advice for college students is to learn to work hard and to work well in groups and teams,” Stone says. “I was a college student once and I remember how challenging group projects could be, but I can tell you that it is important to learn how to work in groups because that is how all companies operate. Work on your
communication skills, learn to be a listener and work well with others.” Students receive a wealth of knowledge from professors, she adds, “GO TO CLASS!”