Production Lead Operator

At Hilmar Cheese Company we improve lives around the world through wholesome dairy products. Since our founding in 1984, Hilmar Cheese Company has been committed to innovation and sustainability. Our state-of-the art production facilities convert an abundance of locally sourced high-quality milk into a variety of nutritious cheeses, whey protein and lactose. The Cheese and Ingredients that we produce create a wide variety of retail and food service products from sliced and shredded cheeses, to protein supplements and infant formula. We are a trusted partner to premier food and beverage brands in for than fifty countries helping bring their vision into reality.


Throughout our decades of success and growth we have remained committed to our mission and values and these principles unite our people and guide all that we do.

A Typical Day

The Lead Operator will assist Plant Supervision with focus on production efficiencies in the areas of safety, quality and employee engagement.

Job Responsibilities

  • Help maintain process flow to ensure safety, quality, yield and efficiencies meet HCC standards
  • May be required to act as a Relief Operator, which will require a non-standard working schedule.
  • Understand all department SOP’s and follow up on changes
  • Work with the operators to make the necessary adjustments needed to maintain process control. Communicate any deviations from target to the supervisor.
  • Responsible for monitoring assigned equipment and make changes to improve operation efficiency
  • Responsible for reporting any problems or issues with equipment to Supervisor
  • Responsible for maintaining accurate and complete paperwork at all times.
  • Maintain production areas and equipment to ensure USDA and FDA inspection ready at all times    
  • Conduct studies and special projects as assigned
  • Maintain and enforce good housekeeping and GMP’s
  • Maintain effective communication with department leaders and operators 
  • Effectively communicate with other departments associated with process, including support departments, to achieve department goals 
  • Must be able to demonstrate responsibility of the department during periods of supervisor down-time (i.e. meeting attendance, training, special projects, etc.)
  • Highly engaged in troubleshooting activities in an effort to maintain quality and minimize downtime
  • Monitor and verify critical checks are completed timely and results communicated and addressed appropriately (i.e. quality checks, samples, etc.)
  • Facilitation of training documents, as appropriate
  • Coordinate with operations and training department to ensure operator training competencies are validated with current department practices, and approved change management activities
  • Develop hourly staff to ensure appropriate skills and technical competencies are met.
  • Active participation and ownership in your training and development program and associated activities, classes and events, which will be held before, during, after shifts and during scheduled days off.  
  • Help coach and train teammates, and participate in on the job, buddy training.
  • Place high priority on food safety and sanitation by understanding and executing HCC’s food safety and sanitation policies and procedures. 
  • Hold self and others accountable to HCC’s food safety & sanitation guidelines and policies by communicating any food safety incident, observation, or opportunity to your leadership team or teammates. 
  • Participate in food safety and sanitation root cause analysis and improvement activities when required.  
  • Prioritize safety above all other job duties by having a safety first approach at all times. 
  • Report any safety issues, observations, opportunities to your teams and follow up.  
  • Participate in departmental safety teams.
  • Promote Company Culture

What You Will Need

  • High School diploma or GED from an accredited institution. 
  • English skills must be proficient to understand, read, write and speak English
  • Must be able to work 12-hour variable shifts, including weekends, holidays and overtime as needed. 
  • Ability to lift up to 60lbs. 
  • Any State issued certifications or licenses required to work in department.
  • Active/past member of department safety team
  • Experience as an on the job trainer (OJT)
  • Skilled in a Level 3 or 4 role and at least 2 years of relevant experience 
  • Experience working with Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook
  • Skilled in SAP

What Will Put You Ahead

  • Has completed or in the process of completing HCC level 1 leadership training 
  • 2 years of experience in the department

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee will be required to:

  • Stand, walk, use hands to finger, handle or feel and reach with hands and arms, climb or balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl and talk or hear.
  • Stand and walk almost the entire workday.
  • Employees must be physically capable of working in any of the job tasks within the cheese plant.
  • Required to work at heights and in fairly small areas.
  • Pushing, pulling, reaching, bending, stooping, squatting, kneeling, handling and grasping, twisting/turning, repetitive bending.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently exposed to the following: 

  • Exposure to dust, fumes, smoke, gases, or other irritating substances.
  • Exposure to solvents or chemicals.
  • Exposure to slippery walking surfaces: water.
  • Exposure to marked changes in temperature and humidity depending on time of year.

Working surface is primarily concrete. Where standing is required, there are rubber mats which are one-half inch thick.

Food safety is a companywide responsibility and each employee must know their role in the manufacture and distribution of safe, wholesome, and high quality products.


This description is a general statement and does not include other duties as assigned

Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer/EEO. We participate in E-Verify.

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Nearest Major Market: Amarillo