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Chemical Process Engineer

At Hilmar Cheese Company and Hilmar Ingredients, we improve lives around the world by being a leading producer of wholesome dairy products that contribute to the success of all stakeholders. We are one of the world’s largest and most respected manufacturers of cheese, whey protein, lactose and milk powders. We are successful for two reasons: (1) we know the cheese and ingredients business really well, and (2) we know that we can’t succeed without great people!

A Typical Day

The Chemical Process Engineer supports the Company’s strategic objectives through a focus on the optimum, most cost-effective methods of cleaning food processing equipment to enhance profitability, market position, and growth. This position will provide specific concentration on reducing product quality defects, water usage, chemical costs, equipment downtime, and product losses.


This position is responsible for providing technical expertise to all areas of sanitation, but with the greatest focus on CIP applications. This person will be the company’s technical resource for understanding the chemicals, technology, and strategies for cleaning all equipment at HCC.

Job Responsibilities

  • Implement sustainable solutions to cleaning challenges/issues: weighing factors of overall effectiveness, operational ownership, long term reliability, chemical usage, and water usage.
  • Optimize existing cleaning processes to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness.
  • Identify and address opportunities for yield improvement, waste reduction, throughput enhancement, and improved process control and consistency.
  • Provides technical assistance, research, and guidance to operations, sanitation, and quality assurance personnel to solve cleaning and microbiological issues
  • Coordinate with outside contractors and suppliers to resolve issues, optimize cleaning systems, trial new cleaning products, and stay up to date on the latest available cleaning technologies, food sanitation issues, and industry direction and trends.
  • Implement Process Control strategies that improve product quality and reduce variability.
  • Develop and implement Functional Descriptions and Process Control strategies that improve results and reduce variability. Coordinate with Process Programmers to debug and deploy in the plants.
  • Lead troubleshooting of persistent, complex cleaning issues.
  • Participate in teardowns and regulatory inspections to stay current on cleaning performance.
  • Collaborate with Sanitation group to provide technical training material to Operations and other departments.
  • Works closely with R&D, Engineering and Maintenance Staff to assist with equipment design and installation, Sanitation and Project reviews.
  • Ensure optimal solutions are implemented across all areas of HCC.
  • Work with Maintenance team to ensure critical processes, control points, and measurements are properly maintained for consistent performance.
  • Ability to adapt to Plant schedules in order to complete projects on time
  • Promote Company Culture
  • Achieve common business goals through cooperative alignment with all departments.

What You Will Need

  • English skills must be proficient to understand, read, write and speak English
  • Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering or related field
  • 2 + years’ work experience in sanitary / food manufacturing plant environment
  • Ability to complete energy and mass balances, and collect and analyze production data using statistical techniques
  • Ability to travel 10 – 25%, based on project needs
  • Intermediate experience using MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint required
  • Ability to effectively summarize and present technical information to a variety of audiences.

What Will Put You Ahead

  • Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering or related field
  • 3 + years of experience in food processing and process optimization
  • Knowledge of unit operations commonly found in the food industry

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 their respective area.
  • 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: Merced