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Research Associate

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

This Research Associate is responsible for conducting research experiments at bench, pilot plant, and commercial scale to develop new or improved dairy derived products, evaluate new processing technologies and ingredients, and provide internal support to Sales, Marketing, QA, and Manufacturing for these products. The employee provides assistance in the continuous improvement of products and processes. They will be part of a team responsible for developing process and product knowledge that can be used to maximize the value Hilmar Cheese recovers from milk. 

Job Responsibilities

  • Works cross functionally across the business to deliver an industry leading product and process. Operating as a technical resource, partners with other peers in the company to help drive the business forward in its quest to wow the customer and deliver operational excellence.
  • Develop and coordinate in trials and projects to develop processes to produce new and improved dairy derived food ingredients.
  • Supports process of building knowledge base to business has the tools and understanding to deliver consistent high quality product to customers.   Target areas include but are not exclusive to yield, throughput, cost of manufacturing, and product performance. 
  • Provide technical support for production and product performance. This includes providing support and feedback to Operations, QA, Sales, R&D and Engineering in establishing production procedures, improving production capacity and efficiency, and troubleshooting problems. 
  • Spends time in plants reviewing and understanding opportunities to improve process and product performance.
  • Maintains awareness of product performance with customers 
  • Connected to outside technology partners to ensure Hilmar Cheese has access to most up to date knowledge of opportunities to improve product and process performance. Design and conduct research experiments utilizing analytical instruments as well as bench, pilot plant and commercial scale process equipment.
  • Proficient data collection, management, and interpretation. As well as take an active role in determining the next steps alongside the project team/lead.
  • Facilitate understanding of the new product/process to Manufacturing through the development of standard operating procedures and training of operators.
  • Troubleshoot situations as they arise in the lab and the manufacturing plant(s) as processes and procedures are implemented.

What You Will Need

  • High School Diploma and 7 years’ related experience, OR Associate's degree in related field plus 3 years’ related experience, Bachelor’s degree in Food Science, Dairy Science, Process Engineering and 1 year related experience, or equivalent experience.
  • Knowledge of dairy manufacturing processes. 
  • Knowledge of production operations management for quality, yield and cost.
  • Experience working with Microsoft Office Software such a Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

What Will Put You Ahead

  • Bachelor’s degree in in Food Science, Dairy Science, Process Engineering or similar field plus 3 years’ of related experience or Master’s degree.
  • Advanced knowledge of cheese making.
  • Background with process improvement programs and procedures.
  • SAP, JMP, and Historian experience.

Physical Demands & Work Environment

The role has periods of time when the work environment is sedentary and conducted in an office environment balanced with frequent occasions that require prolonged walking or standing, lifting/ carrying/handling moderate weight objects on a regular basis.   Is required to wear PPE and have a regular presence in manufacturing and warehouse environments in both temperature controlled and uncontrolled locations. Must frequently interact with people verbally.  Specific details of the essential functions of the position is available in the Job Safety Analysis, made available on request.

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