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Senior Research Scientist

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 Senior Research Scientist is responsible for designing, conducting and supervising research experiments at bench, pilot plant, and commercial scale to develop new or improved dairy derived products. Identify and evaluate new processing technologies and ingredients, and provide technical leadership and expertise to Sales, Marketing, QA, and Manufacturing for these products. The employee leads and mentors others in the business in the continuous improvement of products and processes. They will be a leader in 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, works with and mentors others in the company to help drive the business forward in its quest to wow the customer and deliver operational excellence.
  • Develop processes to produce new and improved dairy derived products.
  • Leads process of building knowledge base to ensure business has the tools and understanding to deliver consistent high quality product to customers. Can transfer this knowledge to others. 
  • Leads and supervises process/product improvement projects, and trials and additionally spends time in plants reviewing and understanding opportunities to improve process 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. 
  • Manages relationships with outside technology partners to ensure Hilmar Cheese has access to most up to date knowledge of opportunities to improve product and process performance. Design, conduct and supervise research experiments utilizing analytical instruments as well as bench, pilot plant and commercial scale process equipment.
  • Expertise in data collection, management, and interpretation. Can use this to determine next steps and develop and present plan to business identifying strategic priorities and financial value of work. 
  • Prepares project review updates on a regular basis, and communicate research findings and knowledge of products internally through seminars, reports, presentations, and training.
  • Leads and supervises transfer of the new product/process to manufacturing through the development of standard operating procedures and training of operators.
  • Troubleshoot and resolve situations as they arise in the lab and the manufacturing plant(s) as processes and procedures are implemented.

What You Will Need

  • Master’s degree plus 3 years’ related experience, or PhD plus 2 years’ related experience
  • Knowledge of research principles and ability to perform experiments requiring precise control of process variables and execution of complicated method.
  • Good knowledge of chemistry, specifically in the field of dairy chemistry and protein chemistry and ability to apply the knowledge to process trouble-shooting and product development. 
  • Good knowledge of experimental design, methods of data analysis, and basic statistics and ability to apply the analytical skills in trouble-shooting and product development.
  • Ability to effectively use common lab and pilot plant instruments/equipment. 
  • Good organizational skills and ability to work with multiple projects and deadlines.
  • Experience influencing employees and teams.
  • Strong communication skills including presentation of scientific materials.

What Will Put You Ahead

  • Master’s degree plus 5 years’ related experience or PHD plus 3 years’ related experience.
  • Demonstrated hands-on dairy product development experience from its inception to scale-up and commercialization. 
  • Possess extensive knowledge and experience within the categories of dairy products, F&B categories, and nutritional/ functional food products.
  • Advanced knowledge of cheese and or dairy ingredient manufacturing.
  • 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