What’s the secret to longevity? Loving your work. Enjoying the company of your coworkers. And a little dancing doesn’t hurt. For 20 years, Cristina "Ma" Torres has been a quality control associate with Staff Management | SMX at Johnsonville’s Countryside plant in Sheboygan Falls, Wis. In that time, she’s worked more than 32,000 hours and maintained the same second shift schedule so she can take care of her disabled sister during the day.
“Ma Torres has made a great impact here at Johnsonville and on everyone that knows her,” said Lee Vang, Johnsonville’s team leader for operations at its Countryside plant. “Although she is quiet and does not have much to say, Ma is one of the quickest and best trayers we have. Her keen eyes and attention to detail are among her best characteristics along with the smile behind that face mask. We are honored and glad to have Ma as part of our team here at Johnsonville. We work as a team and win as a team. We look forward to many more happy years to come.”
Torres has worked alongside thousands of workers, including Alberto, her husband of 50 years, and five of their ten children, many of whom will be on hand when Staff Management | SMX and Johnsonville celebrate her with a social-distanced ceremony on Dec. 4. She and her family will celebrate with cheesecake and she will be presented with a certificate and a Walmart gift card as thank-yous for her longtime service.
But despite the milestone, Torres, who was Staff Management | SMX’s 2016 Associate of the Year has no plans to slow down.
“I'm comfortable here,” she said. “I'm older and I've been thinking about retiring but I like my job so much, and how I feel here that I've been putting it off. If I retire for a while, I would still like to come back here and work few days a week.”
And the company would welcome her. As a native Spanish speaker, she is able to help Spanish-speaking workers acclimate to the floor. That’s why she has long been the main trainer for associates whose primary language is Spanish and why no matter what language associates speak, they look to Ma for guidance.
"Ma has long been a huge part of our success for many years,” said Amanda Brendel, Staff Management | SMX senior account manager at Johnsonville. “Not only has she taught new workers how to do their jobs over the years, she also makes sure that they know how to be safe, which is the most important thing in a large production environment. Ma is a true inspiration to anyone who has the privilege of working with her.”
With her focus on quality control, she has ensured the quality of millions of Johnsonville’s famous sausages without incident. Her work ethic and attention to detail has led to a safe work record – recording only one accident, due to slipping on a wet and greasy floor – and the respect and admiration of many across the company.
“What I like most about working for Staff Management | SMX is the people and the work environment,” she said. “I love the harmony and respect because even when I don't speak the language and I work with English speakers they are nice to me and always find a way to communicate with me (signs or speaking slowly so that I can understand).”
An avid dancer in her spare time, she plans to continue dancing her way across the Johnsonville floor. And the plant wouldn’t be the same without her.
“Ma has easily been one of my most loyal and reliable workers,” said Justin Goetz, account supervisor at Staff Management | SMX. “She is truly one of a kind and always gives her line careful and attentive eyes for the best form of quality she can. Johnsonville and Staff Management are much stronger for having her as part of our team. Thanks to Ma Torres for her hard work and dedication over the years. I look forward to the future with her here at the Countryside plant.”
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