When Fernandes Bakery’s management team noticed Rufin’s outstanding potential to excel as a career baking technologist, they included AIB’s Baking Science and Technology resident course as the first part of his career development plan. Prior to attending BS&T, Rufin was actively employed as Operations Manager of Fernandes’ snacks department.
“I was responsible for the production, sales, and distribution of our extruded snacks on a relatively small team of 30 employees”, says Rufin. “Today, I manage a team of 175 as Production Manager.”
In his new role, he’s responsible for total production of Fernandes Bakery’s bread, pastry, and snack departments. This includes fresh and par baked breads, sweet dough products, donuts, puff pastries, cakes, corn snacks, and potato chips. Rufin’s career advancement began almost immediately after graduation when he was offered a promotion within the company.
“My knowledge expanded and skills grew considerably when I gained a deeper understanding of the complex baking process," he said. “I came away with a toolkit full of industrial baking comprehension that I can use to oversee everyday challenges and provide solutions.”
Some of the biggest challenges Rufin faces as production manager are related to troubleshooting quality issues.
“Suriname is known for its high humidity”, Rufin says. “This has proved to be a challenge for stabilizing our doughnut glaze. Thanks to the knowledge I gained from BS&T I’m able to lead our team in identifying root causes to troubleshoot our quality issues”.
In addition to the doughnut glaze project, he recently established process control for Fernandes Bakery’s cake production department and is now working on a hamburger bun development project. Along with the bakery science knowledge, Rufin also graduated with a new set of soft skills to add to his repertoire. The confidence he gained from the teamwork, dedication, time management, and leadership skills that the class developed in him were directly applied upon his return to the plant.
“We built a comradery in Class 187”, Rufin says. “My network grew as I connected with other bakers all over the world. Still today, our group exchanges ideas and helps each other troubleshoot various production challenges that we experience.”
Like most BS&T graduates, Rufin is grateful for the impact the course has had on his career.
“I appreciate Fernandes Bakery for giving me this opportunity,” Rufin remarks. “AIB’s teachers, lab assistants, and behind the scenes team made my BS&T experience exceptional."