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YCP@Work: Jake Zortman, Frito-Lay

August 03, 2023
Headshot of Jake Zortman

Jake Zortman graduated from York College in spring 2016 with a B.S. in Supply Chain Operations Management. He currently works as Processing Department Manager for the York plant of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay.

What made you choose to pursue a degree in this field? 

Dr. [Mohammed] Raja. I knew I wanted to be in Business, but he showed me the value of a Supply Chain Operations Management degree. Once I understood the vast array of career opportunities and the ability to have many different experiences, I knew it was the best path for me.

Describe a typical day on the job.

I lead a team of three Managers, five Production Leads, and 50+ Front-Line Operators. Together we produce roughly 300,000 pounds of Lays and Doritos chips every day. With that being said, every day is very different and dependent on the current manufacturing challenges. Most days are a balance of meetings, data analysis, and supporting the daily operations. By focusing on the right things, we continuously try to produce the best quality product while reducing operating costs.

How have you used your York College education since graduating?

SCM300 [Operations Management] is a class I often think back to when facing operational challenges at the plant. This class provided a great overview of the supply chain and how to optimize different areas of it while also understanding the impact to upstream and downstream operations.

What is most challenging about a career in this field?

Influencing and driving results through others. I personally do not make the product we produce, so I need to be able to get the buy-in from my team to achieve the desired results. Getting 50+ people to commit to the same goal is more challenging than you might think.

What do you like best about your career?

The unpredictability. Every day is different, and I love it! There is always a new issue or challenge to overcome, and it keeps work fresh and exciting.

What advice would you have for a student who is just starting out in this major?

Find your leadership style and learn how to effectively communicate. Being an effective leader does not happen overnight, and it takes years of experience to truly find your style. While you're still in school, group projects are a great way to exercise your leadership skills and increase the effectiveness of your communication.