York College connection helped HR Director at Brown’s Orchards get her start
Adrienne Beck ’19 does a lot in her role as Human Resources Director at Brown’s Orchards and Farm Markets. She recruits, hires, trains, fires, and has even dressed up as a bumblebee (for children’s events, of course).
Over the years, the Loganville, York County, farm business has grown from a roadside produce stand to a venture with 175 employees, 200 acres of fields and orchards, a 29,000-square-foot market store with a bakery and café, plus a catering operation. Adrienne, a York College of Pennsylvania graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Human Resource Management and a minor in legal studies, is helping to manage it all.
The Wrightsville native enjoys the family-oriented environment and the broad scope of her duties. “I have worked weddings, helped with produce, the ice cream for breakfast program,” she says. “I’ve given tours for school kids around orchards. I’m never bored.”
A workplace necessity
Adrienne views human resource management as one key to a company’s success. “If you look at businesses from the time of Henry Ford, there were a lot of employees on the assembly lines and not much regard for standards of training employees,” she says. “It was easy to discriminate, especially against women. Now, there is more of a regard for human standards, how each other should be treated.”
The needs can reflect the times, she points out. “A really big item at the moment, especially with the #MeToo movement, is sexual harassment training and making sure people don’t treat others unfairly, making sure every employee feels safe and comfortable at work,” she says.
Her interest in human resources developed from her York College courses, including Legal Environment of Business, Human Resources, and Leadership and Change. “I took a few HR classes and thought, man, this is something I really enjoy doing,” she says. She liked the social component of the subject.
Her interest in business grew out of her membership in FFA (formerly called Future Farmers of America) in high school, where she learned about farm and business management. “I always liked management,” she says. “It’s cool to see how people work and work together.”
In landing her current job, timing worked in Adrienne’s favor. In a first-year business class, she had interviewed a professional whose work she thought might interest her. That person was the Human Resources Director at Brown’s, Adrienne’s predecessor.
Then, after her junior year, she served an internship with a local law firm where she learned about sexual harassment training and analyzing employment cases. “It was just really neat to see how the legal side of business works,” she says.
One of her professors, who worked at the firm, mentioned that Brown’s had a part-time opening in HR because the director whom Adrienne had interviewed had departed. Two months before graduation, Adrienne started working several days a week at Brown’s, where other staffers helped her with human resources. “I filled in the gaps, and they offloaded all the duties on me when I went full-time,” she says.
Connections pay dividends
Besides academics, Adrienne kept busy during college by greeting campus visitors and leading tours, which is paying off in her job at Brown’s. She also credits the preparation for her position to classes in which professors have strong ties to the York-area business community. “When you have a question about a program, the teachers are so great about reaching out to their local contacts to get you opportunities,” she says.
That town-and-gown connection is what led her to York College in the first place, she says.
“It was because of its robust business program,” she explains. “When I looked at schools, it had the small-class sizes I liked as well as connections in York and Lancaster counties. The business program reaches out to local businesses as well as larger corporations.”