Community service

Last week during the annual Pine Barrens Festival in Tabernacle, one of Pine Island’s team members received a special award from his home community. Per the Pine Barrens Tribune:

During each night of the festival, a different town from the Burlington County communities of the Pine Barrens is spotlighted as part of a “Focus On Our Town” event. . .

“We firmly believe that the quality of life in each town is highlighted by the quality and quantity of volunteer service that is gifted to the town by its people,” [Holy Eucharist spokesperson Mary] Fischl said. “We wish to show our appreciation and congratulate these folks.”

This year, the recipient for Woodland Township’s annual award was our very own Facilities/Equipment manager Louis Cantafio!

Louis has been a hard-working team member since he started here six years ago, always willing to do whatever it takes and work as many hours as he needs to to make sure everything is done, especially in an emergency.

“Louis is just a really good guy,” says Woodland Township mayor Bill DeGroff. “He volunteers a lot of his free time and expertise for zero compensation. The minute he hears someone needs something, his first response is usually ‘What can I do to help?’ He’s on the land use board, he volunteers with the forest fire service, and he’s been spending a lot of time pitching in with the fire house remodel, even though he’s not a company member. It was a pretty easy decision to offer his name for the award.”

“We’re really impressed with the work that Louis does in the community,” says Pine Island CEO Bill Haines. “It’s obvious that he brings the same kind of dedication and energy to his community that he brings to his work at Pine Island, and we’re really proud of him.”

Chile – sand screener

Back in February, our equipment team was working to prep our old sand screener to ship it to our affiliate farm, Cranberries Austral Chile (CAC).

Ernie, who was the lead on the project, put in a lot of time making the necessary repairs for easy maintenance when it gets down to Chile. “We want to make sure it’s in great shape for those guys,” he said at the time. “…Basically, we’re going over it and making sure everything is right and that it’s running well.” He also mentioned that actually getting it into the shipping container was going to be a project in itself, and he was absolutely right!

Coco Mercado says, “We did a lot of prep work. All the bigger stuff wouldn’t fit inside the container, so we had to disassemble all the big pieces and make absolutely sure all fluids were drained in order to pass through Customs.” Supervisor Carlos Baez says it took the entire day to disassemble everything, but it is about ready to go! “It’s going to be a tight fit, I can tell you right now,” he says. “But I took a lot of pictures as we were taking everything apart, so once it arrives they should be able to put it back together pretty easily.”

Facilities and Equipment Manager Louis Cantafio is pleased the project is just about wrapped up. “The biggest challenge was getting the conveyor off, but the worst is over,” he says. “Once it gets down there, CAC has the bigger challenge in putting it back together!” CAC, however, has been fantastically helpful about project details. “I thought I would need to research shipping companies, but they have people they deal with all the time and took care of all the transport logistics; it was great.” He’s pleased that this project is wrapping up so the team can turn their attention to some other big projects: in addition to sending some other equipment down to Chile with the screener, the team is working on several maintenance and building projects right here at home. “We’re doing a lot of work on the pump houses making sure they stay in compliance, we got the new Hydremas, we had some involvement in the camp reno, and then we’re pouring bases for new pump houses and rebuilding engines for the bog renovation project. We have a lot going on!”

“But ultimately, CAC is going to be able to increase their efficiency in processing sand, and that’s a job well done for us,” Louis says. “My team always does whatever it takes to hit our targets.”

From Bill’s Desk: “Whatever It Takes”

Our newest feature: the first in an occasional series of entries by CEO Bill Haines.

At Pine Island Cranberry we believe in doing what ever it takes to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. In fact, “Whatever It Takes” is one of the six core values that guide everything we do. This week three of our team demonstrated the kind of dedication it takes to put that core value into action.

The first day of harvest, our Sim Place well went out of commission when the harmonic balancer (also known as a dampener pulley) broke. It has been a dry August and September; our reservoirs are not as full as we would like. The well was crucial to flooding our Panama bogs for their first harvest. Louis Cantafio, manager of Equipment and Facilities, immediately went into action. He dispatched Ernie Waszkiewicz to remove the radiator from the engine to gain access to the balancer. In the meantime, he used every resource available to find the part. After locating one in northern New Jersey that afternoon, he made a four hour round trip to retrieve it. While waiting for Louis to return, Ernie rigged lights to make it possible to repair the engine and put everything back together after dark.

While this was going on, supervisor Matt Giberson, leader of the Blue harvest team, was successfully doing everything possible to flood the Panama bogs for picking. The team hit its target.

When Louis arrived with the balancer, he, Ernie and Matt went right to work. At 9:30 PM, I received a laconic text from Louis stating simply, “Well running”.

I am very proud of the effort, professionalism and dedication they displayed the first day of our 2013 harvest. They are perfect examples of the entire Pine Island team’s determination to do “whatever it takes” to be the best in the world at what we do. I am lucky to have such a team.

New beginnings

One of our strategic drivers at Pine Island Cranberry Company is our equipment and facilities management. Instrumental to the daily efficiency and success of our operation is well-maintained, consistently available equipment and facilities that are fully operational. We have long maintained our own shop on the property, and early in 2011, began making plans to upgrade our facility. The weather had other plans for our projected timeline: an afternoon storm on July 24 destroyed the maintenance shop and several equipment sheds at the farm and also damaged eleven vehicles. In the end, strange as it sounds, the storm actually helped: despite the difficulties with the aftermath, we were able to put the new building in the original location.

Facilities supervisor Mike Guest acted as general contractor for the project, coordinating all aspects during the long process, and did an amazing job. Bill’s daughter Becca Fenstermaker also helped kickstart the project, visiting several area locations to get ideas for what we would need.

Friday’s grand opening was also a chance for many of our neighbors and vendors to meet our new equipment and facilities manager, Louis Cantafio. Louis, a former land manager with the Franklin Parker Preserve, has been here since early July and is greatly enjoying his time here so far. He says, “Every day it’s always something new and something different.” Mechanic Ernie Waskiewicz agrees: “It’s fun because it’s not the same thing every day, and you’re doing something that needs to be done.” With three advanced degrees, Louis enjoys learning for learning’s sake and is having a good time picking up all the ins and outs of the cranberry business. He was initially attracted to the scale of things at Pine Island, and from his time in the area (he and his wife live in Chatsworth in a house they designed and he built himself) he knows many of our team members and how they both work hard and have a good time.

Louis also believes in continuous improvement; in many ways, starting from scratch here has been a help to him in his work. He doesn’t believe in doing things in a particular way just because they’ve always been done that way; he likes finding out why things are done and then finding ways to improve them if need be, whether it’s ordering parts, purchasing equipment, or analyzing standard practices. And he’ll do whatever it takes to help achieve our company goals, pitching in wherever he’s needed.

Addressing the crowd gathered at the official opening, Bill said, “It’s a great day for Pine Island Cranberry; this makes us that much more efficient and that much better. It makes our team that much better. I’m proud of this place and I’m proud of our team: they do a great job every day to make us what we are.” Mike Guest agrees: “It’s great to see our guys able to work more safely and more efficiently.” He’s also proud of the place; he says that in addition to the surface things (layout, equipment, space), there are many things that we don’t see which contribute to making it a fantastic place to work.