HWA Stakeholder Spotlight: Our Employees
Our second stakeholder spotlight of the year focuses on our employees.
We’re proud of our industry-leading HWA team and are incredibly thankful for their hard work, day in and day out. HWA employees come from diverse backgrounds but come together to ensure the success of our company.
Some statistics about our employees:
- 93% identify as a racial or ethnic minority.
- 53% of employees are female.
- 38% of managers are female.
- 48% of employees are under the age of 24 or over the age of 50.
One of our outstanding team members is Hortencia Solorio. Without Hortencia, Harris Woolf Almonds would not be the company it is today.
“Hortencia has been a part of Harris Woolf Almonds since the beginning over 30 years ago and is an amazing teammate. She leads by example with a strong work ethic and attention to detail. But it’s not just what she does, it’s how she does it. Hortencia passes along this culture of excellence to all of us at Harris Woolf Almonds by openly sharing her knowledge and learned experiences.” – Justin Morehead, Harris Woolf Almonds CEO
We sat down with Hortencia to ask her about her experience working at HWA.
- How long have you worked at Harris Woolf Almonds?
- What is your job title and what are some of your responsibilities?
"I’m the Logistics and Accounts Receivable Manager. I enter all sales contracts, manage AR and aging. I set up all domestic shipments and work with other team members to organize export shipments by securing containers and getting them to port. I also deal with customer shipping instructions and packaging requests and make sure that payments are received. I work with the quality department to communicate shipping instructions, get labels approved, and ensure all labs needed for an order have been completed. I also do the monthly Almond Board reporting. I complete all credit reference request for customers."
- What position did you start with and how did you get to your current position?
"I started at the scale as a weighmaster and transitioned into doing phytosanitary certificates, creating invoices, payroll, Accounts payable, Accounts receivable, and helped with HR duties. As the company grew and more people were hired. Eventually, I started managing the logistics for all out bound shipments and have been doing this for about 12 years."
- What does a normal day look like for you?
"Well, that has definitely changed because of the issues at the ports that we’ve been dealing with recently. It used to be if we didn’t pack a load in time and missed the boat, it was our fault but now boats are constantly being delayed. The dilemma is, should we send out the loads and have them wait at the yard or should we tell the truck to come back another day and leave the load here, taking up space at our facility? Getting containers booked has become a challenge. We used to ask for a booking and get it the same day but now it can take weeks to secure a booking and it might still get cancelled. Because of this, we try to have orders packed at least two weeks in advance so if we do get a booking quickly, we can get the load out right away."
- You’ve been here since the company started in 1989? What was day 1 like and how is it different today? What’s changed over the years?
"Well food safety has changed over the years. 30 years ago, we would just pack a load and send it off. Now, we must wait for labs to check for the presence of salmonella, mold, or other contaminants that the customer might request. Food safety is especially important to our company, but it has changed operations over the years.
We started as a small operation with maybe a few shipments a week and now to effectively manage storage and make budget, we ship 9-10 loads a day.
Technology has changed over the years too. I used to input certificates on a typewriter and now everything has been automated and almost all my work is done via email."
- What is your favorite part about working at Harris Woolf Almonds?
"I really enjoy the challenge of being able to ship out pounds and figuring out a way to get everything out. The more we ship, the better off we all are. I must constantly adjust the schedule to make sure shipments are completed and that’s something I enjoy doing. It is like a puzzle."
- Is there anything else you’d like to say about working at Harris Woolf?
"I like working for a family-owned company. The owners are great people and always make you feel like a part of the family."
Thank you, Hortencia, for the time, dedication, and energy you’ve given as a valued HWA team member!