Marcela Covarrubias, Rosa Madrigal, and Melissa Gonzalez Lead the Charge in Stemilt’s EFI Certifications
WENATCHEE, WA - Behind every accomplishment is a bold, talented leader—or three. Marcela Covarrubias, Rosa Madrigal, and Melissa Gonzalez are those leading Stemilt on its ambitious journey to achieve Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) certification across its numerous warehouses and ranches.
“The EFI certification is an important step to provide both retailers and consumers transparency that World Famous Fruit is ‘Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured,’” said West Mathison, President of Stemilt. “But more than that, it equips our team members with important skills to live our core values and culture, while working together to cultivate people and delight consumers through excellence. I’m incredibly proud of the people involved in bringing this to life across our company.”
Having already certified its Quincy location, achieving this goal is a proactive step in building up company culture around Stemilt's mission, values, vision, and goals, as noted in a press release. To obtain the certification, leadership teams across Stemilt’s orchards and packing facilities receive training on over 300 rigorous standards surrounding food safety, labor practices, and pest management, with emphasis on collaboration, respect, and creating a culture of food safety.
“The EFI trainings are rigorous and require a lot of time and effort,” said Mathison. “Marcela, Rosa, and Melissa have stepped up to organize training and implement the EFI program to help us continue our mission of cultivating people and delighting consumers through excellence. They are also working toward becoming certified internal trainers of EFI to help us foster the program into the future.”
Covarrubias joined Stemilt seven years ago and has held positions across multiple departments before moving into her current role as Employee Engagement Coordinator. Madrigal has been with the company for nearly 10 years and recently took on the role of Safety Coordinator. Gonzalez began working in Stemilt’s orchards in 2014 and now serves as Food Safety Specialist for the grower.
“Marcela, Rosa, and Melissa represent Stemilt as our internal EFI trainers because they demonstrate Stemilt’s values and cultural norms through their work on a daily basis,” Mathison explained. “As certified EFI trainers, they will be responsible for understanding EFI standards, along with identifying problems that could affect compliance. They also work with leadership teams to identify solutions and communicate with the broader workforce about EFI. Rosa focuses on the field side, working with the various ranches, while Melissa handles the warehouse side. Marcela then acts as a back up to both and is our main EFI coordinator.”
To become a trainer, these three members must go through a minimum of 40 hours of training via online courses, in-person training, and a final audit to receive their internal trainer certification, the press release noted. Once the trainers are certified, they will provide ongoing training throughout the company, working with various leadership teams at each individual location.
“The certified trainer role has proven itself worthy, and to have three individuals inside the organization who understand how to implement EFI principles is extremely advantageous for Stemilt,” says Kevin Boyle, Director of Business and New Product Development for EFI. “The trainers support and strengthen the essential skills of farmworkers, supervisors, and managers. They seek compliance and continuous improvement through collaboration with the leadership teams and follow EFI procedures.”
Stemilt is looking to achieve several EFI certifications by the end of 2021.
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