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Allen Winslow has the official title of Supply Chain Senior Planning Manager at Frito Lay. In short, he is described as the Regional Plant Manager of Frito Lay. Allen began the path to his position by studying Economics at Bowling Green State University. Shortly after graduating, Allen moved to Birmingham, Alabama to begin working with Welch’s as the Production Supervisor. Enjoying his work and field, he decided to move to Indiana and further his education. Allen studied at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he graduated with his MBA. Moving to Indiana, opened the door of working for Welch’s competitor, Frito Lay. Although his position with the company has changed over the years, Allen started working with Frito Lay in 1996.
Frito Lay is headquartered in Plano, Texas- the location Allen encouraged me to move to to work for the company. He explained the numerous opportunities to climb the corporate ladder and thoroughly praised the company. Allen was consistent on explaining that Frito Lay is a successful and quality company to work with. His biggest compliment for the company is their strength in sales over the past few years. The company is a subsidiary of PepsiCo, which has seen falling revenue and sales. He predicts that PepsiCo’s sales will continue to be consistent, specifically at 1%, whereas he predicts Frito Lay will continue to increase their sales at a higher percentage of 6-7%. Although Allen does not work or focus on the forecasting, or even the revenue section of the Income Statement, he seems enjoys reviewing and predicting sales based on information only insiders have. Allen’s role instead is to examine and monitor the expenses section of the Income Statement.
Allen explained the most stressful or least satisfying part of his job is making mistakes with the numbers and specifically the fear of being audited by the SEC. I was informed the SEC had investigated other plants across the nation where Frito Lays employees have either intentionally or unintentionally manipulated the numbers. Those employees were then terminated. As part of his position, the pressure to pay attention to detail and remaining consistent with his work weighs heavy on him. I can understand the how paying close attention to numbers is crucial based on my work as an undergraduate Finance major.
I asked Allen specifically what kinds of skills hiring managers look for in the position he is in. Based on Allen’s answer, I inferred the skills and quality one needs in his position also applies to someone who seeks to work in the finance or business field. Some of the skills included working diligently and paying close attention to detail. As Allen is the Regional Plant Manager of the Midwest, he travels frequently and days tend to not be nine to five. He explained if someone were to take over his specific position, they must feel comfortable travelling and being away from his family during the week.
Allen believes there are downsides to every job, however an upside of working for Frito Lay’s is seeing the company grow based on numbers. He also finds enjoyment witnessing new innovations and products being produced. One recent product that was released that he is pleased by is Bubbly, which competes against La Croix. Another benefit Allen receives from working with Frito Lay is having the opportunity to test and try new products before they hit the stores. He is able to bring home different chips for his family to eat and appreciate.
For someone wanting to enter or progress in Allen’s field, he recommends internships and possibly even graduate school. I found in recent years that MBA’s are becoming overdone, as opposed to receiving a Master’s degree in something more specific, such as Taxation, Accounting, or Management. However, Allen argued MBA’s are still substantial and impactful degrees to possess. He also explained the advantage and value of having work experience on your resume. He expressed having education is crucial, but so is having the hands-on experience in the field. Along the same lines, Allen informed me that as Frito Lay continues to produce new innovations and products, he believes there is no fear that his position will disappear. He also believes there is the opportunity for more positions. There will always be a need for managers in different regions of the nation for massive companies, such as PepsiCo.
I finally asked Allen about his opinion on the sensitive topic of the new corporate tax law decreasing. I have known Allen for a some time, so was comfortable asking. I was curious about the views of someone who is affected by the change due to working in Corporate America. It was interesting to hear how he found the change from a 35% tax to a 21% tax beneficial to companies and to the United States. He believes the change will positively affect the economy and Frito Lay.
Speaking with Allen provided me with more confidence and comfortability with my future as a Finance graduate. The idea of security and stability working in the corporate world is something Allen treasures. It was interesting to listen to his opinion on avoiding working as an independent, self-employed worker, even as he knows that is the position I am in- working for a self-employed Financial Advisor.
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