Baking & Snack - July 2020 - 78

featured technical expert

READING BAKERY SYSTEMS: KEN ZVONCHECK
Developing the next big idea isn't new to Ken Zvoncheck. He's
been digging deep for inspiration throughout his career. And before he became the Reading Bakery Systems (RBS) director of process technology, he put his creative and technical mind to work
making snacks.
Mr. Zvoncheck started his career in baking directly out of college. He managed two regional snack plants for more than 20
years. During this time, he was involved in new product development and process efficiency - two sides of the creative coin.
"There is still some art in baked snack production, but so much
science can also be applied," he said.
This experience introduced Mr. Zvoncheck to the baking industry. Since then, he's transformed his experience into a career at RBS
by not only helping the company better implement its equipment
but also teaching bakers how to improve their own operations.
"Before coming to RBS, the plants that I managed were customers of RBS, so I tend to look at equipment as a customer rather
than a supplier," he said. "I believe this complements our engineering group well and challenges our staff, as I tend to see things from
a different perspective."
When he transitioned to RBS, he managed the Science &
Innovation Center for 15 years, which provided him exposure and
experience with customers developing a variety of baked snacks
around the world.
The experience was invaluable, he said, because he could help

78 Baking & Snack July 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com

customers fast-track their product development processes.
Mr. Zvoncheck's current role as director of process technology
lets him tap into his experience to show snack companies how to
improve and innovate.
"My goal is to help customers achieve superior quality, efficiency and energy savings in their processes, as well as help them develop new products to fill their capacity," he said.
With first-hand knowledge of how snack plants operate, he assists customers in choosing proper equipment based on the complicated process needs of a select snack. He understands the art involved in making a snack but also steers them to the right science.
"We must still respect their experience but also bring in the 'science' part of our knowledge," Mr. Zvoncheck said. "This analytical
approach, coupled with empirical knowledge, is a good blend of
expertise to direct our customers in what we feel is the right direction in making their choice. After all, their success is our success,
so we are all in this together."
Recently, he visited a customer in Europe who was having an issue developing a cracker to compete in their market. After reviewing their process, Mr. Zvoncheck discovered that the sequencing of
ingredients in the mixing phase wasn't ideal.
"We changed this to a different sequence, thereby adjusting the
acidity of the dough, and the development suddenly opened up,"
he said. "It's always a gratifying feeling when you have success and
know that you helped your customer going forward."


http://www.bakingbusiness.com

Baking & Snack - July 2020

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