Ben Handley, From Sweeping Floors to Senior Leader
When Ben was 19 years old, he left school and followed his dad to PepsiCo in Coventry, UK, where he began working in an entry-level role as a “seasoning operator,” essentially filling a small hopper with seasoning, sweeping the floors, and emptying bins.
Little did he know, this was the first step to discovering his passion and calling.
Ben quickly progressed within the business and found his first role in maintenance as a Production Technical Operator, which involved maintaining the line. At this point in time, he was the youngest production technical operator on-site
After five years, Ben moved up once again to become a Process Specialist, where he began examining his site’s operations to find inefficiencies, developing strategies to help them improve the site’s processes, and ensuring that each team was educated on best practices.
Working as a First Time Junior Manager
“As a junior manager, I was able to come in and help break shift KPI records for the entire site in our metrics from the help of the entire team at PepsiCo. Mostly for the amount of hours booked towards reliability and improvement activities.”
From that point on, Ben went onto the management route to where he is today, the Plant Maintenance Manager at PepsiCo.
Seven months into his new role, he is responsible for multi-million British pounds worth of assets on-site, and is accountable for a multi-million pound budget, while also leading a large team of 45 individuals at the largest snack manufacturing site in Europe.
Ben’s Mission to Change Company Culture
“Put yourself outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Do not live with regrets. Many of the roles I had, I wasn’t going to apply for because I thought I wasn’t capable enough. Had I let the worry and self-doubt get a hold of me, I would probably still be on the line wondering what could have been.”
Within the past seven months, Ben has been working hard to change company culture and team processes, while creating a new structure that will allow for further development opportunities for his team.
What Ben loves about his role is that he gets to empower his coworkers by making sure everyone feels heard and valued, as well as ensuring that everyone believes that they can achieve anything.
After all, maintenance is all about having that can-do attitude and gritty resourcefulness to creatively solve problems.
One of his peers even wrote a poem about Ben’s inspiring journey:
“He came one day to follow his Dad,
But everyone thought Ben was mad.
He worked those shifts and met his wife,
Talk about work with the ‘trouble and strife’.
He quickly rose amongst the ranks,
Working the hours without many thanks.
And then his skills he started to hone,
An engineer with potential he never did moan.
Now he heads up the maintenance team,
Working pro-actively, whilst keeping things clean.
He heads up projects and delivers those goals
Let’s face it, Ben has PepsiCo in his soul!”
Ben’s journey, from sweeping the floors at 19 to having a senior leadership role at 31, is a testament to his resilience and ambition.