Ferrara, a company related to The Ferrero Group, is an emerging powerhouse in the North American confections and sweet snacking categories. A passionate team of more than 6,000 employees works together to share delight in every bite through leading brands that have shaped the industry for more than 100 years.

Expert Breakthrough Innovation Engineer

Job Location: ​Bellwood​

Want to make an impact?

Reporting to the Director of Breakthrough Innovation, this individual will lead the identification, scouting and scoping of processing technologies and new products in breakthrough innovation for the Sugar (confections) portfolio. Projects will be related to new technologies for breakthrough innovation. The Principal Process Engineer will be responsible for technical coaching and mentoring of junior process engineering within the department.

Ways you will make a difference

•    Lead the technical identification, scouting and evaluation of new processing technologies to support the creation and execution of the 5-year strategic pipeline. 
•    Lead the creation of inventions, and implementation of innovations by providing technical determination of highly complex technical solutions for processing equipment for the 5+ year strategic pipeline.
•    Create new opportunities to increase product formats by leveraging existing process capabilities and technologies in novel ways as well as identifying new process technologies to expand the portfolio. 
•    Create plans that are proactively focused on solutions that increase the process capability within our manufacturing facilities and minimize negative impact to scrap, run rates, etc. while keeping key stakeholders abreast of progress throughout the project
•    Effectively bring concepts to life through communication of potential product applications from enabling technologies
•    Potentially manage 1-2 direct reports in product or process development that support breakthrough innovation
•    Lead the scope, execution, and analysis of data on work streams & trials and use results to progress projects.
•    Collaborate with R&D Product Development Scientists towards the development of new product initiatives from bench to pilot scale, and into full-scale execution. Providing technological expertise for process identification and scoping in early development, ideal process recommendations, and smooth handover to Operations.
•    Partner and work closely with Marketing, Supply Chain, Operations, Engineering, Packaging functions, etc. toward successful planning, scale up, and execution of all the initiatives.
•    Build technical expertise in the sugar category by networking with subject matter experts within the company and externally to identify enabling process technologies for breakthrough innovation.
•    Provide guidance into R&D project timelines to ensure required equipment and resources are available for use. 
•    Lead and implement new programs and protocols related to process engineering.
•    Install equipment in pilot plant and participate in production scale equipment FATs.
•    Compile plans related to and lead qualification of equipment installs in production environments.
•    Lead process development for R&D initiatives: generating process/product specifications, product & process manuals, and troubleshooting guidance.
•    Understands and demonstrates the Company’s core values.
•    Conducts assigned work in a safe manner and adheres to Ferrara safety methods.

Skills that will make you successful

•    Ability to translate multifaceted concepts from the Marketing team into actionable engineering/commissioning plans that can be worked through with the Operations and Engineering teams
•    Creativity in applying existing process technology in novel ways or identifying new process technology for developing new product concepts for breakthrough innovation
•    Experience in breakthrough innovation and/or process engineering for fuzzy front-end innovation development
•    Good understanding/appreciation of the broader business environment and application of technical and commercial knowledge during project execution.
•    Very strong interpersonal skills with ability to influence with integrity through persuasive communication to win support at more senior levels within R&D, Operations and Supply Chain, and to build effective relationships with a wide range of stakeholders.
•    Good technical, analytical, and communication skills; ability to interpret data and distil into useful and actionable information.
•    Mastery of certain processing technologies related to food/pharma/bio product manufacturing
•    Expertise in areas such as: sanitation, LOTO, control logic, and maintenance
•    Self-starter, self-motivating: able to balance competing priorities without losing momentum and manage uncertainty and complexity in fast evolving CPG environments.
•    Quickly analyze complex problems to find actionable pragmatic solutions and constructive action plan.
•    Able to inspire passion and creativity around shared goals with colleagues, and support an environment of achievement, recognition, and celebration.
•    Ability to create and use networks to actively seek and take advantage of ideas, best practices, and solutions.
•    Adopt a positive, inclusive work environment where colleagues feel respected and valued for their contributions.
•    Strive for high standards, seeks innovative solutions, drives continuous improvement of products and processes, and demonstrates a high degree of attention to detail.
•    Highly numerate and computer literate (Microsoft Office), statistical software experience a plus.
•    Demonstrated ability to meet critical deadlines.
•    Previous experience dealing with multiple equipment vendors and managing multiple projects simultaneously.

Experiences that will support your success

•    B.S. in Food Process Engineering, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Food Science, or related field. M.S., P.E.  or PhD preferred
•    Minimum of 10 years of experience in a CPG R&D or Manufacturing Role, confectionary experience a plus.
•    This role is based in the Chicagoland area, but the candidate must be willing to work flexible hours on occasion and travel as necessary to internal and external facilities to support manufacturing line trials.
•    Valid driving license is required.
•    Availability to travel >50% of time and higher when required.

Our diverse portfolio of nearly 35 brands includes SweeTARTS®, Trolli®, BRACH'S®, Black Forest® and NERDS®, along with iconic favorites like Lemonhead®, Red Hots® and Now and Later®. Ferrara also manages the Keebler® and Famous Amos® businesses for The Ferrero Group.  Headquartered in Chicago, Ferrara has an operational network of 20 locations in North America that includes manufacturing, distribution and R&D facilities. Learn more at www.ferrarausa.com.


We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. In order to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities to all qualified applicants and employees, employment decisions and opportunities at Ferrara will be based on merit, qualifications, and abilities, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital or civil union status, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, military or veteran status, disability, handicap, genetic information, pregnancy (childbirth or related medical condition), or on any other basis prohibited by law. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training.