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Cory Thomas celebrates 10 years at TVS

Cory Thomas celebrates 10 years at TVS

With over a decade of experience at TVS, Cory Thomas can be found working in almost any production area. Cory is able to flow between all the different lines and provide additional support wherever it is needed.

“Cory has been a regular fixture here at TVS! Over the years, Cory has performed a variety of jobs at TVS and takes his work seriously,” said TVS CEO Jamie Brandenburg. “I have always appreciated his loyalty and dedication to our mission and company.”

Cory was originally hired on second shift, palletizing and case sealing on lines producing SuperCereal, Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk (INDM), and Bakery Mixes.

Now, Cory prefers to work in Supplements. “My favorite spot is on the supplement line, I enjoy the flow of the work and the atmosphere,” said Cory. “I enjoy having the chance to talk to my coworkers.”

In Supplements, Cory can be found blowing out canisters, palletizing, or any other job they need him to do. “Cory is a hard worker with good work ethic,” said Supplement Production Lead Richie Atwell.  “He does his work with a smile.”

Cory works by the motto, “drive to go home or don’t steer.” Or in other words, care about what you do.

“I enjoy watching Cory grow and appreciate his willingness to work in new departments,” said Dietary Supplements Operation Manager Brian Wilson. “I am very proud of his recent progress in his personal life.” 

Cory is native to Transylvania County, and has been involved with TVS for 12 years. Before graduating from Brevard High in 2011, Cory completed his high school requirements by finding employment through Vocational Rehabilitation at TVS.

Over the past 10 years Cory said, “I am able to do more jobs and spread my wings more. I have become more well-rounded and have started to try more.”

When Cory is not at work he can be found practicing Taekwondo, working towards his black belt. Cory is also trained in Kick Boxing and Muay Thai. He has already competed in two different tournaments and aims to keep getting better and better.

Cory also enjoys hanging out with friends, swimming, hiking, social events, and being online. If you are ever looking for Cory on a social media network, it would help you to know that Steven King is his favorite author, as well as, the name of the hotel owner in The Shining.

He can be found in tropical locations on vacation. While his favorite location was Jamaica, he also enjoyed visiting the Bahama’s, Cayman Islands, and Myrtle Beach.

Looking back over the years, Cory remembers all the company picnics, riding inflatable animals in the field out back, evenings together celebrating Christmas, and has lots of memories with good people – some of which are no longer here.

Cory looks forward to continue growing at TVS and moving into whatever position his credentials will take him.

When asked to share some stories about Cory, Brian smiled and said, “I have some great stories involving Cory. They just cannot be repeated here.” 

A Letter of Appreciation

A Letter of Appreciation

A nice surprise popped into the TVS email last week, a letter of appreciation from Allison Snyder. Allison is an Inclusion Education Major at Western Carolina University (WCU) who graduated from Rosman High School in 2019.

The letter is a nice reminder that our mission is visible in the community and how important our work is. Thank you to all TVS employees working to support our mission, and thank you to Allison for your kind words.

Click here to read the Letter of Appreciation.

TVS expands commercial and government production capabilities

TVS expands commercial and government production capabilities

In an effort to continue meeting demands for both commercial and government contracts, TVS has invested in expansions to help speed up production and efficiencies. Over the past month, TVS has installed a brand-new line to help fulfill the growing demand in commercial supplements business, along with adding new robotic arms to government contract lines packaging with Instant Nonfat Dry Milk (INDM) and SuperCereal Plus.

Commercial contracts –

To better accommodate the growing relationships within TVS’ commercial business, TVS installed a new supplements line that was up and running in mid-June. The line was a necessary addition to differentiate between commercial and government business.

“The new supplement line increased capacity and production by more than double,” said TVS Sales and Marketing Manager Nan Higgins. “The employees on the line appreciate having the innovative equipment and the new responsibilities associated with these upgrades and take great pride in the additional numbers produced at the end of each shift.”

Higgins explains that the new line works from beginning to palatizing. “The supplement canisters are placed on table that feeds the bottle onto the converter belt,” she said. “The bottles are rotated and blown out with ionized air, filled to bottle count with capsules, topped with cotton, lids added, labeled, and heat sealed before being hand inspected, packaged, placed into cartons, and palletized.”

TVS will continue to update and expand its commercial division to continue meeting the demands of current business and allow space for new customers.

Government contracts –

Over the past 1.5 years, TVS has experienced a significant growth of INDM business to help combat the rising food insecurities across America and SuperCereal Plus to assist children facing hunger worldwide.

The new robotic arms are the newest addition to the new XYRJ machines that were installed late 2020 and early 2021. The robot arms move filled bags of Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk (INDM) and SuperCereal Plus into boxes before being sealing and robotically moving and stacking onto pallets.

Prior to this addition, the boxes were packaged and sealed by hand before being stacked onto pallets.

The new robotic equipment has increased milk packaging by 2.5 times when compared to production a year ago. “We needed additional packaging capacity to keep up with a growth in demand while trying to stay within an existing building footprint,” said TVS VP of Operations Steve Green. “This capacity increase has meaningful impact in that the additional output alone provide close to a million incremental gallons of fluid milk per month, when reconstituted, for needy Americans seeking nutrition from food pantries.”

Another benefit of the robotic arms is the relief of intense labor. With production packaging large numbers of cases of INDM a day, the new arms allow employees to continue work, in less labor demanding positions. Part of the expansion was in an effort to continue providing jobs for individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment in a less strenuous work environment while increasing TVS’s overall health and safety.

TVS has also purchased another XYRJ Triangle Machine. The factor test will be in December 2021 with installation expected to be in the first quarter of 2022.

“The growth we have experienced in the last year can only be compared to when TVS first commissioned milk in 2000,” said Green. “We could not have made accommodations to meet these demands without the broad support system of the TVS Board of Directors and our senior executives.”

Read more about TVS’ new XYRJ machines from ProFood World Magazine!

TVS continues to surge with INDM production for 297 foodbanks across the U.S.

TVS continues to surge with INDM production for 297 foodbanks across the U.S.

Reflecting back on the last year and a half, TVS has packaged and shipped over 35 million household bags of Instant Nonfat Dry Milk (INDM) to 297 food pantries across the U.S., Guam, and Puerto Rico. This has been in response to the USDA’s fight to help combat rising food insecurities worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is because of TVS’s dedicated workforce that this local nonprofit organization has been able to meet the growing demands of the USDA’s programs and deliver to individuals in need across the country.

“Our employees have been integral in allowing us TVS to meet the unusually high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said TVS CEO Jamie Brandenburg. “Our employees readily adjusted schedules and their lives to accommodate additional production requirements which included an extended period of overtime and disruptions in their families.”

It is because of their efforts that we have been able to rise to the occasion and supply the desperately needed INDM to food pantries, while also responding to emerging requests from the USDA to expedite orders for pantries that were critically low.”

As the pandemic essentially shut down the U.S. in early 2020, TVS began receiving surge order requests of INDM from the USDA. In 2020 alone, TVS shipped enough INDM to make almost 20 million gallons of fresh fluid milk for households across the US.

Now, TVS has shipped 35 million bags of INDM between 2020-2021 with the possibility of more orders before the end of the year. This will make around 35 million gallons of fluid milk for domestic households when rehydrated.

This breaks down to a total of 937 truckloads of INDM that have been shipped or are scheduled to be shipped to food pantries across the U.S. This is over 14 thousand tons of powdered milk.

“This surge in foodbank demand has been unprecedented for TVS. Overall it has risen 60-70% over these last two years, and we are very appreciative to be able to participate in these nationwide food relief efforts,” said TVS VP of Business Development and Marketing Beth Rich.

Prior to the pandemic, America had the lowest food insecurity rate in the last 20 years. However, since the pandemic began, the number of people living with food insecurities jumped by 10 million people to an estimated 45 million, with 15 million being children. This is 22-38 percent of U.S. households.

“We are very fortunate with the federal government’s response to this situation,” said Rich. “Not all countries have had this same outcome, and their projections for food insecurity are actually going up and not down.’’ 

Currently, the USDA and the U.S. government continue to invest in lowering the affects of food insecurities. TVS is proud of our legenDAIRY employees that dedicate their work hours to continue packaging and shipping INDM for food aid.

TVS increases capacity to continue assisting with international famine relief efforts

TVS increases capacity to continue assisting with international famine relief efforts

Brevard, NC (May 11, 2021) — Food insecurity has surged in recent years across the world. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, more individuals are affected or at a higher risk than ever before. To help combat this growing rate of worldwide food insecurity, Transylvania Vocational Services (TVS) installed new equipment during the 2020 year to continue meeting increased demands with the production of its SuperCereal Plus (SCP) blend.

“As a supplier of further processed grain based and dairy commodities to USDA, USAID, and the US Military, TVS is pleased to announce a significant increase in plant capacity to process and package SuperCereal Plus,” said TVS VP of Operations Steve Green. “This was made possible by forming a strategic alliance with grain suppliers in the US Midwest along with extensive engineering studies and capital investments in high speed processing and packaging equipment.” 

Currently TVS’s expansion has continued to support SCP production with an overall increase of 55%. Green said, “following 10 years of direct product experience and newly increased plant capacity, we are prepared to support USAID feed programs for another decade.”

SCP is a specially formulated cereal that offers complete nutrition for children ages 6-24 months when combined with fresh drinking water and used in conjunction with breast milk.

“TVS’s SuperCereal Plus business and our assistance with international hunger relief is something that we’re particularly proud of as an organization,” said TVS CEO Jamie Brandenburg. “We worked with the USAID and the World Food Programme to aid in the formulation and development of this complete nutritional supplement, and we continue to supply this product to various parts of the world.”

The manufacturing and packaging process of SCP began collaboratively with the USDA in 2010.

“As one of the first suppliers of SuperCereal Plus in North America, we are proud to invest and grow with our distribution partners to continue supplying a nutritious feeding supplement to families and children of developing nations that are in need,” said Green.

TVS has recently produced 1600 metric tons, or 3.5 million pounds, of SCP to aid in global hunger assistance efforts. Over the years, many regions of Africa and various other areas of the world have received TVS’ SCP.

Click here to read the full PDF.