Plymouth, Wis./Press Release -- Sargento Foods Inc. announced three staffing moves within the company’s manufacturing department. Bill Bartnik has accepted the newly created director of Manufacturing Systems position, Andy Pothast has become the Plymouth plant manager, and Sandi Howard has accepted the role of Hilbert plant manager. 

As the director of Manufacturing Systems, Bartnik will provide direction and leadership in common areas from plant-to-plant, such as staffing, maintenance, employee safety and food safety, among others. While he will be located in Plymouth, he will support the three Sargento manufacturing plants in Plymouth, Kiel and Hilbert.

Since joining Sargento in 2000, Bartnik has served in a variety of roles, including manufacturing engineer, production manager in Shreds and plant manager of the Plymouth facility. Prior to Sargento, he held several positions at both Oscar Mayer and Kraft Foods.

“Bill has been a core member of the Manufacturing team since he joined the Sargento family 14 years ago,” said Louie Gentine, CEO of Sargento. “We congratulate Bill on accepting this new position. His sound leadership will continue to be an asset.”

Bartnik earned his Bachelor of Science in industrial technology with a concentration in manufacturing engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Stout, and his Master of Science in business administration from Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

Pothast moves into the role of Plymouth plant manager with 20 years of experience. He joined the Sargento family as a production supervisor in the Plymouth facility, but was quickly promoted to production manager. He then became the plant manager of the Hilbert facility. Prior to Sargento, he worked for J.M. Smucker Company in a variety of positions.

“Andy is a seasoned professional in the food and manufacturing industry, having served in multiple capacities,” said Gentine. “With Andy’s experience, education, background and knowledge, I know he will continue to be a great contributor to our manufacturing team.”

Pothast earned his Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and his Master of Science in management and organizational behavior from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc.

Howard brings more than 35 years of experience in the food and manufacturing industry to her new role as Hilbert plant manager. Since joining the Sargento family in 2004, Howard has held several positions, including Kiel plant engineer, Bellingham (Wash.) plant manager, and most recently, Kiel Acting plant manager. Before Sargento, Howard worked for General Mills.

“Sandi brings a wealth of food and manufacturing expertise to her new role,” said Gentine. “We know Sandi will succeed in her new position and look forward to watching the Hilbert plant grow under her leadership.”

She earned her Bachelor of Science in agricultural engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and her Master of Science in organizational leadership and quality from Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wis.