Highlighting Chris La Cara & Kraft-Heinz

The Company:

As one of the leading producers of prepared foods and sauces, the Garland Kraft-Heinz plant has been in operation since 1949. With a staff of 1,500, it’s the largest employer in Garland.

About Chris:

After almost a decade of serving as a Naval aircrewman and a rescue swimmer in the Navy, Chris transitioned to the private sector, joining the Heinz company as an Employee Development Coordinator. After 21 years and various roles that took him to every plant in the country, he was promoted to plant manager and moved with his family from Jacksonville, Florida to Plano, Texas.

His new role overseeing a plant with 1,500 employees and a huge production volume was a great fit for someone who prefers to be on the ground moving rather than sitting in a cubicle looking at a computer. He takes daily walks around the factory floor to say hello and speak to every employee. He eventually hopes to memorize everyone’s name.

Currently, one of his biggest challenges at work is reducing turnover by increasing engagement. Part of that strategy has involved designing a new facility with expanded amenities for employees.

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The Case:

In 2023, the company began exploring the possibility of expanding its building to make room for expanded production. Chris met with Paul Mayer and Ayako Schuster, Garland’s director of economic development. Together, they’ve been helping Chris navigate the ins and outs of property expansion from the approvals process to advising on signage and the flow of traffic in and out of the company’s large parking lot. They’ve also provided information on utility and tax incentives that might be available.

Value of joining the Chamber:

“The support structure. If I need something I can pick up the phone, call Paul and Liz or any other team member there…and find answers and resources.”



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