Thomas Boerger knows a lot about dog food.
So it probably won’t come as a surprise that he is now the head of Crete’s Nestle Purina dog food plant.
Boerger, an Indiana native, assumed the role of manager in March, but this isn’t his first time working in Crete.
“I was here for five years, then I was head of the Gerber Baby (food) factory,” Boerger said. “So I went from dog food, to baby food, back to dog food.”
He said he always saw being a plant manager as a goal for himself, and he has worked in almost every department of the Nestle plant to help get him here.
But when Boerger moved back to Nebraska in March, he was not expecting to take over a factory in the middle of a pandemic.
“With COVID-19, I was kind of in a unique situation. I knew we had to do everything we could to keep our employees safe,” Boerger said.
The plant operates in compliance with directed health measures. Visitors aren’t currently allowed to visit. The plant also requires face masks for employees, directs one-way traffic and conducts temperature checks before employees enter the premises.
Some goals Boerger has for the Nestle Purina plant include staying active in the community, funding city projects and being supportive to neighboring businesses. He also hopes to improve performance among employees so they may reach their highest potential.
“I come at it from a servant/leadership mentality,” Boerger said. “I want to make sure everyone has what they need to be a success.”
He called the Crete site a “flagship” of sorts and hopes more than anything that status continues.
Boerger has been married to wife Kari for 24 years and the couple has two children, both a daughter and a son.
“I’m really glad to be back at an awesome factory,” Boerger said.