Blog

23 Aug
Staff SPOTlight Joseph Kunes
Staff Spotlight on Joseph Kunes

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Consultant Joseph Kunes.  Joseph supports KTL’s information management projects, including Microsoft SharePoint®, dynaQ™, and other database applications. As an educator by training, he excels at guiding clients through technology implementation. Joseph is based out of St. Louis, Missouri. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I started my professional career as a French teacher and taught Middle School French in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before I joined KTL in 2012. My first project at KTL was performing some outreach work with the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD). At that time, KTL offered a dynaQ™ assessment/audit tool designed to help our clients establish and/or maintain compliance with NACD’s Responsible Distribution standard.

This initial assignment of providing dynaQ support to KTL’s chemical distribution clients, allowed me to start developing a greater skillset and deeper understanding of KTL’s database tools and the information technology (IT) side of developing them. As my technology skills have grown, my role at KTL has also changed and expanded over time. To this day, however, I continue to work directly to provide IT support on KTL projects (e.g., dynaQ, database applications, and SharePoint tools) and to maintain and grow our client relationships.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I work with public and private clients across a number of sectors—most of which are focused on developing or improving environmental program management. Despite this diverse clientele, I continually see a universal challenge of staying organized enough to grow operational productivity while maintaining the various aspects of regulatory compliance. It is a difficult balance for many organizations to strike, particularly when so many are resource-constrained right now.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

I take great pride in seeing the fruits of my labor evident in everyday life.  I am currently part of a team tasked with maintaining bridge and rail infrastructure, thus leading to the distribution of goods throughout the nation. In the past, I have worked with organizations to rebuild the electrical grid in the southeast and Puerto Rico after having been devastated by hurricanes. It’s rewarding to play a role on projects like that. I also truly enjoy the client satisfaction and appreciation we often experience once we have restored order to sometimes chaotic systems by setting up custom SharePoint sites with the appropriate tools tailored to suit the client’s needs.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I’m a man of simple pleasures—I enjoy good food and good drink in good company. I am also (and hope to soon be again) an avid traveler and enjoy exploring new places to take in the local fare.  I’m also a big fan of the arts—be it musical, performance, or material—as well as any cultural experiences.

Read Joseph’s full bio.

28 Jul
Food Supply Chain
FDA’s Focus on Food Traceability

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 48 million Americans—about one in six—get sick with a foodborne illness every year. Of that number, CDC estimates 128,000 end up hospitalized and 3,000 will die from a foodborne disease. Correspondingly, consumers rank safety higher than anything else (e.g., affordability, healthful eating) when selecting a restaurant. Consumers want—and need—to know more about their food. 

It is not surprising, given this information, that improving food traceability is a key objective for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Food traceability is the ability to track any food through all stages of the supply chain—production, processing, distribution—to ensure food safety and operational efficiency. Over the past year, the Agency has launched three major initiatives to create safer and more traceable food supply chain.  

Read KTL’s recent article in Food Safety Magazine about these initiatives and FDA’s focus on food traceability.

12 Jul
Staff Spotlight Kasia Branny
Staff Spotlight on Kasia Branny, Esq.

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Senior Consultant Kasia Branny. Kasia’s expertise is in international and U.S. regulatory and legal compliance. She has worked for nearly 15 years as an attorney and EHS regulatory consultant for clients across the globe. Kasia is based out of the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I have a law degree from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and an LL.M. from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. I joined KTL in January 2021 as a Senior Consultant supporting some of our government contracts, as well as food safety and EHS projects. Prior to joining KTL, I worked with a number of consulting companies as an attorney and regulatory consultant helping clients across the globe address their EHS compliance issues. I have specialized expertise in advising companies on regulatory compliance in the U.S. and internationally; developing regulatory compliance programs; creating audit/assessment content, protocols, and tools; and providing regulatory compliance training.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I work with a diverse cross-section of KTL’s clients—from USAID to food companies needing food safety support to EHS projects for manufacturing organizations.

For several of our clients, one of the biggest struggles they encounter is a limited budget. Unfortunately, this can put new projects on hold until funding is available. With respect to many of the EHS projects I have worked on, COVID-19 has presented many challenges. From regulatory perspective, restrictions/new requirements adopted and imposed on industry have required innovative solutions to comply. As many have experienced, the restriction on onsite audits is one challenge we have had to navigate with our clients. Some audits have been suspended, but in many cases, onsite audits have been replaced by remote audits. We are finding remote audits continue to provide a very viable alternative for many of our clients, even as the COVID restrictions are lifted.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is definitely having a client who is happy with our services and who recommends us to others or for future work.

Another highlight for me is the opportunity to learn new things, which I do on daily basis. Food safety is a new area for me, so there is much to learn! I really enjoy diving into this field, and I have witnessed over the past several months a great interest in the development of electronic Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). We see many companies in the food industry struggling with data management. For example, just think about the documentation food companies must collect from all their suppliers. That task alone becomes much more efficient with some sort of electronic data management tool. KTL’s Microsoft SharePoint® system provides a simple and intuitive tool that can be easily integrated into a company’s existing operations. There are many data sets and compliance/certification requirements that can be captured, tracked, and managed in a SharePoint FSMS to ensure ongoing compliance.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy working out and try to exercise at least five times a week. I love nature, so I regularly take my kids and my dog for walks, hikes, and trips to the beach in the summer. With my international background, traveling is my passion. Now that COVID restrictions are being lifted, I’m hoping to start traveling again!

Read Kasia’s full bio.

25 May
DOT General Awareness Training: June 16 & 22, 2021

Department of Transportation (DOT) code (49CFR172.702) requires that any employee involved in the transportation (shipping or receiving) of hazardous materials must be trained and tested in general awareness, safety, site-specific job functions, and transportation security.

8-hour DOT General Awareness Training (ONLINE)
June 16 (part A) & June 22 (part B), 2021
8:30 am – 12:30 pm CT
REGISTER NOW!


KTL’s 8-hour DOT General Awareness Training (held as two 4-hour sessions online on June 16 and June 22) is applicable for all companies that ship hazardous materials, ship hazardous waste, or prepare shipments of hazardous materials/waste for transport. It teaches all topics required for DOT general awareness training and general security training and will meet the requirements for triennial training certification.

Topics covered include:

  • Code training requirements
  • Shipping papers
  • Hazardous materials table
  • Incident reporting
  • Hazard classes
  • Common violations and confusing specifics
  • Marking, labeling, and placarding

Cost: $198/participant. This online DOT training is held as two 4-hour sessions: June 16 (Part A) and June 22 (Part B) from 9 am – 1 pm. To receive CERTIFICATION, participants MUST complete Part A and Part B and pass both post-tests with 80%.

REGISTER NOW!


Training Details

  • Training sessions will be held via Zoom. Link will be provided prior to class.
  • Training is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am and end at 12:30 pm CT (or until material is complete).
  • Participants will receive a training manual, pre-/post-competency test, exercises, and a certificate of completion, provided they receive an 80% or above on the test.
  • Registration closes 72 hours prior to the scheduled training. KTL has the authority to cancel training with 72-hours notice if class size is not large enough.
21 May
Staff Spotlight April Greene
Staff Spotlight on April Greene

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Consultant April Greene. April is an experienced EHS professional with a history of working in the environmental services industry. She has significant experience creating and managing corporate programs, plans, policies, and procedures to ensure compliance with EHS and food safety requirements. April recently moved to our Madison, Wisconsin office. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

I held various science-related positions working while getting my degrees. I have done everything from making and testing butter to testing sewage and wastewater. I obtained my Master of Science degree in Environmental Chemistry, with a concentration in Toxicology and Hydrology, while working as an Assistant Supervisor of an inorganic environmental laboratory. Most recently before joining KTL, I spent almost five years as an EHS Specialist in the electronics recycling industry. This is an industry that changes frequently with the technology produced, requiring me to stay current on a lot of different types of regulations.

My work background has taken me in and out of the foods industry, which I am still involved in at KTL. My passion, however, remains environmental work and finding sustainable solutions to progress toward a more circular economy, including reuse and recycling. Regardless of the work I’m doing, I enjoy coming up with creative solutions for industry that are outside the box but fit the client’s unique needs. As just one example, one of my favorite projects from my past work involved using glass from recycled electronics as a base for artesian Italian tiles.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I am extremely lucky to not have a “type” of client that I work with. I shift back and forth between organizations of all kinds that have either EHS or food safety needs (or both), which keeps my creative brain fueled. The biggest issues I see them facing right now involve trying to find cost-effective ways to do the right thing. People want to do what is best for the environment and for their communities, but they don’t always know where to start. That is where I come in!

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

My favorite thing is the sigh of relief that comes when my clients realize that I am here to help. I am lucky that I have amazing colleagues at KTL to work with. We work as a team to bounce ideas off each other and to make sure we find the best solution available for our clients.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have 14-year-old and 4-year-old kids, so free time is not something get a lot of! I am a nerd at heart who loves reading. There is not a genre of book that I will not devour. When I am traveling, I listen to podcasts. When I am with my extended family, we really enjoy playing games together, especially Dungeons and Dragons.

Read April’s full bio.

21 Apr
Staff Spotlight on Jessica Dykun

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Senior Consultant Jessica Dykun. Jessica has 15 of experience working in the food and beverage industry, with particular expertise in food safety and microbiology. She has a wealth of experience to support Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification and regulatory compliance efforts. Jessica is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

 My background is in food safety and microbiology. I have a master’s degree in food safety and defense and started my career working in analytical chemistry and microbiology labs conducting food analyses. I then advanced into a management role within the food industry and focused on Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) program development and implementation, including obtaining GFSI certification for multiple manufacturing facilities.

I joined the consulting world at KTL in January 2017. My areas of expertise include food safety, quality assurance, GFSI certification (i.e., FSSC22000, SQF, IFS, BRC), food microbiology and environmental monitoring, analytical methods, FDA and USDA labeling, USDA and Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) development, and regulatory compliance. I have experience working with beverages, dairy products, seafood, raw and ready-to-eat (RTE) proteins, baking, food packaging, soups, sauces, condiments, and nutraceuticals.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

All my clients are in the food supply chain—from harvesting to food manufacturing, to food packaging manufacturing, to distributors and importers, to retail. We have recently started working with companies in the dietary supplement and food additives industry, as well, due to growing food safety requirements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a big challenge for most of my clients this past year. We have had to develop some creative solution strategies to overcome the obstacles of social distancing and reduced workforce, including creating COVID response plans and using remote GFSI auditing platforms. We have worked with clients to develop data management solutions and remote training applications, as well, to help them navigate the remote COVID-19 world.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

I enjoy consulting because it allows me to work with people from different sectors of the food industry across the globe. I enjoy the fast-paced environment of food manufacturing, and I get satisfaction knowing that our consulting expertise is helping to create a safer food supply chain. One of the biggest highlights is helping my clients develop a food safety culture and seeing them achieve GFSI certification after months of program development and implementation. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have three little boys—all age three and under—so free time is very limited. Due to the pandemic and staying at home, we have found great entertainment improving our backyard garden and expanding our green-thumb skills. I enjoy involving my boys in planting, harvesting, and cooking with our homegrown food. Some of our favorite homegrown recipes include salsa, pasta sauces, and fresh squeezed orange juice and lemonade.

Read Jessica’s full bio.

19 Apr
EHS Compliance Webinar Martin Mantz
Webinar: Challenges of EHS Compliance in the U.S.

Current Challenges of Technical Compliance in the U.S.:
Focus on Occupational Health & Safety and Environment
May 17, 2021 | 4 pm – 5 pm CT

Technical compliance regarding EHS has seen tremendous changes over the last couple of years and is likely to change even more in the foreseeable future. EHS regulatory enforcement will undoubtedly regain momentum in the next few years. Achieving and maintaining EHS compliance requires great management and expertise to ensure all aspects of a company’s technical compliance have been identified and are being actively managed.

KTL’s Sarah Burton will be joining Martin Mantz Compliance Solutions, our German alliance partner, to discuss the challenges of technical EHS compliance and to provide an up-to-date understanding of technical compliance in the U.S. today.

19 Apr
Demonstrating Compliance in a Socially Distanced World

Don’t miss this free American Bar Association event on April 22, 2021 — Demonstrating Compliance in a Socially Distanced World: Virtual Auditing.

In the time of COVID-19, virtual auditing has become increasingly necessary and valuable to organizations as they seek to achieve environmental compliance while facing worldwide travel restrictions and remote work policies that have disrupted routine in-person audits. With this shift, comes the need for both regulated entities and regulators to develop new approaches and procedures to ensure the effectiveness of audits conducted remotely. Practitioners, including auditors and legal counsel, must consider new dynamics related to security, data protection, and audit integrity-on top of the usual audit considerations. This session will highlight some of these new challenges and provide real-world solutions to aid attendees form new practice skills to apply in the (virtual) field.

Panelists–including KTL’s Sarah Burton–will explore the new world of remote auditing, focusing on real-world solutions to the challenges that virtual auditing presents.

Register online.

24 Mar
Staff Spotlight Will Brokaw
Staff Spotlight on Will Brokaw

Get to know our KTL team! This month, we are catching up with KTL Consultant and Data Science Specialist Will Brokaw. Will is an EHS Consultant with an extensive background in statistics and safety culture. He specializes in turning client data into usable information. Will is based in KTL’s Madison, WI headquarters. 

Tell us a little bit about your background—what are your areas of expertise?

My degrees are in psychology, then I taught statistics and research methods for a few semesters before moving to Madison. Kestrel was engaged in Human Factors work at the time, which was a good match with my background. I’ve since become involved mainly in various EHS projects for clients, including EHS auditing, statistics/data analysis, and SharePoint work.

What types of clients do you work with? What are the biggest issues you see them facing right now?

I see them facing many issues—upheaval caused by the pandemic, structural changes to companies (including layoffs), more aggressive enforcement of regulations with new administration.

What would you say is a highlight of your job?

The many wonderful people that I work with.

What do you like to do in your free time?

This is a hard question since we’ve all been trapped in our homes for the last year. I guess reading (fantasy for fiction and history for non-fiction) and listening to podcasts (The Dollop, Behind the Bastards, Knowledge Fight) and music have filled my time lately.

Read Will’s full bio.

18 Mar
Now Hiring: Food Safety Specialist
Now Hiring: Food Safety Specialist

Location: Chicago, Illinois

KTL is seeking a Food Safety Specialist with 5-7 years of professional food safety consulting or relevant food industry experience to join our team. This individual will work under the direction of KTL Project Managers and Senior Consultants to manage and execute tasks for KTL’s food safety projects and meet client expectations. The Food Safety Specialist must have working knowledge of FDA, USDA, and GFSI requirements as they apply to food/food packaging manufacturing, processing, and distribution, and experience implementing/maintaining food safety documents and plans.  

Responsibilities and tasks include the following: 

  • Providing HACCP, SOPand SSOP development and implementation support 
  • Conducting gap assessments to FDA, USDA, and GFSI (i.e., IFS, BRC, FSSC22000, SQF) requirements 
  • Conducting relevant food safety training for clients  
  • Researching FDA, USDA, and GFSI regulatory requirements and maintaining standards updates 
  • Researching labeling regulatory review 
  • Interpreting thirdparty regulatory audits 
  • Reviewing, recommending, and coordinating efforts for environmental contaminants and pathogen testing program 
  • Working with clients and KTL senior staff to identify Food Safety Management System (FSMS) and program gaps and implement solutions for continuous improvement  
  • Maintaining and updating documents to ensure conformance and compliance consistency 
  • Participating in the development and management of KTL’s SharePoint® tools  
  • Assisting in growing clients and other business development efforts, as requested 

Requirements

  • B.S. degree in food science, biology, chemistry,  technology, microbiology, or other related life science  
  • 5-7 years of related food industry experience in Quality Assurance/Control; experience in cooking, processing, manufacturing dairy, low-acid canned food, meat, or seafood preferred 
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills  
  • Excellent research, analytical, writing, and organizational skills 

 Preferred

  • Microsoft SharePoint® and information management systems experience 
  • Highrisk food or ingredients experience  
  • Understanding of food safety in food packaging 

How to Apply

Forward a resume to recruiting@kestreltellevate.com.


Company Description

KTL is a management consulting firm providing EHS, sustainability, food safety, and quality consulting services to a wide range of industry, municipal, university, and government clients. Our focus is to build strong, long-term client partnerships and provide value-added solutions that simplify management systems, improve compliance, and establish more sustainable operations. KTL specializes in developing and implementing strategies, processes, and tools that complement our clients’ investments in existing programs and resources. Our highly qualified personnel have an in-depth knowledge of U.S. federal, state, and international EHS requirements; global food safety compliance; ISO management systems; and information management toolsOur consultants possess the education, work experience, and professional registrations necessary to provide value-adding consulting services to our clients. 

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