Kestrel Tellevate News
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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.