Senior Manager R&D of Product Innovation is responsible to deliver and lead proactive R&D team in developing customer centric winning products pipeline and meet product innovation growth objectives. In close partnership with Product Marketing, and Data & Insights teams, the Sr. Manager plays a pivotal role in identifying new opportunities, fostering a culture of creativity, and managing projects to bring leading-edge products and technologies to fruition. Additionally, the Sr. Manager will identify opportunities for growth and improvement and provide leadership guidance to ensure that team members are motivated and productive.
The role will collaborate closely with technical (e.g., Ingredient Research, Quality, Food Safety & Regulatory, Technical Services) and commercial stakeholders (e.g., Sales, Emerging Nutrition, Strategic Pricing, Legal, Operations, Supply Chain) to support operational excellence in scaling product launches across both internal and external manufacturing facilities. The Sr. Manager will focus on long-term success of the team and its projects, establishing team goals, monitoring progress of each project, and provided technical expertise to ensure that each project is delivered in compliance with company and regulatory standards.
As a leader and people manager, the Ardent Mills Values of trust, serving, simplicity, and safety will guide your decisions. You will listen, learn, and serve your team members. You will enable your team to deliver superior business results by constantly learning, reinventing, and challenging yourself to do better. You will inspire people to achieve things they never thought possible.
To succeed, you must be able to:
Deliver results in first-time situations by inspiring others and working to earn trust every day.
Serve others with understanding, respect, and care.
Operate with simplicity, clarity, and transparency.
Deal with and drive change.
Organize, prioritize, and own multiple assignments while meeting or exceeding deadlines.
Learn and apply new technology and share your knowledge with others.
Above all you will be expected to carry out all your activities with reliability, integrity, compliance and in a safe, environmentally responsible, and efficient manner.
In collaboration with the Product Marketing, Data & Insights teams and other internal stakeholders, drive Ardent Mills' 5-year Product Innovation Strategy, build and refresh product innovation funnel.
Serve as the technical lead, and coach team members who serve as technical lead executing projects through the Stage-Gate process. Collaborate with the Product Innovation Project Management team to ensure New Product Development projects are completed on time and meet go-to-market goals (e.g., cost, sensory targets, feasibility, quality, product training, and customer engagements).
Foster a culture of excellence and high-performance by encouraging an organizational culture that supports psychological safety, exploration, agility, collaboration, and risk-taking.
As a champion of people leadership, motivate, equip, guide, and empower your team to achieve their full potential and meet the organization's objectives.
Lead strategic resource allocation discussions with business stakeholders to align on the prioritization of pipeline activities and effectively allocate resources based on our 5-year growth strategy.
Develop strategic partnerships both internally and externally to enhance our capacity, capabilities, and speed in solution development.
Collaborate with R&D peers to build capabilities and tools to create new and improve existing products across businesses and portfolios.
Manage and track a diverse portfolio of projects, leading team members through tasks and influencing cross-functional teams to ensure timely stage gate progression and delivery of new launches.
Partner with HR Business Partner to provide strategic leadership related to talent development. Attract, lead, manage, and mentor employees to ensure retention, development, and high performance of talent and contribute to the organization's strategic objectives.
Collaborate with legal teams to ensure proper documentation and safeguarding of proprietary information.
Facilitate open communication and brainstorming sessions to encourage a collaborative and creative environment, generate innovative ideas and concepts, and implement change management strategies.
Conduct thorough research and feasibility studies to assess the potential of proposed ideas, anticipating internal and/or external organizational challenges and/or regulatory issues.
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of R&D innovation initiatives.
Regularly assess the performance of projects, teams, and individual contributors to identify areas for improvement and allocate resources effectively.
Monitor industry developments and competitor activities to identify potential risks associated with R&D projects, implementing mitigation strategies to minimize negative impact.
Provide strategic technical leadership to cross-functional partners to deliver AOP and Ardent Mills strategic objectives.
Proactively advocate for the goodness of grains and plant-based ingredients, present in technical forums, represent Ardent Mills in professional and scientific organizations, and actively cultivate a broad network of contacts both within and outside the organization to support the existing and future ingredient pipeline.
Essential Skills & Experience
Bachelor’s degree and higher in Food Science or closely related discipline and 9+ years additional industry experience developing and commercializing food products/ingredients solutions for customers.? Including, 3+ years of people management experience.
Expertise in one or more of the following ingredient categories: Cereal grains, ancient grains, and alternative grains and pulses
Significant experience in formulation and processing of multiple of the following applications: baked goods, flatbreads and tortillas, snacks and crackers, pet food and treats, beverages, and plant-based product alternatives.
Strong product innovation experience from concept development to product launch and production scale up.
Experience in successfully managing multiple projects and deadlines within a matrixed organization with strict attention to detail and prioritization.
Highly motivated, high integrity, self-starter with demonstrated ability to work effectively both independently and as part of cross-functional teams.
Proven ability to build solid relationships, earn the confidence of internal stakeholders and demonstrate the ability to get results in timely manner with attention to timelines and deadlines.
Proven success in managing and mentoring direct reports and working with cross-functional teams and initiatives.
Must be flexible, organized, and able to influence, collaborate, execute multiple complex and handle changing priorities.
Strong verbal and written communication skills. Strong presentation abilities with all audiences and levels of management.
Physical Requirements and Working Conditions (with or without reasonable accommodation) Other Considerations
Able to lift to 25 lbs. and work near extreme temperatures (typical of kitchen, R&D lab environments, and food service operations environment).
Able to work with and consume wheat products, i.e., no wheat /gluten sensitivity, intolerance and/or allergies.
Ability to travel up to 25+% for business.
Ardent Mills is headquartered in Denver, CO. This traditional role is based at the Denver Headquarters location and will require 4-5 days per week onsite.
We provide market-driven base pay, based on skills, abilities, and level of experiences. Our salary ranges are broad, and individual salary will be market competitive based on a candidate’s unique set of skills and level of experience. The starting range for this position is $113,500.00 - $151,407.30, with additional earning potential possible commensurate with experience. Additionally, we believe that our team members are the reason for our success and all team members are incentive eligible with a target based on contribution, company performance, and individual results achieved. While the specific bonus plan and target amount will be determined based on the role and breadth of contributions, the targeted bonus plan and targeted percentage amount for this role is Bonus - MIP, 15% Annual: Individual Target.
At Ardent Mills we offer a wide range of benefits to our team members and their eligible family members. Some of our great benefit programs you may be eligible for include: • Medical, Dental and Vision Coverage• Health and Dependent Savings Accounts • Life and Disability Programs • Voluntary Benefit Programs • Company Sponsored Wellness Programs • Retirement Savings with Company Match • Team Member and Family Assistance Program (EAP) • Paid Time Off and Paid Holidays • Employee Recognition Program with Rewards (RAVE).
At Ardent Mills, everyone matters and everyone has a voice. We are committed to providing an environment of mutual respect where equal opportunities are available to all applicants and team members and the decisions will be based on merit, competence, performance, and business needs. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, veteran status, age, political affiliation, or any other non-merit characteristic protected by law or not. Together, celebrating our differences, we make Ardent Mills.
The preceding position description has been designed to indicate the general nature and essential duties and responsibilities of work performed by employees within this position. It may not contain a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees in this position. The description, duties, functions, and responsibilities are subject to change at the discretion of Ardent Mills.