Hiring a maintenance engineer doesn’t mean having to find the Marvel-ous technician who can save the bakery of the future from utter collapse and failure. Let’s just consider the ideal candidates for today.

“We’re all looking for well-rounded engineers with great people skills, great coaching skills, great at resource organization and utilization, great electrical background, good at troubleshooting and good at implementing the best preventative maintenance systems,” said Holly Gilbert, vice president of operations at Awakened Foods, Loveland, Colo. 

Is that all? Well, not quite. 

“They would be a very dynamic person who meets all skill requirements from leadership to people development along with technical skills on equipment with computer-based programming, but also has the basic foundation and understanding of turning wrenches, timing conveyors, preventive maintenance on motors and understanding lubrication schedules,” she added.

Anything else? Yes, she said, the qualified candidates would be forward-thinking, open-minded people who are willing to reach out for help and keep up with the latest systems. They should be willing to invest in teaching, giving feedback and providing training for their peers to gain skills and opportunities that increase retention.

“They need to do all of this while putting up with the pesky production operations managers that never seem to get off their backs,” Ms. Gilbert said. “The ability to collaborate with those departments and meet their needs, too, is important, as well as having patience.”

Obviously, she added, hiring someone like this is extremely hard to find, but it’s how she approaches her career and what she expects of people who work with her.

“It’s such a big job that can be challenging and trying, but at the end of the day, so very rewarding when you see your work and how it’s impacting the bakery and how it’s getting better,” Ms. Gilbert explained. “If this person is around, please come join my team because that’s who I’m looking for and anyone else would be, too.”