VP, Research & Development in Chicago IL

Aspire Bakeries logo
Aspire Bakeries
VP, Research & Development
Job ID: 
Chicago IL
Not Specified
Not Specified
Job Types:
Director/VP R&D, R&D/Product Dev Manager

Aspire Bakeries is a North American baking company with a leadership position in specialty frozen baked goods. Formed from leading bakery companies, its innovative food portfolio includes breads, artisan breads, buns, cookies, donuts, muffins and pastries from beloved brands likeLa Brea Bakery,Otis Spunkmeyer, andOakrun Farm Bakery. With 15bakeries in North America, we are committed to driving innovation, predicting upcoming consumer trends and flavors, and exceeding our customers expectations. Aspire Bakeries champions the values of Integrity, Ownership, Customer Focus, Creativity and Care to help us deliver on People Safety, Food Safety, Quality and Collaboration.


  • Responsible for planning, developing, and coordinating efforts related to product innovation by identifying product line extensions, new product introductions, product changes, and optimization opportunities while coordinating efforts amongst all functional areas
  • Responsible for the product development process from initial idea generation through commercial launch, while coordinating and streamlining the organization s approach for critical technical issues
  • Coordinates with FSQA and Regulatory to ensure all products comply with Aspire and governmental polices and guidelines. Develops and oversees the product quality standards (specs) of all Aspire Bakeries products
  • Monitors marketplace to stay abreast of trends and strategies related to products and marketing collaborating with marketing, sales, and production team on R&D initiatives including identifying areas for opportunity for improved product development, defining the process from initial idea generation, meeting with customers to identify areas for opportunity for new or extended products, evaluating critical technical and food safety issues, and engaging with appropriate team members in the planning of new product launches
  • Regularly evaluates and assesses technical services function to proactively identify solutions; standardize workflow to improve efficiency, effectiveness, accuracy, relevance, and completions; champion effective communication to drive for results; ensure effective utilization of resources
  • Ensures all regular and cyclical activities are completed including, but not limited to, proactive monitoring of product development pipeline, evaluation of key project metrics to ensure timely completion of initiatives while addressing challenges, risks, and/or potential product timeline delays, calibration activities within the quality control; trace exercises of ingredient, packaging and finished products; record-keeping including verification and validation; training staff on quality standards; conduct GMP, internal and external audits with cross-functional teams; and other applicable internal audits and food safety inspections
  • Actively participates with leadership to understand the organization's goals and strategy to help drive quality levels while achieving production goals
  • Champions innovation, safety, quality, and sanitation efforts as a visible, present, and active member of management and member of safety team
  • Creates a long term vision for R&D innovation and growth via new and emerging technologies, ingredients, etc.
  • Supports the development and implementation of the departmental budget while ensuring ongoing reporting to key financial targets and re-alignment when necessary
  • Guides the continuing education and professional development of the R&D team.
  • Develops and maintains external input and expertise by leveraging Aspire Bakeries vendors (existing and potential) technical teams into innovative product development
  • Ensures Aspire Bakeries portfolio of products is value engineered while not reducing quality


  • Bachelor s Degree in Culinary Science, Food Science or related industrial, scientific, or business field required
  • Certification as a Qualified Individual and proven understanding of SQF, FSMA, FSA, WSDA, Sanitation, GMP s, and HACCP requirements
  • Strong sense of creativity, curiosity, and excitement for challenges to invoke innovative thinking
  • Strong leadership, management, and interpersonal skills with the ability to successfully manage a team including, but not limited to, planning, scheduling, leadership, conflict resolution, and training
  • Must be well-organized, detail-oriented, able to multi-task, and prioritize multiple projects/tasks
  • Thorough understanding of quality control standards and methodologies in the food manufacturing industry
  • Ability to use various computer systems, including Microsoft Office and SAP, with high levels of proficiency
  • Ability to communicate clearly, professionally, and effectively in oral and written communication
  • Self-directed, resourceful, and able to problem-solve while making effective decisions in both a team environment and individually
  • Commitment to complete work within established time parameters and within budget while flexible enough to meet special project deadlines as required
  • Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and company values

How we sweaten the deal:

  • Comprehensive medical, dental, vision coverage
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Employee and Family Assistance Program (EAP)
  • 401(k) with company match
  • Daily pay (DAYFORCE Wallet)
  • Shift differential for hourly 2nd and 3rd shift positions
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Employee referral bonus
  • Credit union membership

At Aspire Bakeries, the health and safety of our associates is our number one priority. In fact, CARE is one of our Core Values. That s why all offers of employment, where legally permitted, are contingent on the candidate showing proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to pass our pre-employment requirements.

Candidates may be legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation if the vaccine is medically contraindicated for them, a medical necessity requires a delay in vaccination, or because of a disability. Candidates may also be legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation if receiving the vaccine conflicts with a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Requests for exemption and reasonable accommodation must be initiated by the candidate prior to date of hire.

*All medical information collected from candidates, including vaccination information and test results, obtained during the pre-employment process, will be treated in accordance with applicable laws and policies on confidentiality and privacy.

Aspire Bakeries is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

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