Meet Ken Schnor | CITY’s Director of Operations
When you find a person who believes in the vision, their work, and most importantly, themselves, that is where success comes from. It is the willingness to get up again and again when they failed or experienced a setback while in pursuit of making the vision a reality. To live a life of achievement, you must fully believe in yourself and what you are doing.
For Ken Schnor, that belief lies with CITY, as working at CITY has become more than just a job.
“There are a lot of people I care about at CITY,” said Ken Schnor. “Slowly but surely they became family, and when someone is family, you tend to work harder for them and care more about the business, and then you care more about the clients.”
That genuine belief in CITY and sincere care for CITY’s clients and employees is what makes Ken the perfect individual to fulfill the role of Director of Operations at CITY.
HARD WORK PAYS OFF
Originally, Ken was CITY’s service manager, but we have recently restructured management in order to simplify and streamline all of the operations within the facility to produce the best service for our clients.
His position as director of operations is key to our business model, as he is the individual who ensures that there is clear communication and an efficient process by which the stockroom, production, and maintenance can provide for the service department so the service department can provide for our clients. Because of CITY’s role as the most responsive launderer, our business could not exist without the individuals who provide our clients with the service they value.
“Caring about people and our customers has always been a part of who I am,” Schnor said. “It was the way I was raised and it is the way I will raise my kids.”
CITY FAMILY IS REAL FAMILY
Ken has three daughters, two of which currently work as summer help at CITY.
“I’m proud of my kids. They work, and they’re not afraid to work hard,” said Schnor. “I get home and every night there’s some chores we share responsibility for; they don’t always like working in the garden and they might grumble once in a while, but they work hard at home, at their jobs, and at school. The fact that they work at CITY is great because even though I don’t always have direct interaction with them, they understand that their jobs really do play a significant part in a huge process because they also have my perspective and the client’s perspective in mind; they truly value the product that goes to our clients.”
“My family knows how much I care about CITY. There are times I don’t get home very early, but they understand I’m working hard to ensure the best for our business,” said Ken. “They know I do the same for them as well; when my daughters have something going on I do my best to get there every time, and I strive to get quality one-on-one time with all of them and I hope they appreciate it when they’re older.
Because of his time at CITY over the years, Ken’s children have received an inside look at what it’s like to be a part of the CITY family, and they have come to develop an appreciation for CITY as an extension of their own family too.
“Just the other night I went to dinner with Colin Wetlaufer and his father, Roger,” said Ken. “There are so many people here who feel more like a brother or sister than a coworker, and I just think that’s a really neat atmosphere we have; I have absolutely no desire to leave, and when retirement comes, I think it will be really hard to leave.”
Ken grew up in Hawkeye, Iowa, which at the time was a small town of just over 500 people. Ken lived with his parents, two sisters (one older, one younger), and younger brother. Ken was very close with both of his parents. His father was the local telephone operator while his mother ran the local grocery store called Hawkeye IGA.
Tragically, when he was just 15 years old, Ken’s father passed away. Ken had a good relationship with his father, but Ken knew that he would have to step up when his father passed to help their family get through the tough time. Ken spent a lot of time at the grocery store with his sister to help keep it afloat, and when he wasn’t working at the store, Ken was shoveling sidewalks in the winter, mowing lawns in the summer, working for local farmers detasseling and picking rock, and just about any other job a high school kid his age could get.
Ken spent a lot of time being a mentor for his younger siblings as well. Ken was considered the man of the house after his father’s passing, and along with responsibilities of work came the responsibilities of keeping his siblings on the right path.
Elementary school for Ken was in Hawkeye, Iowa, Middle School and high school were at North High in West Union, and his senior year, North High became North Fayette when schools merged. After high school, Ken attended North Iowa Area Community College where he earned general education credits, but found that education and schooling just wasn’t something he was passionate about, so he joined the workforce.
“I got into the meat business right away. I worked at Slice Lunch and Meat in St. James Minnesota where I worked in quality control. Eventually, I moved up into a supervision position,” said Ken. “I wanted to move back to Iowa, so I relocated and went to work for Iowa Ham Processors. It was family owned, but after a time, they consolidated.”
Ken had worked at Iowa Ham Processors for five years prior to coming to CITY. When they consolidated, they closed Oelwein’s plant and relocated Ken to their Independence, IA facility. However, Ken would have had to work nights, and as a single dad who did not want to miss out on time with his daughter, he decided he would apply for a position at CITY.
“I saw that CITY had an opening for a route apprentice. I already had family who worked here, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere working with the veteran route representatives,” said Ken. “I just fell in love with CITY’s culture, it’s a wonderful place.”
Since then, Ken has worked at CITY for over 20 years.
“Even now, I can’t really say there’s such a thing as a typical day, but that’s part of what’s great about the job. It’s something new every day,” Ken said.
Ken’s favorite things about working at CITY are working with the clients and working with the employees. He loves working alongside other motivated individuals whose goals are to provide a quality service for CITY’s clients. In his position, Ken has lots of opportunities to problem solve for other people, and he appreciates that aspect of his role at CITY.
THE CITY PROMISE
Ken prides himself on being a part of CITY’s promise of quality service and transparency in all problem solving. “You have to believe in what you’re doing. If you don’t, you’ll struggle,” said Ken. “I believe what CITY is doing is good for everyone, from clients, to community, to our own business, we’re working to provide the best outcome for everyone involved.”
“I think we have a great group of route people, they do nice work, they care about their customers, and that’s what our district managers have come to expect,” said Ken. “We don’t want clients to do business with us because of an agreement, we want clients to do business with us because they WANT to do business with us.”
Ken’s greatest qualities are his work ethic and honesty. At CITY, being motivated to work is key to succeeding at any position, but honesty and being transparent with clients truly resonates with the service CITY wants to provide. That service is something Ken prides himself on as the director of operations here at CITY, and we are grateful to have management like him involved in CITY’s culture.
“I think the key with CITY’s culture is having someone that completely believes in CITY, and Ken has that,” said President of CITY Colin Wetlaufer. “He has a diverse background in production management and over 20 years of service at CITY, and that makes him the perfect fit for Director of Operations.”
WHEN NOT AT CITY
In his time off work, Ken enjoys being outdoors, either working in his garden, spending time with his family, or fishing.
Ken’s favorite outdoor activities are mushroom hunting in the spring and canoeing during the summer. Since he was a child, they have been a part of Ken’s family life. “Mushroom hunting started from the time I was old enough to keep up with my dad. Canoeing started in 1977; I actually have the first canoe my folks bought. It was something we did and still continue to do with family and friends.”