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Plant Manager

Roslyn Heights, NY
April 18, 2020

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Vasili E. Zisis

** ****** *****, ****** *******, NY 11577

Telephone: 516-***-**** home • 516-***-**** cell • E-mail:

Accomplished Operations Executive with deep expertise in Manufacturing and Supply Chain Operations in the Food Processing Industry. Excels at growing business value by identifying and implementing new market and customer opportunities, improving operational efficiencies, and maximizing overall customer experience. A consistent record of solid results in turning around under-performing operations, driving fast-track growth for start-up enterprises, and implementing significant improvements in Productivity, Efficiency, Quality, Safety, and Regulatory (EHS and Food Safety) Compliance. A visionary strategist and practical problem solver who thrives on difficult challenges and change. A loyal mentor, peer, and friend.

Knowledge & Skills

P&L responsibility for multi-site operations:

Site and Plant Management

Supply Chain Management

Budgeting and Cost Control

Warehousing and Distribution

Inventory Management & Control

Equipment & Facilities Engineering

Manufacturing Excellence (Lean & Six-sigma)

Regulatory Compliance (EHS & Food Safety)

New product Development and Launch

Executive Level Decision Making

Business Integration & Enterprise Solutions

Operations Turnaround

Co-packaging & Co-Branding Initiatives

Strategic and Financial Planning

Capital and Facilities Planning

Project Management (Planning & Execution)

Quality & Performance Improvement

Labor Negotiations/Contracts (union/non-union)

High-Performance Team Development


VASILI ZISIS, LLC. 2017 to present

Proprietor, Independent Consultant to the food and consumer goods industries.

Aerofarms, Newark, New Jersey

A start-up in the Vertical/Indoor Farming industry employing a novel scientific approach and newly developed growing technology to greatly improve crop quality and yields over traditional farming, as well as, competing indoor methodologies. The Company is currently in the process of starting-up the world’s largest indoor farm in Newark, NJ.

Plant Manager 2015 to 2017

Led the launch of the pilot facility for this high-tech start-up focused on indoor Growing, Harvesting, Packaging, and Distributing leafy vegetables. Worked closely with R&D and Engineering teams in designing new equipment and processes. Developed core manufacturing and food safety processes; and, hired and trained the operations team. Instrumental in transferring the learnings from the pilot operation to the first commercial facility which is currently starting operations. Exceeded all corporate performance objectives set for the operational aspects of the start-up.

Led start-up of pilot facility while simultaneously driving operational readiness for the large scale commercial site

Sourced and procured equipment (Process, Packaging, Material Handling) for both facilities, achieving capital savings of $500,000 vs. budget.

Negotiated with multiple vendors for services and supplies realizing over 30% in saving vs. budget

Led start-up and optimization of equipment and processes (Growing, Packaging, Planning and Scheduling).

Hired and trained over 100 operations associates in all aspect of production and support activities

Jointly with the Food Safety director, developed and rolled-out the Food Safety Plan and related procedures for Warehousing, Packaging, and Distribution

Through application of Lean Manufacturing and TPM increased output by over 200% and OEE of 98.6%

Developed KPI’s for distribution effectiveness and customer satisfaction. Achieved order fill rate of 99.8%

Interfaced with local, state and federal regulatory and compliance agencies. No critical audit deficiencies identified

Coordinated hiring and training of personnel in operation of new high-throughput automated commercial packaging lines

Arctic Glacier, Brooklyn, New York

Arctic Glacier is the market share leader in North America for ice manufacturing and distribution. The Brooklyn facility was one of the larger of forty ice plants the company owned and operated across the United States and Canada. Brooklyn’s distribution channels included retail, food service, and convenience stores. The company frequently participated in special events such as collaborating with Disney Studios in the production of the movie “Frozen”.

Plant Manager 2013 to 2015

Tasked with rapidly reversing a steep erosion in business volume caused by competition from, and a loss of key employees to, a new business launched by firm’s previous owners. Key areas of focus were: retaining critical employees, driving Operations Excellence throughout the ice manufacturing facility while taking on day-to-day management of Warehousing and Distribution operations in order to improve deliveries and customer service. However, by end 2015 business’ owners decided to close facility to avoid spending capital investment required to keep aging facility operational.

Achieved major improvement in performance metrics by strong focus on Lean in Ice-Production, Warehousing, and Distribution. Designed and implemented a TPM program. Achieved and maintained OEE of 97.5% .

Lean and TPM enabled increasing number of shifts which resulted in daily production of 400 tons/day of ice. An 18% improvement over previous run rate.

Achieved Order Fill rate of 99.6 %.

Optimized both the total number of employees and the scheduling of labor. Decreased labor costs by $300,000 annually

Developed and met operating budget ($10,000,000) for the facility.

Effectively managed interaction with local, state and federal regulatory agencies.

Led Food Safety and OSHA compliance with superior results. No critical deficiencies. OSHA DART rate of 2.1.

Achieved immediate retention of existing customers and 75 % recovery of “lost” customers .

Led decommissioning of Brooklyn plant.

Complied with all local,State, and Federal codes during wind-down,

Completed the project within 80% of the budget. Recovered $50,000 from all the scrap materials.

Sally Sherman Foods, Mount Vernon, New York

Sally Sherman Foods is a division of UFS Industries. UFS is vertically integrated company with ownership of farms, packing houses, a transportation company and four food processing facilities. The processing facilites, operating under the Sally Sherman brand, produced a broad mix of food products for the retail trade, food service industry, convenience stores, and institutions. The product line included ready-to-eat deli salads (vegetable, meat, and seafoods), pickles, condiments and a full line of oils and salad dressings.

VP. General Manager 1994 to 2012

In charge of P&L for a multi-site food processing operation including oversight of all Manufacturing and Supply Chain activities (Procurement, Warehousing, Distribution), Human Resources, Regulatory Compliance (EHS and Food Safety), and Finance. Implemented organizational restructuring and manufacturing excellence in support of maximization of profitability, quality, and customer experience. Originally hired as VP Manufacturing in1994. Promoted to VP Operations in 1998 and to VP General Manager in 2003.

Responsible for Brand Management of the company (Pricing, Promotions, Incentives, and Advertising)

Negotiated contract-packing agreements with co-packers resulting in savings of $ 300,000 annually.

Negotiated a Co-Branding agreement with key supplier which resulted major increase in brand awareness and

corporate credibility (use of vendor logos), as well as a cost savings over $1,000,000 annually.

Led growth of business to achieve $50,000,000 sales. An increase of 500 % during my tenure.

Maintained 99.2 % customer retention rate.

Optimized distribution network to support marketing plan and rapid sales growth. Achieved 99.8 % on time delivery.

Responsible for the operation of four (USDA & FDA) regulated sites, as well as the company’s overall Supply Chain

Implemented lean manufacturing and focused on manufacturing excellence and profitability.

Renegotiated supply contracts with major vendors. Achieved $ 2,500,000 in annual savings.

No major critical deficiencies during my tenure.

Optimized the labor force and reduced the direct labor costs by 55 %.

Increased plant capacity output by 400% through combination of Lean and expansion of production capacity

Designed, developed and implemented the management information systems to support the sales force in the execution

of the marketing plan resulting in $250,000 savings annually.

Kozy Shack Foods Inc, Mineola, New York

Kozy Shack is a division of Land O’Lakes. The division manufactures bulk-packaged and single serve sizes of ready-to-eat dairy and gelatin desserts for the New York deli food-service segment as well as for the retail and convenience store trades. The company was a pioneer in large scale batch manufacturing of rice pudding and flan which it grew, along with the rest of the product line, into a 40MM business.

Vice President Operations 1984 to 1994

Responsible for the day-to-day operation of two independent processing facilities which produced a broad mix of refrigerated puddings and gelatins. Led company’s operating group with company-wide responsibility for Capital & Business Planning, Production Planning & Scheduling, Engineering & Technology (Process and Facility), Regulatory Compliance (EHS and Food Safety), Purchasing, and Staffing. Led operational readiness to enable rapid growth phase experienced during my tenure.

Met all operational performance objectives through implementation of Lean Manufacturing principles and the design-build-start-up of a second processing facility.

Highly successful structured approach developed in original facility was implemented across second facility.

Key operational results include:

Increased capacity tenfold through a combination of Lean principles and increasing production lines from two to five.

Reduced the direct labor costs by 40%.

Managed domestic and overseas copackers. Renegotiated contract packing agreements resulting in savings of $400,000.

Effectively dealt with local, state and federal regulatory and compliance agencies. No critical deficiencies.

Automated the manual accounting & finance processes. Generated savings $150,000 per year.

Renegotiated financing terms (from prime+4% to prime+1%) and obtained a six-fold increase in revolving line of credit to support company growth.

Designed, developed and implemented new management information systems.

Redesigned the distribution network to adapt to the evolving business and marketing strategies.

Responsible for Brand Management including pricing, promotions, incentives and advertising.

$ 3MM sales in the beginning of my tenure grew to $ 39 MM ten years later.

Led, jointly with the corporate counsel, litigation against a contract packer who reneged on their contract,

Obtained a $ 1,000,000 settlement.

Led conversion of facility from a prepared meals (pasta) processing facility to a ready-to-eat (refrigerated puddings and gelatin) processing facility

Completed first phase of $8 million capital improvement project.


M.S Industrial Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of New York, New York

B.S Physics, Queens College, CUNY, Flushing, New York


HACCP, SSOP, Food Safety, Food Defense

Novell Network Engineer

Lean Six Sigma (6S) certificate


Senior member American Institute of Industrial Engineers

President, Board of Directors Kastorian Society N.Y

Member, Board of Directors Perista Association N.Y

Member, Board of Directors Archdiocese Soccer League N.Y


Fluent in Greek

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