Alaric Pope, Team Leader Production Whey
Diversity is one of the most important criteria when it comes to recruiting new employees. After all, they no longer come only from Germany. Our employee Alaric Pope originally comes from the US state of Tennessee.

Hello. What is your name, how old are you and what is your function at DMK?

My name is Alaric Pope, I am 49 years old and Team Leader Production Whey at the Edewecht site.

How long have you been working at DMK and how did you come across DMK?

I am originally from the US state of Tennessee. I came to Germany as a soldier in 1994. In 1998 I would have had to extend my contract as a soldier and leave Germany at some point. But I wanted to stay, so I signed with a temporary employment agency that employed me as a production helper in the butter factory at Bremerland-Nordheide. So I came to DMK more by chance than purposefully. My German wasn't so good at the time, but I wanted to stay. In America I would have needed three jobs to make ends meet - the dairy cooperative was a good employer.

Please briefly describe your career.

After a year as a temporary worker, I was permanently employed by Bremerland, which was taken over by Nordmilch a short time later. First I worked as a plant operator, later as a team coordinator. Unfortunately, the Seckenhausen plant was closed in 2004 and I changed my career and trained as a motor vehicle mechatronics technician. But I didn't like it there as much as at the dairy. I missed the teamwork and the pay was worse. That's why in 2007 I applied for a job as a production assistant at the Nordmilch site in Edewecht, which now belongs to DMK.

Since then I have passed through various stations in the butter factory, becoming a plant operator, team coordinator and finally team leader. Today I am a team leader in whey processing and drying.

What are you working on specifically? What is particularly important to you in your job?

Together with a second team leader, we ensure the smooth production flow in whey processing. I'm often there before six o'clock so that I can have a quick chat with my colleagues on the night shift.

What is particularly important to you in your job?

What I particularly appreciate about my job is the teamwork and the communication with my colleagues. I have contact with a wide variety of interfaces, which brings a lot of variety.

Do you think that the integration of different cultural backgrounds in the company is successful?

For me, DMK is a melting pot of different nations. I have met people here from the most diverse regions of the world. We all get along and sometimes invite each other out privately.

For me, diversity works best when openness is lived. In this way, I have already been able to eliminate prejudices within the staff that would have led to gross misunderstandings.

Do you have an example for us?

In some cultures, it is common to be instructed by the manager on every single step of the work. This attitude is a form of respect towards the superior. In other countries, however, independent and proactive work is expected. These differences can lead to tensions and conflicts.

Therefore, for me, communication and constructive criticism is the key to successful teamwork and corporate culture. Because this is always based on mutual understanding, respect and the ability to correct prejudices within oneself.

"Living diversity" also means "cultivating integration". Much can be done by oneself. Some, however, needs central thinking and steering. A topic like integration, which we encounter with great dynamism at every turn, therefore ideally needs a central position and also a central concept within an organisation. Integration is a structural issue, the handling of which moves us all forward. Here I would like to see more structured thinking.

Why do you like DMK as an employer?

Ich erlebe DMK als aufgeschlossenes Unternehmen, das sich Menschen anderer Herkunft öffnet, auch wenn es hier und da noch kulturelle Kommunikationshürden gibt. Das Betriebsklima ist prima und ich treffe täglich tolle Kolleginnen und Kollegen.

Auch gibt es immer wieder coole Aktionen, wie die gemeinsame Teilnahme am Megamarsch oder bei B2Run.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to retire from DMK! I don't have any concrete goals or ideas about which function or department I would like to work in. The most important thing for me is that I enjoy my work.