Our People – Vicki McQueen, Process Development Manager – Billington Foods

The Billington Group would not be where it is without its amazing teams. In this ‘Our People’ series, we share a bit more about the diverse roles across our businesses and provide some insight into what makes Billington employees tick!

Name: Vicki McQueen

Job title: Process Development Manager

How long have you been with Billington Group? Please tell us a bit about your journey within the Group and how you got to where you are today: 

I have been with Billington Group since they acquired ‘Dunkleys’ in 2016, however I have worked on this site for 16 years starting out as an NPD Assistant. When I became part of the Billington Group I was working as the site QA Manager, I was promoted into the Process Development Manager position in 2018 which is where I still am today, and I’m still learning new things and loving it!

Describe a typical day in your role: 

No two days are ever the same in my role, one day I could be trialling new products with a customer, another day I could be supporting commissioning of new equipment or leading process improvements in the factory.

What’s the best part of your job? 

I enjoy the variation my role brings, working with so many different departments, helping influence change and successfully launching products as part of a team!

What are the biggest challenges you face when working as a process development manager? 

When we have challenging new product launches, trying to identify the cause and come up with a solution in a timely manner to prevent any waste.

Can you tell us about something you’ve enjoyed working on recently? 

We have recently installed and commissioned our pie line, this was a huge project and required input from various teams to ensure a smooth and successful transition to increase our pie output. Seeing improvement projects come to fruition is always great.

What makes the food sector exciting to work in? 

The fast pace and variation that comes with it.

What three key skills would you say you need when working as a process development manager? 

Organisation, adaptability and strong communication skills.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get started in a role like yours? 

Always listen, be open to learning and don’t be afraid to get hands-on in the factory to fully understand the processes and where improvements can be made. 

What makes The Billington Group stand out as a great place to work? 

The people, everyone is very approachable and friendly with a real passion to drive the business forward and develop careers.

Now a bit more about you….

Coffee or tea?

Coffee every time!

What’s your favourite guilty pleasure food?

An old school ‘cheese & pickled onion hedgehog’.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?

I hate to admit it, but I’m not often trusted to cook at home…! But every year I will bake a Christmas Yule Log! It’s rich, chocolatey and goes down a storm with my nieces on Christmas Eve!

Favourite weird food combinations? We love salt and vinegar crisps and chocolate, or the famous/infamous Mcdonald’s fries dipped in a milkshake.  

I don’t think this is very weird, but a cheese and salt & vinegar crisp sandwich.

What do you get up to outside of work?

Pre-covid I would often travel around Europe for long weekends, I love to learn about different cultures and try different foods. I also really enjoy going to live music gigs, I have quite eclectic music tastes so would pretty much go and watch anyone live (from Bruce Springsteen to Stormzy…)! I am also a keen yogi, so will often spend time on my yoga mat after a busy day at work.