OOSTBURG, Wis. — Devon Vater was making sure stacks of sliced cheese were neatly packaged in retail wrappers before they left the line where he was working.

He’s part of a crew packaging cheese at Masters Gallery Foods in Oostburg, Wis.

What You Need To Know

  • Masters Gallery Foods takes huge blocks of cheese and then cuts, shreds, slices and chips them into manageable sizes

  • The business is expanding and seeking people

  • Jobs range from production workers to engineers and maintenance technicians

A line lead, Vater has been with the company for six years.

“I make sure all these people are happy and they’re satisfied while they’re doing their jobs,” he said. “I make sure the machines have all the materials they need, so that we can run and get the product from here to out there to the customer.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Masters Gallery Foods takes massive blocks of cheese from cheese-makers, cuts them down and then packages them for consumers. That includes cheeses found in grocery stores.

“I like seeing the whole process from start to finish,” Vater said. “We get the bulk cheese in on one side. It comes in these big blocks and then we take it and process it down to whatever the customer wants, whether it be shreds, bars, slices, sticks. The machines are really quite fascinating when you actually get a chance to look inside of them and work with them and manipulate them. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Plymouth-based company has plants in both Plymouth and Oostburg. Masters Gallery Foods recently expanded its Oostburg operation, and it continues to grow.

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Casey Liddicoat is the senior director of manufacturing operations at both locations. He said their company plays a vital role in the state’s dairy industry.

“Obviously, a consumer is not going to buy a 640 pound block of cheese,” Liddicoat said. “The role that we play is getting [the cheese] into a retail format and ultimately distribution out to a place where they can purchase that cheese.”

With their growth, Masters Gallery Foods is seeking people for a range of careers.

“We need general production,” Liddicoat said. “We need folks who are willing to work in a sanitation capacity. One thing about food production is making sure our equipment is clean so we make safe product.”

There are other jobs, too.

“The other key role we’re looking for is in the technical services field. Folks like mechanics and engineers,” Liddicoat said. “We have a lot of automation in this facility and in order to keep growing, we need folks who can work on that type of equipment.”

That includes Nate Benicke. Benicke not only fixes equipment but also helps get it running before production gets underway.

“I feel a little bit like I’m part of a bigger industry knowing that we make cheese that goes all over the country, and we’re working on going all over the world as well,” Benicke said. “It’s nice to know I might have a small part, but it goes into a larger system.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Wisconsin produces more than 3 billion pounds of cheese each year, according to Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Vater said it’s exciting being part of a growing company.

“We’re very good at expanding out and getting new products for more customers, that’s fun to see,” Benicke said. “We’re also experiencing the downside of that where you get a lot of customers that want all these products, but we need a lot of people here to make those products as well.”

Careers at Masters Gallery Foods can be found here: https://www.mastersgalleryfoods.com/why-work-here/