Catherine E. Minarik celebrates a career in quality management and data processing for major manufacturers spanning nearly four decades of innovation. A talented student, Ms. Minarik was both analytical and creative from a young age, and developed an interest in food science and cooking by the time she had entered high school. Aware of the developments happening in nutrition and the manufacturing industry as a result of changing technologies, Ms. Minarik was inspired to explore the opportunities that would be available to her through a career in the field. She attended Washburn University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in home economics, and continued her education at Kansas State University, where she was awarded a Master of Science in food science.
Ms. Minarik began her career in 1978 as a team leader for Hills Pet Nutrition. Over the next 18 years, she developed a broad-ranging understanding of the intricacies and demands of the business, becoming a management and quality control expert. Her work included inspecting and maintaining the consistency and quality of raw materials, finished products, and packaging materials, as well as managing the data that resulted and SAP scripts. In 1996, Ms. Minarik left Hills Pet Nutrition to become a business analyst for Colgate Palmolive, applying her skill set to a wider range of market sectors.
As an expert in manufacturing quality and creating data-driven solutions for quality assurance, Ms. Minarik began offering her services as a consultant in 2011. Through the early 2010s, she focused on her work as a SAP QM consultant, working with Medtronic, the Bemis Company, and Fonterra before returning to Colgate Palmolive in 2014. Her consulting work focused on developing functional scripts for quality management and managing master data and security for existing programs. Building on decades of firsthand experience and a relentless drive to continue growing and innovating as a professional, Ms. Minarik developed a reputation for her attention to detail and deep knowledge of the industry. In 2016, she retired from full-time work to pursue personal projects and volunteer work.
Ms. Minarik attributes her success to her parents and sister, whose generosity and support of her educational goals encouraged her to explore where her intellectual curiosity could take her and find her niche in a specialized and evolving field. She considers developing functional scripts and managing SAP systems to be the highlight of her career, and enjoyed creating the tools that allowed other departments to function smoothly. Ms. Minarik continues to be inspired by others working to influence and change their industries, and since 2020, she has worked with her area library system to help their growth and expansion.