by Gloria Welton
Recently UPEI held a Career Day with the Faculty of Business. A variety of speakers talked about their career choices and the steps they took along the way and offered advice to others.
One of the speakers was John David Hammer, Director of Human Resources with Amalgamated Dairies Limited (ADL) in Summerside.
He is a Saint Mary’s University graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and currently is board chair of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources PEI.
He has 30 years’ work experience on PEI and says he has been blessed to work with many fantastic people across the Island.
His 15-year Human Resource career began at Health PEI, where his many roles included HR Coordinator, HR Manager, and finally Labour Relations Coordinator. He made the move back to the private sector, and now works with ADL, providing HR direction and guidance to over 350 employees across six production sites.
ADL is a producer-owned, independent co-operative that operates dairy processing and retail food distribution facilities throughout PEI. “For 65 years, we have processed fresh milk from PEI farms to produce premium dairy products including milk, cheese, cream, butter and ice cream. Our quality dairy products are found in kitchens and restaurants across PEI and Canada. In addition, ADL produces dairy products for markets in the US, Asia, and the Caribbean.”
John says what brought him to the HR field was a combination of many experiences throughout his career. “I had numerous opportunities and advancements. I also owned and operated my own business for a while. Throughout my experiences there was a common thread of working with others, recruiting, and managing staff. So I found myself leaning towards this type of a career.
“I started in an entry-level role in human resources with Health PEI. I started to see the opportunities this field offered, and I got excited about the potential.
“To be in this field, it is important to be able to see the bigger picture and have a larger perspective to help folks who need to be directed through the process of change and conflict, which is constant in any work setting.
“You have to be able to understand the challenges felt by people around you and be able to talk these issues through. You also need to be empathetic and willing to listen. This career is not for everyone.
“HR staff receive information that may be hard to process, but you have to compartmentalize, manage those conversations and move on from there. Self-awareness and an openness to feedback is important.
“I was inspired to continue in this career after I worked within a unionized company and opportunities arose based on that experience.
“In my present work, it is rewarding to be with a leading company and seeing the impact the role of HR plays on staff and customers. We are a cooperative at ADL so we are all involved in making this business a success. We are an industry leader and that is important to us.
“We have growth and potential at ADL, and we can advance people through the company, which is also very rewarding.
“If HR is your career path it is important to prepare yourself educationally and be open to be mentored by others in this field.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about ADL, visit www.adl.ca/careers