Meet the Staff – Jill S

I was born in Auburn, Washington and spent most of my childhood in and around my birth town. If you’ve never had the opportunity to travel to the Auburn/Black Diamond area imagine it as a hidden suburbia surrounded by dense forest. As a child I occupied myself playing in the woods that surrounded my home or pretending that I was stranded on an island. Metro buses didn’t come to Black Diamond, you either had to take the school bus to town or drive, so it was never hard to imagine ourselves completely cut off from the world. This Jill S.feeling of being “stuck” made me appreciate the trees around me and all that they had to offer. As I’ve grown older I still enjoy thinking about all the adventures I discovered in the forests surrounding my home and the good times I had beneath the sweeping boughs of the trees.

As I grew older I moved to Kent, then Renton. After my daughter, Mikayla was born though I decided that I wanted to move to a smaller town and I found Ellensburg. Ellensburg has a slower pace of life and the small town atmosphere I was looking for. We have been so happy in Ellensburg the last fourteen years that I don’t think we’ll ever move back to city life.

I’ve been at Rill’s for over a month now and despite the fact that the shipping room is cold enough to store a popsicle I couldn’t be happier. I enjoy shipping soups to happy customers despite the fact that sometimes I have to ship with cold clumsy fingers. I enjoy working in the production room too mostly because it smells so good. The first day I worked in the production room I came home and my daughter couldn’t stop talking about how good my clothes smelt. Needless to say we filled our bellies with Omak Kick’n Chicken that night. I look forward to making quality food and shipping tasty soups to satisfied customers in the months to come.

 

Kylee H – Assistant Production Manager

I started dating Koby, Ninon’s youngest son, in 2009 when we were just Sophomores in high school. Then, I worked at a Subway in Ellensburg, but in 2011, when I quit my job at Subway and was on the hunt for a new living, I got snatched up to work in the family businesses of Rill Specialty Foods and Rill Adventures. Working for my boyfriend of only two years’ family was extremely intimidating at first, but it turned into a blessing. Over the years that I worked for Rill’s, Koby’s family became my own. How many people can claim to have that kind of relationship their in-laws?

For the three years that I worked at Rill Specialty Foods I learned to do everything from soup production to some office work. I even ran the business while going to college all by myself for a month at the beginning of 2012 while Ninon and Lacey were in Europe, and I did a darn good job if I do say so myself. Now I have started a new job working for my Uncle in the agriculture industry as a sales and marketing assistant, which is a huge opportunity for me because I’ll be getting tons of experience doing what I hope to do in the future, marketing.

Currently, I am a junior working on getting my business degree at Central Washington University. My experience and the things that I learned working in a small, family-run business will always stick with me and help me as I complete my degree and move on to do my own thing.

sfKylee worked for Rills from 2011- Jan 2014

Jessica A – Shipper/Base maker

My name is Jessica Albertson I was born in a small Oregon coast town of Coos Bay. I was raised upon a farm till I was 12 years old and had my best days on the farm. From swimming in our pool which was really a water trough to wanting a horse so bad that I rode my favorite cow to only end up face first in a cow pie. Living on the farm helped shape me into the hard worker that I believe I am today.

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One of my fondest memories of the farm was trying to surprise my parents by getting up early to feed all the calves so my mom would be able to make pancakes for breakfast. But only being 7 years old I mistakenly fed all the calves bad milk giving all of them scours. But it’s the thought that counts right.

As I grew older I began to develop my passion for sports playing both basketball and softball.  In high school I took my passion for softball to a whole new level. Spending thousands of my parent’s money to go to the best college exposure camps and being on the best competitive teams. But it all paid off I went on to play three amazing years of collegiate softball and made unforgettable friends.

Along my journey I moved to Ellensburg to finish my last two years of college and begin working at Rill foods. This is an amazing company and it’s nice to work alongside family. I have had some great times working here,  the latest is being locked into the new shipping room. Even though I could have technically opened the garage door it was unfortunately more complicated than I imagined. The best part was that this shipping room was cold enough to store frosty the snowman and that I had to text Ninon to come let me out. All she text back was “funny”. Not so funny to me.

Today I am a senior at Central Washington University and will graduate with my bachelors of exercise science in spring. I plan to leave Ellensburg and pursue my new life as a post rehab specialist.

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Lacey W – Production Manager

I was born into the crazy Rill businesses. My mother, Ninon Wheatley (originally Ninon Rill), has owned three different “Rill” businesses over the course of my life. As a child she owned and operated a grocery store in Thorp, Washington. As I grew older she expanded. She added a deli to the store the year I was born, Rill Specialty Foods when I was 4 and Rill Adventures when I was 5.

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These three businesses were my playground. I kept myself busy during the summer months blowing up rafts and annoying outdoor enthusiasts. During the winter months I would front face shelves or stock the cooler for fun. As I grew into my early teens work became less fun and ‘soups’ became my chore.

One time when I was 13 or 14 I remember being called home from a friends because I didn’t finish my labeling before I left. After throwing a tantrum that I’m sure would make a 5 year old blush I finally caved.

I walked the two blocks back to the store and started to label Thorpellini Tortellini. Neither myself nor anyone else has ever labeled so quick since. I finished my 40 cases of Tortellini in 40 minutes flat. 1 case every minute, 12 soups every case.

Today, January 2014, I still work at the many Rill businesses. I no longer see my job as a chore or even as fun as I once did but I have continued to enjoy improving my mothers businesses. I have been the production manager for Rill Specialty Foods since I was 18 years old, 5 years now. In that time I have become proud of the products we produce and I’m excited to watch Rill Foods from afar in the years to come.

I took my last class from Central Washington University in Fall 2013 and will graduate with degrees in Spanish, Political Science and Nonprofit Administration in Spring 2014. I’ve decided to leave the cozy town that I grew up in to fulfill the gnawing wanderlust in my gut and an unquenchable desire to dance.

Over the last few years I personally guaranteed the products that came from our facility, in the coming years I can rest assured, and so can you, that my mother will not let the Rill legacy slip.