Residence Life Lessons Lead Steinocher into Career Success

Wednesday, January 02, 2019
Joe Steinocher and Erik Hayes

Former residence life staff member Joe Steinocher (left) received the 2018 Jess Lucas Alumni Leadership Award for his career success as the youngest plant manager for Schreiber Foods.

Alumni learn to appreciate those life and leadership lessons that they gained outside of the classroom and laboratories during their undergraduate days on campus.

That’s certainly the case for Joe Steinocher, whose ability to work with cross-functional teams as a member of the residence life staff has paved the way for his success as the youngest plant manager and production team leader for Schreiber Foods, a Wisconsin-based producer of dairy products, especially cheese, for customers throughout the world.

Steinocher’s approach to leadership with a servant mindset, helping remove barriers for the team to improve results, earned him the Office of Student Affairs’ 2018 Jess Lucas Alumni Leadership Award. The honor is presented annually to a former residence life staff member for their career achievements.

As manager for Schreiber Foods’ production plant in Mount Vernon, Mo., since July 2016, Steinocher oversees six areas with a total of 190 hourly workers, which the company refers to as “partners.” His responsibilities include plant safety, quality control and cost containment.

Steinocher says, “What I do as a plant manager is similar what I did as a Resident Assistant (at Rose-Hulman). You’re trying to instill trust and make sure the campus culture, which is so strong here, is carried down to those students that are under your care.”

He adds, “I believe in the adage ‘people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’”
The 2005 mechanical engineering alumnus has spent his entire career with Schreiber’s production facilities in Clinton, Mo.; Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.; Shippensburg, Pa.; Richland Center, Wis.; and now Mount Vernon.

Along the way he has implemented ergonomic assessment to identify high-risk areas for capital projects, led capital improvement project worth more than $120 million to expand production capabilities to meet the demand of strategic customers, and developed production improvement ideas that achieved high-efficient results.

“Joe is one of the must humble people I know. He is a true servant-leader. Joe was an exceptional Resident Assistant and Sophomore Adviser. Academics did not come easy to him, yet he was able to balance involvement in residence life and athletics,” Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Erik Hayes, says of Steinocher, who played 72 matches as goalkeeper for Rose-Hulman’s varsity soccer team.

The award is named in honor of Jess Lucas, who served as Rose-Hulman's vice president for student affairs and dean of students from 1976 until retiring in 2000.