The Operations Whisperer

Georgianne Stephen
VP of Operations

Ask anyone in our company what Georgianne Stephen does, and they’ll smile and say something like, “She makes everything happen.”

They’re not exaggerating. Sure, it takes a village, and we have an outstanding, hardworking team, many of whom have been part of our close-knit family of employees for years. But as the head of operations, Georgianne is the person who always has the big picture in her head and knows how to navigate the pathways that turn every new challenge into a solution.

“It’s kind of like a big jigsaw puzzle,” says Georgianne. “There are so many pieces—purchasing of raw materials, scheduling, maintenance, production, packaging and working with our QA team—and they all have to fit together so everything runs smoothly. It involves science, engineering, people skills, and staying focused on the endgame.”

What’s her secret? It’s a combination of a naturally calm, curious personality and encyclopedic knowledge of every aspect of our production process—knowledge she’s acquired firsthand over her 27 years with Armanino, as she worked her way through just about every job from working the line and unloading trucks to QA, R&D, cost accounting and budgeting.

Pesto Lasagna

“When I started here, it was just the Armaninos, a small office and sales staff, a plant manager, three workers, and me,” she recalls. “We’ve grown so much over the years. I’m proud to have been a part of that, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to learn the business from every angle.”

A self-described “production nerd,” Georgianne says she’s always been fascinated by finding out how things are made. Years ago, on a trip to Europe she took a train and a bus to York, England to tour the Kit Kat candy factory. (When she got there, she discovered the factory didn’t give tours. Undaunted, she managed to talk her way into the employee gift shop!) And ever since, if there’s a plant tour—any plant tour—she’s on it.

“I love the nuts and bolts stuff. And I love process, hard work, and the kind of problem-solving that we do at Armanino every day,” says Georgianne.

“Our company has always been a family business, and I think that inspires us to work together with respect, just like a family.”

She has fond memories of summertime company barbecues at the Armaninos’ ranch and holiday parties with surprise star appearances from the music world like Eddie Fisher. “Mr. Armanino took us to see Frank Sinatra in concert,” she remembers. “That family spirit of generosity still makes coming to work fun for me—even when things get stressful.”

To balance the pressures of her job, Georgianne escapes to the golf course or the pool table. An avid Eight Ball player, she’s part of a league team that has competed in three world pool championships.

“Golf, pool, production—they’re all versions of the same thing,” says Georgianne. “They’re a series of strategies, moves, and challenges that keep you on your toes—and always thinking a step ahead of the game.”