Dawn Hill Chemical Engineer & Food Safety Expert

Dawn Hill, Chemical Engineer & Food Safety Expert

Dawn Hill is a food processing and food safety expert with 15+ years of experience relevant to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) of food products and the safety of finished food products and workers within manufacturing environments. As an expert at Robson Forensic, she applies her expertise to casework involving many aspects of food and human safety, including food safety incident investigations, risk analysis, cross contamination, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program failures, and consumer complaints.

With responsibilities for both food quality and manufacturing safety, Dawn has implemented and utilized continuous improvement tools and techniques such as Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA). She has led teams focused on food and manufacturing safety process improvements, including the development of employee training programs. Dawn has worked for some of the most recognizable food processing companies in the world involving a variety of food types, including refrigerated dough, meat processing, and candy manufacturing. She has firsthand experience conducting investigations of potential contaminations, identifying quality defects, implementing corrective and preventive actions, and removing defective product from the stream of commerce.

Dawn earned both her Masters of Engineering (M.E.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Louisville. She is recognized as a Food Safety Manager, a Safe Quality Food Practitioner (SQF), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Certified (HACCP), and a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI), which complies with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements for Food and Drug (FDA) regulated facilities. She also completed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30 hour course on Occupational Safety and Health.

Food Safety Manager, Safe Quality Food Practitioner (SQF), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Certified (HACCP), and a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI), which complies with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated facilities. Food Safety expert with 15 years of experience in food safety and quality within the food manufacturing industry and has experience in refrigerated dough, meat processing, and candy manufacturing. Oversaw all aspects of food safety and quality systems in food manufacturing plants on all shifts of production. Experience managing Food Safety and Quality Assurance departments with numerous direct reports including supervisors, leads, and technicians, as well as collaborating with other departments within the plant operations. Conducted investigations of potential food safety incidents, identified quality defects, implemented corrective and preventive actions, and made decisions involving the disposition of nonconforming product. Conducts regular internal audits for food safety systems and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and has experience as the auditee under Global Food Safety Initiative schemes such as Safe Quality Food and British Retail Consortium, as well as United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA), Food Defense, and 2nd party customer audits. Has experience with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) based food safety systems and knowledge of FDA and USDA government regulations for food.

Experience implementing and utilizing continuous improvement tools and techniques such as root cause analysis problem solving methods like 5Y, fishbone, and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). Led and participated on teams working towards focused improvements of food safety, manufacturing, and training processes.

Has experience with employee safety, including conducting monthly training and having completed the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA 30 hour course on Occupational Safety and Health.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Food safety and quality incident investigations including customer complaints
  • Internal auditing and acting as lead auditee
  • Prevention of cross contamination from allergens, biological, microbiological, chemical, and physical sources
  • Risk Analyses
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) based food safety systems
  • Food Defense
  • Documentation Control
  • People management

Food Manufacturing Processes: Bulk and minor ingredient delivery systems, batch mixing, dough rheology, dough sheeting, enrobing, cutting, extrusion, dough proofing, liquid viscosity, ingredient functionality, food science, temperature control, packing, canning, capping, packaging, palletizing, warehouse. Live animal transport, processing, further processing, marination injection, breading, par frying, glazing, cooking, and freezing. Seeding and growth of rock crystal candy, coloring, and flavoring, souring and packaging, and repackaging premade candy from suppliers.

Procedures, Standards, Specifications: Microbiological, sanitation, product labelling, ingredient, raw material, finished product and packaging specifications. Standard Operating Procedures, Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures, Foreign supplier verification programs and prerequisite programs that support the food safety system. Government Process Verified Programs

Inspection Test Methods, Data Evaluation: Statistical Process Control (SPC), electronic data collection software such as Infinity, HIFI Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Defect sampling, destructive testing. Microbiological sampling and test results acceptable limits.

Food Manufacturing and Food Safety Equipment: Bulk bins, valves, gaskets, pumps, slide gates, magnets, sifters, screens, tailings, strainers, filters, level probes, mixers, stainless steel tubs, sheeters, cutters, conveyor belts, roll stands, metal detectors, X-ray machines, vision systems, fillers, missing lid/ low fill detection, checkweighers, and weight rejectors.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc.


2019 to present

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony toward the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving food safety.

Custom Food Solutions

Quality Assurance Manager

2019 to 2020
  • Oversaw all plant food safety and quality assurance programs and ensured ongoing compliance to industry regulatory standards
  • Managed facility compliance to Safe Quality Food (SQF) code, maintained the site SQF certification
  • Conducted regular internal audits and facilities corrective actions based on findings

Squire Boone Village

Food Safety/EHS Manager

2019 to 2020
  • Oversaw all plant food safety programs and ensures ongoing compliance to industry regulatory standards
  • Managed facility compliance to Safe Quality Food (SQF) code, maintains the site SQF certification in addition to Continuous Improvement of food safety programs
  • Oversaw all plant human safety programs and training
  • Conducted regular internal audits and facilities corrective actions based on findings
  • Served as direct contact for customer communications and response to issues or inquiries

Teasdale Foods/Mesa Bakery Division

Food Safety & Sanitation Manager

2018 to 2019
  • Led the annual internal food safety audit efforts in preparation for SQF audit
  • Led the plant turnaround sanitation reset efforts, especially with review of contract sanitation providers and setting new standards
  • Managed plant pest control programs in addition to human safety and environmental responsibilities
  • Successfully completed of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic audit

Koch Foods, Inc

Quality Assurance Manager

2017 to 2018
  • Managed the plant food safety and quality assurance program during 2nd shift production, responsible for 35 direct reports, two of which are salaried supervisors
  • Led numerous projects and initiatives to reduce product quality issues
  • Led foreign material investigations, finished product resolution, and reporting to senior plant management
  • Involved with foreign material reduction team whose efforts have led to drastic reductions in foreign material findings

Tyson Foods, Inc.

Food Safety & Quality Assurance Manager

2016 to 2017
  • Managed the plant HACCP food safety and quality assurance program with 11 direct reports, two of which are salaried employees
  • Ensured compliance and works closely with onsite government regulatory USDA presence
  • Conducted numerous monthly and quarterly audits, including GMP, foreign material control, food defense and safety
  • Achieved excellent scores on various audits including internal corporate, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Food Defense and Process Verified Program, British Retail Consortium (BRC), customer specific audits, and corporate laboratory audits
  • Successfully implemented a new plant program, created the manual and provided training to other plant management
  • Worked closely as a supplier to large account national customers in qualifications to run their products including regularly reporting and communications, and follow up on issues
  • Managed customer complaints at the plant level with corrective/preventative actions and complaint responses
  • Utilized root cause analysis problem solving methods for food safety failures and occurrences

General Mills - Pillsbury

Quality Engineer I and II

2004 to 2016
  • Led food safety and quality program with up to 14 direct reports
  • Ensured compliance with HACCP food safety program and associated prerequisite programs
  • Managed documentation in addition to training operators and new salaried hires
  • Investigated product safety incidents and quality issues utilizing Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA) and other problem solving tools in collaboration with other departments to determine root causes and prevent reoccurrences in order to meet plant goal of zero brand protection incidents
  • Managed material and product holds in Systems Applications and Products (SAP) software to contain nonconforming inventory from shipment
  • Led audit process for operator monthly standard topics and advising as subject matter expert for internal auditing processes which provided support of pending Food Safety Systems Certification (FSSC) and lead to the enhancement of employee knowledge
  • Authored written procedures describing detailed internal processes to organize quality documentation systems in preparation for achieving FSSC certification
  • Reviewed corporate Food Safety Regulatory Matters policies, identifying gaps and working towards correcting in order to maintain the plant food safety program against standards
  • Supported Risk Management Projects, such as the implementation of a Tool Control program, with utilization of 5S and visual controls, which lead to increased organization across the plant floor with zero incidents
  • Improved the plant risk profile for pest control management by performing active troubleshooting of findings coupled with follow up which resulted in zero findings
  • Supervised team in effectively performing sanitation duties which accomplished drastic reduction of micro positives and zero positive results in some areas
  • Conducted routine sanitation inspections to meet 100% of Sanitation Excellence goals
  • Developed an operator/new hire training manual for cookie allergen sanitation and inspection process as successful completion of a Focused Improvement initiative
  • Contributed to 10% can burst and 10% reductions of dough handling consumer complaints by collecting measurements on can samples and using data for troubleshooting and eliminating root causes of variation
  • Troubleshot packaging issues through observation and sample collection as well as collaborating with suppliers which lead to a reduction in packaging related machine stops
  • Participated in overuse and centerlining studies for production lines leading to waste reduction and line performance improvements
  • Served as member of Combustible Dust team, performing regular audits and communicating issues which lead to corrective action and overall improvements to plant cleanliness and safety
  • Facilitated monthly human safety training with operators to achieve zero safety incidents
  • Utilized CI tools and creating training materials including One Point Lessons and Leader Standard Work forms
  • Performed food safety/quality Hands On Demonstrations (HOD) and acting as HOD tool leader with operators in order to achieve successful approval of training qualifications
  • Redesigned department custodial positions with human resources which accomplished an annual cost savings of $65,000

Professional Credentials

  • FSPQA PCQI for Human Food
  • SQF Practitioner
  • HACCP Certified

Past certification:

Certified Quality Engineer (inactive)


M.E., Chemical Engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
B.S., Chemical Engineer, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

Continuing Education:

  • Food Defense Awareness, Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA), 2019
  • OSHA 30 hour Occupational Safety and Health Training Course in General Industry Safety and Health, 2013

v. 03/15/22

Related Resources

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