When Ryan Hunter came to WVU, he knew he wanted to be an engineer but didn’t know what type. He chose Industrial Engineering because of the variety of career paths it offered.

In college, Ryan had two internships. One was with Ambrosia, a brass & glass company and another was with THC, a hospital in Chicago. These positioned him well for getting a job when he graduated. In fact, Ryan had two great job offers from Hershey and IBM. He chose Hershey because it seemed to be a better fit. “Industrial Engineering was well established at Hershey, but I didn’t see how IEs fit into the IBM organizational unit where I had an offer,” Ryan explains.

While at Hershey, Ryan obtained a master’s degree. He worked in a variety of roles including Industrial Engineering, production supervision, operations project management, and finance. One of his assignments led to the largest restructuring program in the company’s history and an annual savings of $170-$190 million.

Ryan was at Hershey for 12 years when he and his wife had their first child. With family back in north-central WV, Ryan and his wife decided to move closer to home. “I really loved Hershey,” Ryan says, “but I had begun to top out in my career and was looking for new growth opportunities.”

Ryan decided to join Heinz (now Kraft Heinz in Pittsburgh). Ryan took on a number of senior leadership roles in the supply chain side of Heinz. One of these assignments was to close a factory in Canada and move production to Iowa and Ohio. This project had an annual savings of $30 million.

When Kraft Heinz was purchased by Warren Buffet, he used a private equity firm to manage the acquisition. This led to a complete change in the Kraft Heinz culture, and Ryan decided to look for another opportunity. Ryan reflects on this change in management culture by saying: “I now have one of the best Rolodexes possible. All my colleagues at Kraft Heinz left the company and are in important positions throughout the country.”

Ryan joined the Ainsworth Pet Nutrition company and is now their Vice President of Logistics. Ainsworth (formerly Dad’s dog food) is a premium pet food company with multiple brands including the Rachel Ray Nutrish line of dog and cat foods. At the time of this interview, Ainsworth had just been bought by Smuckers, so Ryan is looking forward to learning more about the role he might play in this bigger company.

As someone who has spent his entire career in consumer products, Ryan sees a lot of disruption coming in Logistics as a result of eCommerce. “We are where manufacturing was a number of years ago. There are exciting and maybe scary times ahead.”


Ryan Hunter
Vice President, Logistics Integration at The J.M. Smucker Company


Vice President, Logistics Integration at The J.M. Smucker Company
May 2018 – Present

Manage the day-to-day logistics operations of the legacy Ainsworth business. Validate and course correct all legacy Ainsworth logistics initiatives to ensure alignment with the JMS strategic vision.

Vice President, Logistics at Ainsworth Pet Nutrition
July 2017 – April 2018 (10 months)

Accountable to deliver a $75 million US warehouse and transportation budget with an internal team of 180+ people nationally, a 3PL warehouse provider in Georgia, and a TMS solutions provider in Arkansas. Established a 3-year vision to “Drive Change” by Expanding/Optimizing Footprint, Focusing on Operational Excellence, and Building Capabilities. During tenure, the team delivered several key accomplishments including: Integrated an acquired CoMan as a Midwest DC; Named a Top 5 Walmart Supplier for OTIF at the Jan 2018 conference; Increased wages at a 3PL to address attrition and drive efficiency; Navigated a rough hurricane season with industry-leading service.

Director Strategic Planning & PMO at Ainsworth Pet Nutrition
December 2014 – August 2017 (2 years 9 months)

Developed Ainsworth’s Strategic Plan with the Executive Team and delivered recommendations to the Board of Directors. Refreshed this plan with the Leadership Team over 3 years and oversaw execution of several key components. Established a Project Management Office (PMO) team and implemented a best-in-class portfolio management process. Led the due diligence process to acquire a second manufacturing plant in Frontenac, KS. Assembled a cross-functional team and co-led the integration efforts to deliver the investment thesis.

Group Leader, Project Management at HJ Heinz
August 2013 – December 2014 (1 year 5 months)

Managed the Dry Manufacturing restructuring project that exited 1 large factory in Canada and expanded 2 large factories in Iowa and Ohio. Delivered annual savings of $30 million, while maintaining customer service levels, adhering to a $40 million CAPEX budget, and delivering key milestones against aggressive timelines.

Group Leader, Supply Chain Strategy at HJ Heinz
December 2012 – August 2013 (9 months)

Led a team focused on developing, aligning, and ensuring execution of the Heinz North America Supply Chain strategy. Oversaw the Operations Business Management function for the various U.S. business unit teams for new product feasibility assessment, project scoping, and identification of optimal source(s) of supply. Accountable for Program Management to provide dedicated oversight for large projects involving supplier transitions or manufacturing sourcing changes. Owned Supply Chain network design to enable strategic analysis and decision making capabilities.

Sr. Manager, Program Management at HJ Heinz
April 2011 – December 2012 (1 year 9 months)

Responsible for large supply chain project execution, strategic planning and analysis, and manufacturing cost out opportunity assessment. Accountable for execution and oversight of the FY12 Supply Chain restructuring event from communication through closeout. Managed 1-3 experienced project managers.

Sr. Manager, Strategic Planning at HJ Heinz
November 2008 – April 2011 (2 years 6 months)

Managed a team of 1-3 Supply Chain Network Design modelers to analyze cost savings opportunities in the North American Supply Chain using popular network optimization software. Supported the development of 3 annual Strategic Plans and Annual Operating Plans. Provided analysis, insight, and presentation development.

Manager, Project Analysis at The Hershey Company
April 2007 – October 2008 (1 year 7 months)

Managed cost savings validation, monthly reporting, capital spending adherence and financial analysis for the Global Supply Chain Transformation (GSCT) project – the largest restructuring program in company history. The project exited/downsized 10 manufacturing plants in US/ Canada, consolidated 2 distribution centers, outsourced volume to strategic partners and constructed 1 new plant in Monterrey, Mexico to deliver $170-190m in annual cost savings.

Manager, Supply Chain Analysis at The Hershey Company
October 2005 – April 2007 (1 year 7 months)

Led the creation, training, and development of the Supply Chain Analysis function within Finance. Managed team of 5 analysts who worked on a variety of assigned and self developed financial analyses supporting Manufacturing, Transportation, Warehousing, Commodities, and Strategic Sourcing. Owned the capital project review process. Responsible for providing Financial approval, ensuring compliance to the Corporate Controller’s Manual, and preparing project briefings to the Board of Directors for all projects over $1m. Authored the Global Supply Chain Transformation (GSCT) project for $300m in capital funds, $550m restructuring expenses, and $50m in start-up costs to reshape the North American Supply Chain footprint and generate step-change savings.

Associate Operations Project Leader at The Hershey Company
June 2000 – October 2005 (5 years 5 months)

Provided operations business support to the Kiss Brand. Developed standard costs, product margins and drove manufacturing solutions for various Limited Editions generating over $15m in contribution. Championed capital approval of Kissables and Peanut Butter Kisses through Board of Directors. These items were the 2 largest product launches for Hershey in 2005 and generated over $50m in contribution. Led operations business support to the Hershey Canada business unit for 3 years. Responsible for facilitating communication with US Operations, determining manufacturing feasibility, margin analysis, supply planning coordination, and new item launch support.

Production Supervisor at The Hershey Company
February 2000 – June 2000 (5 months)

Accountable for supervision of 50 hourly employees during 2nd shift at the Lancaster, PA Plant during the peak season. This included 5 Twizzlers licorice manufacturing lines as well as Warehousing, Materials Receiving, and Finished Goods Shipping. Responsible for safety, quality, daily production output, rework/waste levels, efficient shipping/ loading, and inventory accuracy.

Industrial Engineer (Assoc. thru Sr.) at The Hershey Company
May 1997 – February 2000 (2 years 10 months)

Provided technical and financial support to the Twizzler Brand. Responsible for establishing cost effective manufacturing solutions, identifying margin improvement opportunities, analyzing plant capacity and quantifying reliable estimates of future product margins. Played a key role in the implementation of automation on Twizzler packaging lines. Conducted time/motion studies, bottleneck analysis, and worked with manufacturing to identify cost savings opportunities.


West Virginia University
BS, Industrial Engineering, 1993 – 1997
Activities and Societies: President of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) 1995, Treasurer of IIE in 1994, Alpha Pi Mu – National Industrial Engineering honorary
Penn State University
MBA, Business Administration, 1998 – 2001

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.

Start typing and press Enter to search